I decided to write a little information on the Lihue Airport (Kauai) because when I went to do a search engine on the airport before our arrival, I could only find one article that was helpful, but it was a bit outdated. So I wanted to add my observations of the establishment.
So first let me say, if you havent already guessed, its quite small and its main carrier is HA airlines. (may I mention that you can also get some great fares for $27.00pp one way inter-island by booking on their website, but let me also warn you that that fare has the heaviest fees/penalties so if you want to stand-by for an earlier flight or change your flight, the change fee is $50.00 which is more than the price of the ticket you paid.)
The Lihue Airport is older and a bit out of date. The carpets are worn and they still have panel wood decor from the 1970-80's on the walls. Like most of Hawaii, they dont have too many walls, so you are in constant contact with nature.
On arrival, when flying in, make sure you get on the left side of the plane to get the best pictures of the mountains. After you deplane, there are only 3 baggage carousels and it doesnt take that long for your bag to come. While waiting, look in the center of the floor, there are 3 cubed shelves of nothing but coupons, tours and activities to do on the island. After you gather your bags you will walk out and there is an area of waiting taxis and rental car shuttle vans to your left. To your far right there is a hotel shuttle pickup , pass there is a helicopter pad and pass that is the beach. If you are staying at the Marriott or the Hilton there is a courtsey phone to call for pick up. There is a traffic guard and the public parking lot is across the street.
The ticketing counters are small and all outside. Please note that if your have a flight on a carrier that only departs one time a day, then more than likely that ticket counter WILL NOT be open until maybe 2.5-3hours before the departure flight and maybe 30 minutes to 1hour afterward. The TSA check point area is VERY tiny, so if you are going on a large mainland flight, make sure to allow yourself enough time to get through security.
They have a flower store and a regular store to buy souveniers, keychains, dried fruits, etc. There is a Starbucks, a sitdown restaurant that makes burgers and fries, deli sandwhiches and you have a soup of the day, etc(stay AWAY from the fried chicken, I think they still cook it in lard...geesh!. ) Then there is a pub like area if you want a beer or wine and they have wings, upscale burgers and appetizers. We happen to be in the airport for a while. (that stand-by change fee on our $27.00 ticket resulted in us being in the airport majority of the day until our original booked flight came...lol) The airport also had live entertainment. In the commons areas, there is a place were you can stretch out if you wanted to take a nap, If you are in the boarding area, the seats are divided so no relaxing there. Plus it gets very crowded when its time to board the flights, there is not enough room in the small area.
It is February 2009, and we just got back. The temperature was quite cool outside, maybe in the low sixties.(The driver said unusually cooler for the season.) The enclosed boarding area inside the airport was even colder, maybe in the 50's. As the sun went down the outside temperature caught up with the inside and all we can say is we are glad we had brung our jackets/coats with us. Oh...and if you get a chance, and want to catch a nice view of the mountains, if you go to the far end of the airport for mainland flights, there is a terrific view of the scenery. Lets see... the bathrooms were clean, There were a few vending machine, were you can buy a can soda for $1.25...I think thats all I can remember. I hope this helps out