Mark Garrison flies in Extra Comfort aboard Hawaiian Airlines flight 446, from Auckland to Honolulu.
The aircraft: An Airbus A330-200 (332) V2. A lovely aircraft, with a cabin that doesn't feel too cramped even when the passenger loads are heavy. The main cabin has seating in a 2-4-2 configuration. The cabin was very quiet for the duration of the flight.
Class: Extra Comfort with premium seating. There are 68 seats in Extra Comfort and 192 seats in the main economy cabin. The Extra Comfort seat comes with complimentary drinks, meal and entertainment and a small amenity kit with toothbrush, toothpaste, headphones, comb, hand cream, lip balm, refreshing mist spray, pen and face mask.
The seat: Nice and roomy. There is an adjustable headrest and in-seat power. The cabin crew offered my neighbour a new seat in an empty row, and as a result I had two seats to sprawl in. I actually had a pretty good sleep as a result. Each Extra Comfort seat came with a pillow, blanket and a neck pillow, which was a terrific touch.
On time: The flight left exactly on time and arrived in Honolulu 20 minutes early. In Honolulu our gate wasn't available and the aircraft sat on the tarmac for about 10 minutes until it became free. The flight duration is approximately 8 hrs and 40 mins.
Fellow passengers: A mix of mainland Americans, Hawaiians and Kiwis.
Entertainment: A lot of TV options available, including Big Little Lies and a decent selection of films such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Kong: Skull Island. I went old-school and watched Cabaret for perhaps the 100th time.
Food and drink: As the flight leaves just after midnight Auckland time, a food and beverage service is provided straight after the seatbelt sign comes off. The meal wasn't huge but it was fine for that time of the evening. We got a beef wrap and fruit, which was tasty enough, and there was an acceptable selection of drinks as well. I opted for a delicious Bikini Blonde beer from the Maui Brewing Co. A second beverage service was also provided. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and sausage which was okay, but the coffee was surprisingly good. It's a rare thing indeed to find decent coffee on a plane.
Service: The cabin crew was fantastic and accommodating, particularly James, who was working in my section. He always had a smile on his face, which was terrific. He really made my flight memorable.
Toilets: Big, bright and always clean. There wasn't much in the way of amenities offered inside the washrooms but, on the plus side, they were almost always empty when you wanted to visit.
Luggage: Travellers from New Zealand get to take two checked bags for free. A third bag would be $150.
Airport experience: Daniel K. Inouye Airport in Honolulu is certainly in need of a makeover. Once our aircraft reached the gate, it was a very long walk to the main terminal to get to Customs and Immigration. The terminal is tired and needs an overhaul.
Customs was very busy as a number of flights had arrived at the same time. If you are making a connection via Honolulu, I definitely recommend giving yourself at least a couple of hours to pass through Customs. I waited almost 40 minutes to use a machine and then was directed to see an agent. That line also took about 30 minutes to pass through. By the time I had finished I just had time to dash down the length of the airport to make my connecting flight to the mainland. Also note, if you are connecting through Honolulu to the mainland you will need to pass through a biosecurity line before you check in for your domestic flight.
Would I fly this again? Definitely. The cabin service team was awesome, the aircraft was comfortable and the flight was on time. I actually thought the entire experience was wonderful.
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