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.

Inflight Dining and Drinks 

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

Amenities

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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9 Comments

  • 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❤

  • Reply Anna Johnston September 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Now that truly does look like a great way to travel! Just having leg room and the ability to lie flat (even semi flat would be wonderful). Interesting to know that Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t give all those little extra gifts to it’s travellers, and was also interested to see the usual presentation for meals, but then again…. it did sound like you were very comfortable.

  • Reply Dinh-Long Pham September 16, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve never travelled first class before and of course it sounds amazing! It’s nice to have an insight of it though. I’ve never travelled Hawaiian Airlines either but it makes me want to try haha.

  • Reply HHLifestyleTravel September 17, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Sounds like an enjoyable first class experience. The food sounds especially delicious. Having the lights of the constellation Makali’i is a really nice thoughtful touch. I would love to visit Hawaii some day!

  • Reply Theresa September 17, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I just flew business class for the first time this past summer and it was amazing! I love Hawaii and hope to be back there as soon as I can. I don’t think Hawaiian Airlines flies out of Vancouver unfortunately. I wish you’d got a photo of the constellation divider, I would like to see that.

  • Reply J Harvey September 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Great review of your flight and Hawaiian Airlines. I’ve never flown with this company but it seems like a pretty normal flight. Glad to know this information.

  • Reply Megan Jerrard September 18, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    The new Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class looks incredible – I love that you have access to multiple power ports, and USB, such a luxury on a flight – my laptop always dies! Will be interesting to see when they roll these planes out for the Australia – Hawaii leg – will keep an eye out!

  • Reply Guy Crotty September 19, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Have never flown first class but this sounds pretty special. The menu in particular sounds damn tasty. Love a good roast beetroot salad. Totally agree on your improvements though, first class definitely shouldn’t skimp on a good pillow and am amenities kit sounds a pretty basic addition. You get them on many economy flights!

  • Reply Jen Joslin September 19, 2017 at 3:01 am

    I loved your descriptions of the plane, and all of the details Hawaiian Airlines have incorporated in their design, drinks, food and service. I’m amazed at the comfort their First Class seats offer! It would be especially nice to have the power ports, and the food sounded delicious. I’m interested to check out what legs they have from Asian destinations to Hawaii!

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