Hawaiian Airlines launches new A330 lie-flat business class seats

By David Flynn, May 24 2016
Hawaiian Airlines launches new A330 lie-flat business class seats

Hawaiian Airlines will begin flying its lie-flat Premium Cabin seats in June, with US West Coast destinations first to see and sample the Airbus A330 business class seats on a 'surprise-and-delight' basis (meaning the airline isn't going to lock down initial routes until a few months down the track).

More A330s will be upgraded as the months roll by, with the 23-strong fleet refit due by "early 2018".

The 18 Poltrona Frau leather-clad seats convert into 20.5 inch-wide beds, although the 2-2-2 layout will make the middle seats preferred for direct access to the aisle and no seatmate stepping over you.

A design feature of the Premium Cabin itself is a fibre-optic lighting representation of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters constellation – known to Hawaiian islanders as Makali'i –  which the airlines says was "instrumental in guiding early Polynesian explorers on their Pacific journeys."

Each set has its own AC power socket plus two USB ports for directly recharging your smartphone, tablet or ebook reader, with tablets serve up the inflight video.

Hawaiian Airlines flies from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland to Honolulu with onwards non-stop connections to major US cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas and Seattle.

PREVIOUS | Hawaiian Airlines will upgrade its Airbus A330 business class to fully lie-flat seats, replacing the current crop of recliners with an all-new design.

The seats will make their debut by mid-2016 and be fitted across the airline's 23-strong A330 fleet by the end of 2017.

Hawaiian's move will not only boost the premium experience on Sydney-Honolulu and Brisbane-Honolulu flights but also close the gap against Qantas, which will offer its new A330 Business Suites on Sydney-Honolulu flights before the end of next year.

(Jetstar's competing Boeing 787 business class offers recliner-style seats set in a 2-3-2 layout).

Arranged in a 2-2-2 layout, the new seats will fold into 76-inch beds and rely on large-screen tablets for inflight entertainment.

Those tablets will be fitted with a telescoping adjustable arm, allowing passengers to position the tablet for optimum viewing.

"This new service is going to underscore our mission to be the premiere destination carrier and it's going to take our signature in-flight hospitality to an entire new level" promised Hawaiian Airlines' CEO Mark Dunkerley.

The new seats were developed in partnership with Italian manufacturer Optimares and US design and branding agency PaulWylde.

Dunkerley praised the seat as "a truly bespoke design that delivers world-class comfort and style, while staying true to our island roots."

"Whether traveling for business, with family or on a romantic retreat, the new premium cabin evokes an engaging bold, contemporary sense of Hawai'i, complemented by the warm aloha spirit of our cabin crew."

The new-look A330 business class cabin also reflects its Hawaiian heritage with "flowing curves evocative of the winds and ocean, while marrying organic textures, pops of bright saturated colour, and luxury materials like leather from Poltrona Frau".

The A330's business class cabin will remain at 18 seats, however Hawaiian Airlines will also boost the size of its 'economy comfort' cabin from 40 seats to 68, reflecting the increased demand for that category.

Hawaiian's economy comfort seats offer 36 inch pitch compared to 31 inches in standard economy, along with an AC power socket, free inflight entertainment and priority boarding.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

This is sure to be a major step up for Hawiian, their business at the moment is horrendous, we'll just have to see who can get their lie flat product on the route first. Because HNL is mainly a leisure destination this will probably be QF's last route they'll want to use the Business Suite on

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 40

i couldnt agree more, their current business offering is woeful

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 569

I know it's only a render but gee that's a nice looking suite.

Having the side by side option is also a positive given there would be a lot of couple's travelling to HNL. 

It makes hubbing through HNL an option for U.S. bound travellers with a nice break on the way home.


20 Oct 2015

Total posts 1

Agree - good to see some fresh product.

Not sure about the mini shower screen from my nan's house, though...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 318

Really? Tablets for inflight entertainment for an international business class?!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 244

I personally find tablets such as iPad more responsive to touches than the standard Panasonic screens with lagging response time in loading pages. Maybe a good thing for now? Perhaps iPad Pro with bigger screen can compensate the experience?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1244

It is beyond shocking that a tablet is considered acceptable when revamping business class.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 442

That foot-well looks ridiculously tight. A pair of feet is not triangular.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 650

+1 to that smit0847.  the foot 'space' looks pretty much useless... and the 76in 'bed' includes about 6in  of unuseable/useless footspace...unless you are happy sleeping with your ankles/feet crossed...and the window pax still dont have direct aisle access...HA have crammed a 1-2-1 product into a 2-2-2 config..that's a fail for me

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1244

Imagine trying to sleep on your side = impossible.

The product certainly LOOKS nice, and technically it does have direct aisle access. But it provides it in a very space-inefficient manner (taking space out of all six footwells in a row, when technically only two footwells per row needed to have their space reduced to provide direct aisle access) whilst also reducing comfort for all flyers.

Not to mention that four out of the six seats per row face into the aisle. This isn't exactly the best for passenger privacy.

This really does look like a mistake. Surely it would've been both more competitive and more space-efficient for them to just get a customized Cirrus or Super Diamond implementation? They could've probably fit at least 18 Cirrus/SD suites into the same space, providing longer and wider beds without the possibility of bumping into someone else's feet.

I guess they can mitigate some of these problems by making the aisle seats in the side pairs have shields around the footwell (these seats would be prioritized for shorter passengers, and given Hawaiian airlines probably flies plenty of Asian people who are generally a little shorter than people of European ancestry this would probably be okay). In addition, installing an additional padded shelf on the central seats and the window seats that fits in the space where the pseudo-aisle would be (to increase the size of the footwell for those passengers) would fix their footwell problem.

I like the styling of the product, but I still think it doesn't really compete very well. Cirrus or SD would have none of the problems I described and probably be able to fit in more passengers within the same space.

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

I think everyone has got the wrong end of the stick here - did you see what they called international business before?  It was a joke and only comparable to a LCC, so their new iteration is brilliant in comparison and really should only be compared to the the current QF business product plying the Pacific....

Oh, I certainly don't contest that the product is an improvement. It certainly is an improvement over what they had!

But remember QF will eventually be flying Business Suites to Honolulu. And frankly, fully-flat Skybeds are more private than this product overall, and offer bigger beds.

Additionally its only a matter of time before the US airlines up their game and offer better products to Honolulu. And then there are the Asian carriers whom Hawaiian competes with.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 650

by that logic,  'technically' EVERY airline seat in EVERY cabin has direct aisle access...maybe airlines should start advertising that ALL their Y/C seats offer direct aisle access lol  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

It was looking good until I saw "tablet".  This isn't good for economy, let alone Business.  Still, good enough for Americans who accept below-par airlines.

I can see those white curvy panels getting dirty really quickly. I hope the cleaners will clean in between otherwise it might get crusty with bits being lodged in.

It will be interesting to see if this will affect pricing. 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 735

If I ran Hawaiian Airlines, my strategy would be to try to make Honolulu the hub of the Pacific, and allow easy one-stop connections from any major city in Asia/Australiasia to every major city in the US. If you're going from Sydney to Seattle or Denver or Chicago or Miami you gotta stop somewhere, so it might as well be Honolulu instead of LAX. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

Isn't that the way life used to work pre 747-400? Errrrrryone used to stop in HNL on the way to or from mainland USA from East coast AU.

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 40

Their business product was way overdue for an upgrade, those recliner seats they have now are horrible, reminds me of aerolineas argentinas business product "shudder"

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

Having previously phone Hawaiian business class I agree with all the comments on their current offering.

Now I much prefer to pay for economy and add the "economy plus" option. Apart from F&B I really don't feel there's a lot of difference to justify the cost for business..

For the SYD-HNL we always ensure we have a ewasonable meal before the flight at the airport or lounge and for the retunr flight we stop by the nearest ABC shop and pick up some fresh wraps and trail mix.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 622

"...don't feel there's a lot of difference to justify the cost for business.."

There is now given HA's new J.  Its old J was a recliner but still @ a higher spec than JQ's J seat(PY in reality) despite their fares being practically the same yr round.  In contrast, HA's new J is a horizontal flat bed which is rationally light yrs ahead of any Y+ in terms of sleeping comfort alone.  In fact, this new J by HA is @ least 1 notch above the best J deployed by QF Group on this route.....despite QF's habit of consistently charging signficantly more(Typically +50%) than HA for J in this mkt.

Now whether such comfort level for sleeping is required for SYD-HNL is a diff question......fully dependent on the nature of such trip for an individual(e.g. U.S. biz trip terminating or connecting @ HNL? Hi-end retreat to a Maui luxury resort /private villa? Cheap & cheerful family vacation in Waikiki?).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 73

Who cares about the IPad to watch movies on, it got a lay flat bed now & will shake up Qantas with there stupidity pricing from Sydney to Honolulu around 8k return..

lets hope Hawian air don't be greedy on the prices for business class, it's all about getting bums on seats.. 


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

Another good use for my Velocity stockpile


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

Do you think they'll change their points required to fly the updated cabins

"surprise-and-delight" LOL

I'd rather "defer-and-mitigate", in which case, due to the poor project planning and extended lead times the product, when implemented fleet-wide will be "stale-and-unimpressive".

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 622

"due to the poor project planning and extended lead times...." LOL

Yes, U're right, HA should withdraw all 330s fm current ops to get all cabin conversion done across the entire fleet over 1 wk or less so pax won't need to "defer-and-mitigate" and will be assured to get a consistent product after 1wk.  That would be graded as good project planning and reasonable lead time re major cabin product implementation.  Double LOL again.

Now back fm the dreamland occupied by armchair airline CEO experts whom operate/evaluate beyond the realm of airline op realities and focused only on pleasing pax @ all costs, some fun but realistic Q&As:

1.  How many 330 in HA fleet today that need to go thru cabin mod?


2.  How many J seats need to be delivered fm manufacturer ontime before any mods on any frame can start?

About 414.....hopefully the manufacturer is not Zodiac which has earned a solid reputation for serious certification+delivery delays among airline customers these days....

3.  How long does it take to get each bird into a hangar position, complete removal of current J seats, pre-wiring for new J seats, installation of new J seats+related electronic hardwares /softwares, really basic power-up+functional tests, re-jigging of Y+ seats vs Y seats, etc. and then move each brid out fm the hangar?

At least 1 wk assuming U deploy a platoon of technicians per frame to get the job done on time.

4.  How many hangar positions needed to do entire fleet in 1 wk?

23, roughly equivalent to the total apron area of the entire SYD T1 or larger than all final assembly halls combined @ Boeing Everett.

5.  How many roundtrip Rev$ seats will be erased fm the entire HA booking system & route network(But 330 leases continued to be paid) during that wk of 330 cabin mod?

At least 6,762 per day assuming each 330 operates a min of 2 cycles(i.e. 1 roundtrip) per 24hrs.  In reality, most HA 330s actually operate @ least 4cycles per day between U.S. mainland and HNL.  Basically, @ least 47,334 Rev$ seats are lost in a wk.

6.  Totally how much will HA lose in Rev$ by parking all 330s in the hangar for 1 wk?

Assuming avg roundtrip fare earned per Rev$ seat(Ignoring higher fare earned fm J or Y+ and Rev$ fm checked bags, ancillaries, cargo, etc.) is US$700(Using HA's typical lowest Y fare for HNL-LAX as the benchmark), @ least US$33.1m.  In reality, I strongly suspect the figure is closer to US$70m which is more than all profits earned by HA for the whole 2014.

7.  How many HA cities/airports will be impacted by 330 op suspension for 1 wk?

18 out of a total of 29....op chaos will be an understatement.

8.  Does HA dedicate a 330 frame only on a fixed route to ensure pax on that route always get certain cabin product installed on that frame?

Never.  It rotates a widebody frame across its entire widebody network just like nearly every widebody operator on earth has been doing for decades to maximize utilization.

9.  How many 330 in QF fleet?


10.  When did QF completed the mod for its latest J on the 1st 330 frame?

Oct14 or 20 mths ago.

11.  Has QF completed the mod re latest J on all 330s?

Not yet but targeted to reach that goal by the end of this yr.  A rough estimate is that QF has done mod for an avg of one 330 frame per mth.

12.  Which airline, HA or QF, has much much more engineering resources & tech capabilities to conduct cabin conversion rapidly?

Take a wild guess....

Your assumptions of 1 week is false and misleading.

1 week is completely unreasonable for a fleet that big.

However identifying target routes is sensible, realistic and would provide the best bang for buck.

Adequate lead times and appropriate project planning helps to manage customer expectactions and improves reliability. That is what customers look for when making decisions to fly with an airlines. That 1 weeks BS is just pure fantasy.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 73

Lets hope they keep there prices below the stupid price Qantas charge ($7000 +) round trip SYD - HNL...

If they are smart $4000K round trip will kill Qantas ans will sell out every flight 

And please dont even put Jetstar in the same story a total waist of money in the Starclass recliners & god help you if you are sitting behing the front row when they recline the seat.....

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 622

"..hope they keep there prices below the stupid price Qantas charge($7000 +) round trip SYD - HNL..."

Regardless of whether U think it's stupid or not(i.e. individual consumer opinion), if we consistently find QF quote such fare or higher for J on that route, there can only be 1 logical conclusion: There're enough demand(Excluding demand fm U or me of course) in the mkt actually paying @ such fare level for QF's J.

QF doesn't seem like the kinda company which believe in  quoting a high fare in order to fly empty J seats to/fm Hawaii is a fun sport.

The point is that if QF has been able to sell J @ such fare level, why can't HA sell J @ similar fare particularly after its J cabin conversion is completed fleet wide(i.e. every HA 330 departing SYD will hv this new J design)?  QF currently deploy Skybed I(Angled lie-flat) in J on SYD-HNL.  HA's new J is a horizontal flat bed.  Product for product, do we honestly believe Skybed I is overall superior to HA's new J and therefore QF can justify a fare premium over HA?  I believe many will agree it should be the other way around....flat bed is a big jump fm angled lie-flat in terms of product std.  Even when QF finally transition to its new J on this route, diff in product std QF vs HA will be much smaller(basically, with direct-aisle access for every seat vs without but on a leisure-heavy route like SYD-HNL where significant % of J pax travel as couples, is this feature even critical?).

"If they are smart $4000K round trip will kill Qantas ans..."

There must be a typo in there somewhere....4000K typically means 4,000,000 unless we're talking about a diff currency...

Anyway, I agree $4,000 is possible(Likely as a limited time launch promo) for this new J given that the typical current HA  fare is only about $3,600(Similar to JQ's).  But if HA is truly smart as a well-run airline, I think its lowest sustainable J fare, after full roll-out of its new J design, should be closer to $5,500-6,000 given what QF has been charging per Skybed I std.

"..dont even put Jetstar in the same story.."

Of course.  The smart money would clearly understood that Starclass, in all practical senses+metrics, is a PY product in reality.  Apparently, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding /unrealistic expectation by consumers thx mainly to JQ continuing to mkt /sell Starclass as a biz class product.

"a total waist of money in the Starclass recliners...."

Possibly yes for some but no for others.  Again, the fact that seats in that class continue to be filled has proven that enough pax hv already voted fm their own wallet/purse that Starclass is not a waste of $.....otherwise, we would hv seen a sharp drop in Starclass fares a long time ago.

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