Grant Bradley flies on Hawaiian Airlines HA445 from Honolulu to Auckland.

The Plane:

An Airbus A330-200 just on five years old. Hawaiian loves these planes, it operates 22 of them and has an order in for six of the new A330-800neos.

Class: Economy

Price: Seven months out, our family paid $1350 each for return flights to Hawaii around the Christmas peak.


On time: Yes. Hawaiian has topped the table for US airline punctuality for the past 12 years (although it doesn't fly around so many snowy places that its mainland rivals do)

My seat. 42D in the middle of a 2-4-2 configuration. The plane had 294 seats although the airline this year is remodelling these cabins to add lie-flat premium seats and more of the popular "Extra Comfort" seats, so reducing total capacity to 278.

Fellow passengers: Hawaiian aims at the leisure and visiting friends and family market, the passenger manifest perfectly reflected this.

How full: Our flight just before New Year's Eve was nearly full.

Service: This is a nice part of the Hawaiian experience. With the Aloha look, it's all about casual but caring. My son's earphone input wasn't working so cabin crew deftly moved him and his girlfriend to one of few remaining pair of seats in the plane. This is what's important with an airline in my books. There's a lot of moving parts and things that don't always happen perfectly in planes so it's the putting right that counts and the Hawaiian staff handled it superbly. The happy spin-off meant from being a little cramped I had nearly three seats to myself.

Food and drink: There was plenty of it. Snacks, sandwiches and on our afternoon-evening flight a hearty and tasty chicken meal washed down by a Bikini Blonde lager.

Main meal aboard Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Auckland in economy class. Photo / Grant Bradley
Main meal aboard Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Auckland in economy class. Photo / Grant Bradley


Seat back screens were easy to use not overloaded with choice but plenty of options for the 8 hour, 15 minute flight. On the way over I watched a lot of Hawaii Five O.

The toilets: There's six in the main cabin - the one I used was clean and tidy for the duration.

Luggage: Hawaiian allows a whopping two bags of up to 32kg in economy which even the most enthusiastic shoppers in our party didn't come close to using.

The airport experience: Arrival into Honolulu was a bit of a nightmare in the leadup to Christmas. We were on an "immigration hold"and took 25 minutes to get off the plane and 90 minutes to get through the airport which that day was reported in local media as coming near the bottom of the list for all airports in the United States for amenity. Happily it's undergoing a multibillion-dollar upgrade. The departure level was much more in keeping with this millennium with nice views and open spaces fanned by the trade winds.

Would I fly again? Definitely. We were attracted to the airline by how much we could stow in the hold but were impressed by what went on in the cabin once on board.

Grant Bradley is the Business Herald's aviation reporter.