What's The Best Economy Class Airline To Hawaii?

Avoiding Middle Seats on Flights to Hawaii Easily

Jeff hates being stuck in middle seats more than he can say. In today’s article, we’ll start with ways to avoid middle seats that can be done with little or no cost. Tomorrow, we will introduce another feature we’ve never talked about before, which will eliminate the middle seat problem at a very modest cost.

The middle seat, dubbed the worst seat on an airplane by Jeff, is almost endurable on your Hawaii vacation when it’s a short, interisland flight. But sitting there for five to ten hours on flights to Hawaii is another matter entirely.

The nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide, and inability to get up situation keeps getting worse. Re-fleeting and other airline industry factors reduce passengers’ ability to avoid middle seats. The physical distancing of airplane passengers and the idea of finding a middle seat vacancy too has all but disappeared.

As companies like Hawaiian Airlines and others move from wide-body to more single-aisle, narrow-body for most of their mainland to Hawaii flights, this situation is getting more difficult to control.

Airlines know all too well how much we hate that middle seat.

They fully intend to monetize avoiding them. Wouldn’t you know? The industry has implemented surcharges associated with seat assignments that make getting the assurance of any window or aisle seat yet another premium. So even with aircraft having some two-across seating, carriers will try to charge a premium for you to reserve them.

Beat of Hawaii suggests you do this:

Stick with planes that offer standard (no extra cost), two-across seating on the left and right sides of the aircraft.

If you’re not sure, look for the following aircraft types that are used on Hawaii flights. See notes below about some aircraft not listed that offer at least a few rows of two across seating. These are usually at the back of the plane where the fuselage gets narrower.

Select adjoining aisle seats.

When two people are traveling together, select aisle seats across from each other when airline middle seats are unavoidable. If you’re stuck on an aircraft that offers only three-across seating, the aisle seems to us at least to be the best choice.

Choose three-across aircraft that have at least a few two-across seat pairs.

This is another way to avoid the dreaded middle seats. These are a result of the narrowing of the plane at the tail end of an exit row at the front (Hawaiian A321neo). While ostensibly offering no additional room, there is thankfully no middle seat. Sometimes, these seats offer even less room. These paired seats are sometimes only available as an upgrade option.

Buy Cheap upgrades at minimal cost, starting at as little as $10.

We frequently upgrade Hawaiian Airlines inter-island seats from the back of the plane to the first row of economy, with extra legroom and two across, for just $10 per person. With early boarding and a quicker exit, that is indeed a Hawaii flight bargain.

Use a seat mapping website for details of options.

Try Seat Guru or, even better Aerolopa to look at the best seating options based on the airline and type of aircraft you’ll be flying. Do this before booking your flights.

Avoid basic economy to Hawaii.

If you go the route of the very cheapest tickets, seat selection may either be unavailable or so limited as to make the dreaded middle seat largely unavoidable. Not only that, but if you need to change your flight, you’ll be out of luck since basic economy is not changeable.

Two tricks when flying Southwest Hawaii.

First, you can opt for early boarding for your favorite seats. To and from Hawaii, that is about an $80 option. By the way, Southwest offers family boarding when traveling with a child age six or younger. You will be allowed to get on before the “B” boarding group. Or try the Early Bird upgrade option for just $25.

Buy when flights are on sale.

When you score a cheap flight to Hawaii, you might want to splurge a little. Check the cost of an upgrade to an exit row or other seat with more legroom.

Fly to Maui or Honolulu for the best wide-body choices.

Flights to Kauai and Kona are almost always on narrow-body aircraft.

Check-in online at 24 hours.

This is one of the best tricks in flying. Be the first to check in exactly as your device clocks tell you it is 24 hours before departure. By that, we mean to say don’t wait even one or two minutes. Options for changes, including avoiding airline middle seats and upgrades, if they exist, will be best at that exact moment.

Airline by airline breakdown to avoid middle seats.

Three airlines are exactly the same, with no aircraft options to avoid middle seats in economy. They are Alaska, Southwest, and United. Here are the other airlines that have more options:

American Airlines Hawaii middle seats:

Some American Airlines widebody aircraft offer two-across seating to avoid middle seats in economy.

Delta Airlines Hawaii middle seats:

Some Delta Air Lines aircraft offer two-across seating to avoid Delta middle seats in economy.

Hawaiian Airlines middle seats:

A330 wide-body, as well as B717 interisland aircraft, have two across seating in economy. Their upcoming Dreamliner 787 fleet will only have 3-3-3 seating in economy.

How do you avoid being stuck in the dreaded middle seats? Tomorrow, we’ll share another great option.

8 thoughts on “Avoiding Middle Seats on Flights to Hawaii Easily”

  1. When flying with two young teenage girls. They are all ready fighting for the window🤣so next best is the aisle seat. Where does that leave the mom stuck in the middle seat between them as they grumble & argue between them.
    Contemplating about changing her airline tickets and letting them fly Alone🤣😂🤣😂

  2. Just an update on avoiding middle seats on United. I flew United in June 2021 Den- Lih on a Boing 767 with two across seating. Flying United in Feb. 2022 ord- hnl on a 777 with two across Premium Economy.

  3. I try to look for a 767. They often have a 2-3-2 configuration with fewer middle seats, and you and your travel partner can reserve an aisle and window together along the side rows.

  4. Off the west coast must aircraft are the narrow body aircraft types. It also helps to have an understanding of how badly that flight is sold out.
    Aloha Guys

  5. I pay! When I’m travelling with my husband we always reserve extra leg room seats across from each other.

  6. Aloha ,
    When I purchase a ticket I choose aisle seat for me and my partner as we usually like direct to Kauai. I have paid extra for seats near an
    Exit. I have checked on the equipment listed and chose favorable seats however then the airline changed the equipment prior to trip.


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