Saturday night I had the pleasure of flying Hawaiian Airlines First Class from Honolulu to Las Vegas.

I had an internet outage at home that day, so I headed to the airport about four hours early to try to get some work done on more reliable wifi.

Hawaiian Airlines has the largest check in area of any airline at Honolulu International Airport. When I arrived, I didn’t immediately see a First Class check in area, so I just used a kiosk to print my boarding pass.

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I did see a First Class and Premier check in right after that, and I went over to ask whether my ticket entitled me to lounge access.

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The agent’s answer was hilarious and prophetic: “Yes, but it’s more of a glorified waiting area.”

  • How was the lounge?
  • How was the flight?
  • How was the service?
  • How was the food?

Lounge

The agent let me know to follow signs for the Wiki Wiki Shuttle and that the lounge would be just past the Wiki Wiki Shuttle stop.

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Indeed it was, behind these doors.

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Upon entering, I was given a wifi code and free run of the lounge. Other than the internet, the lounge gave me the distinct impression of being on a Hawaiian Airlines interisland flight.

For instance, the drink options were plastic containers of POG (passion orange guava), soda, and coffee.

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And the only food option was the same Chex-Mix-style snack pouch you’d get on the plane.

The lounge was basically empty, and there was ample island-style seating everywhere.

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I settled in for a few hours of internet. I booked my brother a United award and wrote a few posts. My flight had a 10:25 PM departure, and I finally left the lounge at 10 sharp. I was the only on the Wiki Wiki Shuttle to the gate.

The Flight

Boarding was well underway, and the line was long. I asked a Hawaiian gate agent if there was a separate First Class line, and she informed me to go around the line to the left.

Boarding on the A330 was through two doors, and once I boarded, the First Class door was closed behind me.

As I entered the plane, I was greeted by two smiling agents who welcomed me aboard. I was the last First Class passenger to enter a full cabin that consisted of three rows of big recliners laid out 2-2-2.

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I had selected a middle seat, 1G, so that I had aisle access and no one had to climb over me during the flight.

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Leg room was ample in the bulkhead aisle. Seat Guru lists the pitch at 46″, which is 8″ more than First Class on most domestic airlines.

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In the magazine pouch was the menu for the flight, listing the night’s snack and morning’s snack.

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The seat controls were intuitive and basic. There was a button to move the top of the seat back. It reclined generously. There was a button to move the bottom of the seat, and third button for the foot rest.

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There was a remote control for the personal TV that popped out of the arm rest.

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The television itself was tiny, but it was very close to the seat, so it definitely would have been plenty big to enjoy a movie.

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In the other arm rest was a small table.

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Between the seats were outlets to keep everything charged.

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After I sat down, I was offered “Hawaiian bottled water, guava juice, or champagne.” I went with the water to wash down my melatonin.

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I took a look through the movie selection, and there was a large selection of TV shows and movies. Certainly more than enough to entertain anyone on a typical 5-10 hour Hawaiian Airlines flight.

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A few minutes before the doors closed, the flight attendants collected our glasses.

We took off right on time, and my plan was to eat a quick snack and try to fall asleep.

I thought I’d have to pick from the fresh fruit, lemongrass coconut chicken soup, and vegetable pot stickers, which all sounded awesome.

But I quickly saw that the flight attendants were giving all three to each passenger. Unfortunately they started serving in the back, and there seemed to be a minute or two between servings.

I don’t know if that was because of the two to 18 flight attendant to passenger ratio or if it was because the soup was slow to heat.

Either way it took 55 minutes to be served after takeoff.

When I finally was served, all three plates were delicious.

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That was about the end of the flight for me. I fell asleep after my plate was cleared. It wasn’t a very comfortable sleep; I woke up a few times. In the end though, I got about three-and-a-half hours of fitful sleep, which was good enough for me to make it through the next day.

The cabin was very cold during the flight. I had pants and a button down on, and even with the provided blanket, I was pretty cold.

I slept through the breakfast snack, and before I knew it we were on the ground at 6:30 AM, with our A330 set off against the Vegas skyline.

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Overall

Lounge: Sodas, internet, and not much else.

Seat: Can you sleep in a recliner seat at home? You have plenty of leg room, but the position is fundamentally difficult for sleeping.

Service: The service was slow, which I think had more to do with having to heat up the meal than the attitude of the flight attendants, who were very cheerful.

It’s not like this flight’s service compared to Cathay Pacific or Singapore First Class, but Hawaiian flight attendants are generally friendlier than other American airlines’.

Food: The food was tasty. I imagine few people board at 10:25 PM expecting a full meal, so the size of the three snacks together at night was plenty big.

Value: Hawaiian Airlines First Class is not worth the price generally.

As I explained in Ten Minute, Three Day Trip, for my flight, the miles price of economy and First Class were the exact same.

But generally if you need to pay double the price for First Class versus economy class on a Hawaiian flight, it will not be worth it.

Getting Hawaiian Miles

Right now The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® has a 35,000 mile sign up bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

That’s enough for a roundtrip between the mainland and Hawaii or almost enough for one way in First Class (40,000 miles).

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