UH fans find way to Big Easy
Fans are scrambling to secure travel and seats to the big game
» Colt garners invitation to Heisman festivities
» UH dishes out 8,500 tickets to game
STORY SUMMARY »
Some University of Hawaii football fans will endure multiple stopovers and hours of layovers to support the Warriors in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.
But they say it's worth it.
Carter Siu, 33, of Alewa Heights spent hours on the Internet seeking the best package deals to New Orleans.
After three short hours of sleep, Siu and wife Liane noticed that the best packages were being snapped up by the minute. Desperate, they settled on a package that includes three stopovers, a seven-hour layover and an hourlong shuttle ride from Biloxi, Miss., to the Big Easy.
Meanwhile, UH has sold 8,500 of its allotted 17,500 tickets and has returned 4,000 to the Sugar Bowl organization to be sold elsewhere, keeping 5,000 in reserve.
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Some University of Hawaii football fans are willing to endure multiple stopovers and long layovers to support the Warriors in New Orleans when they play the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl.
But they say it's worth it.
For the past couple of days, fans scrambled to find the best package deal on the Internet.
For Carter Siu, 33, his flight from Honolulu to New Orleans includes three different carriers, three stopovers, a seven-hour layover and an hourlong shuttle.
Siu said he and his wife, Liane, of Alewa Heights, searched the Internet overnight for the best deal for themselves and for their friends. After three hours of sleep, they noticed the best deals were going fast, with flight costs increasing an additional $200 overnight.
"It was going like hot cakes this morning," Siu said yesterday. "One minute it was on the screen. The next minute it was off."
Out of desperation, the couple confirmed flight reservations yesterday. Their first flight is on ATA Airlines from Honolulu to Los Angeles. After a seven-hour layover, the couple will fly on American Airlines to Chicago, then take a different American Airlines flight to Biloxi, Miss. From there, the couple will catch a shuttle for an hourlong ride to New Orleans.
The cost for the flight, hotel and shuttle came out to about $1,700 per person. Siu said they are looking forward to the game and experiencing the city of New Orleans for the first time.
Danny Garcia, 35, lucked out on a reasonable travel package. Garcia, a 1998 UH graduate, said his mother-in-law booked a travel package that covered air, rental car and hotel for $1,800 per person on Orbitz.com .
Garcia, who will be traveling to New Orleans with his father-in-law, Lance Carreira, will fly on US Airways with two stopovers in Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C., before reaching New Orleans. At the most, Garcia has about an hour-and-a-half layover between one of the destinations.
"I think it's worth every penny," Garcia said. "I'm a UH alumnus. My father-in-law is a die-hard fan."
He hopes that thousands of fans will make it up to New Orleans. "I really do believe we can win this game. We're not going for a vacation. We're going (there) as a business trip like the Warriors, to win," Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Panda Travel Inc. sold out on tickets within a few hours yesterday for an Omni Air charter flight. Special-projects coordinator Kehau Amorin said they went down a list of 1,500 e-mails to find out who was interested in the flight.
The travel package costs $3,300 per person and covers air, ground transportation, hotel and game ticket. The DC-10 flight with a 355-seat capacity will leave Honolulu on Dec. 28 and return from New Orleans on Jan. 3.
A second charter was secured by Panda Travel. About 156 tickets were available as of 4:30 p.m. yesterday. The agency requested for additional charters and is awaiting word from companies.
Hawaiian Airlines also has a charter flight available for $3,300 for coach seats and $5,500 for first-class seats. About 188 tickets were available as of 4:30 p.m. The package includes a three-night stay at a five-star hotel, transfers and game tickets. The flight departs Honolulu on Dec. 29. The flight departs New Orleans on Jan. 2.
While isle residents are in a mad rush to find the best deal, those in Georgia have the advantage of more options at cheaper rates.
Ed Morales, editorial adviser for the Red & Black, an independent student newspaper at the University of Georgia, said some students are planning to take the 10-hour Amtrak train from Atlanta to New Orleans. Amtrak offers a discounted round-trip rate for students to New Orleans for about $97.
Those who decide not to catch the train can drive from Atlanta to New Orleans, which takes about seven hours, Morales said.
WARRIORS: TRAVEL PLANS ON MINDS OF MANY
Colt garners invitation to Heisman festivities
Terry Brennan plans to bring a little bit of aloha to one of sports' most formal settings Saturday.
Sunday, the father of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan didn't know yet whether his son would be among the finalists in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Terry Brennan said he planned to wear an aloha shirt to the coat-and-tie affair if Colt made it, and urged anyone else from Hawaii attending to do the same.
Well, it's time to bust out the Tommy Bahamas.
Colt Brennan, the greatest player in UH football history, has been invited as one of three or four finalists to the announcement at Nokia Theatre in Times Square. It will be televised by ESPN at 3 p.m. Hawaii time.
Brennan, named the Warriors MVP at Sunday's team banquet, leaves tomorrow for New York. He will be accompanied by his parents and likely by UH media relations director Derek Inouchi.
Brennan was not available for comment last night.
Coach June Jones has been by Brennan's side through three seasons of unprecedented success. But he won't be in New York.
"I'm not going. I talked to (ESPN's) Chris Fowler about it, and he told me it's usually not coaches, just parents," Jones said. "I'd love to be there to support him, but it's his time to shine and there's no need for me to be there."
Jones has spent the past few days comparing Brennan to other Heisman candidates, in particular Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow is considered the favorite to win the award, but Jones said Tebow is a "system" quarterback, a label often applied by others to Brennan.
Jones has repeatedly said he didn't mean it as insulting to Tebow, but that he wanted to emphasize that Brennan is a better passer. Jones has said Brennan is the best passer in the history of college football.
Brennan's critics say he builds up big numbers because UH passes more than other teams. Proponents credit him for leading the Warriors to the nation's only unbeaten (12-0) record, the first Top 10 ranking in school history and its first BCS bowl game.
Hawaii plays No. 4 Georgia (10-2) on Jan. 1 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
Brennan was sixth in the Heisman balloting last year when he threw an NCAA record 58 touchdown passes. He has 38 TDs this year in 11 games and is the NCAA record-holder for most career scoring passes.
UH dishes out 8,500 tickets to game
The University of Hawaii has sold 8,500 tickets to the Sugar Bowl as of yesterday and has returned 4,000 tickets to the Sugar Bowl to be sold elsewhere, UH officials estimate.
UH is holding back an additional 5,000 of its allotted 17,500 tickets.
University of Georgia season-ticket holders, meanwhile, indicated overwhelming interest in the Sugar Bowl even before the Bowl Championship Series berths were announced.
An electronic notice was sent out to season-ticket holders in late November to gauge their interest in attending a Bowl Championship Series game.
A week before the Hawaii-Washington game, the responses exceeded the university's eventual allotment of 17,500 Sugar Bowl tickets, according to University of Georgia associate sports communications director Christopher Lakos.
"We knew we would be sold out based on the initial request of our season-ticket holders and their interest in whatever BCS bowl game we would be in," Lakos said during a phone interview from Athens, Ga.
The university sold an additional 7,000 tickets when it was announced Sunday that the Bulldogs were selected to play in the Sugar Bowl against the Warriors, bringing the total to 24,500 tickets sold. Of that figure, 5,000 were purchased by students.