Hawaiian Airlines Sydney to Honolulu Business Class Flight Review

From the authentic Hawaiian hospitality of the crew to my first Mai Tai, Hawaiian Airlines immerses me in the spirit of aloha from the very moment I step foot on the aircraft.

Flight number: HA451
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 1A
Duration: 9 hrs, 45 minutes
Route: Sydney to Honolulu

Check-in and baggage

With only 18 fellow Business Class passengers to process, check-in is a breeze. The service is so warm and friendly that the aloha vibes are already starting to kick in before I get through customs. Speaking of which, the Express Path offered to business class passengers invites me to skip the customs queues. But the later flying time pretty much negates the need as customs is a virtual ghost town.

The Lounge however is buzzing. Hawaiian Airlines Business class passengers are invited to enjoy lounge access at The House at Sydney Airport. Supremely comfortable, there’s a full bar, barista coffee, a good buffet and a la carte dining on offer for guests, plus shower rooms for those in transit. And it’s just a short walk from the gate.

Another huge bonus is that Hawaiian Airlines flights between Australia and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport offer Business Class passengers an extraordinarily generous free checked baggage allowance of two 32kg bags per person. You just need to make sure that any inter-island connections are on the same ticket to avoid getting charged additional baggage fees.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Class Cabin

Hawaiian Airlines A330 has three rows of Business Class seating in a 2-2-2 layout, with 18 seats in total. All seats recline into fully lie-flat beds. For those travelling solo, there is a large privacy divider that can be raised between the seats after take-off. Solo travellers might prefer to opt for one of the two middle-row seats as both have direct aisle access.

Prior to take-off, the crew offers Business Class travellers a choice of pre-departure drinks. Choose from water, a tropical juice concoction or that aforementioned Mai Tai. I can’t possibly pass up the offer of Hawaii’s signature drink, so the latter it is. Crafted from scratch with Cruzan rum, coconut, pineapple, lime juice and a fresh pineapple garnish, the Aloha Spirit (or perhaps the rum) has me in its heady grip before they’ve even cross-checked and armed the doors.

Sitting back in my generously proportioned leather seat with a Mai Tai and a hot towel, I’m ready to fly in Hawaiian style. At foot level is a storage hole for shoes, which I immediately kick-off for the supplied slippers. An ottoman with an outer partition provides a shield between seat and aisle, and my feet gravitate straight for it as I take another sip of my cocktail.

Amenity game

There’s plenty of storage space for water and to safely stow my phone while I sleep. There’s a gorgeous amenity kit from eco-conscious brand Kealopiko with earphones, ear plugs, an eyeshade, toothbrush and toothpaste, hydrating mist, lotion, lip balm, tissue, a bamboo comb, reef safe sunscreen and a pen.

Once in the air, the seats transform into 193-centimetre fully flat beds. The recline console is intuitive and easy to use, and there’s a small panel with a button to call the flight attendant and one to turn on the overhead light, plus two USB ports and a full AC power outlet.

The crew elevate our flat beds with a comfy mattress cover, blanket and pillow, resulting in this generally poor sleeper getting six blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep, and arriving in Honolulu energised for an afternoon of exploring.

In-flight bites

Unless you’ve ordered a special dietary meal pre-flight, there’s only one starter, main course and dessert on offer, due in part to the late service. However, the quality of the food is what truly matters, and fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint. There’s a tasty beet salad with goat’s cheese for starters. This is followed by a hearty main of chicken with vegetable ratatouille and roasted potatoes. And dessert is a creamy fruit confection that I polish off in record time. I’m tempted by the offer of another Mai Tai with my meal but opt for white wine instead.

At breakfast, there’s more choice, with the option of a light continental or full-cooked breakfast. I opted for the latter which included frittata and sausages, pastries and fresh fruit.

Keep reading:

Hawaiian Airlines Entertainment

If you’re not planning on sleeping your way through this overnight flight, Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight entertainment system will keep you company. While there’s no seat back screen, business passengers are offered iPads and headphones that conveniently slip into an ingenious arm that extends from the centre console and swivels to suit passengers’ preferred viewing angles. 

There’s a reasonable range of movies and popular TV shows on offer, plus a solid offering of games for adults and kids. I manage to sneak in old favourite, Crazy, Stupid, Love, before slipping into a dreamy Ryan Gosling-infused sleep.


Following the overnight snooze, we touch down at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on schedule at 11.35am Honolulu time. Immigration takes minutes, meaning I have a huge chunk of the day left to explore O’ahu. Winning!

An even bigger bonus comes a few days later when I continue my journey to the mainland USA. Hawaiian Airlines flies direct from Honolulu to numerous cities across America. For this leg, I am travelling as a domestic passenger, making that transit easy, breezy and beautiful too.  

Final Verdict

Fast check-in, lounge access, priority boarding and breezy transit are a perfect start. But add 64kg baggage per person, superlative service, a super comfy lie-flat bed, great food and those magical Mai Tais and Hawaiian Airlines have made themselves a new BFF.

Book your flight at hawaiianairlines.com

Looking for more inspirational Vacations & Travel stories? Try these…

Tags: , , , , ,