Could Hawaiian Dreamliners Be Waylaid By Huge UAL Order

Sneak Peek: Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner Is On

Here’s good news for those waiting for the next generation of widebody planes from bellwether Hawaiian Airlines. We are among those looking forward to this flight. Augmenting Hawaiian’s already nearly decade-old fleet of 24 A330-200 planes, the planes will add a new level of comfort and luxury, better fuel economy, and the potential for longer distance flights. Not to mention blazing-fast, free Starlink satellite WiFi.

It was 2018 when Hawaiian surprised everyone with this non-Airbus long-distance fleet addition. They announced the arrival of the first planes would take place early in this decade. Then the world went upside down, including aviation manufacturing. Following two deadly Boeing 737 Max crashes, the FAA began to pull back on Boeing aircraft certifications, including that of the 787. Furthermore, production flaws were discovered on the Dreamliner that potentially impacted 1,000 planes. That has led to multiple delays in deliveries that are now expected to end this week.

Hawaiian has firm orders for 10 planes with flatbeds and the purchase rights for 10 more. Earlier this year, company CEO Peter Ingram said, “Our two 787s that were scheduled to be delivered in 2022 are delayed and we now expect to receive them no earlier than the first half of 2023.”

Beat of Hawaii: One plane, pictured above at the Boeing plant in South Carolina, appears to have already flown and should be available for delivery sooner than later. We don’t know when subsequent aircraft might be delivered or how Hawaiian will deploy a more limited fleet than they’d envisioned.

Here’s why Hawaiian Airlines’ Dreamliner is a big deal.

The new Boeing Dreamliner offers significantly greater fuel efficiency and range. This new product is intended to be an addition to the existing A330 widebody fleet on long-haul routes, including those premium markets in the US, such as New York, and international destinations, like Sydney, Australia. It isn’t clear whether dense west coast markets such as San Francisco and Los Angeles could also be added to the company’s plans for the Dreamliner.

Previously, Ingram said of the new Boeing two-aisle jets, “the 787 remains the most advanced generation of new aircraft, incredibly fuel-efficient and environmentally efficient, and it is destined to be the flagship of our network. We are still very excited to get it.” Hawaiian COO Jon Snook said this is the plane for Japan, Australia, and New York.

Could this open a new Europe-to-Hawaii route as well?

The company has repeatedly expressed interest in Southeast Asia routes, including Singapore. Dreamliner will also be used for domestic premium markets, with JFK being a certainty.

We have thought for years that Hawaiian will use this ideal aircraft to enter and succeed in a new Europe-to-Hawaii market via London. The airline said, however, that it was not on their immediate wish list of markets. The 787-9 variant, which Hawaiian will receive, can range up to 7,635 miles from Hawaii. On the Dreamliner, you can expect these new routes to bring flight times up to about 14+ hours.

Honestly, 14 hours is manageable on that plane, and on the even longer range, Airbus A350-900 used by other carriers. You may recall that Hawaiian was heading towards a acquisition of (shorter range) Airbus A350-800 then A330neo planes before dropping those and entering their surprise Dreamliner agreement.  

Hawaiian Airlines will offer a more luxurious, premium configuration for Hawaii visitors.

Hawaiian is betting on the importance of premium cabins in the carrier’s leisure markets to the Hawaiian islands. This is a dramatic change to their prior philosophy, which saw far less importance in premium offerings, and is a commitment to Hawaii’s new luxury visitor paradigm. You may recall that when Hawaiian deployed their lie-flat seating on the current A330 fleet, they did not provide aisle access from every seat, as was becoming standard in the industry at that time.

The Dreamliner, first introduced by former CEO Mark Dunkerley, will launch Hawaiian’s new premium lie-flat business class private pod/suite. It was designed by Adient Aerospace, a joint venture part-owned by Boeing. Hawaiian was to be the launch customer in the marketplace for these new Adient business class suites, vastly different from the comfortable yet more basic lay-flat product that Hawaiian offers on the Airbus A330s.

Cabana suites for two are on tap.

These follow a new industry-wide trending feature of a “cabana suite” wherein the two center seats can be joined as one for a meal or a movie and is ideal for honeymoons. Qatar Airways recently introduced these on their Dreamliners in business class (pictured below).

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner

Economy seating (the same used in both regular and premium economy) will be by Ascent, with the significant differences being extra legroom and an amenity kit. Details to be announced. Many US airlines don’t sell a true and separate premium economy to Hawaii, although that is becoming more popular and could later be retrofitted to the Dreamliner fleet.

Our take on the 787 Dreamliner.

We both enjoy the Dreamliner on long-haul flights for its pleasant and spacious feeling cabin, larger but awkward electronic shade control windows, lower altitude pressurization, and general widebody comfort. From a business perspective, it allows Hawaiian a competitive upgrade relative to international competitors, including United Airlines, Qantas, JAL, and Nippon Airways.

See details of the new Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner interior here

Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner

Are you looking forward to the arrival of the new Dreamliner fleet?

Photo Credit: Jetphotos. Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner test flight at North Charleston, South Carolina.

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43 thoughts on “Sneak Peek: Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner Is On”

  1. For all the bluster about Hawaiian Airlines upgrading its fleet, let’s remember this is the same company that cannot do something so elementary as customer service to an acceptable level. Care to imagine what the fares (and change fees) are going to be with respect to these new aircraft?

    If Hawaiian is truly going to compete in a wider aviation market, it has to solve its customer service shortcomings first. Three hour (plus) hold times are unacceptable and an improved web site is mandatory for Hawaiian to evolve into a larger airline.

    1. Warren you’ve touched the Hot Button that I was avoiding, the Increased Prices to fly in these new aircraft. The price increases can hide all sorts of economic penalties from our Hawaiian Uncles and Aunties, their hatred for American Tourism is only Overcome by Their Love Affairs with Our Money! Until the Asians begin their mass Tourism exodus we will be limited in the so-called Aloha spirit by less flights to Hawaii. Maybe a Boycott, like that of Disney, would send a reminder about the economy. Without Us there’s not much You!

  2. From what I have been reading Boeing is having a lot difficulty with aircraft being certified out of the Carolina plant, that’s where the 787 now comes from. So I’m not holding my breath for a good delivery date.

    1. Hi Roy.

      All indications are for deliveries of the Dreamliner to resume on Wednesday. We’ll see what happens.


    1. Hi Claudia.

      There will still not be a true premium economy so pricing of the Extra Comfort should be similar to what it is today (under$200 upcharge). Business, that HA still calls First, will be competitive with UAL Polaris or even a bit higher. Perhaps around $3000 one-way to JFK.


  3. The reference of Qatar Airways 787 business class is incorrect and is actually the A350 Q-Suite business class, which is not what Hawaiian is planned to receive.

    1. Remember Hawaiian just stopped flying the Honolulu to Manila route and gave customers no notice just transferred there tickets to Philippine airlines

  4. BOH,

    I now fly to Hawaii from Ontario (California) > HNL. Not expecting any widebodies on that route to Hawaii.

    But, I’m happy we have a nonstop flight 1 1/2 hours closer to home.

  5. Good article. Actually it was the A330NEO that Hawaiian was going to take, not the A350. Hawaiian never ordered the A350.

    1. Hi Jim.

      Thanks. The reality is they were planning on two Airbus variants, first A350-800, then A330neo, before dropping Airbus entirely. Post corrected to reflect that.


      1. Not true, hawaiian wanted the A350-800 but airbus decided only hawaiian and one other carrier wanted that aircraft and decided not to build the -800.

  6. This will make Hawaiian’s business class competitive with larger carriers, but it is clearly a downgrade for economy class passengers. Most people care more about the seat than they do about new technologies like cabin pressurization. Compared to the a330’s 2-4-2 layout, the 787’s 3-3-3 layout has more middle seats, has no seats in pairs for couples traveling together, and makes the window seat passengers climb over two passengers to go to the bathroom (which never happens in an a330). Perhaps more importantly, the seats are about 0.7~0.8 inches narrower, which actually makes a huge difference when the average American is getting wider year after year. I’d love to try business class on the 787, but economy passengers should stick to a330.

    1. Thanks for the information, I shall pass it on. As for cabin pressuring sequences, I really worry more about sudden and unexpected depressurization! As long as the cabins pressure holds we won’t have a repeat of Paine Stewart’s type of Artic Plunge! God Bless Him.

    2. Buyers/Airlines choose what type/pitch/brand/style seating for the cabins in the planes they purchase, so a 787 (or Airbus)’ seating can vary massively from planned to plane, airline to airline, etc. one cannot assume any sort of interior seating/pitch/width, etc., based on whether the plane is a 787 or AB, etc.

    1. I’m very interested, but from this article it doesn’t look like my market, KSAN, is in the line up for this plane at this time.

    2. This will be interesting to see, Star Link is Elon Musk’s and since the Twitter debacle Elon has become enemy number one for a certain party. I would call it a wait and see.

  7. I am super excited to see which new routes will enter the airspace and keeping my fingers crossed that an ORD to OGG/HNL/KOA and LIH will happen soon! It will give a little pricing competition to the current offerings and more options for passengers to and from the mainland! Great news!!

    1. From what has been said and what has been eluded to don’t hold your breath. This reminds me of a game, this one may be “how do you hide Hawaiians added fees while eliminating tourists numbers! The potential for additional routes seem to be other countries, not so much domestic. It truly shows “Brand Loyalty” in Tourism by everything Hawaiian. As long as United has non stop service I will avoid other companies and especially Hawaiian! Hawaii your “Brand” is wearing poorly, is it “made in China?”

  8. It sounds as if Hawaiian saw the future in ordering the Dreamliners and having the ability to jump forward in line for an additional 10 more. It’s my belief that the Foreign Markets, especially Asian, will be seeing them sooner than later and Europe will see the eventual routes although possibly not that many. Everything is constantly reevaluated so Europe don’t fret. For the US Market some routes will still exist, the comfort level will be hard to resist.

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