Flight Review: Getting “Extra Comfort” with Hawaiian Airlines – Portland to Honolulu (HA25)

Today we fly from Oregon on the West Coast of the USA, back towards Australia as we touch down in Honolulu. You can choose to stick around the Hawaiian capital, or continue on to Australia; and for this trip we certainly stuck around Hawaii for a week. But we had to fly there first. Here’s a look at the experience flying Hawaiian Airlines between the two cities, in what they call their “Premium Economy” selection, “Extra Comfort”

Airline: Hawaiian Airlines
Route: Portland to Honolulu (HA25)
Class: Premium Economy (“Extra Comfort”)
Aircraft: A330-200
Seat: 11C (Aisle 2-4-2 Layout)
Flight Time: 5 hours and 25 minutes of flight time

Checking In at Portland International Terminal

It’s a bit of walking around to check in, but it doesn’t take too long. The Hawaiian Airlines check in area is right at the end of the terminal. I arrived two hours before my flight and there was no queue. Then the gate is at the other end of the terminal (D/E). But I enjoyed a smaller queue for security there than there would have been on the other side.

The Departure Terminal: Portland International Terminal

It was an early flight, so I went to a place called Beaches before security, and at their “express dining section” spent $10 on a stellar breakfast burrito filled with all the meats and a drink. There’s plenty of food options inside the terminal, after security, however, including a Burgerville, which seems to position itself as Oregon’s take on the In ‘n Out style burger (though it doesn’t compare, their milkshakes are phenomenal. Get the fresh strawberry if it’s available and make sure to ask for their “spread” on the side of any burgers or fries).

There’s also a store for the great local label Tender Loving Empire, which is filled with great Portland and craft items (“handmade goods”, they bill it as an ETSY store of sorts), alongside their own TLE goods. You’ll also find a Rogue Ales Public House for some spectacular beers – all in Concourse D.

There’s water bottle fill up stations all over the terminal, and before you board they encourage you to throw you your liquids, rather than throw out the whole bottle. Good for the environment and also encourages people to drink water, which is important.

Also worth mentioning how helpful and friendly the staff were at the airport. I saw someone fall over, and about 10 people ran over to help her – feel like some airports wouldn’t be so friendly.

Boarding Process

Started boarding about 40-45 minutes before take off. Very smooth boarding process, with Extra Comfort passengers getting to board ahead of the main Economy ticketed passengers.

The Premium Economy Offering: Extra Comfort

The business class hasn’t been upgraded on the A330 I was on, and so there was no bulkhead between business and premium “extra comfort” seating. This did mean, however, that there was extraordinary leg room and even space under the business seats in front of you to put things, reducing my normal qualms about a bulkhead seat.

So what do you get beyond the extra leg room and priority boarding (as well as priority security line access at select airports)? On this flight, the seats have a personal power outlets (USB and AC), complimentary “Unlimited TV & More” entertainment packs, a pillow and a blanket. As this was a slightly older plane they were still using older model pull up TV units in the bulkhead seats, but they were fully functional and I enjoyed a couple of films before landing.

Food and Drink Service

As the only North American airline to offer complimentary meals on domestic flights, it’s definitely a – though don’t expect too much in terms of quality. That said, my breakfast sandwich (with egg cheese and peppers), with cookie and fruit cup, definitely kept me going. Hot beverages, water and fruit juice was available with the breakfast service.

After first service they do another beverage service and then you can get what you want from the walk up bars in the middle or at the back. A rum drink and some potato chips were served just before landing.

Across the board the service was terrific and I couldn’t fault them in any respect. I’ve rarely had a more comfortable flight or better experience with a crew.

Landing in Honolulu 

Coming from Mainland USA, there is an agriculture form to fill out. It’s handed in on board. They did this as part of an early clean up an hour out due to expected turbulence. Also meant entertainment units had to be stowed well ahead of landing, which was a pain. But we arrived early. I had my bags by the time we were supposed to have arrived.

As anyone who’s landed in Honolulu will remember, it’s a lengthy walk to baggage claim. Though you could go outside pretty much the minute you walked off the aircraft.

The Verdict

This is as good of an Economy experience as you’ll ever have on a North American airline – though you do pay a small premium for it. The service was impeccable, and unlike their competition, they actually give you a meal, which is one of those “little things” that really makes the Hawaiian Airlines experience in a class of its own. If you’re flying back from Oregon to Australia, going via Hawaii feels like the best option. And definitely treat yourself to some time in Hawaii while you’re there.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

To book your next holiday with Hawaiian Airlines, head to hawaiianairlines.com.

The author flew as a guest of the airline. All information was correct at the time of flying, however make sure to check with the airline for the latest updates on the route, and the Extra Comfort offerings. 

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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