United flies two flights from Honolulu to the east coast on internationally-configured two-cabin planes. What is sold as First Class on these planes–and BusinessFirst if you fly internationally–is a fully flat bed in a 2-1-2 configuration across the cabin.
Flat bed first class on United flights between Honolulu and Newark and Washington-Dulles
This First Class is far superior to most domestic First Class, which is served by a recliner seat with only seven more inches of legroom than coach.
First Class Seat on a Hawaii to East Coast Flight. It converts to a fully flat bed.
United charges 40k miles each way for two-cabin first class between Hawaii and the mainland. But some of its partners charge fewer miles and have access to all the same United Saver award space. The cheapest access is with Singapore miles–a Membership Rewards transfer partner–at only 30k miles each way. Next cheapest is Lufthansa Miles & More miles at only 35k miles each way.
I used 35,000 Lufthansa miles and $2.50 to book myself from Honolulu to Newark since I had a ton lying around from getting the 50k mile bonus (now dead) on the Lufthansa Miles & More MasterCard. I detailed the award booking here.
On the day of departure, I had my brother drop me off a few hours early at the airport to fit his schedule.
I breezed through security in the priority line (because of my first class ticket), which was uncharacteristically crowded for HNL.
After security, I headed straight for the American Airlines Admirals Club.
I got in for free with Priority Pass Select that I got from my Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN.
Find out more about the benefits of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN in How to Get the Most out of Your Platinum Card.
The Admirals Club at HNL is one of my favorites because during the day it has a nice view of the courtyard outside. Plus the lounge is shared with JAL business class passengers, so it has a tiny food selection including soup and Famous Amos cookies and a slightly better drink selection than a normal Admirals Club.
I had a bowl of soup and some cookies while I worked on the free wifi. I didn’t want to have too much though because I was looking forward to the dinner onboard.
The lounge isn’t incredible by any means, but it is a little better than a normal US-based airline lounge, and the price is right. After a few hours, I headed to my departure gate at about 9 PM to board the flight.
Honolulu (HNL) – Newark (EWR)
Depart: 9:25 PM on Sunday, February 16
Arrive: 12:03 PM on Monday, February 17
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
Seat: 1D (First Class)
How was the seat, bed, food, and service? Is United First the way to get to Hawaii?