Hawaiian Just Hinted Two Fleet Replacements And Much More

Pros and Cons | How Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliners Are Turning Out

Competition continues to heat up on Hawaii flights as American, Hawaiian, and United all focus more on premium cabins consistent with the current Hawaii travel environment. Last week Hawaiian Airlines revealed how their Dreamliner fleet will look. The first plane is on-schedule to arrive this year and enter service by early in 2024. We won’t have long to wait, and Beat of Hawaii will be traveling on and independently reviewing the Dreamliner as soon as it starts flying.

Let’s start with what we like before devolving into the things that didn’t turn out quite in the way we had hoped.

An elegant new 787 Dreamliner flagship for Hawaiian.

There are no two ways about it; this will be a massive uplift for the Hawaii bellwether carrier. Following eight years with its current premium cabin on the 10-year-old A330 fleet, a change was needed to come current with other airlines. Everything looks new and spiffy, and the Dreamliner is a comfortable plane on which to fly long distances, as is intended for this new fleet.

Starting from the back of the plane and moving forward, here’s how each of the service offerings looks to be panning out.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner vs. current A330-200 widebody.

Contrasting the new and current widebody fleets, there are substantial differences no matter which class of service you fly in. From a customer standpoint, the Dreamliner will feature larger windows, electronically controllable by guests and crew, better and more exciting cabin lighting, and a lower altitude environment. The internal cabin pressure on the Dreamliner is equivalent to 6,000 ft., which offers significant improvement in passenger comfort.

The new Dreamliner variant that Hawaiian is receiving has been in service for almost 9-years since the product launch with airline partner ANA. By comparison, the A330-200 typeHawaiian flies have been in service for over twenty-five years.

The Dreamliners are renowned for long-distance routes, and it does make possible nonstop flights to Southeast Asia, and London, among other places. Some of the biggest U.S. Dreamliner customers are United Airlines and American Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner economy.


New colors and a cushy headrest are the primary changes evident in the economy section of the Dreamliner. Seating appears otherwise relatively unchanged, and our experience with the comfort of their current economy product is not particularly good. When he flew on the A330 economy product recently, 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.

The 266 Collins Aerospace Aspire seats fitted for economy and extra legroom feature “ergonomically contoured back and arm rests. Guests will enjoy a lightweight, modern design that maximizes seat space, offers more shoulder and hip room, and features a 12-inch seatback monitor with USB-A and USB-C charging ports.” That is according to Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner extra legroom economy – up to $279 more.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner extra legroom.

Nothing appears dramatically different in terms of the now 9-year-old extra legroom (“Extra Comfort”) product we have become very familiar with. It offers from generous to very generous legroom at a variable cost throughout the plane. Editor Jeff recently flew in the extra legroom product on the A330 and was overall very comfortable. The cost was less satisfying, as he paid an additional $142 over his economy ticket on the flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles.

Remember that the extra legroom product here isn’t “premium economy.” That means the only extra amenity you’ll find, “at least at rollout,” is an electric socket. While all the seats have USB power in economy, only the Extra Comfort seats will include 110 power. Describing the difference between economy and extra legroom, Hawaiian said during the announcement, “Seventy-nine Extra Comfort seats offer the added legroom and access to AC outlets.

Don’t expect to find any additional offerings or better meals on the Dreamliner at this time. We do still expect some form of premium economy to evolve at Hawaiian Airlines, simply due to industry competitive pressure.

American, Delta and United Airlines offer true premium economy cabins on wide-body flights to and from Hawaii. Those typically include different seats and seating configurations, upgraded meal service, dedicated flight attendants, and more. Beat of Hawaii will be checking out all of the United Airlines’ Hawaii products this summer.

Here’s what Jeff said previously about the Hawaiian extra legroom product:

“Seating in ExtraComfort can vary from 35-36 inches or even more (compared to 31 inches in regular economy). In row 34, where Jeff sat, the legroom was perhaps close to 72″ due to the flight attendant’s jump seat and the emergency exit doors. As a side note, when considering that row, keep in mind it gets very cold. The reason is that the door leaks air, and it is like having freezing cold air conditioning blowing on you throughout the flight. Despite the legroom, the seats feel very narrow.”

The cost of the extra legroom varies by seat, flight, and, most importantly, demand. Checking today on the JFK-HNL route operated by the A330 (for July travel), where you will definitely see the Dreamliner, extra legroom will cost from $239 to $279 one-way.

Review Of Hawaiian Airlines Economy + ExtraComfort on A330 Wide-Body.

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner business class – up to $4,500+.


At the expensive front end of the aircraft, there is a large 34 “Leihōkū suite” business section that occupies the aircraft clean up to the second boarding door. That is up from 18 business suites on the A330 aircraft. These are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, with every seat having direct aisle access, as is now the industry standard. The current A330 business seats do not have that ability which is cumbersome. As you can see in the photos, the new window seats are angled outwards, and the middle seats face each aisle.

When Hawaiian previewed the Dreamliner business class, we got a very different impression of how that was going to look. Last week we spoke with Avi Mannis, Hawaiian’s senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, about the Dreamliner. The business seating is from Adient Aerospace, which announced the new product in 2019, and Hawaiian was to be the launch customer for the new company. Ultimately due to delays, Qatar became the launch airline for the product.

What changed with business-class suites, especially for couples?

The “cabana suites,” representing the two seats together section in the middle of the cabin, are designed specifically for couples. Hawaiian has touted that, understandably, since Hawaii is such a couples-oriented premium leisure destination. The seats were shown for the first time at the 2019 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

The first image we received of the suites is below, and it appears to show a double bed, similar to products on airlines such as Qatar and Singapore. When we spoke with Avi about the product, he pointed out that the double comforter in the photo below may have caused our confusion about the very nature of the product. Therefore it wasn’t clear that these aren’t at all double-bed type suites since the two seats clearly face outward from each other, as you’ll see in the second photo.

For one person, however, with the privacy screen raised, it is an excellent single business-class suite. It’s interesting to note that this configuration will be identical to the already flying Qatar Airways Dreamliner suites.

Beat of Hawaii will be flying and independently reviewing United Polaris business class this summer.

Original design rendition Hawaiian Airlines business double-suite:


Actual Hawaiian Airlines business double-suite:


Hawaiian, at the time we first wrote about it, was still developing the precise suite configuration, which may also include doors before it is all done. We should see more images soon.

The new Adient seats replace the controversial Optimare lie-flat first/business seats in the current A330 fleet.  Many have complained about those seats, their comfort, design and layout. Among other concerns, those don’t have direct aisle access and are in a sub-optimal 2-2-2 configuration.

Beat of Hawaii on current A330 business.

We said and still affirm, “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.”

Hawaiian’s promotional video about the Dreamliner:

Additional note on the Hawaiian Dreamliners.

These will not be delivered with Wi-Fi. Those will be retrofitted subsequently, and we’ll update you subsequently on that.

What are you looking forward to on the new Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliners?

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20 thoughts on “Pros and Cons | How Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliners Are Turning Out”

  1. Amazing how the majors studiously avoid the one thing passengers want most: wider, more comforable seats. And please…. put some padding on the armrests.

    We fly American and usually opt for the extra legroom seats when we can’t afford business class and the extra legroom makes the flight better, no doubt about it. But the seats are still too narrow and are, frankly, uncomfortable. I’m 6’3″ and my back always aches after riding in those lousy coach seats. I can’t think of a better way for an airline to disrespect passengers.

  2. Dreamliners so much better than the A330. The seats are very uncomfortable on the A330. Flights from mainland into Hawaii are tough with the seats on A330 so I choose now not to fly on Hawaiian.

  3. I wish Hawaiian would have picked the A350, which – at some time under Mark Dunkerly – they were looking at. Same low cabin altitude as the 787, but quieter, no checkered production history, and much less pretentious.

    Got plenty of airtime in the 787 between Japan and Europe. Was a Dreamliner fan when the idea was under development. Actual flying practice later left less satisfied. Just got of a 14+ hours redeye on Lufthansa’s A350-900 yesterday and felt refreshed and able to tackly my day. Can’t say the same with my previous quarterly flights in JAL’s 787 on the same route. Engine noise and poor cabin configuration left me a bit unsatisfied every time. And the LCD-type window shades always seemed over engineered to me.

      1. I would even take the A330-900 (the “neo”) over the 787 because it retains the superior 2-4-4 seating layout in economy and is even less noisy then the current A330ies Hawaiian flies. (Which I find very quiet.) Hawaiian had originally chosen the A330 neo after Airbus gave up their plans for a smaller version of the A350, but then relented and went with the 787. They must have gotten a really sweat deal from Boeing?

  4. Not looking forward to single window seats. My wife prefers window seats, she also prefer we sit next to each other.

    If HA is such a couples airline, then ir should be couple at the windows.

    1. Are you speaking of Business Class? If so…having two window seats works great for us when we fly…. Love the extra space and privacy

  5. Sounds like a good plane but more leg room would of been nice. Sounds like the may have bigger seats which helps. Always fly Hawaiian but last trip was so packed it wasn’t pleasant

  6. What I will miss most is the 2-4-2 layout of the economy seat layout. With that pattern, if you were traveling with just one other person you had you own little “area”. With the new 3-3-3 you won’t be able to do that anymore.
    But the 787 is definitely nicer and a step up from the 330. As you said bigger windows and they are quieter and the cabin pressure is supposedly set yo a “lower altitude” so it’s supposed to be more comfortable on a longer flight. (less dryness / more humidity)
    I flew a 787 going home from HI just a few weeks ago)

  7. Among attractive qualities of airline service – be it to/from Hawaii or any city pair you chose is punctuality, unfortunately not a current operational quality of HA no matter the cause be HA or HNL construction.
    Add to that the recent frequent HA over-water diversions, regardless of the causes. Anyone remember hopefully named Trans-Pacific Airlines? Jim E

  8. I suppose if you’re tall and/or traveling a very long distance, or money is no object, paying for these extras is certainly your choice. But guess what–I’m going to arrive in the same amount of time you do, and have some cash left over.

  9. Is the 787 a 3-3-3 in the back? Looks like it from the pictures. If so, that would be a negative for couples or families of 4, unlike the 2-4-2 of the A330.

    1. Absolutely agree, I love the A330 layout for travelling as a couple. I’d much rather fly a decades old A330 in the 2-3-2 configuration than a brand new 787 where we’re going to have to deal with another passenger in our row. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  10. The 787 is a horribly uncomfortable aircraft in economy on most airlines. I can’t imagine HA’s 787’s being any different. Southwest still (for me) has the most comfortable seats on Hawaii/Mainland flights. I love widebody aircraft but when they keep making it more and more miserable for the general public to be on… I’ll take a max8 on Southwest just for the extra legroom!

  11. From the article:
    “The reason is that the door leaks air, and it is like having freezing cold air conditioning blowing on you throughout the flight.”

    Really…? Wouldn’t that cause a rapid decompression at 35,000 feet with a leaky aircraft?

    Actually the pressure inside the airplane is higher than the atmosphere, causing the door to push out against the body of the aircraft. Any “leaky door” would cause the air from the inside leak to the outside, not the other way around.

  12. I’m not really thrilled at what HA has designed. The seats and legroom look very similar to the 330 and the last time I flew on their 330, extra comfort was a major disappointment. Of course, the additional fare had doubled.

    1. HA hasn’t said, but speculation is that it’s considering the A220, Embraer 190, and possibly the 737 MAX7.

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