In 2014, my family and I flew on a totally of 5 Hawaiian Airlines flights. In this post you will find a review the sums up our experiences.
First, let’s start with the good…
1. We have only had positive encounters with staff at the ticketing booths, as well as flight attendants. Some are overly accommodating (in a lovely and positive way) and some are just covering what is expected of them at their job, but all have been friendly and helpful.
2. It’s the only flight to Hawaii that is truly festive. They play Hawaiian music, serve Hawaiian chips and Maui Brewing Co. beer (it’s one of Brian’s favorite breweries), and get you in the mood for a vacation. It’s fun, and much needed in an industry that seems to be letting the speciality of air travel die off.
3. This is the last airline that serves a free meal in economy class on domestic flights. It is very bittersweet.
4. Economy class is clean. It’s not overly fancy, but the seats and the bathrooms were always clean. The leg room is decent too. My 6’5″ husband was as comfortable as he could get in his middle seat.
5. Their flights were always easy to board and on-time. Obviously luck can be attributed to most of this, but also good planning on their part, too.
6. When we went in December there were probably only 15 people in economy class. They asked everyone to first sit in their assigned seat for the flight attendants to count the present passengers, then we were free to find new seats in the cabin. Most people had entire rows to themselves.
7. Their very transparent with their prices throughout the year. They may go up during peak season, but they list out their prices for the entire year and don’t typically alter the rates.
Now let’s get to the not-so-good parts:
1. This is a petty complaint, but their Mai Tai is terrible. It was so unbelievable bad that my friend and I couldn’t stop laughing over it. I wanted to get in the vacation spirit so I ordered one…and to the credit of our flight attendant, he did warn us that it was awful, but I just had to test it out for myself. Unfortunately, I think United has the contract with Trader Vic’s and exclusively have rights to serve their Mai Tai mix,. However, Hawaiian would be better off finding a new Mai Tai to serve on their plane. If any airline should have a good one, it should be them.
2. The food is awful and made two of our traveling companions slightly ill. I love that it is free, but I actually would prefer to pay for it if that means I get a higher quality meal.
3. There were always problems with the entertainment systems on the flights. Our first flight didn’t have individual TVs, and they didn’t play anything on the shared screens above us. And there was always one or two of us who didn’t have working TVs when we did have the individual screens, which are installed on most of their planes.
With all that being said, we would definitely fly Hawaiian Airlines again. It’s comfortable, clean, and gets the job done. And while I think there could be some simple improvements made to give passengers more of a positive and memorable experience, the truth is that they are affordable and reliable. And as bad as the meals are (let’s not kid ourselves here, they are BAD), it’s nice to save money, especially when you’re traveling with the entire family and individual meals can add up.