100% Like It
300 Rodgers Blvd
, HI 96819
Main airport for the Hawaiian islands and the only international airport in the state.
What used to be called Honolulu International Airport is now called Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Why? Because our government seems to have money to burn on nonsense name changes like this.
Let's start with some basic information, history, and facts. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport's code is HNL and it's the largest airport in the State of Hawaii. It's located on the island of Oahu, in the city of Honolulu, and from here you can fly to all of the neighboring Hawaiian islands. Before you fly, you may want to read 12 Things You Should Know Before Traveling With Young Kids and several of these travel tips on our sister site.
HNL offers daily departures to Anchorage, Atlanta, Belllingham, Brisbane, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Guam, Haneda, Houston, Incheon, Kansai, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Nagoya, Narita, Newark, Oakland, Pago Pago, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Seoul, Sydney and Vancouver.
This airport the main aviation gateway for the state and is actually one of the busiest airports in the United States of America with over 21 million passengers coming and going each year.
Originally opened in March of 1927, it was originally named John Rogers Airport after WWI naval officer John Rogers and was the first full airport in Hawaii (everything else was landing strips or fields).
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial, the U.S. Navy took control and it became Naval Air Stations Honolulu until 1946 when it was returned to Hawaii. In 1947 it was renamed Honolulu Airport, and in 1951 it became Honolulu International Airport.
Today it's just another large airport, and like all airports it's not really something you can easily rate. I've been to plenty of airports and they're all miserable experiences for a variety of reasons and unless you're looking to catch a cold (or other such germs) it's not a place you'd ever want to go. Unfortunately, it's the only logical way to get to the islands and so no matter how miserable the TSA makes the experience we have little choice if we want to travel.
With that said, and since I think airport ratings are a very relative scale, this one isn't too bad. First off, people are in Hawaii so they're generally happier (again, that's relative). The airport is fairly well laid out but to get to certain gates requires some serious walking which is annoying and even confusing to newer visitors. Do I take the wiki-wiki shuttle or not? Answer: In most cases, you can probably walk there faster than the wiki-wiki shuttle.
Like any airport in the U.S.A, HNL has a pretty horrible security screening process run by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). For each main terminal area you will be funneled through a single line and at busy times this line can be really, really slow. On a positive note, the TSA agents always seem happy and friendly (again, relative scale) which is nice.
If you are leaving the islands (to the mainland for example), you'll put all of your bags through a second screening process where they'll scan for fruits and other stuff you aren't supposed to take with you. This one is fairly fast and doesn't require the whole removal of clothes or pulling out of electronics. Why don't they scan for this stuff during the TSA check? Who knows, but expect to do it again unless you're flying to another Hawaiian island where the second scan isn't required.
There aren't tons of food options here but there are a few places to grab a quick bite if you have the time and need the food. If you're going to the commuter terminal (where some inter-island flights come and go from) there is one restaurant / bar and a food cart and that's about it which kind of stinks. At least the security line for the commuter terminal is super fast!
Parking here isn't too bad but getting to the parking can be confusing if you're new. Follow the signs and you will get there. Getting back out of the airport and to your hotel should be easy, if you are staying in Waikiki (see Waikiki Guide). If you're heading anywhere else, like Aulani A Disney Resort And Spa (see, Ko Olina Resort), then make sure you get directions from your rental car agent before leaving because it can be a bit confusing if you want to head west out of the airport.
Speaking of rental cars, there are several of the usual companies to choose from here. Shop around, rates vary wildly. I can't stress that enough and have seen rates from one company literally be three times that of the place next door before. On that note, you may also want to read Do I Need A Rental Car In Hawaii? and Do I Need To Rent A Car In Waikiki?.
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