Shandelle Battersby flies on Hawaiian Airlines HA446 from Auckland to Honolulu, Hawaii.

The plane:

A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200, easily recognisable thanks to the bright pink, coral and purple Pualani ("flower of the sky") logo on its tail, featuring a girl with a hibiscus tucked behind her ear.

Class: The not-even-a-year-old Extra Comfort, which lies literally in-between First Class (really Business) and Economy. It costs about $144 more than Economy, and includes priority screening and boarding, extra legroom, premium meals, snacks and beverages, inflight entertainment, a pillow and blanket, and an in-seat AC power plug on some planes. The eight-hour flight is not too bad, but boy it's good to have that bit of extra legroom, and to get on and off the plane first. We also got a lovely amenities kit, with moisturisers, eye mask, comb, toothbrush and paste, tissues and so on. The reverse Economy class flight on this leg got complimentary food and beverages, hot towels, scaled-back amenities kit, pillow and blanket, and some movies and TV shows. Hawaiian Airlines is the only US airline that serves complimentary meals in Economy.

Price: $1165 return.


On time? We left slightly early and landed early too, giving me more time to negotiate the mad queues at Honolulu Airport to make my connecting flight to LA.

My seat: 12G, an aisle seat of four, in-between two lots of two. Each A330 has 40 Extra Comfort seats.

How full? Pretty packed, especially with Auckland families en route to Disneyland, despite it being term time.

Entertainment: Some newish movies and a few good telly shows via touch screens on the backs of the seats.

The service: Great in that unique Hawaiian way, from the "Aloha" at the beginning, to the "Mahalo" at the end. A nice touch was a bit of information about Oahu, the Hawaiian island Honolulu Airport is on, from the head steward as we began our descent.

Food and drink: This flight leaves Auckland at 12.30am so you get a light snack (in this case, a pastrami sandwich and fresh fruit) before lights out, then breakfast was fruit and yoghurt, a slice of spinach frittata, baked beans, potatoes and bacon. There are Hawaiian beers on offer alongside the usual suspects, and the lunch and dinner menus are Hawaiian-inspired.

Toilets: Standard, with nice coconut-scented hand soap.

Luggage: A major plus of flying this airline is its generous check-in luggage allowance to and from New Zealand - two bags of 32kg each. Think of all the shopping you can cram into that lot.


Airport experience: Auckland Airport is always reliably good and Hawaiian's Emperor Lounge was ideal for a glass of wine while I waited. If you're connecting to another flight from Honolulu Airport, give yourself plenty of time. There are some nice garden areas to relax in.

Would I fly this again? Definitely - especially for a shopping trip - and the Extra Comfort seats are worth the extra bucks.