Aloha Air runs air fare special to Midway Islands

HONOLULU -- Aloha Airlines is offering a two-for-one special on roundtrip tickets to the islands of Midway from Honolulu.

The discount is valid on weeklong trips departing Jan. 6, 13 and 27.

Tickets normally run $534 per person; with the discount, tickets cost $267 per person.

Aloha flies to Midway once a week on Saturdays and once each month on Wednesdays.

Tourism on the islands is headed up by a company called Midway Phoenix, under contract with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The islands, located 1,134 nautical miles northwest of Honolulu, were the site of the Battle of Midway in 1942, a turning point in the fight against Japan in World War II.

When the U.S. Navy packed up and left in the early 1990s, the three islands that make up Midway -- Eastern, Sand and Spit islands -- fell under control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 1996, the wildlife service contracted with Midway Phoenix to run the airfield, harbor, accommodations and island infrastructure.

Midway Phoenix offers accommodations, restaurants and fishing and wildlife viewing programs.

Accommodations on Sand Island, the only inhabited island, are in the refurbished Bachelor Officers Quarters.

Its rooms, divided into four categories, have satellite television and telephones.

A three-room suite costs $300 a night; a two-room suite costs $215 a night; a regular hotel room costs $165 a night, and a room with a shared bathroom costs $125 a night.

Visitors who are interested in diving, snorkeling and bird-watching will have a wide array of wildlife to spot.

Two million birds visit Midway each year, and the islands are the nesting grounds for 70% of the laysan albatross population.

In addition to playing a pivotal role in World War II, Midway has a colorful history.

Some of the first transpacific communications cables came through Midway, and in 1935, Pan Am set up a hotel there for overnight guests flying from the U.S. to the Orient, according to Midway Phoenix.

In addition, President Richard Nixon and South Vietnam's President Thieu met in the 1970s on Sand Island to discuss troop withdrawal from Vietnam.

There are no cars on Sand Island, but golf carts can be rented for $30 per day, and bicycles are available to rent at $5 a day.

In addition to accommodations, there are tennis courts, a gym with free weights, a movie theater and a bowling alley on Sand Island, as well as a medical facility.

Midway Phoenix runs three restaurants.

The Clipper House offers French food and is closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays; the Navy Galley offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cafeteria setting, and the All Hands Club Bar & Grill offers drinks and grilled food.

Captain Brook's Tavern offers drinks.

For land arrangements, call Midway Pacific at (888) 643-9291 or visit www.midwayisland.com.

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