Guide to Hawaiian Airlines Business Class: All You Need to Know in 2024

by Jem
Hawaiian Airlines business class Featured Image
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Looking to travel with a touch of Aloha? In this Hawaiian Airlines business class guide, we’re diving into the ultimate flying experience with Hawaii’s best airline. From securing your seat to the onboard luxuries, we’re exploring all the benefits of business class on Hawaiian Airlines.

I’ve flown Hawaiian Airlines Business Class a few times now, and each flight has something new to offer. It’s the kind of experience that makes you want to write home about it. If you’re wondering whether flying business with Hawaiian is worth it, I’m here to lay it all out for you, based on what I’ve seen and lived.

Choosing the right airline for your Hawaii trip matters more than most think. With Hawaiian, it’s about that warm welcome and comfort that starts even before you board. I’ve felt it, and it’s something special.

Let’s explore what makes Hawaiian Airlines a smart choice for those looking for business class flights to Hawaii. Based on my own experiences, I’ll guide you through what to expect, ensuring you’re well-informed before your next adventure.

My #1 tip to find cheap Hawaiian Airlines Business Class tickets

Looking for a steal on Hawaiian Airlines business class tickets? Before jumping into the article, I first wanted to give you this insider tip to find cheap airfare on business class flights.

For years, I’ve been using this site called Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which sends you alerts on airline deals, discounts, and mistake fares. It’s a total game-changer, saving me $10,000+ on flights each year.

Their $49/year premium version is well worth it- just one discounted flight pays for the whole thing. I recommend trying the free trial and using my special discount code JON20 to save 20%!

And if you’re into business/first class, you’ll want to sign up for their Elite version. Last year, this service saved me $2,750 on a first class flight and $1,500 on a business class flight. At just $199 year year, trust me, it’s a small price for massive savings.

Overview of Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has been flying since the days when airplanes were a marvel. Based out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Oʻahu and Kahului Airport in Maui, they cover a lot of ground. This includes South Korea, American Samoa, Australia, French Polynesia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and the US mainland, hitting 31 destinations in total.

Hawaiian boasts a fleet of 62 aircraft, with a mix that includes the A321neo for those tighter routes, the A330-200 for the long stretches across oceans, and a Boeing 717-200 for quick jumps between the islands. They have ordered 11 Boeing 787-9s for future long-haul flights, with one currently in operation.

Hawaiian Airlines is often considered the safest airline in the US, and for good reason. Impressively, they’ve had no fatal accidents or hull losses ever. Plus, they’re usually at the top when it comes to being on time.

The business class experience is where they really shine. It’s all about bringing Hawaiian hospitality up in the air. You feel it from the moment you check in. It’s straightforward: they make flying comfortable and they do it well, with a nod to Hawaiian culture.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Class flight for all types of travelers.

Comparing Hawaiian Airlines’ business class products

Hawaiian Airlines presents a few distinct flavors across their fleet, each tailored to the type of traveler and the distance they’re covering. Here’s all you need to know when looking for flights to Hawaii.

Airbus A321neo

Hawaiian’s A321neo fleet doesn’t have what they call business class. Instead, they offer what’s termed as first class. But keep expectations in check—this is closer to what you’d typically find in a domestic first class setup. The cabin has 16 seats, arranged 2-2 across four rows. While the lack of personal televisions might seem like a miss, the reality is, for the routes these planes fly, it’s a solid offering. You won’t find the bells and whistles here, but for shorter distances, it does the job.

Airbus A330-200

This is where Hawaiian’s business class experience begins to shine. With a cozy cabin of 18 seats spread over three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration, it’s intimate. This setup is great for couples or those traveling together who want to share the journey side by side. The highlight? Each seat converts into a 76-inch lie-flat bed.

Boeing 787-9

Now, we’re talking top-tier with Hawaiian’s newest addition, the 787-9 Dreamliner, showcasing their “Leihoku” class. With 34 seats laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, privacy is paramount—each seat has its own door. The seats themselves are a spacious 21 inches wide, expanding to 26 inches with the armrest down, and stretch out to a 77-inch lie-flat bed. With flights on the Dreamliner beginning in April 2024, I can’t wait to try Hawaiian Airlines’ new business class later this year.

Throughout its fleet, this airline has a few unique cuisines, each catered to a particular kind of tourist.
Throughout its fleet, this airline has a few unique cuisines, each catered to a particular kind of tourist. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

Baggage allowance with Hawaiian Airlines business class

Let’s talk luggage, because we all know that packing can be part of the fun (or stress) of getting ready for a trip. When you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines business class on international routes, the deal gets pretty sweet. You’re allowed two free checked bags. Each can weigh up to a hefty 70 lbs (32 kg).

Hawaiian Airlines business class airport experience

If you’re flying from Honolulu, the ground experience with Hawaiian in business class sets the tone for what’s to come.

First off, Honolulu’s check-in area is something you don’t see every day. It’s mostly open-air, thanks to Hawaii’s sunny weather. Hawaiian Airlines operates two departure areas here—one dedicated to Japan flights and another for all other destinations.

Now, onto the Plumeria Lounge—Hawaiian’s own little oasis for Business Class passengers flying out of Honolulu. The unique lounge access is a perk that sweetens the deal, offering a range of complimentary food, beer, wine, and soft drinks. It’s a spot where you can kick back and relax or catch up on work before your flight. If you’ve got a credit card that comes with Priority Pass, you’ll find the doors open for you here as well.

For those departing from international destinations like Sydney, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita, Seoul, or Auckland, Hawaiian Airlines hasn’t forgotten you. As one of the best business class airlines in the US, they’ve partnered up to offer lounge access at these airports, too.

The business class experience on the ground with this airline sets the tone for the journey ahead.
The business class experience on the ground with this airline sets the tone for the journey ahead. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

In-flight comfort & amenities on Hawaiian Airlines business class

Jumping on a Hawaiian Airlines business class flight, you’re in for some solid in-flight comfort and amenities. Let’s dive into what’s waiting for you, straight from my own trips.

Upon boarding

The greeting is warm, and the comforts start right away. Each seat comes equipped with a suite of comforts: a soft comforter blanket that’s just the right size, a small back/lumbar pillow for that extra support, and a larger, full-size pillow for a good night’s sleep. Slipping your feet into the provided slippers makes moving around the cabin more comfortable.

Then there’s the amenity kit, a nice touch of luxury with practical items designed by Kealopiko from Moloka‘i. Inside, you’ll find a bamboo comb, a dental kit complete with a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, hand and body balm, lip balm, hydrating mist from Lōli‘i, and a premium sleep mask. They even include a sample of Raw Elements USA reef-safe sunscreen, which is perfect for landing in sunny Hawaii.

In-flight entertainment

On the A330, the entertainment setup is, admittedly, not the latest and greatest. You get an iPad that pops up from the console for movies and shows, which does the job but feels a bit dated. The over-ear headphones are standard fare, connecting through a good old-fashioned headphone jack. It certainly doesn’t compete with the best airlines in the world.

Hawaiian Airlines new 787-9

Hawaiian Airlines takes in-flight tech up a notch on their 787-9s. Here, the entertainment comes alive on 18-inch screens, a significant leap from the iPads on the A330s. It’s a more integrated, high-tech experience that aligns with the premium feel of their newest business class offering.

While the A330 offers a comfortable experience with its unique amenity kit and bedding, the 787-9 brings in-flight comfort and tech into the future. It’s these details that make flying Hawaiian one of the best airlines in the US.

Food & drink in Hawaiian Airlines business class

One of the highlights of flying to Hawaii with Hawaiian business class is the food and drink.

After you’re seated, the crew comes around with a choice of pre-departure drinks. It’s a nice touch, offering water, a classic Mai Tai, or a tropical passion, orange, and guava juice. Opting for the Mai Tai or the juice instantly sets a vacation vibe before you’ve even left the ground.

The folks behind the menu, Chef Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, are a powerhouse culinary duo from MW Restaurant in Oahu. If you’re into Hawaiian/Asian fusion dining, their creations are something to look forward to. Personally, the wasabi black pepper short rib stands out for me—it’s flavorful, with just the right kick. And for dessert, the taro cheesecake with haupia poi sauce is a winner. It’s unique, with flavors that you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of Hawaii.

Drink-wise, Hawaiian Airlines goes beyond the standard soda and juice. They add a local twist with three Hawaiian-inspired signature cocktails, which are a must-try. The wine list, curated by a sommelier, pairs beautifully with your meal. For beer enthusiasts, the craft brews from Maui Brewing Company are a refreshing choice. You’ll also find plenty of juice, coffee, and tea options available.

If you opt to fly in business class with this airline, you will get excellent in-flight facilities and comfort.
If you opt to fly in business class with this airline, you will get excellent in-flight facilities and comfort. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

Tips for booking Hawaiian Airlines business class flights

Searching for cheap business class tickets on Hawaiian Airlines? Here are some insider tips that I’ve found helpful:

  • Loyalty pays off: Being an elite Pualani member of the HawaiianMiles loyalty program is a golden ticket. If you’re Platinum, you might score a free upgrade to First Class or Extra Comfort seats, depending on availability. It’s worth aiming for if you fly Hawaiian often.
  • Use miles wisely: First-class upgrades can often be snagged for about 25,000 HawaiianMiles for one-way trips. If you’ve been saving up those miles, this could be a smart way to elevate your flying experience.
  • Subscribe to Cheap Flight Alerts: Again, if you want to find the best possible deals on business class airfare, I highly recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going.com). While the free version is great for finding discounted economy flights, the Elite version is what you’ll need to find cheap business and first class deals.
  • Keep an eye on the Bid Up program: Hawaiian’s Bid Up program lets you bid for a first-class upgrade if there’s space. It’s like a little auction for luxury. Don’t forget to check this option out as your flight date approaches.
  • Upgrade at check-in: Sometimes, you can upgrade to first class at check-in if there’s availability. This option can be a bit of a gamble but can pay off, especially on less crowded flights. The fee varies by route, with shorter island hops costing less than longer mainland flights.

Navigating the booking and upgrade process with Hawaiian Airlines can definitely work in your favor with a little strategy and know-how. These tips have served me well, turning routine flights into experiences I actually look forward to.

Hawaiian Airlines business class vs. rival products

Wondering which airline has the best business class in the US? I’ve flown with several and here’s my take on how they stack up.

Hawaiian Airlines vs. Delta

  • Service style: Hawaiian brings a unique Aloha spirit to its service, which really stands out. Delta, while offering solid service, can sometimes feel more corporate.
  • Seats and comfort: Delta’s newer A330s and refurbished 767s offer a superb Delta One experience with lie-flat seats. However, Hawaiian’s A330 business class and the 787-9’s new suite-style seats with doors offer a more intimate and private feel.
  • Amenities: Both offer competitive amenity kits, but Hawaiian’s partnership with local brands gives their kits a unique, local touch.
  • Food and beverage: Hawaiian’s local cuisine influence, courtesy of Chef Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, brings a taste of Hawaii onboard. Delta’s Sky Club and on-board dining are top-notch, but Hawaiian’s menu has that island flair.

United vs. Hawaiian Airlines

  • Network and frequencies: United has a broader global network, which might be beneficial for connecting flights. However, for direct flights to Hawaii, Hawaiian offers numerous options with a focus on comfort.
  • In-flight experience: United’s Polaris business class is competitive, offering a good sleep experience. Hawaiian’s business class, especially on the 787-9, aims for a blend of luxury and Hawaiian warmth.
  • Lounges: United’s Polaris lounges are among the best airport lounges in the U.S. But, Hawaiian’s Plumeria Lounge in Honolulu offers that unmatched island vibe.

Hawaiian Airlines vs. American Airlines

  • Seat layout and privacy: American’s business class on their 777s, offering direct aisle access for all seats, is a strong contender. However, Hawaiian’s 787-9 business class with private suites takes privacy up a notch.
  • Entertainment and connectivity: American Airlines offers a wide range of in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi across its fleet. Hawaiian’s offering is solid, especially on the 787-9, but can vary across the fleet.
  • Overall vibe: American Airlines provides a consistent business class experience, If you’re looking for that unique Hawaiian hospitality and a feeling of being on vacation the moment you board, Hawaiian Airlines has an edge.

In my opinion, if you’re looking for airlines that fly to Hawaii and want the journey to feel as much a part of your vacation as the destination, Hawaiian Airlines brings something special to the table.

Hawaiian's service is distinguished by its distinct Aloha spirit.
Hawaiian’s service is distinguished by its distinct Aloha spirit. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

Pros & cons of Hawaiian Airlines business class

Having flown Hawaiian Airlines business class, I’ve noticed some clear pros and cons that might help you decide if it’s the right choice for your travels.

Pros

  • Unmatched Hawaiian hospitality: From check-in to landing, the service is infused with Aloha spirit. It feels genuine and warm, a real stand-out.
  • Unique in-flight dining: The local flavors brought onboard by Chef Wade Ueoka and Michelle-Karr Ueoka are a treat.
  • Comfort and privacy: Their new 787-9 Business Class offers suite-style seats with privacy doors, a luxury touch not found on all airlines.
  • Safety record: Hawaiian’s impeccable safety record and frequent top rankings for on-time performance give peace of mind.
  • Baggage allowance: The generous 70 lbs baggage allowance for international business class passengers is a bonus.
  • Exclusive airport lounges: The Plumeria Lounge in Honolulu and access to partner lounges globally enhance the pre-flight experience.

Cons

  • Limited global network: While perfect for trips to Hawaii, their route network is smaller, which might require connections if you’re coming from far away.
  • Varied in-flight experience: Depending on the aircraft, the experience can differ. The A321neo’s first class doesn’t quite match the luxury of their A330 or 787-9 business class.
  • Entertainment options: The in-flight entertainment is hit or miss, with the A330 relying on iPads and the newer 787-9s stepping up the game with large screens.
  • Seat layout: On some aircraft, the 2-2-2 layout in business class means not all seats have aisle access. This is a drawback for solo travelers valuing privacy.
Due to its great safety record and constant record for punctuality, this airline offers peace of mind.
Due to its great safety record and constant record for punctuality, this airline offers peace of mind. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hawaiian Airlines business class

Are you still curious about which airline is the best to fly to Hawaii? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help decide whether Hawaiian Airlines business class is the right option for you.

Is Hawaiian Airlines a good airline?

Flying with Hawaiian Airlines has always been a positive experience for me. Their service is imbued with the Aloha spirit, which makes each journey pleasantly unique. Plus, their safety record is stellar, and they’re known for being on time. It’s a solid choice, especially for flights to Hawaii from the US.

Are drinks free on Hawaiian Airlines?

Yes, on Hawaiian Airlines, you’re treated to complimentary drinks. Whether it’s a refreshing glass of water, a tropical Mai Tai, or a passion orange guava juice, they’ve got you covered. It’s a nice touch that adds to the overall experience of warmth and hospitality.

More often than not, selecting the best airline for your Hawaii vacation is important.
More often than not, selecting the best airline for your Hawaii vacation is important. | Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

What is the best airline to fly to Hawaii?

If you ask me, the best airline to fly to Hawaii is Hawaiian Airlines. The service, the ambiance, and the in-flight offerings all reflect the islands’ spirit. It’s hard to beat if you’re looking for an airline that offers a taste of Hawaii before you even land.

Is Hawaiian Airlines owned by American?

Nope, Hawaiian Airlines flies solo and isn’t part of American Airlines or any other larger airline family. It’s an independent carrier, deeply rooted in Hawaii’s history and culture, and has been connecting the islands with the rest of the world since 1929.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Class to try right now.
Enjoyed reading about the Guide to Hawaiian Airlines Business Class? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment