Hawaiian Airlines Review: Hawaii to California


Hawaiian Airlines was founded in 1929 as an inter-island fleet. Nowadays it is the largest commercial airline in Hawaii, transporting passengers between Hawaii and mainland USA, Asia, and Oceania. It is a fantastic airline to travel with. I consider myself fortunate to have traveled with Hawaiian Airlines flights between Hawaii and California multiple times, and have found that these journeys have trumped my journey with other carriers.

Reasons to Travel with Hawaiian Airlines

Those who have traveled with Hawaiian Airlines have told me that this is the best domestic airline to travel with. As Hawaii is a remote island and only the Pacific Ocean lies between Hawaii and the mainland USA, there is no other mode of transport to venture out of the island except by air. From the capital city, Honolulu, it is a 5-hour flight to the nearest land that is, California. Luckily, Hawaii is part of the USA, so there is no need to pass an international border or check-in three hours before flying. If you are a seasoned traveler and have developed tactics as to how to pass the security checkpoint, arriving at the airport an hour before departure time is still doable.

Hawaii Airlines’ airfares are different to those of other airlines, and the price fluctuates on a daily basis. It is difficult to tell if Hawaiian Airline fares are cheaper or more expensive than those of other major carriers. However, if you can afford it, it is definitely worth flying Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines

Safety: Even though Hawaiian Airlines is the youngest fleet (it launched Airbus A332-200 in 2010 and Boeing 717in 2001) in the airline industry, it promises absolutely safe air travel to its passengers and strives to maintain its record as one of the world’s safest airlines. According to Wiki, Hawaiian Airlines is among the US’s oldest carrier but has never had a fatal accident or a hull loss. Its record on cancellations, overcharging, and mishandling baggage is super low.

On-time record:  While Hawaiian Airlines carries nearly eight-million passengers annually and serves over 20 destinations and more than 200 flights daily, its on-time record has been top for 12 consecutive years, with an on-time performance rate of 88.4 in 2015. In 2013, Hawaiian Airlines flights on-time record even reached 93.3 %, which was the highest in the nation.

Complimentary meals: While all US domestic flights have canceled their free meals service and some, for instance United Airways, only offer free drinks (no snacks), Hawaiian Airlines still provides complimentary meals in the Main (Economy) Cabin. Its passengers are frequently offered a can of drink and the food, especially the turkey sandwich, is among the tastiest I have ever experienced in the air.

Menu: In-flight meals (complimentary) between Hawaii and New York in the Main Cabin 

Hawaiian Airlines Menu- Hawaii to NYC

Hawaii to New York Menu at Main Cabin. Source: Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian-themed interior:  For me, the feeling of traveling to Hawaii was a huge deal. On a flight with mediocre decorations, I would have thought of traveling to New York or Connecticut on a gloomy and depressing winter day. Hawaiian Airlines features a colorful interior. The cabin crew all dress in Aloha shirts and have friendly smiles. The large screen in the front of the Main Cabin plays videos of Hawaii with fantastic music, all of which definitely puts travelers in the mood for traveling to Hawaii.

My Experience with Hawaiian Airlines

Many times I have arrived at Honolulu International Airport, printed my boarding pass, and passed the security checkpoint. With no check-in luggage, the whole journey, from arriving at the airport until departure, would be even easier. The city bus dropped me off in front of the Hawaiian Airlines desk, and my only major task was to navigate the terminal to find the flights to the mainland. Sometimes you have to keep walking and look for the sign “Mainland”, but usually you find the gate is just in front of you.

After I went through the security checkpoint, I walked to the gate and waited in the boarding room. Some boarding rooms were surrounded by shops, several restaurants, bars, and leather seats. Others were small, such as those to the neighboring islands, with no shops and restaurants, only seats and vending machines.

Once you are on board with Hawaiian Airlines, your curiosity and excitement are rekindled. The airplane is colorfully decorated with the Aloha theme, and the service is professional and friendly. My first flight with Hawaiian Airlines was nearly ten years ago, and I still remember the eye-catching surfing video they presented on the big screen in the Main Cabin, The moment I stepped into the plane, I was attracted by the music, the purple seats and the Aloha shirt worn by the flight attendant. I felt as if I was already in Hawaii. There is one option for brunch and two dinner alternatives, as well as multiple choices for drinks.  To this day, Hawaiian Airlines still serves Kona Coffee, Dole Plantations pineapple juice, and free wine. The free snacks are offered after takeoff. I could fly with Hawaiian Airlines just for its free food and drinks.

The flight departs exactly on time. We were required to put window shades up for our safety. After five hours I landed in California. I looked back on the aircraft in which I flew in, and looked forward to the day I would return to Hawaii with Hawaiian Airlines. It was a fantastic journey.

Final Verdict

There is no red eye flight between Hawaii and California, and other west coast cities. However, Hawaiian Airlines makes your journey comfortable, exciting, and pleasant. I am a loyal customer of Hawaiian Airlines and I cannot imagine myself flying with other airlines after my experience with Hawaiian, from friendly flight attendants and, beautiful interior design, to the free meal and tropical beverages. I love how Hawaiian Airlines spread the island’s local customs and culture all over the world.

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Hawaiian Airlines Review - Hawaii to California


Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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