Hawaiian Air Takes Onboard Service to New Heights

The airline elevates free meals, snacks, service in all cabins By: Marty Wentzel

The Details

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has long been praised for its onboard hospitality, and it remains the only U.S. carrier serving complimentary full meals in the main cabin. But that doesn't mean it's resting on its laurels. On Aug. 1, 2012, the Honolulu-based airline dramatically retooled its domestic onboard product with new made-in-Hawaii goodies, free island-style meals and improved service offerings.

Billed as "the only authentic Hawaii experience in air travel," Hawaiian's Mea Hookipa (I Am Host) inflight service has been upgraded on all flights between Hawaii and its 11 gateway cities in North America.

The new program was inspired by customer feedback, solicited by Hawaiian to further align its service with the things that customers value most in onboard service and amenities. The goal is to bring back the "good old days of flying," said Blaine Miyasato, Hawaiian’s vice president of product development.

“Our new Mea Hookipa service is meant to transform rushed or anxious travelers into relaxed guests as they travel to and from Hawaii," Miyasato said. "We’ve redesigned our onboard experience to maximize our opportunities to transform our guests and share our aloha."

Hawaiian is continuing to offer complimentary full meals at mealtimes to all customers on its North America flights, and its new menus designed by executive chef Chai Chaowasaree highlight the foods and flavors of the islands.

For example, Hawaiian’s new breakfast menu for morning departures features Hawaiian sweetbread with cream cheese and guava jelly, Tanioka’s dried mango, papaya and pineapple slices and a macadamia nut cookie. The new lunch menu for afternoon departures features entrees of ginger chili or teriyaki chicken with steamed rice and vegetables and a dessert of mango cake or Kona coffee cake with a dark roasted coffee bean.

Also new to Hawaiian’s meal service in the main cabin is a complimentary glass of red or white wine with lunch or dinner. Hawaiian’s wines are personally selected by Hawaii Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya.

Another new feature of Hawaiian’s free, onboard service is the offering of a signature tropical cocktail featuring Koloa Rum from Kauai and an island snack, like Maui-Style potato chips, served two hours before landing.

Along with its complimentary meals, Hawaiian’s premium meals for purchase in the main cabin now feature new selections designed by Chaowasaree that reflect the diversity of cultures and flavors characterizing local cuisine in Hawaii. Among the complete meals are entrées like a kalua pork sandwich, island-style chicken, prawns with cold noodles and Chinese chicken salad. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with their premium selection.

The new Pau Hana Snack Bar is an extension of Hawaiian’s galley service, where guests stop by to have drinks refilled and purchase island-style snacks like Kona Chips with furikake seasoning, guava macadamia Kauai Kookies, Tanioka’s li hing mango slices and Hawaiian Host chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. Also available for purchase at the Pau Hana Snack Bar are fresh flower leis on flights to North America and Hawaiian Airlines-branded gift items.

Meanwhile, in airport departure lounges, Hawaiian has introduced the Hookipa Desk where guests can pre-order inflight amenities such as premium meals, snacks or entertainment systems before they board their flight, get tips on what to do at their destination or learn more about their inflight experience.

Onboard, Hawaiian has also redesigned the orchestration of its inflight service to allow for more interaction between flight attendants and guests. Flight attendants are now assigned to certain rows, allowing them to focus on fewer guests than before and have more time to serve each guest in a manner more befitting the Hawaiian tradition of hospitality.

“At the heart of the Hawaiian Airlines experience is the authentic hospitality of our people," said Miyasato. "The goal of our new service is to promote meaningful interactions with our guests where our employees can really shine.”

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