Vanishing Two-Across Seating. Flights To Hawaii. What To Do?

Vanishing Two-Across Seating. Flights To Hawaii. What To Do?

While many of you like the upcoming Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner, there’s one thing you’re very sorry to see go. That is the change to the now industry standard of all 3-across seating. So having two seats alone at the window may soon be a memory. And it isn’t just at Hawaiian Airlines that this change is occurring. Read on for what to expect on all the airlines flying to Hawaii and what you can still do to avoid 3-across seating.

A comment left by Patrick regarding the new Dreamliners said, “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 your own little “area.” With the new 3-3-3, you won’t be able to do that anymore.”

Greg added, “I love the A330 layout for traveling 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.” And James commented, “That would be a negative for couples or families of 4, unlike the 2-4-2 of the A330.

Here’s how the seating layouts work, airline by airline, on flights to Hawaii.

American Airlines Hawaii seats in economy.

A321neo: 3-3 seating.

Boeing 777: 3-4-3 seating.

Boeing 787: 3-3-3 seating

Delta Airlines Hawaii seats in economy.

Airbus A321: 3-3 seating.

Airbus A330: 3-3-3 seating.

Airbus A350: 3-3-3 seating.

Hawaiian Airlines seats in economy.

Airbus A321: 3-3 seating.

Airbus A330: 2-4-2 seating.

Boeing 787: 3-3-3 seating.

United Airlines seats in economy.

Boeing 737: 3-3 seating.

Boeing 767: 2-3-2 seating.

Boeing 777: 3-4-3 seating.

Boeing 787: 3-3-3 seating.

Not happy with 3-across seating to Hawaii? Here’s what to do.

  • Fly on a plane that still offers 2-across seating. The choices are few, as indicated above.
  • Look for planes that have a few rows of 2-across seats at the very back of the plane, where it gets narrow. These can also be at other places in the aircraft as aisle access and other reasons necessitate. However, these seats can have issues, so compare seat maps and see what others say. These may also be charged for as premium seats.
  • Buy an extra seat in economy on any airline (other than Southwest, which doesn’t allow that).
  • Fly in premium economy on wide-body Hawaii flights that offer 2-across seating. The airlines offering this are American, Delta, and United.

If those options don’t work, consider the advantages of wide-body flights to Hawaii.

First of all, there’s more room on board with multiple aisles. That makes people crawling over each other far less common. Next, you don’t have flight attendants and customers vying for the same aisle access as on narrow-body planes. And finally, something about a wide-body plane is iconic—especially flying long distances. Do you pick the convenience of narrow-body because it can reach airports like Kauai, or opt for connecting through another island to have a wide-body experience?

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29 thoughts on “Vanishing Two-Across Seating. Flights To Hawaii. What To Do?”

  1. Dear BoH,
    Have you or your readers had issues with trying to book seats on codeshare flights?
    I booked Tokyo-Honolulu return tickets through Hawaiian Airlines and the outbound flight on Hawaiian was no issue.
    However both Hawaiian and JAL (who operate the return flight under a codeshare agreement) tell me that the other party is responsible for seat reservations on the return leg.
    I’ve spoken to both sides at least 3 times and also have written responses.
    Any thoughts on how to make sense of this?

    1. Hi David.

      In our experience it is the carrier that’s actually operating the code share flight that is responsible for seat assignments.


  2. I couldn’t be more disappointed in Hawaiian Airlines to abandon the 2-4-2 seating as they upgrade to the 787. I made an all-in move to Hawaiian specifically for the 2-4-2 seating, signed up for their credit card, and have been consistently flying Hawaiian for our annual visit to Hawaii.
    Dropping the 2-seat layout option is a deal braker to be honest. Time to move on even if it means a new vacation venue.

  3. Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767 was phased out years ago. For interisland travel there’s the Boeing 717. While appreciated, the suggestions made to avoid 3-3-3 seating configurations seem like a lot of work (and probably expense) to avoid the possibility of having a stranger seated next to you for a few hours. And then there’s always the chance someone will want your seat anyway and ask you if they can swap seats and have it.

  4. Without knowing many costs associated, it is difficult for most of us to figure out what a premium economy cabin in 2-4-2 would would cost as opposed to the 3-3-3 section. On Hawaiian, up until late 2018 or early 2019, in addition to to the extra 5 inches of legroom there were a few other little perks, one being that IFE was free while regular economy paid a small fee. I really think Hawaiian and other carriers are missing an opportunity. They charge more now, add another $25 and begin to give customers a true premium economy experience.

  5. What ALL Airlines need to do is Stop All seats from reclining. No one wants the person in front of them in their lap!

  6. I could fly nonstop to Maui ( from
    Phx) but because of the 2-4-2 seating on Hawaiian I go with them.
    When that isn’t an option then I’m definitely flying nonstop !


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