Curious about Hawaiian Airlines First Class on the Airbus A330? Here's everything you need to know! From cozy quilts, to tropical mai tai drinks, food by MW Restaurant, fun amenity kits, and all around excellent service, let's take a look around the first class cabin ^_^
I've written before about how much I love to fly in Hawaiian Airlines. Their prices are comparable to many airlines but the experience is so much better for many reasons.
We typically book economy tickets, and sometimes get upgraded to premium economy (a case in which it pays to be loyal to an airline). But I finally made Pualani Platinum status last year and with that comes first class upgrade certificates.
I applied those upgrade certificates on a recent New York (JFK) to Honolulu (HNL) flight. It was my first time flying first on Hawaiian Airlines and oh man, I wish I could do this for all my flights ^_^
I took down a bunch of notes from this flight. Hopefully you'll find this useful.
I love airline amenity kits. It feels like a fun bonus treat for adults. The current amenity kit is a design collaboration with a Molokai-based clothing brand called Kealopiko.
You receive a neat canvas clutch with the following items:
- The clutch itself - we received the grey/white clutch, though it also comes in a natural/pink colorway. It's a simple clutch and the design part is a coral print. The little closure button is made of coconut shell!
- Cozy socks with a slipper design - super cute ^_^
- Eye mask
- Dental kit - bamboo toothbrush with charcoal bristle, toothpaste.
I think the kits previously included hand balm, lip balm, mist, and sunscreen but we didn't see those in these kits.
Here's a closer look at the "slipper socks" heehee.
The blanket is gorgeous and also designed by Kealopiko. It's a light quilt in grey, white, and pink with a bird’s nest fern design.
They stitch a patch on the bottom corner detailing the story of the quilt design. I wish they sold the quilt. So pretty!
Toys for Kids
Remember when airlines used to give toys for babies and kids flying? Like stickers, coloring books, and pilot wing pins...those were the days! We were flying with a baby so I asked the flight attendant if they had kid toys. Unfortunately they didn't. We were slightly bummed, but it wasn't a big deal.
Then guess what? 15 minutes later the flight attendant returned with a makeshift rattle! She taped together two plastic cups with a couple of soda tabs and a few other odds and ends to create a rattle. This was thoughtful and completely unexpected ^_^
The most important part hahah. We were served a snack and two meals. Plus small snacks throughout the flight.
The menu was created by Chefs Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka of MW Restaurant in Honolulu (a must on your Honolulu trip!)
Signature Mai Tai cocktail on the left and POG (Passion Orange Guava) juice on the right.
A bowl of Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts. I had this with a cup of coffee...we were on a morning flight after all!
The main meal included warm roll and butter, a tomato, cucumber, olive salad with macadamia nut basil pesto and balsamic vinaigrette.
For the entree, you could pick between the garlic roast pork with mushroom gravy, roasted vegetables, and potato gratin OR the roasted shiitake mushroom and vegetable fried rice with fried shallots. I had the latter and enjoyed it!
Dessert was a slice of Coffee Crunch Cake by Michelle! Many types of "crunch cakes" are very popular in Hawaii so this was extra nice to have.
This salt and pepper was SO CUTE. It was served in mini aloha shirt packaging, a collaboration with Kahala (a popular aloha shirt brand). How adorable is that??
A mini meal was served two hours before arrival and included lemongrass chicken yakisoba (really good!) and roasted vegetables with miso yuzu vinaigrette.
Snacks included everything from Maui Style Potato Chips to Oreos, pretzels, cheddar sandwich crackers, and even little cookies from La Tour, which is a local bakery/restaurant on Oahu.
There were many fun tropical cocktails on the menu. I tried the classic Mai Tai and the Koloa Pineapple Passion.
First Class Versus Business Class
Interesting thing! On domestic flights, this was called first class. But the same seat on international flights are called business class.
So on Hawaiian Airlines:
domestic first class = international business class.
P.S. Love the Constellation Divider (pictured above) that separates the cabins. It showcases the constellation Makali'i in fiber-optic lights. Also called Pleiades (or Seven Sisters), this constellation was high in the sky when the first Hawaiian Airlines airplane took flight on November 11, 1929.
Hawaiian Airlines does not have a lounge at JFK and they do not share lounges with other airlines, so we didn't have lounge access on the flight over.
But if you fly the HNL to JFK route (or any route originating from HNL), then you have access to the Hawaiian Airlines Plumeria Lounge at HNL.
There are also Hawaiian Airline lounges at airports on the other islands like Maui, Big Island/Hawaii Island, and Kauai.
They have tablets and headphones upon request. There's a decent offering of movies and tv shows. I like to watch the local shows first. They have fun short episodes showing unique trends from Hawaii.
On this flight there was a cool episode about the growing popularity of kei trucks (Japanese microcars) in Hawaii. A lot of that episode was focused on Try Coffee, a great coffee shop in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu.
Don't forget to check out the inflight magazine. It's called Hana Hou! and it is an excellent magazine. I always take a copy home from each flight.
We were on an Airbus A330 and the configuration was 2-2-2. They had leather seats with 180-degree, lie-flat configuration. They gave a mattress pad, the blanket/quilt, and a pillow.
There was also a pull up privacy screen divider, two usb ports, and a power outlet. There was plenty storage on the side for water bottles (they gave Mananalu, an aluminum water bottle brand by Jason Momoa), snacks, etc.
One of the main reasons I fly Hawaiian Airlines is the service. I've written about this before and it really is my favorite part about Hawaiian. You really feel the local spirit in the air on these flights.
Whether you're in economy, premium economy or first, I've always had great service experiences. Good service makes all the difference, especially when you're on a long flight ^_^
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
The flight lands at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). It lands in a brand new terminal which is gorgeous. It's just a few years old and the first time I landed there I was like wowowowww. It's completely different from all the other parts of HNL, super modern!
I think it's worth it if you use points/miles to upgrade. Or if you have Pualani Platinum status, you can apply first class upgrade certificates. This one way JFK to HNL flight would have costed $3,000+ if paying all cash.
Yes, it is included in the flight.
Yes but only at airports in Hawaii. These airports include: Honolulu, Hilo, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue. The lounge is open to: Domestic First Class passengers, Pualani Platinum and Gold members, and Premier Club members.
Everything in the post above! To sum it up:
- Two free checked bags with priority baggage handling.
- Faster check-in via the First Class check-in lines.
- Pre-assigned first class seat assignment.
- Premier Club lounge access (only available at airports in Hawaii)
- Priority pre-boarding.
- Generously sized seats with extra legroom (lie flat seats on the long haul flights like JFK to HNL. no lie flat on the shorter flights like SFO to HNL).
- Meals and drinks (alcoholic drinks included).
Sunday 7th of May 2023
This comment actually belongs in your why I love Hawaiian post, but you have to check out the Asian entertainment on Hawaiian flights. I've discovered so many good Asian shows, including some dramas that I found on streaming sites to finish watching the entire series.
One example was Midnight Diner. I saw a few episodes on a Hawaiian flight, then I heard from my cousin that it was on Netflix so I could watch all the episodes.
Monday 8th of May 2023
Aloha Rob - Ooo that's a really good tip! Thanks for letting me know. Definitely checking it out on our next flight ^_^ - Kathy
Wednesday 8th of March 2023
Hi Kathy - I love your website - thanks!
Unfortunately not all of the first class flights are as nice. We fly first class from a smaller airport in CA to and from Honolulu and we got the meal, cocktails, tablet, earphones and snacks - and our seats were slight larger but nowhere near the amenities that you mentioned in your article. On our last flight in January we didn’t even get a beverage before we took off - no time. The one thing worth the price of the first class ticket is having a bathroom available with priority for first class passengers.
I’m not planning to fly out of LAX just to get those other wonderful sounding amenities - unfortunately.
Keep those recipes coming!
Monday 13th of March 2023
Aloha Susan! Ooo that is good to know. I'm not sure but think the lie flat seats might be only on the longer Hawaiian Air flights. So very happy that you are enjoying the website! More recipes to come, for sure :) - Kathy
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
Kathy, Thank you for the review. I happen to love the amenities kit too and I save them all. I have one that looks like a mini tumi luggage.
Also wanted to congratulate you on your mochi cake recipe that scored extremely high on Pancake Princess!!!
Saturday 4th of March 2023
Aloha Jeanne - Hope all is well! Ooo I've seen photos of the mini tumi one, it's super cute!! Would definitely save that for sure :) Thank you for the mochi recipe congrats, such a neat surprise!! :) - Kathy
Friday 10th of February 2023
Congratulations! No wonder you you have not been too actively writing on this blog, so so happy for you 🤗 For someone who have been following you since your Chicago days, it’s indeed so lovely to still be able to get a slice of Hawaii from you… beautiful islands that I was blessed to spend on my honeymoon.
Saturday 4th of March 2023
Aloha Liv! Wow since Chicago!! Thank you for sticking with me so long :) And thank you so much for the congrats!! It's been a year of big and exciting changes. I hope you come visit Hawaii soon again :) - Kathy
Friday 3rd of February 2023
Hi Kathy: Great post! Thanks for the info -- I think this info does it for us; we will be flying HAL the next trip back to HNL. Last Oct we flew first class on AA to HNL. I was so very disappointed and will never fly AA again! I chose them because they were the cheapest, but as the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for". The seats were crappy -- no lie flat and no foot rest. One meal that was mediocre at best. The in-flight entertainment works off the bluetooth but you gotta have an iphone; and it only works over the land mass -- from CA to HI, we had no connectivity. And we also had no access to the first class lounge without paying for the service. We have flown FC on HAL before but it seems that it is even better now! Thanks for the info.
BTW, we only fly FC for long flights these days. Too old and our aging bodies need the comfortable seats or we are shot at the end of the flight!!
Friday 3rd of February 2023
Hi Alan! Hope all is well! Oh wow, the Hawaiian flight sounds way better. And the service is so good! This lie flat was the NYC to HNL route, I know they don't have lie flat for the shorter flights (like San Francisco to HNL) so would definitely double check that part before booking. Food was great, and loved the aloha spirit throughout the entire flight from check in to landing! - Kathy