Review: The Plumeria Lounge by Hawaiian Airlines, Honolulu Airport

More like a comfortable living room than an airline lounge but Plumeria is still an easy way to while away time before take-off.

Overall Rating

By Matt Lennon, September 2 2022
The Plumeria Lounge by Hawaiian Airlines, Honolulu Airport
Country

United States

City

Honolulu (HI)

Airport

Honolulu Airport (Daniel K. Inouye)

Alliance

None

Airline

Hawaiian Airlines

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Comfortable seating and a warm environment
  • Convenient location near central security and the terminal shuttle
  • Fast WiFi, even when the lounge is at capacity
The Bad
  • Not easy to find due to poor signage
  • Limited hot food and beverages
  • Gets very busy before flights to Australia, NZ
X-Factor
  • Separate space available exclusively for business class guests
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Hawaii is the tropical tonic many Australians and New Zealanders are craving right now. With the destination thriving once again, Hawaiian Airlines is back flying regularly between Honolulu and both Sydney and Auckland.

Prior to boarding their Hawaiian Airlines flight in Honolulu, travellers have access to one of two lounges (or both, in some cases) to provide a more comfortable pre-flight space to relax.

Terminal 1 at Honolulu Airport is used exclusively by Hawaiian Airlines.
Terminal 1 at Honolulu Airport is used exclusively by Hawaiian Airlines.

One of these is The Plumeria Lounge, Hawaiian’s flagship facility in Terminal 1, of which it has exclusive use. 

Executive Traveller recently headed inside to see what the lounge had to offer.

Location & Impressions

You’ll find the Plumeria Lounge – eventually – but don’t look too hard for any signage as it’s a little thin. Instead, you’re more likely to spot signs directing you to the Wiki Wiki Shuttle.

After clearing security at Terminal 1, turn right and just ahead you’ll see a somewhat dark and nondescript set of escalators in a little nook. These will lead you to both the shuttle and to the Plumeria Lounge.

Look for the escalators to the right past security and you'll find the lounge.
Look for the escalators to the right past security and you'll find the lounge.

At the top, the entrance is directly ahead of you. There’s no branding, no signage and you could be forgiven for thinking these are the offices of the airport’s back-of-house staff.

Follow the signs to the inter-terminal shuttle and you'll also find the Plumeria Lounge.
Follow the signs to the inter-terminal shuttle and you'll also find the Plumeria Lounge.

If you’re familiar with the Plumeria Lounge but haven’t been to Honolulu since post-pandemic travel resumed, you may remember the lounge being located quite close to many boarding gates. Until late 2021, this was true.

Honolulu Airport’s opening of a new US$270 million concourse extension in late 2021 has added up to 11 new gates, a new security checkpoint and lengthened the time it takes to walk from the lounge by around 10 minutes.

The terminal extension will add about ten minutes to your walk from the lounge.
The terminal extension will add about ten minutes to your walk from the lounge.

While many modern airport lounges feature numerous flexible spaces, The Plumeria Lounge is essentially one large room with a kitchenette in the corner. There’s no business centre, no offices and no kids play area, but there is plenty of seating.

The Plumeria Lounge opens daily from 7am until 6pm, which allows handy access to passengers travelling on Hawaiian’s flights to Sydney and Auckland.

Access

Travellers flying in business class (also known as Premium Cabin) on an international flight with Hawaiian Airlines can enjoy the Plumeria Lounge prior to boarding, as can those heading to the airline’s three cities on the US east coast, those being Boston, New York JFK and Orlando. 

The Plumeria Lounge provides a comfortable setting to pass time before boarding.
The Plumeria Lounge provides a comfortable setting to pass time before boarding.

Access is also available to Pualani platinum members of the Hawaiian Miles loyalty program. If you fit this bill, you can bring one guest with you, however they also need to be flying on the same day.

Without the above access rights, you’ll need to stump up US$40 per adult for a day pass. Pualani Gold members can enter the lounge for a reduced fee of US$30, while Platinums wishing to bring two or more guests can do so with each paying US$25 at the door.

There are no child prices to enter the lounge but children under two can enter for free with an adult 21 or over..
There are no child prices to enter the lounge but children under two can enter for free with an adult 21 or over..

Another way past the front desk is to become a member of the Priority Pass airport lounge club as Standard Plus and Prestige members can utilise the Plumeria Lounge.

If you hold a First class ticket to a Hawaiian Airlines U.S. mainland destination closer to the west coast, the Plumeria Lounge is not for you, but instead you can access Hawaiian’s second lounge, known as the Premier Club, found downstairs near Gate A18.

Dining

With the dining options at Honolulu Airport rather dire – and the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club in the same terminal serving no food at all, aside from one type of packaged nibbles – the Premier Club's main appeal is its food and beverage.

After 10am, the hot food options are a little disappointing.
After 10am, the hot food options are a little disappointing.

That said, the food in the Plumeria Lounge is little to crow about on social media. Dining is a key pillar of every major global airline’s lounge backbone but, unfortunately, is one starkly neglected by Hawaiian Airlines.

Forget expansive buffets with dietary considerations. Forget a la carte. Forget personal service. Plumeria Lounge features a small bench with, depending on the time of your visit, either a selection of breakfast cereals or a three-chamber bain-marie with marinated chicken, steamed white rice and Asian noodles.

Pastries are regularly refreshed but do little to complement the selection.
Pastries are regularly refreshed but do little to complement the selection.

Alternatively, try some fresh fruit, a selection of pastries, croissants and cookies or a bowl of soup from a warmer.

To wash it down, a soft drink fountain offers many popular Coca-Cola brands or make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. If you’re over 21, grab a beer from the fridge or pour a plastic cup of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and cans of beer comprise the alcohol selection.
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and cans of beer comprise the alcohol selection.

While the dining options are far from ideal, more than likely you’d prefer it to the overpriced fast-food options downstairs in the food court and will keep you going until it’s time to board.

Work

If you need to get some work done, aim for one of the café-style tables adjacent to the kitchenette, as these are the ones with ample power connection points. There are more power outlets along wall seating but if your only option is to sit in the middle of the room, your device will be running on battery.

This private area reserved for business class travellers is welcome but could use a desk for those needing to get work done.
This private area reserved for business class travellers is welcome but could use a desk for those needing to get work done.

Remember to pack a US power adaptor in your carry-on bag as only some of the outlets also offer USB power plugs.

WiFi is free of charge and the log-in details can be found on a laminated plastic card at the front desk.

Relax

While the Plumeria Lounge can tend to get rather busy prior to the daily departure to Sydney, seating is managed very well by staff, who will happily move chairs around to suit individuals or parties where possible.

You’ll want to bring a good book or your own media to watch or listen to, as the only communal entertainment is a single television tuned to the news or ESPN Sports Centre. Sadly, there are no showers in the bathrooms, so freshening up before your flight is out of the question.

Depending on your needs, there are a number of seating available in the lounge.
Depending on your needs, there are a number of seating available in the lounge.

Make sure you have access to the latest time, as this is also a ‘silent lounge’ with no boarding reminders made over a loudspeaker when it’s time to go.

That said, the lounge is comfortable and a lot quieter than setting yourself up at the departure gate for an extended stretch. For a quick bite to eat and after a skim of your inbox or social accounts on the fast WiFi, your time to board will come around fast enough.

Matt Lennon visited the lounge as a guest of Hawaiian Airlines.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 33

Been to this lounge and it is more for cattle class than first class - needs a major refurb

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 27

Sorry, this lounge is the pits, a sad ending to a visit to a beautiful place. The only more depressing lounge I have been to is the Qantas lounge, down the (very long) hall.

23 Nov 2021

Total posts 1

"packaged nibbles"


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