Kona International: The Worst Airport To Get Work Done?

Finally, I’m home and things are back to normal for the time being. If you remember, I wrote about my hectic travel schedule last week. It consisted of five flights in 4 days, with the flight home a red-eye from Kona to Phoenix. Fortunately, my wife and I had already planned a little one-night getaway to the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain for Saturday night. That made up for the miserable work trip to Hawaii earlier in the week. I’ll have a quick review of the Ritz up later this week. Anyway, I wanted to share my experience waiting for several hours at the Kona International Airport. It could possibly be the worst airport to get work done.

Kona International: Don’t Get There Early

Unfortunately I had flown into Hilo’s main airport on the other side of the island that morning. As a result, I didn’t know what to expect at Kona on my way out. I suppose the best way to describe the airport comes from a few Google reviews I found:

“Landing here is perfect. Leaving is terrible.”

“Only one restaurant/bar, more of a cafeteria”

Even being somewhat aware of the setup at Kona, I had a plan going in. I figured if the terminal didn’t offer a suitable place to get work done, then I’d buy a pass into the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club. In looking at photos online, the club was more of just an air conditioned room than a lounge, but it would suffice. However, upon arrival, a sign was mounted on the door that the lounge was “closed temporarily”. It was unclear why as the room appeared ready to go. Perhaps a staffing issue?

Where’s The Power?

Had I fully understood the setup and known the lounge wouldn’t be available, I would have likely explored another option in town. After all, I had a whopping 8 hours to kill before my red-eye flight. But I really needed to respond to some emails. Sadly, I ended up having to plug in my laptop and phone to an outlet inside a flowerbed. I think these are placed there for the landscaping crew to plug in equipment. That was the only power supply I could find. I think I drew more than a few stares from other flyers.

My Desk at Kona International Airport

Here’s a photo of the gate areas to give you an idea of the air side layout at Kona International:

The Gates at Kona International Airport

Ultimately I ended up just taking care of a few urgent items and then headed to the “restaurant”, which was more of a hybrid restaurant/bar/cafeteria as described in the Google Review. Of course the restaurant was void of any power ports.

Bottom Line

Perhaps a silver lining in all of this is that construction is underway at the airport. I’m not sure the full extent of the project, but hopefully business travelers are taken into consideration. Modern airports simply need suitable places to plug in and get a little work done.

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