Trip Report: Honolulu to Hilo via Hawaiian Airlines

Not much to report here. The other week, T, the boys, and I traveled between Honolulu (HNL) to Hilo (ITO) via Hawaiian Airlines. The flight only takes about 50 minutes, so there’s only enough time for one limited beverage service. We did get the Coach Extra Comfort Seating to accommodate sitting with children, but we could have easily gotten by in regular coach. Note for families traveling with children under 2: there are certain rows where lap-riding children are prohibited from sitting; we tried to get all three seats in the first row of Extra Comfort but were denied and had to sit one row apart. No big deal, but it’s not always easy to tell from the Internet seating charts which rows you can sit in.

Along with a few inches of legroom, on inter island flights, Coach Extra Comfort seats also come with Priority Security Line (TSA Pre-Check) and Priority Boarding privileges. Not terrible for $10 one way (not upgradeable with HawaiianMiles). Mainland and International flights have different charges. Pualani members may receive complimentary upgrades to Extra Comfort based upon availability and level of status. Another traveling-with-children note: if you are going through with a stroller, you will not always be allowed to go through TSA Pre-Check, and will have to x-ray the stroller. Check your boarding pass to see if you have been granted Pre-Check access.

On the way back, we had the opportunity to visit the Hilo Airport Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club. You won’t find much in terms of luxury, but there’s seating that’s (sometimes) quieter, you can grab a beverage (soft drinks or coffee) or a bag of crackers, and there’s Wi-Fi, and electrical outlets. You’ll find Premier Clubs (newly remodeled in 2015) on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island (Hilo and Kona) and Kauai, and there are partner airline lounges available at certain International airports, as well. Generally, First and Business Class Passengers, Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold, and Premier Club (paid) members and their guests can gain access. Your entry code is on your boarding pass.

As an FYI, you can buy Premier Club membership for $299 or 40,000 HawaiianMiles (renewable at $249 or 35,000); but this is not advisable in any way. The pass-o-guava juice is just not worth the squeeze here. Plus, if you were going to make enough use of the Premier Clubs, you’d probably eventually gain access as a Pualani member.

Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Locations. Image Credit: courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines.

On Oahu, as of 2015, Hawaiian Airlines has also a new Business International Lounge called The Plumeria Lounge. This is more of your conventional and “exclusive” type travel lounge, open to those with Business Class International tickets, or that purchased a $30-40 pass at the time of check-in. The Plumeria Lounge (at the Interisland Terminal)  is also a part of the Priority Pass worldwide program, so certain credit card holders may also have access to this lounge (complimentary or for an additional fee). T and I have yet to visit this lounge, but from the pictures and review we’ve seen online, there are better snacks and alcoholic beverages available.

So has anybody been to The Plumeria Lounge? What is the best Airport Lounge you’ve ever been to in the world? Let us know in the comments below.


See Gear: gb Qbit LTE Compact Stroller for the ideal travel stroller.

See Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Travel Hacking an Interisland flight on Hawaiian Airlines.

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?