Airline review: Hawaiian Airlines business class, Sydney to Honolulu



Sydney to Honolulu


Airbus A330-200; Hawaiian has 22 of this aircraft model in its fleet.


HawaiianMiles, Hawaiian Airlines has a points partnership with Virgin Velocity.


Business, Seat 2J


9 hours 20 minutes


Hawaiian flies daily between Sydney and Honolulu


This cabin has a 2-2-2 configuration. Seats have a 45 to 46-inch (114-117cm) pitch and 18.5 inches (47cm) wide. There are 294 seats on the plane of which 18 are business class.


Passengers can check 2 x 32kg of baggage.



The quilted blanket (featuring fine needlework) offers more warmth than the usual flimsy rugs that are doled out and the cotton slippers, large pillow and noise-cancelling headphones help make this overnight flight more restful. The colour scheme is inviting, designed to represent Hawaii's abundance of earth, ocean and sky, tan and brown dominate with splashes of blue.

But on a flight of this length there is no denying that the degree the seat reclines is important. While the leather seats are comfortable, they do not lie flat.


The slimline TV screens offer a choice of 17 new releases as well as classics split into genres including a good selection for children. TV and movie choices feature Hawaiian favourites including the new season of Hawaii Five-O and a moving documentary on champion Hawaiian surfer, Eddie Aikae. There's a choice of touchscreen or hand control to navigate your way through. 


This is where Hawaiian Airlines truly excel - the welcoming alohas are genuine, coupled with the frangipanis and the gently strummed Hawaiian music piped through the cabin upon boarding the flight and you feel like you have already stepped into the tropics. One cheeky attendant – dressed in Hawaiian's signature blue Aloha shirt – offers an elaborate presentation when laying the placemat before meals – abracadabra-style. Coming into Oahu we are given geographical commentary and a warm "mahalo" upon disembarking.   


Another mood setter is the Na Pua signature cocktail (guava and prosecco) served with a hot pink Hawaiian Airlines swizzle stick and two pineapple chunks.

The menu, designed by Hawaii's chef Chai Chaowasaree is light and fresh. The pork fillet piccata​ in chunky tomato sauce with broccolini​ and kipfler potatoes was small in size but well-proportioned when taking into account the generous cheese plate and mango mousse that was part of the dinner menu. Breakfast was a delicious caramelised onion and brie omelette with gratin potatoes, ham steak and cherry tomato. The coffee is from Kona and the tea selections are by the Republic of Tea. Wine choices are limited (a chardonnay and Vita Nova Pikake Family Reserve red wine) but there's a nice selection of local spirits including Ocean Vodka and Koloa Kauai White Hawaiian Rum.


Even though Hawaiian is affiliated with Virgin, Qantas ground staff take care of the check-in in Sydney, so business class passengers are granted access to the Qantas business lounge.


Service is exceptional as is the food; the only drawback is the seat recline. Having said that, it's still possible to arrive well-rested and as Hawaii is predominantly a leisure destination, most of us will be plonking ourselves on the beach or by the pool straight away anyway.

Tested by Andrea Black, who travelled as a guest of the airline (

Note: Hawaiian Airlines are installing business class lie-flat seats in all of their A330 aircraft in the second half of 2016.

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