Review: Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 First Class

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review

This Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review includes a video and photos of the seat, food and drink, IFE and lavatory. This flight was our Maui OGG to Seattle SEA flight, with a 5 hours 35 minutes flight time.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Cabin

Hawaiian's First Class cabin on the A330-200 has 18 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration across 3 rows. Needless to say, it's very tight to have 6 seats across for a business class product on this aircraft. Presumably Hawaiian wanted to keep all seats paired both to squeeze in more passengers and because as a leisure market, most people are traveling to Hawaii with a companion.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Cabin, A330-200

We were fortunate enough to have a friendly and helpful flight crew:

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review: Smiling Cabin Crew

The lavatory is about the same size as a normal lavatory–small–but the fresh orchids and coconut liquid soap were nice touches.

Orchids and Coconut Liquid Soap in Lavatory, Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Seat

Hawaiian First Class seats on the A330-200 are only 20 inches wide, compared to 21 in Delta One on the A330-200. The seats are brown, in a white shell with blue accent. There was a small blue pillow and a thin blanket at each seat.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Seat Review, A330

Instead of a button, the seat control is a dial. Below it are the light controls.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Seat Control Dial

I disliked the fact that the power outlets were by the floor (lower calf level) on the divider between the seats. I much prefer having the power outlet shoulder height or at least within easier sight and reach.

Power Outlets, Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review

In front of each seat is a small ottoman, which forms part of the flat bed–more on this later.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Review-Ottoman

During the flight you could put a small bag under the ottoman, but there's no stowage during take-off and landing.

Ottoman: No Stowage During Take-off and Landing, Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review

Note that there is no built-in IFE; instead, the flight crew hands out IFE screens, which are placed into holders in front of the tray table. While I don't always use the IFE, my husband does, and he (and other passengers who were in the middle of watching movies) were annoyed that the screens were picked up 45 minutes before the flight was over. Note to Hawaiian: your premium cabin passengers want to be able to use an IFE gate to gate.

Here's our Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class YouTube Video Review:

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Menu and Dining

Our flight departed at 3pm, so we were served an early dinner. Here's the menu, with two choices each for appetizer and main course:

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Dinner Menu

I was surprised that there was no choice at all of red or white wine, and not even a vintage was mentioned.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Drinks Menu

Just about the best part of the meal were the pre-dinner Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, served with your drink of choice–I chose pineapple juice.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Review: Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts and Pre-Dinner Drink

The appetizer was accompanied by Hawaiian sweet bread (which is really Portuguese sweet bread).

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Appetizer and Hawaiian Sweet Bread

The appetizer was the next best part: simple but good roasted chicken with tabouleh salad, tzatziki sauce, and fresh cilantro.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Appetizer: Roasted Chicken with Tabouleh, Tzatziki and Fresh Cilantro

Unfortunately the main course of shortribs was actually pretty tasty and tender but very one dimensional in its flavor, and I was disappointed that I couldn't even taste the wasabi in the wasabi mashed potatoes.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Dinner Main Course: Shortribs with Wasabi Mashed Potato

The mini orange cream pies were bland and not memorable at all. I liked that they had some liqueurs to select from; I chose Disaronno.

Hawaiian Pie Company Mini Orange Cream Pies, Hawaiian Airlines First Class Review

After Dinner Liqueurs, Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review

Hawaiian Airlines Flat Bed

The back and seat part of the seat does recline fully into a flat bed, but the leg portion is slightly angled.

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Flat Bed Review

What I especially didn't like was the significant gap between the end of the seat, even when fully reclined, and the ottoman, as you can see in the photo below. I highly recommend bringing your own portable mattress pad if you intend to get some sleep, as it was otherwise quite uncomfortable.

These beds are also not good for tall people or anyone with big feet–my husband, at 6'5″, didn't fit (the bed is supposed to be 76 inches long, but it was more than an inch too short for him).

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review: Gap Between Seat and Ottoman

On West Coast flights, you'll only be given a pillow and thin blanket as pictured below. East Coast flights get better bedding.

Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class Review Between Hawaii and West Coast: Blanket and Pillow

The Verdict

While I suppose there should be some credit given to Hawaiian for trying something new, this is the perfect example of why, when it comes to airline seats, it would be better to stick with proven winners. On an A330, I want to see a seat plan akin to the reverse herringbone of Delta One, but apparently this wasn't high density enough for Hawaiian.

There were so many things that I disliked about the product it's hard to know where to begin, from the annoying gap between the seat bed and the ottoman, which is supposed to form part of the bed, to the lack of built-in IFE and the fact that the IFE screens were collected 45 minutes before the end of the flight.

Food is a place Hawaiian should really try to shine, given the amazing local and Pacific Rim cuisine in the islands, but when the highlight is the pre-dinner macadamia nuts, there's a problem.

The flight crew was friendly, which was great, but couldn't compensate for the substandard product. Now, if only JetBlue Mint flew to Hawaii.

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