Review: Hawaiian Airlines HA35 First Class Lie-Flat Airbus 330 Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL)

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This is my second time flying with Hawaiian Airlines lie-flat First Class to Honolulu International Airport (HNL). While Hawaiian Airlines’ new First Class product is already available on the Boeing aircraft, the Airbus First Class remains one of my favorite lie-flat seats for trips to Hawaii.

Schedule and Aircraft

  • Route: Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL)
  • DEP 7:55 AM ARR 11:45 AM
  • Duration: 6h55m
  • Flight Number: HA35
  • Aircraft: Airbus 330-200
  • Miles Booking: 40,000 miles plus $5.60 one way per person.


I did not check in at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) as we used mobile boarding passes. So, we checked in all through the Hawaiian Airlines app.

Lounge Access

Hawaiian Airlines does not have a lounge at Phoenix Airport. So you’ll need to have a club pass with other airlines or a credit card such as the American Express Platinum Card to access lounges at PHX airport.

Hawaiian Airlines always departs from PHX Terminal 3, and it was an early morning flight for us, so we decided to use an American Express Platinum Card with a complimentary guest benefit to access the Escape Lounge Centurion Studio by Amex in Terminal 3.

Unfortunately, that Escape Lounge is not that good. It’s also a small lounge with nice seats and a full-service bar, but that’s all good about it. Therefore, if you are looking for a better lounge food and experience, I recommend you go to the Amex Centurion Lounge PHX in Terminal 4 via the PHX Sky Train. Escape Lounge PHX in Terminal 3 was a letdown! However, be sure to return on time for your Hawaiian Airlines flight in Terminal 3.


I find it strange that TSA agents were at boarding gate E8 to check passengers again for boarding passes and IDs. They also randomly checked people’s bags.

First class had its boarding line, and before we knew it, we were entering the aircraft and onward to our seats 3A and 3B.

Seats and Cabin

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus 330 lie-flat first class is an older product. It already started to show its age as the two middle seats in the first row were having some issues. So, I would avoid those seats.

While I have flown this type of aircraft before from LAX to Honolulu, it’s still one of the best ways to get to Hawaii from the mainland. Moreover, the 2-2-2 configuration is not my favorite type of seat, but understandably, Hawaii is a destination tailored to passengers traveling together. Meanwhile, Hawaiian Airlines is also in the process of rolling out the new first-class 1-2-1 on the Boeing aircraft, and I am looking forward to reviewing it later.

There are only 12 seats in the first-class cabin on Hawaiian Airlines Airbus 330. The seat has a small leg rest area. In addition, there’s a small compartment to store stuff and an outlet to charge electronic devices. Underneath, in front of the seat, there’s also a stowage area for soft articles such as shoes.

Each aisle seat is wide open and does not offer privacy. I could see through everyone’s pod while they were asleep and hear their snoring noises, for example.

Furthermore, there’s no TV monitor, but the iPad is distributed after take-off. Each seat also has an iPad holder and a middle divider for small privacy if you are not traveling together.

Overall, while the seats are not cutting-edge, it’s comfortable to go from the mainland to Hawaii.

Lie-Flat Bed

A thin blanket and a small pillow are provided on the seat, and each first-class seat can be made into a lie-flat position. Speaking of dated technology, to recline or make the bed into a lie-flat position, you use a knob to do so.

Drinks and Food

I like the simple yet elegant look of the Hawaiian Airlines menu, which includes beverages and food. See the following menu picture:

After boarding, there’s a Mai Thai welcome drink. This time, they also added another Guava Juice to the welcome drinks.

My flight was a morning flight so breakfast was offered between an omelette or a pancake. I chose the omelet.

Hawaiian Airlines served three courses, from macadamia nuts to the main breakfast dish, and finally, desserts.

Pre-landing, they give out a mini pineapple-shaped cookie. See the following picture:

Crew Service

The crew was friendly, but only two flight attendants were working in the first-class cabin. Therefore, the meal service was a bit slower than I expected.

Amenity Kit


The Verdict

PROS: Friendly crew, simple elegant menu, Mai Thai welcome drink, bathroom keeps clean and smells good.

CONS: Old hard product lacks lots of privacy, no monitor screen, not fan of this type of seat configurations 2-2-2, slow serving meal, no WiFi, uncomfortable lie-flat skybed.

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