Hawaiian Airlines Opens Bookings & Awards For Lie-Flat Service To Japan, Australia & New Zealand

Hawaiian Airlines New First Class

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Hawaiian Airlines has opened up bookings for its new Premium Cabin offering for travel from Hawaii to Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland. The airline has refitted its Airbus A330 aircraft with new lie-flat Business Class seats which should be a massive improvement over the old-style recliners that the airline has offered up until now.

Hawaiian Airlines New Business Class

The new Hawaiian Business Class cabin has three rows of 6 seats…….

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…but, while the seats are true lie flat seats, they don’t offer all-aisle access.

Here’s what Hawaiian has to say about their new product:

Incorporating flowing curves evocative of the winds and the ocean, Hawaiian’s spacious Premium Cabin features 18 lie-flat leather seats that fold into 180-degree beds at a roomy 20.5 inches wide and 76 inches long. Aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration, the seats are ideally tailored to leisure guests such as couples, families and honeymooners, while offering superior functionality to the business traveler.

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hawaiian-airlines-new-business-class-2Hawaiian Airlines New Business Class

The images that Hawaiian has just released don’t really show to much detail so here are the images that were published last December when the new cabin was first announced – it looks like the cabin colors are now slightly different but the seats are the same:

Hawaiian Airlines New First Class

Hawaiian Airlines New First Class

Each seat comes with two USB ports and full AC power, a privacy screen and “unlimited in-flight entertainment via personal large-format tablet”.

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By “unlimited” the airline means”free” so don’t book thinking there’s no end to what you can watch 🙂 (Hawaiian has said that there will be over 100 hours of movies and TV shows available for passengers).

Passengers in the new Premium Cabin will be given the new amenity kit…..

 Hawaiian Airlines New Business Class

…..as well as “a cotton quilt and a lounging pillow all fashionably adorned in a ‘Auli‘ilani lehua flower pattern.”

As far as dining goes….

Hawaiian’s Executive Chef Chai Chaowasaree will delight guests with world-class cuisine presented on custom-crafted dinnerware, linens and trays, and showcasing delicious regional food by Hawai‘i’s top local chefs.

2J9A5237 Rae Huo photo 9/16. Buyout.Hawaiian Airlines Lie Flat, Japanese MealHawaiian Airlines New Business Class

A premier cocktail and full beverage bar service will offer specialty drinks such as a signature Mai Tai, wines selected by Hawaiian’s Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, local craft beer and Hawai‘i-made spirits.

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The Routes & Dates

  • Honolulu – Tokyo Narita from 5 December 2016
  • Honolulu – Brisbane from 5 December 2016
  • Honolulu – Auckland from 5 December 2016
  • Honolulu – Sydney from 13 December 2016

Hawaiian has said that the Premium Cabin will be added to other routes as the airline retrofits its fleet of 23 wide-body A330 aircraft through 2017.

Award Travel

While most people reading this blog may not have a lot of Hawaiian Airlines miles the airline is an Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner so you could transfer over enough points for an award (at a 1:1 ratio).

Link to Hawaiian Airlines Award Chart

The best value awards are listed below (Coach SuperSaver/First Class Saver)

Honolulu – Tokyo Narita: 40,000/65,000 miles one-way
Honolulu – Brisbane/Sydney: 40,000/65,000 miles one-way
Honolulu – Auckland: 40,000/65,000 miles one-way

If you don’t have Amex points or Hawaiian miles there are other options too.

My preferred redemption would be American Airlines miles as the value isn’t too bad.

American Airlines AAdvantage Awards:

  • Honolulu – Tokyo Narita: 32,500/52,500 miles one-way (Economy/Business)
  • Honolulu – Brisbane/Sydney/Auckland: 37,500/65,000 miles one-way

Virgin America Awards:

Honolulu – Tokyo Narita: 35,000/80,000 Elevate points one-way (Economy/Business)
Honolulu – Brisbane/Sydney: 45,000/100,000 Elevate points one-way
Honolulu – Auckland: 35,000/80,000 Elevate points one-way

I used AA.com to take a look at Business Class award availability and it looked pretty good for Tokyo & Brisbane but poor for Sydney and Auckland

Here’s February availability to Tokyo Narita:

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Here’s March availability for Brisbane:

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March looked the best bet for Sydney…most months had no Business Class availability at all:

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November looks great for travel to Auckland…but most other months had very little or no Business Class awards available at all.

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Thoughts

The positives:

  • Great to have another lie-flat option to Asia and the South Pacific
  • The bBusiness Class seats angle away from one another which avoids the issues faced in Lufthansa’s Business Class seats (which meet at the feet)
  • Good to have lie-flat award availability to Brisbane and Tokyo (try finding that from the mainland!)

The negatives:

  • I understand why Hawaiian has gone with the layout they’ve chose but I would have preferred an all-aisle-access Business Class cabin.
  • I’m not at all convinced I’d like the tablet setup for my Entertainment. I’m more than happy to bring my own entertainment with me but a premium cabin should have a proper built-in screen.