Reviewed: Hawaiian Airlines First Class to Honolulu

Hawaii has always been a popular destination for Australian tourists. Qantas, Jetstar and Hawaiian Airlines all fly directly to Honolulu from Australia, with the latter flying non-stop from both Sydney and Brisbane.

Hawaiian Airlines flies to Australia using Airbus A330 aircraft. There are two classes of travel available; First Class and “Coach” (an American term meaning Economy). There is also an “extra comfort” section at the front of Coach with extra legroom seats.

Hawaiian First Class is not quite the same as First Class on the likes of Qantas or Singapore Airlines. The seats are actually leather recliner seats that closely resemble a regional Business class product. By comparison, Qantas Business class on the Sydney to Honolulu route offers angle-flat skybeds. But it seems the service provided on board was pretty good. A full meal service and amenity kits were provided.

There are 18 seats only in the First cabin, making it reasonably private and exclusive. Hawaiian First passengers can also access the Qantas lounges in Sydney and Brisbane, and the Hawaiian lounge in Honolulu.

Hawaiian Airlines is a partner of Virgin Australia, meaning that Virgin Velocity points can be redeemed to fly to Hawaii. For a time, only Economy redemptions were possible. This seems to have changed recently as our member was able to redeem points for First class on both flights by calling the Velocity Contact Centre.

I had to call VA to do the search….as above on the way over there was nil availability until 2 weeks prior to departure. On the way home i was able to book straight away when I rang the first time

Our member also had points to burn with Qantas Frequent Flyer, however the only available seats were on Jetstar. With a paid ticket on Jetstar costing little more than the award ticket taxes alone, the value didn’t add up.

I needed to to get to Hawaii for a wedding, I had QFF, VFF and AA points and wanted to fly at the pointy end. QFF points – finding seats even at 10mths out was difficult- Jetstar offers ect and once I did the taxes check this was not really an option (I could pay for a Y seat for same approximately)

A Velocity redemption from Brisbane to Honolulu appears to cost 80,000 Velocity points plus minimal taxes (around $100). As Sydney is slightly further from Honolulu, this flight would cost 95,000 points in First. As long as there is availability (which admittedly isn’t always a given), you too can use Velocity points to get to Hawaii in comfort.

But if you’re stuck in Coach, there is one trick worth considering. Extra Comfort seats are available for $110, and many believe they are worth the extra cost. In particular, the front row of the Extra Comfort mini-cabin has exceptionally generous legroom. Most of these seats can be purchased online, although you may have to call Hawaiian Airlines to select a prime front row seat.

Our member’s trip report contains a range of photos from on-board (in both classes) as well as in the lounges. See the full review HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]