All Hawaiian Airlines passengers get an included hot meal with wine on transpacific flights. // © 2015 Hawaiian Airlines
Feature image (above): Flight attendants create an island-style mood on Hawaiian Airlines. // © 2015 Hawaiian Airlines
On a recent Hawaiian Airlines flight from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii, I found myself whisked back to the good old days when air travel was fun. Sure, I still had to deal with the usual modern-day airport hassles such as shuttle vans and security lines. However, when I handed my boarding pass to a smiling Hawaiian Airlines employee and entered the plane, I actually felt excited for the flight.
While people are almost always happy to be winging their way to the Aloha State, Hawaiian Airlines does a great job of whetting their appetites for the vacation to come. Following are five ways the company stands out from the crowd of carriers serving the islands.
Attendants With Aloha
With their cheery aloha shirts and flowers behind their ears, Hawaiian Airline’s flight attendants embody the spirit of island hospitality. They greet each passenger by saying aloha and mahalo, and they extend what feels like genuine island hospitality. They are ready to share tips about the islands they call home. The attendants seem truly proud of their island culture, and they are eager to share it with passengers.
A new seating option on the carrier’s A330 planes, Extra Comfort is a cross between Coach and First Class. The upgrade charge is well worth it, especially for clients celebrating a special occasion.
It comes with priority boarding; at least 5 inches of extra leg room; a personal power port; a pillow and a blanket; and free, unlimited audio/video entertainment. At the end of the Hawaiian Airlines flight, Extra Comfort passengers are among the first to get off the plane, primed for their island visit.
Free Food and Wine
Hawaiian Airlines makes a big deal out of being the only U.S. carrier that serves a free meal to every passenger, not just those sitting in First Class. The food is fashioned by Chai Chaowasaree, one of Hawaii's top chefs. With the meal comes a glass of wine on the house.
Clients seeking extra sustenance can head to the galley and buy some macadamia nuts, Kona furikake chips, caramel popcorn and other snacks.
There are airline magazines and then there’s “Hana Hou” (Hawaiian for “one more time”), Hawaiian Airline’s bimonthly onboard publication. “Hana Hou” consistently wins awards for its compelling editorial and exquisite photos. There’s something for everyone within its many pages, from stories of fascinating islanders past and present to short pieces on things to see and do in the Aloha State.
During boarding, Hawaiian music and videos of island scenery set the tone for the airline’s entertainment offerings. After takeoff, clients can plug in their headsets and listen to more Hawaiian music (both traditional and contemporary).
Additionally, passengers can watch engaging short subjects about Hawaii — such as outrigger canoeing and Kona coffee — on Hawaiian Skies, a video magazine produced exclusively for the carrier.