A seamless check-in experience at the Hawaiian Airlines counter followed by Express Path route through customs, and a warm welcome in the Qantas Business Class Lounge is enough to make me switch the World Clock on my iPhone onto Hawaiian time. After helping myself to an ice-cold G+T, I commit to lounging around in the comfy communal space where I can charge my iPhone. I needn’t have bothered, as moments after boarding the A330, the friendly flight attendant points out the various features, which include two conveniently positioned USB ports.
The good vibes continue in the form of a Na Pua welcome drink (prosecco and guava juice), which makes for a great start to the long-haul flight. “Hit me with that swizzle stick!” laughs the steward, who also proffers lounging pillows and a cotton quilt for my sleep-out in the sky. What I love about the cabin is that the magic and colour of modern Hawaii seems to have been captured with design cues from the natural environment, craft and architecture that are unique to the State.
The Hawaiian Airlines gate is right next to the runway, which means we also receive the mai tai and hot meal we ordered about an hour after being airborne. What I really loved about my business class flight with Hawaiian Airlines was the fact the aloha spirit seemed alive and well, with the plunka-plunka-plunka of ukelele music piped into the cabin setting the mood as the stewards in the blue shirts tangoed back and forth around the cabin, aiming to please. The complimentary amenity kits, packed with lip balm, hydrating mist, dental kit, bamboo comb and socks also enhance the collective levels of comfort.
The menu, designed by executive chef Lee Anne Wong (of Honolulu’s Koko Head Café) was also on-brand: think miso soup, five-spice chicken with coconut milk ginger rice and chilled mini pineapple blueberry pie.
The seats in the business class cabin, which have a 2-2-2- configuration and Poltrona Frau Italian-made leather chairs, recline 180 degrees into beds that almost – but not quite – lie flat. While that may bother some, it doesn’t bother me: after a stiff Koloa Kauai White Hawaiian Rum on the rocks, I pack away my slimline TV screen with more than 100 hours of movies in favour of an audio program called Keiki Corner, devoted to Hawaiian music, and hit the metaphorical snooze button for six glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep. Mahalo, Hawaiian Airlines.
Photography supplied by Hawaiian Airlines