Initial Thoughts on Flying Hawaiian Airlines Long Haul Business Class

This past weekend I flew from Australia to the mainland US via Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. I know Hawaiian isn’t the preferred airline for miles and points travelers, simply because the product isn’t truly an international first class type – it’s not a flat bed seat, nor is it even an angled flat seat. After trying the two services – one from Sydney to Honolulu, and the other from Honolulu to Seattle, I wanted to provide my initial thoughts.

The Lounges

In Sydney, you’ll use the Qantas Business lounge. Note that even as a oneworld Emerald, you do not have access to the Qantas First Lounge since you aren’t flying on a oneworld airline. The Qantas lounge is fully stocked with an open bar and open buffet, which is more than descent. In Honolulu, you’ll use the Hawaiian Airlines lounge. This lounge is basically just a separate area to sit, with sodas on offer. Nothing else.

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The Seat

The seat is a normal domestic first class seat, with about 10 degrees more of recline. It’s certainly better for sleeping than a domestic seat, but by no means a lie flat seat. Because of this, I had trouble sleeping. In the center armrest is a video console that pops up, which is actually quite descent. Legroom isn’t bad, though I’d suggest getting one of the two seats in the center bulkhead section since these have extra legroom. Each seat features a leg and foot rest which adds to comfort, but really didn’t aide in my sleep.

The Service

Here’s what I think makes Hawaiian great – the service was well above par. The flight attendants were consistently happy, and I was thanked numerous times for flying. Drinks were refilled consistently, and the food was very decent (though, I felt small portions). I’d fly Hawaiian again for the service, since they’ve got a leg up on many domestic carriers.

READ MORE  Review: Hawaiian Airlines Lounge, Honolulu Airport


Would I fly them again?

I would, but I’d avoid them for any overnight flights to be honest, simply because of the seat. For a daytime flight, I’d try them again in a heartbeat. Because they fly wide body A330s on long haul routes, it beats out many of their domestic competitors who only fly 737s. I like the wide body plans, so it’s certainly a preference of mine when it comes to flying over the water.


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  1. Mia says

    I was on a Hawaiian Airlines Business Class flight from HNL-SYD last December using AA miles. I agree, the Hawaiian lounge isn’t really much, but onboard, you can’t miss the warm aloha service-with-a-smile. Free Mai Tais or champagne and warm nuts I suppose is the standard on business or first class (I’ve only been three times so I’m assuming this is SOP). The food was decent. 🙂 What I thought was a nice touch was that upon landing, we were given a can of macadamia nuts and chocolate treats as a way of saying “thank you for flying with us.” Small gestures go a long way. What was also a great bonus was that we were given an Express ticket so we could go through a faster line at customs. Now that was unexpected! Even though I already have Global Entry, this Express ticket is definitely something that’s a welcome benefit! Overall a pleasant experience.

    • says

      The seats are generally larger, and provides more room to move about the cabin for longer flights. Also, because the plane is larger, the engine is larger making it “fee safer” going over the water.


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