First Class Flights to Hawaii: Everything You Need to Know 

by Jon Miksis
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Do you dream of the most luxurious Hawaiian vacation? Do you long to sip on Mai Tais while relaxing in true comfort? You don’t have to wait until you reach the island to start your vacation. You simply need to book a couple of first class flights to Hawaii!

If you are flying to Hawaii from anywhere in the continental United States, the journey there may feel daunting. It is a long flight for even the most seasoned traveler; flights can take anywhere between five and eleven hours, depending on your starting location, and that’s just if you fly direct. Most flights from the East Coast have a layover on the West Coast, so your trip may end up longer.

Most travelers opt for economy or business class when flying domestically since the trip is usually shorter. However, with Hawaii, you may want to consider first class when booking your flight. Not only is it a great opportunity to rest up before or after your trip, but those extra amenities can make a difference! If you’re anxious, get bored easily, or want your luxurious vacation to start before you arrive, choose a first class flight to Hawaii!

But what should you expect when flying first class to Hawaii? What sort of amenities are offered on the trip that might make it more worth your while? These are questions I’m here to answer for you today so you know when to expect to embark on your first class journey to paradise!

Let’s prepare for takeoff and explore all you need to know about booking first class flights to Hawaii!

first class flights to Hawaii text overlay on a photo of a volcano
This article on first class flights to Hawaii contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Quick tip on finding affordable first class flights to Hawaii

Flying first class to Hawaii doesn’t have to break the bank. Smart travelers know that with a little pre-planning and some tips and tricks, you can get a more luxurious and relaxing flying experience by spending little to no extra money. I like to do this by scoping out the hottest deals on Scott’s Cheap Flights.

For years, I’ve been using Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to get super low prices on flights. Getting signed up is simple and free. Creating an account just takes a minute. Simply input your nearest airport, and you will receive free email alerts filled with great airfare deals immediately. That’s right! The discounted ticket information goes right into your inbox, making it easy to catch those deals that last for a limited time before they disappear forever.

For a step above the free tier, Scott’s Cheap Flights also has a premium version of its service. It costs $49 a year and sends you more emails more often, including more exclusive fares. This level is ideal for frequent flyers who want to save the most money by traveling in economy. 

Scott’s Cheap Flight for first class travelers

However, serious travelers who prioritize finding the best seats can check out Scott’s Elite version. For only $199 a year, you can customize your deal frequency and get airfare alerts on economy, premium economy, business, and first class seats. With an elite account, you can snag those deals before anyone else. These severely-discounted tickets come from mistake fares, low ticket demand, and to fill seats that are empty due to cancellations. But the most important thing is that YOU get to benefit. 

I’ve saved TONS of money using Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going). If you’re a frequent traveler interested in the premium or elite versions for the best deals, I have something for you. Use my coupon code JON20 to save 20% on your subscription and snag that first class flight to Hawaii!

A Comprehensive Guide to Flying First Class to Hawaii

If Hawaii is on your bucket list, or you’re traveling there for work or an event, consider upgrading your ticket to first class. First class flights may be a little more expensive, but they make all the difference for long flights for comfort.

Today, I’m going to walk you through every detail about flying first class to Hawaii. From deciding if this is the best decision for you to covering what you should expect when buying tickets to discussing amenities on-board, let’s look at everything you need to know about flying first class for your next Hawaiian adventure.

When you book first class flights to Hawaii, it starts your vacation off on the right foot!
When you fly first class to Hawaii, it starts your vacation off on the right foot!

1. The best airlines for first class flights to Hawaii

While Hawaii is part of the United States, its location well off the West Coast—over 2,000 miles from Los Angeles, CA—makes it quite the trek for most travelers. Fortunately, getting there isn’t too difficult from the continental US, as many airlines travel to one of the volcanic islands. 

Here are some of the best airlines for your trip to Hawaii, in no particular order.

Hawaiian Airlines

The first and most obvious choice for traveling to and from Hawaii is—you guessed it—Hawaiian Airlines. As the largest airline based in Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines offers a premium first-class experience in their “Premium Cabin.” Passengers can enjoy spacious seats, personalized service, and some of the most delicious food on any airline.

Another reason to fly Hawaiian, no matter what your seating choice, is that Hawaiian is consistently ranked number one in U.S. airlines. They are the embodiment of reliability when it comes to mishandled luggage, delays, and cancellations, and getting you to your destination on time.

Hawaiian Airlines has some of the best first class flights to the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines has some of the best first class flights to the Hawaiian Islands.

United Airlines

United Airlines offers “United First” seating on their flights to Hawaii. The experience starts well before you board the plane, offering “United Premier” at airports like LAX, where you can access their priority check-in area. You also receive a priority tag for your luggage. This ensures your bags will be among the first to arrive at the carousel when you reach Hawaii.

The first class seating on United is spacious and comfortable. Many first class options to Hawaii have lie-flat seats where you can enjoy a long nap before reaching your destination. First class travelers will also enjoy full meals en route and premium entertainment options are top-notch.

Delta

Delta Air Lines offers “Delta One” first class options on select flights to Hawaii and business class options for many others. Passengers flying first class to Hawaii on Delta can enjoy lie-flat seats in semi-private suites, as well as a fine-dining in-flight experience, dedicated Sky Priority services, and access to Delta Sky Club lounges.

American Airlines

Many American Airlines flights offer first-class service to Hawaii. Some amenities include spacious seats, priority services, and an elevated dining experience. Those flying first class to Hawaii on American Airlines can enjoy premium Casper bedding for a more comfortable sleep on their lie-flat seats.

American Airlines offers first class flights to Hawaii
American Airlines’ custom Casper bedding will have you napping comfortably before you arrive in Hawaii!

Alaska Airlines

Another airline that ranks very high when it comes to reliability is Alaska Airlines. They are a great choice if you’re looking for a premium first class experience to Hawaii. Passengers can enjoy extra legroom, complimentary meals and beverages, priority services, and access to Alaska Airlines’ airport lounges.

These airlines strive to provide a luxurious experience for travelers headed for the Hawaiian Islands and beyond. However, these offerings are always subject to change, so for more detailed information, check with these airlines by visiting their website, ensuring you have the most up-to-date information on their offerings to and from Hawaii.

2. The average cost of flying first class to Hawaii

Flying to Hawaii certainly isn’t the cheapest flight you’ll purchase in your lifetime. However, it doesn’t have to break the bank by any means. The cost to fly to Hawaii, as with anywhere else, depends on various factors. These factors include when you’re flying, where you’re leaving, and what airport you’re flying into in Hawaii.

The peak time to fly to Hawaii is mid-December, around the winter holidays, to March or April. You will find the most expensive flights between Christmas and New Years, as many families travel here to visit family for the holidays or to escape the cold weather. With that being said, the least expensive time to fly to Hawaii is off-season—April to late summer. 

First class flights to Hawaii will also be more expensive if you come from the East Coast, as you have to travel much farther. If you’re looking at off-season pricing, you may find economy tickets below $300 from LAX. Economy options from the East Coast can go as low as $500. 

Average first class ticket prices for Hawaii

You may think upgrading to first class will is completely unaffordable, but that isn’t usually the case. A first class ticket to Hawaii may cost you anywhere from $900 to $1,400 from California, and flights from Boston may cost you around $1,900 to 2,500. Flying from the East Coast, you’ll likely have a layover, and that price will get you first class seating for both legs of your journey.

Keep in mind these prices are just estimates. Prices may further decrease depending on when you buy and if you utilize websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going). The best time to search for flights to Hawaii is a few months from your trip, about 3-4 months at a minimum. Start tracking prices for your trip now, and you may be able to get an even better deal for your first class flight to the Hawaiian Islands.

One tip for getting the cheapest first class fare is to be flexible with your trip dates. Of course, this isn’t always possible if you’re attending a wedding or business event. And if you’re visiting for a holiday, it will always be the most expensive option. However, remaining flexible can save you a lot of dough. If you can keep your travel plans flexible, you can fly in and out on cheaper days—normally Tuesday through Thursday—or opt for a week with lower-priced tickets.

Keep in mind not all flights to Hawaii offer first class. However, when you choose your flight, you can select first class or business class from a dropdown menu to ensure the prices you’re looking at are correct.

Hawaii is one of the most popular places to fly to first class
Hawaii is one of the most popular places to fly to first class

3. How flying first class to Hawaii differs across airlines

Every airline offers a different first class experience, but they all revolve around the same core values: giving customers the most comfortable trip possible. This can include spacious seats, free snacks and meals, ergonomic seats, and more.

One of the biggest differences between airlines is seat configuration. Some airlines provide closed-off suites, while others offer partitions around their seats that won’t block out sound from nearby passengers. Some also offer lie-flat seats that transform into a bed while others offer plush seats that can recline.

It’s hard to say what airlines offer each of these items because, truth be told, some airlines offer both depending on which plane you end up on. A good rule of thumb is to expect better offerings on longer flights. You’re more likely to find a lie-flat seat on a 9-hour flight than a 3-hour flight.

First class amenities

Most airlines also offer take-home amenities bags (yes, it’s okay to take them home) to make the flight a little more enjoyable. Delta offers handmade and eco-friendly kits made by Mexican artisanal brand Someone Somewhere. United offers a kit in collaboration with luggage brand AWAY, which involves a mini suitcase filled with ear plugs, an eye mask, a pair of warm socks, and mini travel toiletries. American’s kit, in partnership with lifestyle brands Shinola and D.S. & Durga, features pajamas and slippers created specially for the airline’s first-class customers.

No matter which airline you choose, you’re sure to get an elite experience you cannot receive with a standard economy ticket. As you fly first class more often, you may decide you prefer the offerings of one airline over another. One flight may have beds you find more comfortable, while another may serve food you prefer. 

Looking at statistics, Delta and American Airlines are often ranked highest for most comfortable first class seating. Still, ultimately, you’ll have an elevated experience no matter which airline you fly. That’s the best part of flying first class—comfortable is number one.

a comfortable seat in first class
No matter which airline you choose, you know you’ll be comfortably flying first class to Hawaii.

4. First class amenities for flights to Hawaii

The amenities featured on your first class flight will likely depend on how far you travel from your initial destination. This can affect your seating configuration, meal schedule, and much more.

If you’re traveling from the West Coast, about a 5-7 hour flight, you will likely receive in-flight snacks, drinks, and at least one full meal. Flying from the East Coast, you’ll receive two to three meals throughout your almost-12-hour flight. Longer flight will also be more inclined to allow you to lie flat in your seat-turned-bed instead of a recliner-style seat for a quick doze-off before landing. 

Another perk of flying first class is priority check-in, security, and boarding. That means you can get on the plane, start getting comfortable much more quickly, and enjoy those first class perks!

5. The benefits of flying first class to Hawaii

One of the biggest reasons many Americans fly to Hawaii is that you can enjoy a breathtaking tropical vacation without needing a passport. Still, you can do that whether in first class or not, so why fly first class to Hawaii? Ultimately it comes down to two factors: price and length of time.

Long flights are ideal for upgrading to first class. Shorter flights don’t allow you the time to really enjoy the premium seating and take advantage of all the amenities the plane has to offer, such as full delicious meals and comfortable bedding for a quick nap or a long snooze on-board. 

Upgrading to first class is also not the best idea when the airline costs an arm and a leg to upgrade, whether in cash or rewards points. When demand is high, prices go up significantly, and this can change a $500 upgrade to over $2000. That’s why keeping an eye on prices is so important. It can really make or break your budget for the trip and give you more money in your pocket to spend on activities, food, and accommodations.

With a little pre-planning, it’s easy to find an affordable first class ticket to Hawaii. But if you’ve already purchased and the upgrade seems to come at an unreasonable cost, say no—you can always fly first class next time!

A rocky mountain coastline in Hawaii
No matter how you get there, Hawaii is a truly spectacular vacation destination.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about flying first class to Hawaii

So, now that you know the fundamentals of flying first class to Hawaii, you still may have some questions, Whether it’s your first time flying to Hawaii or your first time flying first class (or both), I’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most common questions (and answers) regarding first class flights to Hawaii. 

What airlines have first class flights to Hawaii?

If you’re interested in flying to Hawaii in first class, you’re in luck! There are several top-rated airlines that offer first-class flights to Hawaii. Whether you’re flying from the East Coast, West Coast, or are booking an international flight into the US, here are some of the major airlines that provide first-class service to Hawaii:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines

How much does it cost to go to Hawaii in first class? 

Curious about how much is a first class flight to Hawaii? Airfare, much like the stock market, is always fluctuating. That means there is no set cost for first class flights to Hawaii. Several factors ultimately determine how much a ticket to Hawaii will cost at any moment. Those factors include the airline, departure city, specific route, and time of year, all of which factor into the cost. Additionally, prices can fluctuate due to factors like promotions, sales, and demand.

Generally, first class tickets to Hawaii can range from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars per person for a round-trip journey. Naturally, flights from LAX will be much cheaper than JFK just due to the distance. Also, prices are higher during peak travel seasons, such as holidays or popular vacation periods.

It’s important to note that prices can change frequently, so it’s best to check with the airlines directly or use online travel platforms like Skyscanner or Google Flights to get accurate and up-to-date pricing information for your desired travel dates and routes.

A first class flight from Hawaii makes going home alittle easier
You may never want to leave Hawaii, but a first class flight back home makes it a little easier.

How do I save extra money on a flight to Hawaii?

Flying first class to Hawaii can be extremely costly, but there are ways to save money. You can save a ton of money by using  Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going). This website is a hidden gem in the travel world, delivering incredible savings on airline tickets right to your inbox.

Scott’s helps you secure flights at jaw-dropping prices, slashing anywhere from 40-90% off the regular rates. By signing up for their completely free email alerts, you’ll gain access to these unbelievable deals, ensuring you never miss out on a bargain again. 

And don’t forget—you can take your savings to the next level for just $49 a year by upgrading to a premium subscription. However, for maximum savings and deals of business class and first class flights, an elite membership is where it’s at. Use coupon code JON20 to save 20% today!

Is it cheaper to upgrade to first class after booking?

Usually, the answer to this question is yes. It is cheaper to upgrade to first class after booking rather than booking a first-class flight first. If you’re willing to take the risk, you can also wait to upgrade, as airlines will offer lower fees to upgrade closer to departure. If you purchased economy and arrive at the airport wishing you splurged for a better seat, you can also check at the counter with the airline’s customer service agent and see if any upgrades are available for free.

How can I get first class without paying extra?

One way to get first class without paying any extra is to volunteer to be bumped from your flight. If an airline is overbooked, they will look for volunteers to take a later flight. One of the perks of rescheduling for a later flight that day or the next day is that airlines will often book you a first class ticket at no extra charge. If this happens to you, it’s always worth asking for a better seat in exchange for switching your flight.

Another way to upgrade to first class at no charge is through loyalty programs. Some airlines offer the opportunity to upgrade for little to no extra charge using points. Others, like American Airlines, offer upgrades for those at a specific membership level. Look into your points situation before booking your ticket to see if there’s an opportunity for a first class upgrade.

If you fly first class to Hawaii, you may land at Kahului Airport on Maui, Hawaii.
Kahului Airport on Maui, Hawaii.

What are Hawaii’s main airports?

Hawaii has five major airports in the state, and three of those are international airports. Which airport you fly into will depend on which island(s) you are visiting.  If you’re booking a first class flight to Hawaii, these are Hawaii’s major airports: 

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)

HNL is located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. It is the largest and busiest airport in Hawaii, serving as a hub for domestic and international flights.

Kahului Airport (OGG)

OGG is located in Kahului on the island of Maui. It is the main airport for travelers heading to Maui and nearby islands.

Hilo International Airport (ITO)

ITO is located in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the main point of entry for travelers visiting the eastern side of the island.

Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA)

KOA is located in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the main point of entry for travelers visiting the western side of the island.

Lihue Airport (LIH) 

LIH is located in Lihue on the island of Kauai. It is the main point of entry for Kauai and offers flights to other Hawaiian islands and mainland destinations.

What is Hawaiian first class like?

Welcome to the paradise of Hawaiian first class, where luxury takes flight with an island twist! Picture yourself stepping into a cabin adorned with vibrant tropical hues that transport you to a sun-kissed beach. Sink into plush, wide seats that cradle you like a hammock, featuring sumptuous leather and abundant legroom.

As you settle in, an attentive crew greets you with warm alohas and offers you a refreshing pineapple-infused welcome drink. Indulge in a delectable menu crafted by renowned Hawaiian chefs, boasting tantalizing flavors of the Pacific. Savory grilled mahi-mahi, succulent teriyaki-glazed beef, and exotic passionfruit desserts dance on your taste buds.

Immerse yourself in an entertainment paradise, as your personal screen unveils an array of movies, shows, and live hula performances, celebrating the rich Hawaiian culture. Pamper yourself with luxurious amenities, from cozy blankets to designer toiletries, ensuring your journey is pure bliss.

Prepare for arrival by freshening up in the spacious lavatories adorned with Hawaiian floral motifs. And step off the plane feeling rejuvenated and ready to embrace the magic of the islands. Hawaiian first class is not just a flight—it’s an extraordinary tropical escapade in the sky!

Why is flying first class to hawaii so expensive?

Many factors influence the high cost of first class flights to Hawaii. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • First class experience. First class tickets offer a premium travel experience with enhanced comfort, exclusive amenities, spacious seating, personalized service, and additional perks like priority boarding, dedicated lounges, and gourmet meals. These added luxuries and services come at a higher price point compared to economy or even business class.
  • Limited availability. First-class cabins have a limited number of seats, making them more exclusive and in higher demand. This also drives up the price.
  • Longer flight durations. Flying to Hawaii typically involves longer flight durations, especially for travelers from the continental US or other international locations. Longer flights often translate to higher costs due to increased fuel consumption, crew hours, and operational expenses.
  • High demand. Hawaii is a highly sought-after vacation destination due to its stunning beaches, tropical landscapes, and unique cultural experiences. The popularity of Hawaii as a tourist hotspot contributes to increased demand for flights, which can lead to higher prices.
  • Geographic isolation. Hawaii’s geographical location often contributes to its higher flight costs. The distance from major travel hubs and the limited number of airlines serving the destination can result in higher operating expenses for airlines, which are ultimately reflected in ticket prices.
  • Seasonality. Hawaii experiences seasonal fluctuations in tourism. During peak travel periods, such as holidays or the winter, demand for flights to Hawaii surges, leading to higher fares. The limited supply of first-class seats during these periods can further increase prices.
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