Before booking tickets for my last trip back home to Hawai’i, I made a decision that this time I was going to take the non-stop flight on Hawaiian Airlilnes, as long as the ticket price was reasonable. Luckily, they were very reasonable and very competitive with other carriers offering a non-stop flight from Newark.
There are a number of reasons for my decision this time around.
- It’s a non-stop flight! (11 hours but totally worth it.)
- It’s a big plane, with decent amenities.
- They offer FREE meals. Not just snacks, but a full meal AND an additional light meal before landing.
- And most importantly, it feels like home as soon I get on the plane.
Now, one may think that I’m a little biased, being from Hawai’i and writing about Hawaiian Airlines. Yes, this might be a little true. However, I’ve also lived away from Hawai’i for almost 20 years now, and have taken many flights home on many different carriers. I’ve lived in Denver, Chicago and now in New York City, and this is the first time I have been able to travel home with a carrier with whom Ive grow up. So yes, I do feel like I’ve hit the jackpot, and I hope that this route stays open for a very long time. But I’m also compelled to share my thoughts because I feel that with so many other carriers offering flights to Hawai’i from New York (most of them having at least a stop over or two), this is the best way to fly there.
There are so many people who I meet that tell me they’ve never been to Hawai’i, but would love to visit one day. Most of the them say its “too expensive” or “too far”. I totally get it, because to an extent, I feel the same way too. This is just the reality. For me however, I have an advantage that most people don’t. I grew up there, most of my family lives there, and I always have my childhood home to stay at, which means my only major cost is the airfare. This doesn’t mean that I’m going home to visit every three months though. The sheer distance and time it takes allows me to really only go back once a year. So I can empathize with people who dream of taking family vacations, honeymoons or adventure trips to Hawai’i but need to do major planning.
Here’s why I feel that Hawaiian Airlines has the upper hand. While most other countries have a single “flagship” airline, the United States really doesn’t. However, with Hawai’i being such different and unique place, Hawaiian Airlines is the only domestic carrier to offer that authenticity to it’s passengers. From the moment you get on the plane, to the moment you step off, the “Aloha Spirit” is with you. And the safety video even gives you an insight to the many different landscapes that the islands have to offer, while portraying Hawai’i’s modern culture and lifestyle.
Hawai’i is a very special place that everyone should be able to experience at least once in their lifetimes. And with that, I feel it only fair to the traveler to be able to experience flying on Hawai’i’s flagship airline if it is available. It might even be worth it to find a connecting flight through a city on the West Coast that Hawaiian flies through.
I should also point out that the carrier has recently announced that they will be updating and upgrading their premium cabin on its Airbus A330s to include lie-flat seats, and design inspired by culture and tradition. This is exciting for someone like me who rarely if ever flies premium, and is very picky with these details when the opportunity comes along. It also just makes sense if you are going to be on an 11-hour flight.
In the end, my last experience flying home was nothing short of exceptional. The crew was full of aloha. I was comfortable in my economy class seat, enjoyed my free meals and entertainment, and relaxed. After all, thats what Hawai’i is all about, being laid back and relaxed. So why not get there, before you get there?