Following many delays, the first plane of the Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner 787 fleet is ready to transport passengers. Tickets are now on sale if you would like to be among the first on board. There are questions about flying the 787 you may want to consider, and we’ve got them all below.
In its press release, Hawaiian confirmed that the first routes will be to and from California to achieve familiarization with the new plane type. These first flights will be on their Honolulu to San Francisco route, which will be followed by runs on their ultra-popular Honolulu to Los Angeles route.
New Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner flights will start on April 15.
Service will be once daily between Honolulu and San Francisco and only for one month through May 14. Thereafter, the Dreamliner will fly between Los Angeles and both Maui and Honolulu. In the future, there will be 12 Dreamliner planes across the Pacific.
Hawaiian’s 787 focuses on premium luxury.
It has often been said that the front of the plane, Business or First, largely pays for the flight. It seems no expense has been spared in the front with beautiful Hawaiian textures and fabrics that the airline says “[evoke] Hawaii’s beauty through bold textures, soothing sunrise and sunset lighting, and sinuous ocean and wind patterns.”
The main focus here is the thirty-four business class, lie-flat suites with privacy doors that are the same as ones already in use on Qatar Airways. Hawaiian was to have been the launch airline for the new suites, but the timing didn’t work out. These suites feature 18-inch monitors and wireless chargers, and all have direct aisle access without climbing over someone. These features and more have been missing in the current Airbus A330 fleet, which has been plying the skies for about a decade already.
While Hawaiian says that it offers “privacy or a shared experience with combinable double suites,” they do not offer the true double-bed experience found in other airlines’ business class.
You’ll also note that from their image, the suites appear quite tight in terms of the space between seat rows. What happens is that when the seat slides forward into its lie-flat position, a significant part of the passenger’s body extends under the console of the seat in front. Thus, the first row, which doesn’t have an ottoman in front of it, could be the most desirable of these suites.
Economy has 3-3-3 seating and no premium economy.
Hawaiian’s 787 Main Cabin service will consist of “266 Collins Aerospace Aspire light-weight seats with ergonomically contoured back and armrests that maximize seat space, offer more shoulder and hip room and feature a 12-inch seatback monitor with USB-A and USB-C charging ports.”
Who will most enjoy the new Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner?
1. Anyone traveling in business class. We see seats available for sale starting at about $800 one-way, which is a reasonable airfare for the high level of service being offered. That fluctuates seasonally as well, but expect it to only go up from there. The Dreamliner will be a huge uplift for business passengers compared with the current A330 offering. Having said that, not long ago, we reviewed the Hawaiian Airlines A330 business and totally loved it. As always, we paid our own way for that review flight. Hawaiian was unaware we would be onboard.
2. Economy passengers traveling in groups of three or four. Because the economy seating is configured as 3-3-3 across, it will work well for those passengers with at least that many in their party. For three passengers, any section (side or middle) will work well, although we have a personal preference for the center section inasmuch as there is more direct aisle access for two of the three passengers. With a group of four traveling together, a side or middle section of three seats together with the adjoining section’s aisle seat is another very good option.
3. Economy passengers traveling alone. For solo passengers, we suggest the middle section aisle seat for easy aisle access, where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
4. Those simply wanting to try the new plane. The Dreamliner will be quieter than the A330, and everything will be brand-spanking new and fresh. The aircraft supposedly features a more comfortable ride, with its lower altitude equivalent within the cabin. We haven’t found much difference in our own experiences, and honestly, we like the A330 for the most part just as well.
Who may not like the Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner 787 fleet?
First and foremost, passengers traveling in groups of two. For a couple traveling together, there is no comparison with the added comfort of having the 2-4-2 configuration found in the A330 planes. That has for years meant that two people traveling together on the A330 widebody fleet can, in most cases, find seats together without sharing with a third or fourth person.
Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner vs. Hawaiian Airlines A330.
The Dreamliner features larger windows, electronically controllable by guests and crew (some like that and others don’t – we don’t). Cabin crew can override the window settings, making it impossible to look out. The plane also has better and more vibrant, modern cabin mood lighting and the lower altitude environment. Internal cabin pressure on 787’s is at about 6,000 ft., which again is alleged to provide improvement in passengers’ comfort.
Neither the Boeing 787 Dreamliner nor the Airbus A330 are new plane types.
Certainly, the Dreamliner is new to Hawaiian, but it has already been flying with other airlines for almost a decade. Then too, the A330-200 aircraft that Hawaiian operates has already been in service with other airlines for more than a quarter century.
The most exciting thing about the Dreamliner for Hawaiian is its efficiency and the possibility of new routes. Nonstop flights to Southeast Asia and London are among the possibilities. Other Dreamliner customers in the USA include United Airlines and American Airlines.
Economy class on Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner 787.
Economy appears to be more the same than it is different when comparing the current A330 with the new Dreamliner. Vibrant new colors and a comfortable-looking headrest are the most obvious changes evident here. As we said previously, “Seating appears otherwise relatively unchanged, and our experience with the comfort of their current economy product is not particularly good…” BOH editor Jeff said, ‘On the negative side is the terrible legroom in economy and the relatively poor value for more legroom in ExtraComfort.’ Based on news from Hawaiian about the new fleet, we do not expect the comfort or the legroom to increase.”
How much will extra legroom cost on Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner?
Hawaiian says, “Treat yourself to the extra comfort you deserve.” But at what cost? Since the Dreamliner is new and these are familiarization routes, we don’t know just how pricing will pan out for the Extra Comfort (extra legroom seating). In the initial days of flight, the charges are up to $121 for extra legroom. That is a fair price compared with what we’ve paid previously on Hawaiian and what other airlines charge.
Nothing appears radically different compared with the 9-year-old extra legroom (“Extra Comfort”) product found on the A330. It offers from generous to extremely generous legroom at variable costs. When editor Jeff recently flew extra legroom on the A330 he reported it was very comfortable. The price he paid was an additional $142 in addition to his economy ticket from Honolulu to LA.
No premium economy for Hawaiian Airlines at this time.
The extra legroom Extra Comfort product is not “premium economy.” Unlike American, Delta, and United, don’t expect to find additional features or better meals here. We have said repeatedly, however, that “We do still expect some form of premium economy to evolve at Hawaiian Airlines, simply due to industry competitive pressure.” We’ll stick with that prediction. Beat of Hawaii is about to fly and review United Airlines’ premium economy widebody product to Hawaii.
True premium economy cuts in between economy and business/first class with better seats, more legroom, upgraded meals, dedicated flight attendants, and more amenities.
Hawaiian Airlines business class double-suite:
The new Adient seats replace the somewhat less than-popular Optimare lie-flat first/business seats found on the A330 fleet. Some complain about those seats and their comfort and layout. Those don’t have direct aisle access as is standard in business class on widebody planes.
On the other hand, here’s what we’ve said about those A330 seats: “We have flown on the lie flat A330 seats and enjoyed them thoroughly. While they are now somewhat dated and are in a tight 2/2/2 configuration instead of the Dreamliner 1/2/1, they are still comfortable and even have some advantages over other business-class seats. Specifically, they do not feature the foot cubby-hole jail that has become customary in business.”
Please share your thoughts on flying the new Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner 787.