Smiling hula girls gave more than 200 lei-wearing passengers a Polynesian send-off today as Hawaiian Airlines began its maiden daily voyage to Honolulu out of San Jose.
The 260 people aboard a wide-body Boeing 767-300ER departed right on time at 9:40 a.m., and should be able to sip mai tais on the beach by this afternoon, following an 11:55 a.m. arrival island time.
''It was really nice,'' said Brian Adams, a public relations man hired by Hawaiian Airlines for the occasion. ''We even had a ceremonial blessing with a Hawaiian priest.''
The return flight leaves Honolulu at 1:25 p.m. and arrives in San Jose at 9:40 p.m. The schedule is the same seven days a week.
''It's a great option for people in the South Bay Area that don't want to have to go to SFO and fly out of there,'' Adams said.
The flights will be the only daily non-stops to Hawaii out of San Jose; American Airlines eliminated its San Jose-Honolulu route June 30. Hawaiian was able to provide the service, Adams said, because San Jose has become a destination city from the islands.
On hand to say aloha before the flight were San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, Hawaiian Airlines President Mark Dunkerley and Mineta San Jose Airport aviation director Bill Sherry.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press