Students from The Prep kindergarten class, along with their teacher Marlene Schick and eight parent chaperones, took flight on January 30 courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines (HA). In a long standing tradition with the airline, Schick took her students to tour the HA terminal in the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The field trip came complete with a security check and tour of one of the company's airplanes.
The boys arrived at the HA terminal where they were greeted by HA staff. The morning started with the boys giving the traditional St. Andrews 'oli which was reciprocated by HA tour guide Billy Remular, or "Uncle Billy," singing the HA 'oli.
Next, the boys were given security instructions and boarding passes by HA. They walked through security presenting their passes and checking in with other passengers who were traveling all over the world. The boys sported their official "keiki security badges," which are only available in Hawai'i airports.
After security clearance, students received an overview of how the airport is set up, and a short tour of the terminal complete with fun facts and information about HA. The boys learned that the symbol of Pualani – the woman pictured on the sides of all the airplanes – is intended to reflect HA's proud island heritage with a sense of grace, elegance and caring. Uncle Jensen told the class that Pualani means "flower of the sky" and is seen to capture the strength, determination, spirit and confidence of the people of HA. The woman looks up and out, anticipating what comes next, which encapsulates the airlines' mission and vision.
After the walking tour, the boys checked in at gate A-11 and boarded an island hopper, or a Boeing 717, that had just landed from Kaua'i. They students got on board with their pilot Captain Rodney Chun. They buckled up and listened to instructions and flight safety information. Each student then took a turn sitting in the pilot cabin and practice flying the plane, stopping only to smile for the camera.
After a snack and a long walk to the international terminal, the boys saw the celestial constellations map which is engraved in the terminal floor. Navigating by way of the constellations in the night sky was how pilots originally made their way before the modern equipment they use now. Today, all HA's 330 aircrafts are named after these constellations.
After they completed their walking tour with Uncle Billy, the boys checked in again and boarded their second airplane of the day. This time it was an Airbus 330. The plane – which can accommodate up to 335 passengers, and typically flies to Australia, Korea and Japan – had just flown in from Sydney, Australia.
Rounding out the morning was a shuttle ride back to the main terminal. Each boy was given a HA keiki goodie backpack, which was filled with fun activities to do at home or on their next flight.
The field trip received rave reviews from the students.
"I liked when the jetway shook to stay with the airplane when you board," said student Gabriel Wong. "I got to sit in both pilot seats on the big airplanes. Oh, and the snacks were good!"
Back in the classroom, the students took what they learned from the trip to HA and created an airline of their own, called Bamboo Boys Airlines. With help from their creative teacher, the keiki created an airplane by arranging classroom chairs
into airplane seating. They created a check-in center and even hauled over the classroom television, so they could watch The Red Balloon as their in-flight movie.
After checking in with their teacher, the boys had to check their tickets and find their seat numbers and arrange themselves accordingly. After they stored their backpacks neatly below their seat, the students got to watch their movie. Halfway thought the flight, Schick, acting as a flight attendant, announced that the boys needed to take out their tray tables and snacks were served.
"I loved it when we made our own airlines in class," said student Javier Garcia. "We had yummy snacks and got to watch a movie during the flight."
HA is based in Honolulu and was originally an inter-island carrier but expanded to cover much of Asia, Australia and the Mainland in the mid-1980s. Today, HA is the 10th largest airline in the U.S. with destinations around the globe.
See all the photos from this fun adventure in our January photo gallery.