Review: Hawaiian Airlines Lounge, Honolulu Airport

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After arriving in Honolulu as an international flight, I needed to clear immigration to enter the US, and then check-in for my domestic leg to Seattle. I’m fortunate to have Global Entry, which allowed me to skip an enormous line. Actually things only got worse at security, where the TSA was funneling regular passengers into the Pre-Check line, causing an enormous backup – worse than any other line I’ve seen at a mainland airport. After finagling making it through, it was off to the Hawaiian Airlines lounge, just a few steps away.

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This lounge is operated directly by Hawaiian, and is only for their elites and First/Business class customers. There’s no way to access it through a partner, or to get in with a day pass. Fortunately, that’s a good thing since the lounge was crowded as it was. I entered through the double doors and gave my boarding pass to the desk agent who verified my access. She was a one-woman show – she also served to re-stock the food and beverages, clean tables, clean the restroom and all other odd-jobs. I don’t know why Hawaiian doesn’t at least add a second person here, but to say this woman was overwhelmed would have been an understatement.

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The lounge itself is incredibly small, and it was overpacked. Despite there being a variety of chairs and sofas to sit on, people were standing and waiting for others to get up.

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The food and beverage options here were next to none – only soft drinks from a dispenser, and some package nuts and pretzels, similar to what you’d get on a domestic flight. That’s it. Even an AAdmiral’s Club, SkyClub or United Club does better…

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The bathrooms were relatively clean, but like the crowding of the lounge in general, had a line to get in.

My Take

To be honest, this lounge isn’t even worth a visit, except if you need a quick caffeine pickup with a cup of Diet Coke from the machine. That’s about the only thing useful here.

  • The bathrooms in the concourse were less crowded.
  • There was actually more room to sit in the gate area than available in this lounge.
  • You certainly don’t come here for the food.

While I can understand Hawaiian really trying to be low-budget about this operation, it doesn’t make sense for them to market this lounge as a premium offering with their First and Business Class products over the water.

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