Grant Bradley flies aboard Hawaiian Airlines flight HA142 from Honolulu
to Hilo on the Big Island.

The plane:

A 128-seat Boeing 717-200. These workhorses of the inter-island fleet have a T-tail and twin engines at the rear. Hawaiian Airlines has 20, which complete 160 take-offs and landings every day. The last of these planes was made in 2006 so the worldwide fleet is ageing, but three years ago Hawaiian overhauled the interiors of its aircraft.

My seat: 14F, a window in the 2-3 configuration Economy cabin. The seats are roomy — 18" wide and the pitch is between 29" and 31". In the First Class cabin there are eight seats.

Advertisement

How full? Just a few empty seats on the early morning flight. There was still plenty of space in the generous overhead bins.

On time? Six minutes early getting away. Hawaiian regularly tops time performance leagues in the US.

Food: Not required for the 50-minute flight although there was water and juice. Some island-hopping flights are under 20 minutes, so Hawaiian keeps the offer simple.

Toilets: One at the rear of the cabin.

Service: Three friendly crew in the main cabin.

Price: Fares start at $135. Fees for stowed luggage start at $25.

Entertainment: The very good Hana Hou! airline magazine and a useful map of the Big Island, which crew members handed out to any passengers who wanted it.

Airport experience: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu is a relaxed place.

Brain fade in packing two bottles of garlic shrimp marinade in carry-on meant a slight delay going through security and led to it being confiscated. The boarding was well organised.

The bottom line: Getting to another part of this fascinating state at 700km/h is great aboard this no-fuss, well-oiled operation.