Eye on Travel

Eye on Travel — The Cliffs at Princeville in Kauai, Hawaii — July 10, 2021

On the tarmac at the Lihue Airport with the rampers at Southwest Airlines in Kaua’i. This week, Eye on Travel comes from the Cliffs at Princeville, on the Garden Isle in Hawaii. Peter will have a full global travel update, as well as a report on the reopening of Hawaii to vaccinated U.S. travelers. Joining Peter will be Scott McCartney, Travel Editor at The Wall Street Journal, with an update on passenger complaints and the U.S. Department of Transportation — some progress being made. Kaua’i Mayor Derek Kawakami talks about his challenge: how to manage the growth of tourism at a time when resources are being taxed more than ever. A quest to bring balance to the quality of life to the people of Kaua’i with the tourism industry as a double-edged sword. Speaking of resources, Lei Wann, Executive Director of the Limahuli Garden, speaks to the significance of this garden within a garden and the fascinating history behind some of the plant specimens that were brought over from other Pacific islands. And of course, Peter answers all your travel questions. There’s all this and more on this week’s special Aloha edition of Eye on Travel.


Tune in at 10 a.m. ET on July 10th. You’ll also be able to stream it by pressing play on the bar that appears above.

Have a travel question? Then ask Peter. E-mail him at peter@petergreenberg.com, or tweet your questions to @petersgreenberg (include #AskPeter).



Scott McCartney, Travel Editor at The Wall Street Journal, joins the program to discuss the recent actions and proposals of the Department of Transportation that appear to be more pro-consumer, a distinct change especially compared to the last few years which didn’t see any pro-consumer actions — though the jury is still out on a final verdict. Some of these actions include the DOT proposing fines on airlines that do not provide refunds for flights that were canceled during the pandemic including foreign carriers flying to and from the United States. He also speaks about a proposal that would make airlines refund the money a passenger paid to check their bag if the airline is unable to deliver their bag to them within 12 hours of the flight. When speaking about change fees, McCartney warns people to be careful when they book because some airlines are still charging change fees for basic economy tickets. According to McCartney, friends do not let friends fly basic economy. McCartney also discusses the increased concern about sick passengers on airplanes and about how airlines almost seem to encourage sick passengers to fly when sick because they will charge you for the fare difference if you want to change your flight to when you are feeling better. McCartney offers a solution in which airlines will allow one or two free changes a year to encourage people to stay home when they are sick.


Dr. Norman Estin, Founder and Medical Director of Doctors On Call Maui, speaks to the rollercoaster ride that the last 16 months have been in Hawaii, but the island itself felt like being transported back to the 1940s. Estin speaks of being responsible while traveling to Hawaii – and in general – the importance of vaccinations and the current problem with the Delta variant that is now the predominant variant around the world. With more and more vaccinations, however, the rules are being relaxed and he shares his tips for traveling to the island state.


Lei Wann, Executive Director of the NTBG Limahuli Garden, speaks to the significance of the garden within a garden and the history behind some of the plant specimens that were brought over from other Pacific islands. A lot of these plants have medicinal purposes. She addresses the research behind why their Polynesian ancestors brought over certain species and biosecurity, which is why we need to care for plants in the same way they take care of us.


Jan TenBruggencate, Journalist, Local Historian & Author, speaks to his story on the islands of Hawaii, how he ended up in Kaua’i and the massive changes the place has seen – or hasn’t seen – over the years. He speaks to the influx of tourists, the transportation system and the gorgeous, empty territory on the island — it’s hard to get to. TenBruggencate argues that even for those that have lived here for a long time, they’re taken back by its stunning geography and long film history.


Gary Leff, Founder of ViewfromtheWing.com, speaks to his latest experiences back in the skies and some of the other challenges that both the airlines and airports are encountering at the moment. There are some recipes for problems led by a “lower-cost strategy,” like understaffing. And Leff expands on how the airlines are branding these new methods. Then, he speaks to the recent passenger in a coach seat who brought a sewing machine onto a plane and started making drapes mid-flight, and nobody seemed to care. Then, why are most airlines getting rid of in-flight entertainment screens?


Derek Kawakami, Mayor of Kaua’i, addresses bringing balance to the quality of life to the island’s people and why the tourism industry is a double-edged sword with its challenges. The mayor feels as though the scales of balance have tilted towards a direction that makes matters complex, and it’s important to work internally with the visitors’ industry to achieve a middle ground. Kawakami speaks to the staggering number of travelers returning to Kaua’i. He also discusses the education of guests on what Kaua’i is — a community based on respect.


Chandra Bertsch, STAH Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii, talks about the concerns of overtourism and the difficulty with having swarms of visitors coming back to the island, in an economy that is reliant on tourism. Hawaii was blind-sided by the traveling “switch” being turned off when the pandemic started and pushes the significance of tourism. At the same, the community and the island depend on the resources, so if they aren’t being managed properly, it could be a problem. Post-pandemic travel can bring a lesson that brings something new that works for both the economy and the ecosystem. Bertsch works to educate visitors and locals to ensure sustainability and how the type of visitor has changed in the last 20 years.


Thomas Daubert, Executive Director at Friends of Kauaʻi Wildlife, shares some of the endemic birds of Hawaii. You can see them all around the island. Daubert also speaks about the importance of preservation and making room for the species we share the isle with. Daubert discusses local traditions, educating people about local animals and why cats don’t belong on the island (a complex issue). He then talks about the conservation conducted at three refuges, the iconic lighthouse, the history behind the region and as Daubert himself put it, “the majesty of the geography.”


Jim Braman, General Manager of The Cliffs at Princeville, speaks to the magical place that is Kaua’i and the significance of regenerative travel. Leaving the place better than you found it is the motto, and he argues that it’s been wonderful to see visitors embracing it. And the hotel itself is doing a lot to reduce, recycle and create renewable energy. Braman chats about educating visitors about the local resources and shares some of the silliest questions he’s been asked about visiting the island.


Daniel Léger, President of Clarity Lab Solutions, discusses creating a simplified brick and mortar approach to getting people tested before their flights – especially at Los Angeles International Airport. Not every country has the same rules and regulations, and Léger speaks of pivoting from an infectious disease laboratory to mobile testing facilities that is a significant need at the moment.