Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coming Out Of The Fog!

Have you ever been in that awkward moment when the conversation lags and you or the person you've been speaking with have nothing else to say? Sure you have!

In times like these I go back to my memories of the 80s and working at the Honolulu Airport. Most of these times were fun and I got to meet some pretty cool people. Steve says I name drop, but he says it with a smile. To me it was a way of keeping a conversation going. Its memories of good times and some neat people I happened across during my day to day life.

In order to get out of my BLOG FOG I've decided to tell you a bit about my life in the 80s working at the airport in Honolulu. I wanted to go happy with this series, I hope you can feel my smile as you read on.

My Airport History:

I began working at the airport as a Lei Greeter for a company called Aloha Lei Greeters in 1983. No, I wasn't wearing a grass skirt and bikini top, that was for the models that posed for pictures.

I wore a long muumuu with slits on the sides, one was sky blue and white and the other was a dark red and black pattern. We had one major account, Tradewind Tours and several smaller or private accounts. My job was to hold up a sign at the gate of the airline with the passengers name (or tour group name) and meet them with a lei and kiss.

If the passenger was on a tour, I would take them to the models for photos, then to the baggage claim and finally make sure they got on their transportation to their final destination, (hotel or outer island).

At one point I began meeting the 1st flight of the day arriving from Alaska at either 4:55AM or 5:55AM depending on the time of year, then move on to the customs area and meet the flights from Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. (I had Japanese group escorts who would actually meet the passengers then bring them to me for their leis). I would finish my day at noon so I took a 2nd job as a dispatcher for E&M Tours, a transportation company that would take passengers back and forth from the airport to their hotels.

Tiring of working strictly at the airport I took a job at Waikiki Express driving the passengers myself. I loved that! I was one of two girls driving for the company, the other one mainly dispatched and I had the respect of all of the men there. At night one of them always waited for me at the station where we parked our vans if I was running behind. We usually went out after for a bit of fun until I made the fatal mistake of dating one of the other drivers. I was making good money then, tips plus a good hourly wage and threw it away for a man who couldn't take that a woman who could drive as well and toss luggage as high as he could.

I gave renting cars a try for a bit.. but they wanted me to push the coverage. I believed in it and still do to this day, but got let go because I wouldn't push it. I went back to the airport...

I went to work for a porter company, Paradise Sky Cap, under contract for United Airlines who took care of their wheelchair bound and unaccompanied minor passengers. That was pretty cool for a bit, but the pay was really low and tips hard to come and I soon found myself back at Aloha Lei Greeters as Asst. Manager.

Now, to remember the who's and whens, and will I be able to find pictures that I am allowed to use?

photo courtsey of


Boomer Jack said...

Lysa! You're back!

Lysa Napolitano said...

Hey Boomer! I'm a trying!