Hawaiian Airlines offers a business class on all their international flights, giving travelers a luxurious experience.
They provide passengers with a spacious seat that is twenty inches wide and an impressive 76 inches of legroom that allows them to stretch out or even lie down. In addition, business class passengers benefit from a privacy screen between seats and personal USB and AC outlets. The elevated meal service and other perks further add to the luxurious experience.
Hawaiian Airlines offers international flights to American Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and French Polynesia. When comparing business class with first class, there is no difference between them. Both business class and first class on Hawaiian Airlines are essentially the same.
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Hawaiian Airlines A330 Business Class
I flew Hawaiian Airlines business class from San Francisco to Honolulu, my first time experiencing Hawaii’s flagship airline. The business class cabin is also equivalent to Hawaiian airlines first class.
Days leading up before departure, I remember being very excited for this flight because Hawaiian Airlines Business Class upgraded their product on their Airbus A330 fleet. Prior to their previous business class product, the upgrade provides an elevated experience that frequent business class flyers would enjoy.
Hawaiian Airlines has been operating the Airbus A330 for long-haul domestic and international flights since 2010, ultimately replacing the 767 fleet.
The Hawaiian Airlines A330 business class cabin has 18 seats, on a 2-2-2 seating configuration.
Hawaiian Airlines Business Class: Amenities
At each business class seat upon boarding, passengers were provided with a comforter blanket, a small back/lumbar pillow, a larger full-size pillow, slippers, an amenity kit, and a mattress pad.
The comforter blanket was very comfortable and covered the length of me, a 6-foot-tall individual, while I slept. The full-size pillow was great for sleeping, but I usually prefer having several pillows. The lumbar pillow was not used by me, but I observed other passengers using it to get comfortable. Slippers were pre-packaged and great for slipping on to use the restroom or get a snack.
The amenity kit was designed by Kealopiko and included a bamboo comb, dental kit with a bamboo toothbrush with charcoal bristles and toothpaste, earplugs, hand and body balm, lip balm, and hydrating mist from the airline’s private skincare line Lōli‘i, a premium sleep mask, and a sample packet of Raw Elements USA reef-safe sunscreen. The kit itself was of high quality and featured a Hawaiian button on the front.
The mattress pad was the largest item on each seat and was bulky to store in the overhead bins. It slips over the seat easily and provides a layer of comfort between the seat and the passenger when sleeping.
Hawaiian Airlines A330 Brief History
The Hawaiian business class Airbus A330 first came into service in 1994, with Air Inter being the first operator, on a route from Paris to Marseille. The A330 is Airbus’ wide body aircraft, used mostly for mid to long-haul flights, with seating capacity ranging from 210 to 290, depending on the A330 variation. Today, Turkish Airlines is the largest operator of the Airbus A330, with 64 aircraft.
The check-in process with the Hawaiian Airlines ground staff was smooth as the flight itself. When I arrived at the check-in counter, there was hardly any line – which shows the efficiency of the ground crew on getting passengers to the gate.
I also enjoyed seeing the check-in agents dressed in the traditional Hawaiian print attire with the flower behind their ear. Seeing their uniform gave that feeling of “Wow, I’m ready for my three-day weekend in Honolulu!”
Highly enjoyed it!
The Hawaiian Airlines Lounge
Unfortunately, there was no lounge access for Hawaiian Airlines First and Business class passengers in San Francisco International Airport.
According to loungebuddy.com, Hawaiian Airlines Business class passenger lounge access is available on the following locations:
Hawaiian Airlines’ Premier Club lounges are located throughout the Hawaiian island chain. These locations are accessible to Hawaiian Airlines business and first class passengers, as well as Hawaiian Airlines’ Pualani Gold and Platinum members when flying with Hawaiian. Hawaiian Airlines also offers a Premier Club membership, which allows guests to access Premier Lounges with up to 2 complimentary guests. The flagship Hawaiian Airlines Lounge is the Plumeria Lounge in HNL. First and business class passengers flying on Hawaiian can access the lounge for free, while Pualani Platinum and Gold members can purchase access at a discounted rate.
The Hawaiian Airlines Business Class Cabin: SFO to Maui
Hawaiian Airlines operates the Airbus A330-200 on long-haul flights. This aircraft flies with 18 lie-flat seats in First Class and 260 seats in Economy Class. The Airbus A330-200 aircraft version presented here features lie-flat beds in its Business Class or First Class Premium Cabin. The lie-flat bed seats have been designed with aspects of Hawaii’s environment, such as curves, earth-tone colors, and natural wood.
Hawaiian Airlines has long been known as a leisure carrier (usually means that their products are not high-end). The configuration of the Airbus A330-200 in Business class was the standard 2-2-2, with a total of 18 seats.
But Hawaiian Airlines have upgraded its Airbus fleet with brand new interiors and lie-flat seats. I feel that the upgrades on their Business Class are top-notch and arguably make Hawaiian Airlines more of a hybrid airline (a cross between a major carrier and a leisure carrier) – making them competitive with major U.S. carriers like Delta, United, and American on flights in and out of Hawaii.
Hawaiian Airlines Business Class Seats
This is my first time flying Hawaiian Airlines, and I was seated on 2B on my flight from San Francisco to Honolulu Airport.
Each seat in the business class cabin is located in its own shell – with detailed designs of curves to represent Hawaii’s ocean waves – and slightly angled towards either the window or aisle.
Compared to other business class seats in the market, the Hawaiian Airlines business class seats are not very private (but to be fair, their premium cabin seats seem very comfortable).
The seating is a 2-2-2 configuration, which reflects Hawaiian as a leisure carrier since couples and families are more frequent than solo travelers among its premium passengers.
The seat configuration, in turn, is perfect for couples traveling together. There is, however, a divider screen between two adjoining seats that can be raised in case you are traveling on your own and seated next to a stranger.
In front of the seat is a small ottoman with a side panel that prevents your feet from dropping off the footrest while you move around. There’s a tiny storage area underneath the ottoman to stow away your shoes in-flight.
The shared armrest between two seats hides the tray table, and an adjustable, telescoping in-seat arm is used to fix the large screen tablet (distributed by the crew shortly after takeoff), which can be adjusted to optimize viewing angle and comfort.
The Hawaiian business class seat goes fully flat into a 76-inch (193 cm) flatbed at 180 degrees, which is a massive improvement over Hawaiian’s business class seats on the Boeing 767. The flatbed is quite comfortable, although a little on the hard side (and duvets are not provided on domestic flights).
The Business Class Ambiance
The moment I boarded Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330, there was a distinct ambiance that sets the tone for your trip to Hawaii.
The following were the details I immediately picked up on the moment I entered the business class cabin:
– The soothing nature music
– The blue wall with stars that mimic the Hawaiian sky
– The flight attendants dressed in traditional Hawaiian fabric
– The infamous mai-tai before take-off
I always look forward to trying brand-new aircraft interiors, and the ambiance the moment you step on board added to the overall unique experience.
Hawaiian Airlines A330 Business In-Flight Entertainment
Something first on this Hawaiian Airlines flight: the use of iPads for in-flight entertainment instead of the standard seats equipped with personal TV screens.
I’ve heard about airlines trying to eventually phase out personalized TV screens and replace them with tablets (reducing the weight of the aircraft, among other reasons). So when I sat down and realized there weren’t any TV screens, I figured we would be given a tablet after take-off.
And sure enough, the flight attendants passed around giant iPads about 15 minutes after airborne.
Overall, I don’t think having an iPad as the in-flight entertainment is a positive experience. The stands are tricky to deploy, things needed to be plugged in, and the headphone jacks were difficult to find. It was overall more complicated than a standard built-in screen at your seat.
The Meal Service
This was my first time flying Hawaiian Airlines in business class, so my first impression was everything.
The meal service for this flight was rather basic.
Although Hawaiian Airlines had everything covered – from appetizers, main entrée, to dessert – the selections were kind of basic compared to other business class cabins I’ve been on.
Hawaiian Airlines has the potential to improve its in-flight entertainment. Shortly after takeoff, they provided us with iPads and headphones. The iPads were cleverly placed into a slot in the center console, and the headphones, although not noise-canceling, worked well. The iPad could be adjusted for the optimal viewing angle.
Unfortunately, the selection of movies and television shows was quite limited. There were a few titles to choose from, but I was only interested in one or two of them. I ended up watching re-runs of The Office to fill the rest of the flight.
Hawaiian Airlines business class offers the luxury of comfort, which can make paying a bit extra for the seat worth it. Free cocktails, fancy meals, and fawning service are all nice perks, but the real benefit of business class is the ability to get a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight. With wide, comfortable seats that recline into a flat bed, business class passengers can enjoy a peaceful, restful journey. This can make the extra cost of the seat well worth it for those who want to avoid a cramped, uncomfortable experience in coach.
Although the business class product may not be the best compared to major airlines, I did enjoy the flight. The crew was friendly, and the experience of trying a new business class cabin is always fun.
I think I’ll wait to try Hawaiian’s business class on a different aircraft (either the A350 or 787, whenever they start their service), before I get on the business class on the A330 again.
Hawaiian Airlines Business Class Tips:
Hawaiian Airlines offers a great way to upgrade from economy to business class with either miles or cash. For international flights to Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, you will need 45,000 miles to upgrade during off-peak times and 90,000 miles during peak travel times. To travel to American Samoa or French Polynesia, off-peak upgrades cost 30,000 miles, and peak upgrades cost 60,000 miles. Cash prices vary depending on the flight.
If you want to upgrade using miles, contact Hawaiian Airlines Reservations. To upgrade using cash, you can either use the Hawaiian Airlines website or call a reservations agent.