Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Pros and Cons

Hawaiian Air First Class Pros-Cons A330

 

Hawaiian Airlines' A330 First Class pros and cons are numerous. While Hawaiian launched A330 First Class in 2016, I just recently flew it on a route from Maui OGG to Seattle SEA. Other Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class routes between Hawaii and the mainland U.S. include:

  • LAX-Honolulu HNL
  • LAX-Maui OGG
  • San Diego SAN-Honolulu HNL
  • SFO-HNL
  • SFO-OGG
  • LAS-HNL
  • JFK-HNL
  • SEA-HNL

I'll be writing a full Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class review later, but in the meantime, here are the pros and cons based on my and my husband's experiences on the flight.

Hawaiian Air A330 First Class Pros

1. Open Cabin Feel

Due to the design of the seats, the cabin has a more open feel than most business and first class cabins. Unfortunately, that also comes at the expense of seat privacy.

 

2. Flat Seat Back (Not Contoured)

My tall husband appreciated the fact that the seat back is flat, not contoured, since invariably, when business or first class seats are contoured, they don't fit him (since the seat backs aren't made for super tall passengers) and are really uncomfortable for him.

 

3. Flat Bed

Undeniably what most people who fly business or first class between Hawaii and the mainland want is a flat bed seat, where they can sleep or at least relax in a fully flat position. And Hawaiian does deliver this, even making it easy, when booking, to see that the first class offers lie flat seats.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Pros Cons

 

4. Friendly Cabin Crew

While cabin crews can of course vary, Hawaiian Airlines tends to be known for their friendly flight crew, especially in the premium cabin, and our flight was no exception. Both flight attendants working our flight were very helpful and friendly, from the welcome on board and serving of welcome drinks to helping us with the tray tables and IFE set up.

 

5. Macadamia Nuts Instead of Mixed Nuts, and Pineapple Juice as an Option

Macadamia nuts are so much tastier than the standard mixed nuts that we were served on our Delta One flight to Hawaii, and the Delta flight didn't have any pineapple juice, which is always carried on Hawaiian flights.

Hawaiian Air A330 First Class Review-Macadamia Nuts-Pineapple Juice

 

6. Tasty Meat in the Main Course

The short rib meat in the main course was delicious, and much more flavorful than most meat dishes I've had as part of in-flight meals.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review-Beef Short Rib

 

 

Hawaiian Air A330 First Class Cons

1. No Solo Seats: 2-2-2 Configuration

It's not surprising, since Hawaii is a leisure market and so many visitors travel as couples, but those flying to Hawaii as a single passenger probably won't like the 2-2-2 cabin configuration. The best bet is to choose one of the 2 seats in the middle, since at least you'll have easier direct aisle access.

 

2. Gap Between Seat and Ottoman When Forming the Flat Bed

Even when the seat is fully reclined, there's a noticeable gap between the end of the seat and the ottoman, which forms the end of the bed. We solved this for my son's bed by using our Thermarest portable mattress pad, but it really isn't ideal.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review-Gap-Flat Bed Seat and Ottoman

 

3. No Wi-Fi

Surprisingly, Hawaiian Airlines hasn't partnered with Gogo to offer WiFi on any of its flights. You'll need to fly another airline if you want WiFi on your flight.

 

4. No Integrated IFE Screens; IFE via Tablets

Also surprisingly, given the relatively recent launch of this product, is that crew hand out tablets that then sit on a holder. There aren't any integrated IFE screens, which may have seemed cool to Optimares, the Italian firm that Hawaiian partnered with to design these bespoke seats, but was a huge annoyance to my husband, who is a heavy user of airline IFE systems. He gave Hawaiian's a big thumbs down, since it meant he couldn't start watching anything prior to take-off, nor could he finish watching his movie since the crew picked up the screens and headsets 50 minutes prior to landing in Seattle. He also complained about the rather poor selection of films.

 

5. Expected Better Food and Drinks

While the short rib meat was delicious, the rest of our meal was underwhelming. My husband and son chose as their appetizer grilled chicken, quinoa tabbouleh and tzatziki salad, and it tasted like something you could get from an airport vendor or a corporate cafeteria. My Nicoise salad was even more ordinary. The short rib was supposed to be accompanied by wasabi mashed potatoes, but I couldn't detect a trace of wasabi, and wished I had some wasabi powder to spice it up, it was so bland.

The mini pie by the Hawaiian Pie Company was also nondescript and not memorable at all. There was only one red wine and one white wine offered for the flight, so I just stuck with pineapple juice. There wasn't even Kona coffee offered, and decaf coffee was from instant coffee, not brewed.

Come on–Hawaii has great food and great chefs, so Hawaiian Airlines can definitely do better than this.

 

If you've flown Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class recently, what was your experience?

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