Now looking for a bailout: the “Halfway to Hawaii” game


If you’ve ever flown to Hawaii, you’re probably familiar with the “Halfway to Hawaii” game.

And OK, at a time when most commercial flights have become something to be endured rather than enjoyed, the game has been a little reminder of the days when travel was fun.

Basically it’s simple: A flight attendant announces the expected flight time, time change, flight speed, and headwinds or tailwinds. Then its a question of guessing, or figuring out on a calculator, exactly when the plane will be at the midpoint between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.

The captain, or someone in the cockpit, then figures the exact time towards the end of the flight, and the winner gets a prize — and the pleasure of being right. (Winners are announced only by seat numbers, so it’s an anonymous pleasure.)

Previously, the prize was a bottle of champagne. But with cutbacks, in recent years, the prize has been a box of Hilo Hattie’s chocolates.

Alas, the contest and the prize, are at least temporarily no more. I haven’t played in years, since those with better math skills and/or calculators often get it down within seconds. Nonetheless, it was somehow disappointing not to hear the announcements and see the game cards being passed out.

A flight attendant said that United is looking to revive the contest, but Hilo Hattie is now in Chapter 11, and has stopped sponsoring the prizes. So the airline is looking for a new sponsor.

Isn’t there some company that wants to get their name out there for a relatively trivial prize? It might be the least expensive bailout of the year. Suntan lotion, wine, candy? In theory, the sky’s the limit.

Suggestions are gladly encouraged.

  • Joyce

    The obvious choice would be the ABC Store chain. They are everywhere in Hawaii and carry everything.

  • Frank

    I used to do Travel Trivia games on my flights years ago. FREE DRINKS would be the reward. Not sure where the book is anymore, but it was fun and educational.

    Example: Can anyone name the Two State Capitals on the Mississippi River?

    (dont look it up, GUESS)

  • Ron

    Can anyone name the Two State Capitals on the Mississippi River?

    Minnesota and Louisiana….St Paul and Baton Rouge. Been to both in my years of travel. Until I visited each, I assumed that the larger cities in each state (Minneapolis and New Orleans) were their states capitals.

  • Frank

    We have a winner!