Note: This is a trip report from my first trip to Hawaii. The trip was during the summer of 2016, but I had lost the photos until a few weeks ago. I thought it would be cool to share my experiences, and hopefully, have people comment on how service has changed/improved since I took this trip! Let me know if you have taken the flight recently!
American Business Class from Hawaii Bottom Line
American offers a modestly improved product on its flights from Hawaii to the mainland. I was underwhelmed by the soft product. Their flights to Dallas are the only flights that offer lie-flat seats. I flew on one of their last angled-flat 767s. The flight now flies with 777s with lie-flat seats and Premium Economy.
The Good: There wasn’t anything that good to note on this flight sadly.
The Bad: Uninspiring food, limited IFE via the tablet.
The Noteworthy: Aircraft was put to pasture a few months after my flight. This was my last flight ever on American’s older angled flat seats.
After spending some time at the Honolulu Admirals Club, which is operated jointly with JAL, I headed to the gate. I love how the Honolulu airport embraces the tropical environment. It has so much open air space that I found refreshing. Once inside the terminal that houses American, I lined up for boarding. The flight was completely full, and I was switched to an aisle seat because my original seat (2A) was broken. I saw only one person clear the upgrade list. Boarding was efficient and painless, and in a matter of minutes after leaving the lounge I was onboard.
Airline: American Airlines
Cabin: Business Class
Aircraft: 767-300ER [now flown by a 777]
Flight Number: AA 8
Cabin and Seat
Since I was the first person to board the flight, I had a chance to explore the non-refurbished interior. Economy had padded seats, much better than the new slimline seats found in economy. I also took a peek of the mythical row 17. On 767s, row 17 is crew rest. On shorter domestic flights, you can book that seat at check-in. If you can, take those seats, they are such an improvement over the rest in economy that you will thank me later.
The business class cabin was exactly the same as the one on my flight in. For a more detailed review of the seat and controls, see here.
Departure and Take Off
When boarding was done, the flight attendants came by offering water and orange juice as a pre-departure beverage. About 5 minutes before our scheduled time of departure, we left the gate. The taxi was slow, and the take-off roll was quite long. We climbed slowly after, but we were soon enough in the sky heading back to the mainland.
Similarly to the inbound flight, there were menus offered. They had, once again, just an option between two entrees. The menu read as follows:
The meal began with hot towels, the same ones offered on all of American Airlines business class. This was followed by drinks and warm nuts.
The appetizer consisted of what I can describe as a sushi burrito. It was delicious. The salad was very fruity, and I did not like it (I’m not a big fan of fruit in salads). They also came around with bread rolls. I ordered one that was purple on the inside, and that was so amusing to me. I found it so funny and whimsical, if anyone knows how they are called, please tell me!
For my main course, I ordered the pork belly. It was very flavorful, but a very small portion. I did not order dessert because, thankfully, I was not hungry.
The pre-arrival snack was pitiful. Unlike my flight in, there were no options. The continental breakfast was just a fruit plate, yogurt, and a warmed muffin top. I do not like fruit very much. I do not eat yogurt. I was so mad that I was going to go hungry, yet again, on a flight that is longer than JFK to London. I asked the FA if they had anything else to eat, and he very kindly came back with a sundae. It was still cold and consistent, and this made all the difference.
I slept most of this flight. The seat does angle to the floor, but I did not mind. I found the seat to be perfectly comfortable for a 4-hour nap. I woke up by the meal carts coming down the aisle.
The same issue as on my flight in. Tablet-based IFE is not good enough for such a long flight. The selection was limited, and I had seen all that I wanted to see on my flight. I just listened to my own music and waited for the flight to land. Seated in the middle section seat, I had no access to a window either.
Notes on Service
The crew on this flight was so kind and professional. I was offered drink refills constantly. They addressed me by name throughout the flight. The sundae for breakfast was not only a childhood dream come true but a very nice gesture. This crew truly wins a five-star rating.
Landing and Arrival
While it was still dark out, we began our arrival procedures. The crew came by to pick up trash, thank everyone for flying American, and ask how our flight was. I cannot say enough things about how good this crew was. Soon enough, we were landing at DFW.
American does distinguish their Hawaii flights from their longer domestic flights by offering a menu and specially mixed nuts. I understand that Hawaii is a leisure market. However, it does not justify having a poor meal service. The second meal was simply lacking. The flight is as long as a flight to London in terms of block time, and yet nothing comparable. I would overhaul their service, and provide two appetizer options and a heartier meal before landing. I know the flight is now flown by a 777, which has wifi and IFE screens, so those concerns are gone. I was overall disappointed by things that can be easily remedied. Hopefully, they have since addressed these issues and provide a truly competitive product.
What do you think? Have you ever flown to Hawaii on AA? How was your experience? Did it differ a lot from mine? Do more recent flights improve on this experience? Let us know!
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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