I have travelled with Jetstar, Hawaiian Airlines and Qantas. My best experience has been with Hawaiian Airlines. The evening we were supposed to fly out there was a big storm heading for the Big Island of Hawaii. Our flight was cancelled by Hawaiian Airlines due to the forecast. I was very impressed with how they handled things logistically. They first advised us to go to the check in counter and collect our luggage (this was at Sydney airport so our luggage could not stay there unaccompanied overnight). They then proceeded to give us a dinner voucher and hotel voucher and advised us to hop on the bus located outside the exit door. We were taken to the Novatel Darling Harbour where we were checked in, ordered room service with our dining voucher and they ferried us back to the airport the next morning. This did not cost us any money as Hawaiian Airlines paid for the entire thing. Very impressive.
Qantas are always okay but I would rank them lower than Hawaiian Airlines and Jetstar for that matter. I don’t think they fly to Hawaii anymore as Jetstar has taken over their flights for this route.
Jetstar have alway been good to fly with. We have had no issues in the past with Jetstar. I could hardly complain given I have never purchased full price tickets. I have travelled with Jetstar 3 times to Hawaii and each time I have paid $500 return. On two occasions I paid for an on the spot upgrade to star class back from Hawaii which cost $400 the first time and $165 the second time. You cannot pre-arrange this. It depends if there are seats available on the day. If there are normally a Jetstar staff member will come out at the beginning of check in at Honolulu airport and ask if anyone would like to upgrade. I would recommend this due to the price and that little bit more comfort for your trip home.
The pink trolley is a free trolley line that can get you all around the centre of Waikiki for free if you stay and one of the Ohana Hotels. You just need to show your hotel room card and they will allow you on board free of charge. Its great for going to and from the Ala Moana Shopping Center especially after a long day on your feet shopping. If you are not staying at a Ohana Hotel you can still use this service for a small fee. I think it’s about $2 a ride. There are several other coloured lines that will take you to different part of the city such as downtown. Pick up a map on our first trip and it clearly identifies the pick up/drop off points for the other lines.
I mentioned in my top 5 things to do is to hire a convertible and drive around the island of Oahu. This is a great experience and if you have not done this on previous trips I highly recommend it. I normally hire a Mustang convertible (soft top) from Hertz (you should book in advance as at times they can be very booked due to the popularity of them) for a very reasonable price. If I have it for the entire day it would normally cost me around $120 which includes petrol. One thing to remember though is if you have not driven in one before it is not that roomy in the backseat. I could sit in it okay but if you had to have 2 people in the back the leg room would get a bit tight. I had to stretch my legs out every now and again on the other side due to the lack of leg room. Otherwise go for it. I hire one for at least a day each time I visit. If you visit http://www.hawaiicarrentals.com/ you can ask for a quote for the period that you require the car for and they will provide you with the best possible price. They are a broker. I ended up getting a car for $49 per day which is less than half the price that I normally pay.
Public buses are very accessible throughout the island. They run frequently and from many locations. I have taken the bus on several occasions to Ala Moana Shopping Centre and to the Ward Centre. Just remember to check the timetables available. Like in Australia they have off peak and peak periods. They also get very full. One thing they do differently to Australia is they do not care about overloading the buses. They will cram passengers in as much as possible so if you like your personal space perhaps pick a time that is less popular.
I walk frequently around Waikiki. It would take about 20minutes to walk from the Beachcomber Hotel to Ala Moana Shopping Center and its nice walk. I normally stop at Starbucks part way to get a cold drink and to look at the penguins located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. I make something out of it and its a great opportunity for some exercise.
I have also walked from Waikiki to the top of Diamond Head. I would not recommend doing this as by the time you get to the base of Diamond Head you have already completed a significant walk. I would either take the bus to Diamond Head or hire a moped. Once you get to Diamond Head it does not take that long to walk up it. Keep in mind that it does get very hot so I would recommend you go very early in the morning. Again great for some exercise.