At TravelSkills we live by the motto “once you go flat, you never go back,” and it sounds like Hawaiian Air agrees.
This week the carrier announced that it will add a stylish new lie-flat business class seat to its A330 widebody fleet. It’s also adding more premium economy seats.
Why? Because Hawaiian’s route structure is changing.
In the past, it was primarily a West Coast – Hawaii operation. But recently Hawaiian has added new nonstops to New York (10 hours) and is building up at a transpacific powerhouse with flights between its Honolulu hub and biz travel destinations in Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. To compete in these long-haul markets, it needs a lie-flat seat up front.
Here’s how Hawaiian describes its new seat, designed by Optimares:
“The 180-degree seats will use an innovative seat platform to fold into 76-inch beds, maximizing living space for travelers while providing options for both privacy and a shared flight experience. They will also feature an advanced in-flight entertainment experience powered by the next generation of large-format tablets and equipped with a telescoping tablet arm that adjusts to optimize viewing angle and comfort….The cabin design will incorporate flowing curves evocative of the winds and ocean, while marrying organic textures, pops of bright saturated color, and luxury materials like leather from Poltrona Frau.”
The A330s will get 18 of the new seats configured 2-2-2 (a slightly larger footprint as the current first class configuration). To make room for the larger footprint, there will be fewer premium economy seats in the forward cabin- two rows instead of the current three. (see SeatGuru).
In addition to the new seat, Hawaiian is expanding the number of its Extra Comfort (premium economy) seats on the A330 from the current 40 seats to 68 seats. Extra Comfort seats get a roomy 36 inches of pitch (compared to 31 inches in standard economy), plus passengers get early boarding, free inflight entertainment and electrical outlets at each seat.
Today, Hawaiian’s A330’s seat 294 passengers, with 18 in Business/First Class, 40 in Extra Comfort and 236 in economy. See our Trip Report of Hawaiian’s A330 flight between SFO and HNL.
The new configuration will have fewer (278) seats overall: 18 in Business/First Class, 68 in Extra Comfort and 192 in the economy.
Nice seats, but it’s going to be a while until we see them… installation does not begin until mid 2016, and Hawaiian has not said on which routes the new seats will first appear. All its A330’s should have the new seats by the end of 2017.
It’s increasingly unlikely that we’ll see Hawaiian’s lie-flat seats on the West Coast because the carrier will soon begin to deploy its newest 190-seat Airbus A321 on these shorter routes where a lie-flat seat is likely superfluous.
Hawaiian is not part of any of the big three global airline alliances, but it maintains partnership agreements with eight airlines (including American, JetBlue and Virgin America), which allow members of frequent flyer programs to earn and burn miles on Hawaiian flights.
Would you choose Hawaiian for a transpacific flight? Which carrier do you fly most often to Hawaii? Why? Please leave your comments below.
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