Airlines, First & Business Class, United States

Flying the New Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class

March 28, 2017

I have flown between the North American mainland and Hawaii at least fifty times and on many different commercial airlines. My recent flight between Honolulu and Seattle in the new Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class, also known as the Premium Cabin, was the best air travel experience so far.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class cabin

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Cabin and Seats

The new Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class is a nod to the airline’s history and namesake island chain, with sky blue accents, curved seat backs reminiscent of ocean waves, and coffee-coloured leather seats.

One of my favourite features is the Constellation Divider located between the Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class and the main cabin. This unique partition contains tiny fiber-optic lights resembling the constellation Makali’i ((known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters in Western astronomy), a cluster of stars visible in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months. The constellation Makali’i was high in the sky when the first Hawaiian Airlines plane departed on November 11, 1929.

The Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class cabin contains three rows with 18 Italian-made Poltrona-Frau leather seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. Each 20.5-inch seat converts into a 76 inch long lie-flat bed. The 2-2-2 seating arrangement works well for couples and families. And with an optional privacy screen, the seats are also appropriate for solo and business travellers.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class brown seats

Passengers in the Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class cabin have access to multiple power ports, including two USB connections and one AC power outlet. The in-flight entertainment system is delivered via a large tablet loaded with movies, TV shows, games, and music. Flight attendants place the wide-screen tablet on an adjustable telescoping arm after take-off and collect it before landing.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class IFE tablet

While the cabin reflects Hawaii’s natural environment and history, the flight crew in the new Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class cabin seem to embody the Aloha Spirit. A warm welcome, custom Mai Tai cocktail, and personal pre-flight briefing from the A330 Captain set the tone for a memorable flight in the Hawaiian Airlines First Class cabin.

Eat and Drink

The Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class menu features island-inspired drinks and meals showcasing some of Hawaii’s talented chefs. The flight from Honolulu to Seattle featured menu items created by Chef Sheldon Simeon, the owner and Executive Chef of Tin Roof Maui.

After a pre-departure Mai Tai, I selected a glass of Los Padres wine to accompany a bowl of  Mauna Loa macadamia nuts. A roasted beet salad, ginger scallion pesto with udon noodles, and passion chocolate cake followed the pre-dinner drink service. Passengers were offered a selection of appetizers and entrées. The cabin was dark – it was difficult to photograph the food.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class appetizer


A cozy fleece Olu’Olu brand blanket and a pillow are available to Hawaiian Airlines First Class passengers. I found the tiny, synthetic covered pillow inconsistent with a premium travel experience.

Hawaiian Airlines did not distribute amenity kits on the Honolulu to Seattle flight.

Hawaiian Airlines Lounge Honolulu

The modern Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club, located on the second floor of Honolulu International Airport, offers comfortable seating, ample outlets for charging electronics, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Lounge HNL

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Provide passengers in the Premium Cabin with a large, cotton-covered pillow to enhance comfort.
  • A small amenity kit with tooth care products, socks, and an eye shade would be a nice addition to the domestic Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class experience.

Travel Tips

  • Hawaiian Airlines is phasing in the installation of the new A330 First Class through early 2018.
  • Hawaiian Airlines offers non-stop service to Hawaii from destinations in North America, Asia, and the South Pacific, as well as service throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
  • In Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class, the flight safety video is viewable on wall mounted screens in front of row one. Sit in the first row if you want to be able to easily watch this entertaining and informative video.

Have you flown on Hawaiian Airlines? Did you enjoy the experience?

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1 Comment

  • Reply Janice March 28, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Great information. Looks like traveling to Hawaii is becoming more enjoyable all the time. The decor sounds fascinating and the resemblance of the constellation Makali’i makes it so authentic❤

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