What’s it like flying in Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort class? How is it different from Economy? Is it worth the couple of hundred extra for the upgrade?

All great questions and all ones I was wondering before I was lucky enough to experience Hawaiian Airlines’ Aloha-service in Extra Comfort for myself.

I was flying on the airline’s daily service out of Honolulu to Sydney and well, read on to find out whether you should upgrade on your next flight to and from Hawaii:

 

CHECK-IN & PRE-TAKE OFF

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If there’s one airline that makes check-in a breeze, it’s Hawaiian Airlines.

The carrier is equipped with all the latest check-in tech, making it easy and super efficient for guests to print out their boarding pass and drop off their bags.

For me, the check-in process began early in the morning while enjoying breakfast with a beach-side view at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Hotel. I used the airline’s mobile service to secure my digital boarding pass and then hit the warm Hawaiian waves for one last dip.

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Later that morning, the simplified and straightforward check-in process continued at Honolulu Airport with self-service kiosks and bag drops.

If it weren’t for an intense security process, I’d have spent a maximum of 10 minutes in the check-in area before making my way to duty-free shopping.

TIP: US airport is tight. There’s nothing you can do to speed up the process, but you can assist staff by removing all electronics larger than your mobile phone, liquids and food from your carry-on bag. You’ll also need to remove your shoes and large jackets.

Once on the other side, I spent the last of my US dollars on souvenirs and those iconic ‘Island Macs’ – Hawaiian chocolate wrapped in Australian macadamia nuts (most of which was consumed before touching down in Sydney #noregrets #theyresogood #bringmemore).

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“Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA451 to Sydney is boarding.”

Thanks to my Extra Comfort ticket, I was given priority boarding in ‘Zone 2’, which meant I was strolling onto the aircraft early and without the Economy rush.

On queue, my flying anxiety kicked in, but then the unexpected happened, the anxiety settled the moment I stepped inside the A330-200.

It wasn’t a sense of security from staff (who were delightful, but more on them later) and it wasn’t the breathing exercises, it was Hawaiian Airlines’ welcome music.

The carrier entertains guests from the moment they board with curated tracks by some of Hawaii’s well-known artists. These beautiful tunes were accompanied with inspiring clips of the island state.

Nothing has ever put my flying anxiety at ease like the angelic vocals of Mark Yamanaka, the traditionally fun sound of Kuana Torres and the loose country vibes of Henry Kapono.

Truly, thank you Hawaiian Airlines.

 

THE SEAT

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People always talk about their lucky number or lucky letter, but it wasn’t until I flew Hawaiian Airlines that I realised mine were ’19’ and ‘B’. Those two combined gave me the most comfortable inflight experience I’d ever had.

My lucky number, 19B, not only came with ‘Extra Comfort’, but a passenger-free 19A. I had two seats all to myself (#whatadream).

Hawaiian Airlines’ A330-200 is fitted with 68 Extra Comfort seats, each designed to offer so much extra legroom, guests can easily stretch their legs and do inflight exercise without touching the seat infront.

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My two Extra Comfort seats were also equipped with my very own personal USB outlets, allowing me to charge my phone and tablet simultaneously.

Another highlight of Extra Comfort was the amenity kit, which came with a floral makeup bag, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues, earbuds, earphones, an eye mask, a comb and moisturiser – an impressive upgrade from the paper wrapped amenity kit in Economy with earphones, earbuds and an eye mask.

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As I began to feel at home in my Extra Comfort seat, it was time for some…

 

Entertainment & FOOD

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Hawaiian Airlines generously fed us two main meals during the flight and snacks in between.

‘Lunch’ was served shortly after takeoff at 12.55pm (GMT-10) and although I’d forgotten to notify the carrier of my dietary requirements (vegetarian), staff were able to accommodate by offering me Chicken Main, with which I could easily remove the chicken. Once the poultry was off the plate, I enjoyed soft boiled rice with a serving of vegetables and a potato salad. The meal was washed down with Hawaiian apple juice and a delicious chocolate cookie.

For the next eight hours, Hawaiian Airlines kept flyers full on free nut mix packs, or they could purchase in-flight munchies for a surprisingly reasonable price including a large bag of MnM Peanuts, which was only around US$3.

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Staff came around an hour before touchdown in Sydney at 7:45 pm (AEST +1 day), with a second meal made up of two sandwiches – one packed with turkey and cheese, while the other had egg, lettuce and mayonnaise. I was assured that both tasted fresh and good enough for seconds.

When we weren’t eating, Hawaiian Airlines kept guests entertained with enough inflight options to make 10 hours fly by.

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As an Extra Comfort passenger, I had access to the Unlimited TV & More Entertainment Pack, which came with dozens of movies, TV shows, music and games.

I opted for The Incredibles (a great find in the children’s selection), Avengers: Infinity War, The Book Club and Pacific Rim.

 

THE SERVICE

It’s not easy leaving island paradise, but Hawaiian Airlines’ staff made the return journey as enjoyable as possible with warm smiles, persistent hospitality and relaxed humour.

Cabin crew regularly walked through the aisles ensuring guests were well cared for and were quick at responding to any ‘calls’. I also have to praise them on how clean they kept the lavatories – odd thing to point out, but it was so lovely (as lovely as it could be going to the plane bathroom) walking into a clean lavatory each time.

 

THE VERDICT

Extend your stay on island paradise as much as possible by flying with Hawaiian Airlines. The carrier brings all the soulful spirit of the islands on board its aircraft, making it a smooth transition from a dream-come-true relaxing holiday to reality.

Oh and do your legs, knees and lower back a favour by spending the extra dollars on the Extra Comfort. That extra wiggle room makes all the difference on a 10.5hr flight.

 

THE DETAILS

Flight: HA451 Honolulu-Sydney
Seat: 19B – Extra Comfort
Flight Time: 10 hours and 33 minutes
Schedule: Dept. 12.55pm (GMT-10) Arr. 7:45 pm (AEST +1 day)

<< Click here for more information on Hawaiian Airlines’ Extra Comfort >>

 

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