Travel: The First Time I Flew First Class (Hawaiian Airlines Inter-island First Class Flight Review)


An upgrade to first class for only $50?! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

Nevertheless, N and I decided to spend the few extra dollars to treat ourselves to first class interisland flights on our recent trip to Hawaii. We’d get a comfy seat, lounge access, the works! And would we ever be able to afford this luxury on long haul flights? Probably not…


We checked in to our first flight from Honolulu to Maui by skipping the cattle-class line and heading straight to the counter. The service assistant labelled our tickets ‘First Class’ in bright blue permanent texta. I was slightly disappointed that these weren’t automatically printed on our boarding passes! There was also the option for an extra checked bag each, however we didn’t need this.

We waited for approximately 10 minutes at security, only to be told that we could have skipped the line because we were in first class.


Such a ticket also meant that we had access to the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Lounge, something I had only ever experienced once before when my bestie had free passes for the Qantas equivalent. I am sad to say that the Hawaiian Airlines lounge provided nothing like the breakfast I received with Qantas two years ago.

Yes the lounge was clean and nicely furnished with free Wifi, however there wasn’t a huge range of food and beverages on offer. I was happy with the tea, coffee, soft drink and juice selections but the only thing available to eat was a pau hana snack mix.


After checking our emails (and let’s be honest, social media), we wandered out to the departure gate and were given priority boarding. As we entered the plane, we were very warmly greeted by the Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants. After finding our seats, which were larger than economy class with more leg room, we were immediately offered a drink and (another) pau hana snack mix.


I began browsing the in-flight magazine Hana Hou! and drinking my cola. Just as I was taking the last sip, it was announced that the plane was about to descend into Maui. I quickly passed over my cup to the flight attendant and leaned over N to look at the views.

Our next two inter-island flights and lounge experiences were much the same as our first. As we were departing the Big Island, I was quite happy that I was tucked away in the tiny lounge, as the airport was outdoors and noisy! All the lounges seemed to have had a makeover in the past couple of years too – they looked quite different to the reviews I had read about them only a few months prior.


So it first class worth the extra $50 (or $150 if you’re flying three times). Probably not. But it may be worth it just so you can say you’ve flown first class once in your life!


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