Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner Flights Begin Amid 787 Safety Concerns

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner Flights Begin Amid 787 Safety Concerns

The first commercial flights of the long-awaited Hawaiian Airlines 789 Dreamliner have commenced. Hawaiian Airlines can’t seem to catch a break at the moment, however, given the bad timing in relation to recent Dreamliner safety concerns. And in that regard, today, Newsweek reported that 3/4 of millennials say “they are more worried about flying in the wake of recent high-profile safety lapses at Boeing.”

First new routes featuring Hawaiian Dreamliner.

The plane flew yesterday from Honolulu to San Francisco. It will fly for one month on that route when the second Dreamliner, which arrived last week, enters service. After that, flights will begin to operate on other routes, including Honolulu to Los Angeles and Phoenix. A third plane is planned for arrival later this year, with the remaining plans staggered over the next three years.

Welcoming new plane to Honolulu.

Beat of Hawaii editors plan to try the Dreamliner in the near future. Recently, however, Beat of Hawaii was at Honolulu Airport with Hawaiian executives to tour the new Hawaiian Airlines plane in its entirety.

When Hawaii first ordered these new-car-smelling planes, they planned to fly them to new and more distant destinations, including internationally. Should the planned merger with Alaska be concluded successfully, it isn’t clear where Alaska would choose to deploy these aircraft.

This first Dreamliner arrived three years late.

Their first Dreamliner, named Kapuahi, sat parked for several years during COVID. Now that the planes are flying, they will operate for now, to western US cities, although we expect to see them heading out to longer missions quite soon.

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner cockpit.

How does the Dreamliner change the Hawaiian Air A330/A321 fleet?

For the most part, it doesn’t. Hawaiian will retain its existing mainland/international fleets of A321neo and A330 aircraft. There are no plans to change those for the foreseeable future. Recently, Hawaiian extended leases set to expire this year on four of the A330 widebody planes, in part due to ongoing A321neo engine problems.

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Hawaiian Dreamliner plan began a decade ago.

The new Dreamliners date back to 2014, when Hawaiian bought six Airbus A350-800 aircraft. When those were discontinued by Airbus, that moved the company to a new plan. We believe Boeing gave Hawaiian a sweetheart deal to bring them back to their planes, long before Boeing quality issues began to surface.

Hawaiian Airilnes Dreamliner interior
Economy/Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner.

Would Hawaiian have done something different, given what they know today? We’d say yes, they might well have stayed with Airbus widebody planes. But that’s water under the bridge at this point.

No premium economy at Hawaiian – yet.

What we deem to be a needed premium economy cabin never materialized. CEO Peter Ingram told us recently that he hasn’t ruled it out for their future, however.

Hawaiian Airilnes Dreamliner interior, Business class.
Business Class/Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner.

Business class is the focus on Hawaiian Airlines’ Dreamliner.

The plane features new Adient Aerospace lie-flat business seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. These offer direct aisle access and far more comfort and privacy compared with the prior and quirky Optimares A330 business-class lie-flat.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner

There are 34 of the “Leihōkū” suites with privacy doors. These are the same ones used by Qatar Airways. They have 18-inch monitors, wireless phone charging, and more amenities. The center suites are not the true double-bed type, as seen on some other airlines. These actually face apart in the design to provide the narrow foot cubbies seen under the seat console in front.

How about economy upgrades on the Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner?

We were pleasantly surprised with the legroom and overall comfort in the plane’s economy class. It did feel more spacious to us than on the A330, which itself isn’t bad. And it’s much better compared with the airline’s A321, which we find to be claustrophobic. Economy seats are Collins Aspire, which have new ergonomically contoured back and armrests that claim to maximize living space and provide more shoulder and hip room. These have a 12-inch seatback monitor with both USB-A and USB-C charging ports.

Extra legroom available for a fee with their Extra Comfort seats.

The 79 Extra Comfort seats provide both extra legroom and access to AC power outlets. Otherwise, they are the same as regular economy seats.

Tip: the very best economy seats (Extra Comfort) were two-across bulkhead sets (of which there are only two pairs on the entire plane, pictured above and below).

Hawaii Dreamliner Extra Comfort economy.

More about the new Hawaiian Dreamliner and two questions for you.

The plane’s most prominent new feature is its business-class seating. We would also argue that flying the Dreamliner on American Airlines, United Airlines, or Hawaiian Airlines is far more the same than it is different. What can make the largest difference for passengers is associated with the soft product, being everything other than the physical aspects of the plane.

Our questions to you are this. First, have your feelings about flying Dreamliner changed in light of all of the recent issues? And secondly, would you have a preference for one airline’s Dreamliner plane versus another? Mahalo!

Leave a Comment

Comment policy:
* No profanity, rudeness, personal attacks, or bullying.
* Hawaii focused only. General comments won't be published.
* No links or UPPER CASE text. English please.
* No duplicate posts or using multiple names.
* Use a real first name, last initial.
* Comments edited/published/responded to at our discretion.
* Beat of Hawaii has no relationship with our commentors.
* 1,000 character limit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

14 thoughts on “Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner Flights Begin Amid 787 Safety Concerns”

  1. BOH,

    The recent problems at Boeing will not keep me from flying the 787 or any of their other aircraft. Airbus has had its share of problems as well, although Boeing seems to have had more recently.

    I’m not gonna walk away from an American company unless safety problems continue unabated. Airbus’ stock is 25% owned by European governments. So, who calls the shots? And, are there any sweetheart deals with that largest owner of the company???

  2. I watched the Boeing whistleblower testimony to Congress today and yikes. I will not be flying the Dreamliner. And I’m also not a fan of the 3-3-3 configuration. I’ll stick to Airbus.

  3. Myself, I’ll take the Airbus A-330, as I prefer the 2-2-2 configuration in First Class, then the 1-2-1 Configuration of the 787 Business, despite more Seats being available.

  4. I watched Boeing develop and test the 787 and have to say its a remarkable airplane with some very innovative deign concepts. I actually look forward to the chance to fly on one. Yes the wings flex like a bird, that is part of the design. You should see the stress testing they did. Totally amazing. nearly bent the wings in half! No failure.
    As much as I like HAL, I am keenly disappointed that they went with 3x3x3 seating on the 787 and refuse to fly in a HAL 787 until they get 2 across premium economy. Peter Ingram lost this customer with his decision regarding Premium Economy.

  5. Part 4: Due to the long term and ongoing quality and safety issues with Boeing aircraft, I had already started booking our flights on legs/routes where we can fly on Airbus widebody aircraft only. This has been no problem in the past as Hawaiian Airlines has the Airbus A330-200 service to various points on the mainland, where we connect to Europe on airlines that fly Airbus widebody aircraft. It is a headache and additional work to research and find the right flights, but to me it makes sense instead of waiting and worrying if the Boeing aircraft I am on is going to fall apart. Thanks for your patience with my long post.

  6. Part 3: Further cost cutting resulted in huge layoffs, including one in 2020 of about 16,000 workers, hundreds of them being quality inspectors. Boeing said in 2019 they were being replaced by “technology improvements”, and therein is the crux of the issue with the quality and safety issues regarding Boeing aircraft. Over the past ten years, ex-Boeing quality inspectors have come forward with whistleblower complaints regarding safety concerns and flaws, the most recent being a Boeing quality engineer who “urged Boeing to ground every 787 Dreamliner jet worldwide after warning they are at risk of premature failure.” Part 4 final in next comment.

  7. Part 2: It is widely accepted that Boeing’s quality problems began with the purchase and merging of rival aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Prior to that purchase, Boeing was widely known and respected for their attention to quality and safety, and their management people were mostly engineers. But within a few years of the purchase, Boeing’s management team became engorged with McDonnell Douglas executives who had financial backgrounds instead of engineering and began heavy cost cutting that led to Boeing subcontracting out the major aircraft components like fuselages, wings, tail sections, etc. Part 3 to follow next comment.

  8. I am a Hawaii resident and thus a regular interisland flyer, as well as to the mainland, Asia and Europe. I concur with another commenter that there is a big difference between maintenance issues and manufacturing issues regarding Boeing aircraft. However, the issues that Boeing is currently in the spotlight for are not maintenance issues that are caused by the airlines who lease or own the aircraft in their fleets. Boeing is in the spotlight for the crashes and flight safety risk that is due to the decline in the quality of the aircraft that they manufacture. Part 2 to follow next comment.

  9. Southwest is saying that they are only going to get 50% of the 737 Max aircraft they have ordered. This could get interesting.

  10. Just flew to Maui last month on a 787 albeit an American Airlines plane And it was a great flight in all aspects. So if you are so worried about these aircraft then pick a flight that is not on one like maybe an Airbus one that may or may not have those engine issues that could cause some serious flight issues. Also, if you cannot distinguish between possible manufacturing issues and maintenance issues when it comes to Boeing aircraft then maybe you should just stay at home because the maintenance problems have significantly outweighed any manufacturing issues.

  11. Not all my travel is for pleasure and I frequently fly between the Islands and the West Coast. HA absolutely needs to make it crystal clear which planes/routes have WiFi. This is literally a consideration I have to make when being in the air for 5 hours managing business. If you want premium passengers for your premium seats, then think premium communication.

    1. Hi Barry.

      While we concur, we have found that when flying United and Alaska Airlines, even when they say that WiFi will be work, a significant percentage of the time it does not. And, Delta has been even worse.


  12. Sounds so comfy. I worry and trying to just Not worry about Boeing’s quality measures. If I started worrying, there would be no upcoming trip to the islands. I think we that are flying, are willing to take the risk. For me, I am in my golden years and while it is not the way, to meet my maker, if I do, ……..
    The bigger issue is that quality control is affected in all realms of our daily living. Over population, below average upbringing, and laziness, just pure laziness is causing us all to experience more tragedies than ever before. Greed goes into the equation. But, as we spend more on a daily basis, it would be an easier pill to swallow, should we be assured of quality control. Quality Control Folks Whatever You Do.

Scroll to Top