Hawaiian Airlines: new Brisbane-USA connections via Honolulu

By John Walton, June 20 2012
Hawaiian Airlines: new Brisbane-USA connections via Honolulu

Hawaiian Airlines will begin flights between Brisbane and Honolulu this November -- and while Australians tend to think of Hawaiian as a holiday airline, the connecting flights via Honolulu to just under a dozen continental US cities will be a useful option fo  Queensland's business travellers.

Being able to skip a connection across Sydney Airport and missing out on a further multi-terminal change at Los Angeles LAX? We count that as a win.

So are the direct flights from Honolulu to San Jose (Silicon Valley's local airport) and ten other US cities that would otherwise require a connection.

There's also something to be said for mixing a bit of work and play with a bonus stopover in Hawaii on the way back. After all, you deserve a little downtime!

You'll also earn Virgin Australia Velocity points on Hawaiian's flights.

Of course, there are tradeoffs. (Aren't there always?) Hawaiian's business class seat is an older-style recliner, and the flights only run three times weekly.

The new flight details in full

The thrice-weekly Brisbane-Honolulu flights will take around nine hours, using a Boeing 767-300 plane with 18 business class and 244 economy class seats.

Business class on Hawaiian is an older recliner-style seat, similar to what Qantas uses on its domestic 767 Cityflyer planes.

If you need a refresher on the different types of business class seats and cabin layouts out there, we have you covered.

In terms of timing, US-bound Flight HA444 will depart Brisbane at 1835 every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, cross the international dateline and arrive in Honolulu at 0805 the same day.

Return HA443 will leave Honolulu at 1020 every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, cross the international dateline and land in Brisbane at 1600 the next day.

Hawaiian's thrice-weekly schedule -- and the seats that don't match up to anyone else's business class across the Pacific -- may give some business travellers pause. That's especially true for business travellers more sensitive to schedule or a fully flat bed.

But if you have the flexibility, an aversion to extra connections, a dislike of LAX and an interest in stopping over in Hawaii, it's definitely something I'd consider.

What do you reckon -- would you pick Hawaiian Airlines to the US over Qantas, Virgin Australia, Delta or United? Tempted by a weekend somewhere new, or is it more about the connections? Is the recliner seat a dealbreaker when you travel? We're keen to hear your thoughts, so drop them in a comment below. 

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John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

And how many of those 11 mainland USA connections actually have sensible connection schedules for people flying from the states back to Australia?

Being able to fly from many of those destinations and not taking a stopover would be a huge benefit (two 6--10 hour flights beats a 13-hour flight and a 1-hour flight to e.g. San Francisco) otherwise for me, there's no real gain over transiting in either Auckland or LAX for my Velocity points.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

I agree: that's the rub. Some of the connections are fairly long, although I can think of worse places to spend a few hours of connection time than Honolulu.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

The recliner seat is a bit of a deal-breaker if I'm going to be travelling for Business. I can't say it's at all tempting to replace either of Qantas or Virgin with Hawaiian... or in fact Delta / United.

30 Sep 2011

Total posts 46

The Hawaian cattle truck is now on the Brissie route!! Hawain ex Sydney has the A330 a lot better. Often do the route to HNL but often the opt for Alaskan for journeys on ward or if NY AA.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

"But if you have the flexibility, an aversion to extra connections, a dislike of LAX and an interest in stopping over in Hawaii, it's definitely something I'd consider."

Those are a lot of 'caveats' and conditions. I've got flexibility, dislike of LAX and a break in Hawaii would be nice but there would still be connections either way, at Hawaii or LAX, and the ones at LAX are probably a lot more frequent. Sorry but I would rather go straight to the US, maybe even with United to San Francisco instead of LAX with Qantas, and make my way from there instead of putting up with the inferior 'regional business class' seats and a schedule which might not match up as cleanly as I would like.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

You're absolutely right that they're caveats, and I don't disagree with much of your assessment. But it's certainly an interesting option into the trans-Pacific mix.

13 Feb 2011

Total posts 30

I can't see Brisbane in their website booking engine so we don't yet know the business class fare.  If it is a fair bit cheaper I would put up with the recliner and cheerfully enjoy a one stop to Vegas (connection times permitting).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

It's a good idea and one that may be considered by many! Virgin Australia's Velocity will give you 1 whole point per mile when flying Economy with Hawaiian Airlines no matter how cheap the airfares. Better than half a point on its own flights! However they award first class guests with a stingy 1.5 points so that is something to look out for when booking with Haiwaiian.

I reckon the big plus is the quick stopover then a direct flight to the Big Apple. That will be good for a lot of business travellers. An area where Virgin need to work at is to keep all their flights in one terminal. Connecting from a Delta Domestic flight to a Virgin for ride home is a pain.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

But connecting from a Virgin America domestic flight for a ride home is fantastic -- so book Delta for outbound connections (VA arrives into LAX T5, and you get lounges if you're a Gold of Platinum member of velocity), and book Virgin America for inbound connections -- arrive in T3, you don't need to leave the terminal for VA's T3 departure.

As for a "stingy" 1.5 points, remember that their "First" class is basically equivalent to Virgin Australia's Premium Economy product, which is worth 1.25 points... 1.5 points sounds pretty good now!


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

Definitely a routing that I'd look at for a holiday, but I value the long overnight flight out of LAX straight into Sydney far too much when travelling for business, along with the other things mentioned. There's also a big concern in my mind over the lack of flexibility. I will generally book connections onto QF12, using the three later QF flights and AA's pile of flights into LAX as my backup plan. HA generally has only one or to daily flights from mainland cities so if you miss you miss your flight, you're stuffed.

Still an intriguing idea though...

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Yes, the redundancy of larger players is a useful thing if you're time-pressed.

I, too, am intrigued -- if they were to sort out the timings for a through connection, they'd really have something going there...

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

I wonder... would booking a Hawaiian flight through VA help you take advantage of Delta connections to HNL?

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