Recently, in an effort to get to Southeast Asia without a 17-hour flight, I came across the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. I couldn’t find any reviews, though, so I was a little dubious about what to expect — especially given the surprisingly reasonable ticket price.
How much was the flight, you ask? I paid $280 for LAX-HNL and then HNL-SYD a few days later. That gave me a full day in Hawaii at the same price as flying LAX-SYD on the same day! (I booked these tickets at the beginning of February and flew about 10 days later.) Best of all? The ticket included two free checked bags! Crazy.
Boarding the Hawaiian Airlines Flight in Los Angeles
The gate area at LAX was super crowded — but since I made use of my Priority Pass and hung out in the KAL Lounge until boarding started, it wasn’t too bad. Boarding went quickly. The gate agent was complaining to her coworkers about an ungrateful passenger (terribly unprofessional), and she didn’t even make eye contact as she uttered a cold “mahalo”. The flight attendants were friendly, though, and boarding got underway quickly.
Inside the Plane on the LAX-HNL Flight
My flight from LA to Honolulu was on a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330. The seats are configured in a 2-5-2 layout. That’s fantastic for the side rows, and not so great for the center row. The cabin isn’t fancy, but it’s nice and clean, with pretty ambient lighting when the cabin lights are dimmed.
Since I booked so late, I ended up in row 42, but it was easy to get an aisle seat. I like the freedom to get up whenever I like on a long flight, and I hate making someone else get up to let me out. And somehow, I got the two-seat row all to myself! There were a number of empty seats, and I saw the flight attendants moving families around so they could have more space.
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space in the economy main cabin seats! I’ve been flying a lot of mainland airlines, and too often, I feel claustrophobic in economy (United, I’m looking at you). But on Hawaiian Airlines, I had lots of leg room — and more importantly, room for my laptop. The tray tables extend, so it’s easy to work. (For reference, I’m 5’6’’.)
Do you fly carry-on? You’ll love flying from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines — since you get two free checked bags, there wasn’t the usual race for overhead space. The bins around me weren’t full. One thing to note — the under-seat space on the aisle seats is a bit small, so you might not be able to fit a fully-stuffed backpack. Fortunately, it’s easy to store it overhead.
In-Flight Entertainment on Hawaiian Airlines from Los Angeles to Hawaii
I didn’t expect much in terms of in-flight entertainment — and Hawaiian Airlines met that expectation. There are in-seat entertainment systems, but you need to pay for movies individually or buy an all-access TV pass. Movies were $7.99 each, and the Unlimited TV package was also $7.99. I had plenty of movies on my laptop, though, so I didn’t bother. Plus, the flight is only 5.5 hours.
The in-seat system does have a map, which is nice. It shows the route, the current time in Honolulu and Los Angeles, and the time to the destination. There’s also a USB power port at every seat, which is fantastic. There are no standard power outlets in economy, so make sure your laptop is charged before you go!
The entertainment system malfunctioned about halfway through the flight, and it was down for about 15 minutes — including the USB power. (Side note: it’s scary to hear the flight attendants say “malfunction”when you’re over the open ocean, even if it’s just referring to the entertainment system.)
Service on the LAX to HNL Flight
The Hawaiian Airlines service was just fine. The flight attendants came around with snacks for purchase. Then, they passed out a lunch. On my flight, it was a corned beef sandwich and a bag of potato chips. No veggie options were available. (I’m not sure if you can choose that during booking, or if it’s just not available.) The staff came around several times with drinks and water, which was nice. They all seemed to be in an extreme hurry during the service process — strange, since there was plenty of time.
Overall Review of Hawaiian Airlines Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL)
Would I recommend the LAX to Honolulu flight on Hawaiian Airlines? Absolutely! The tickets were priced well, the service was good, and the cabin is comfortable. And if you’re tired of the constant $30 checked bag fees, the free bags are a nice bonus.