Hawaiian Reveals New A321neo Interiors

For as long as I can remember, Hawaiian has been operating widebody aircraft between Hawaii and the mainland. Thy operate a combination of Airbus A330 and Boeing 767 aircraft. In late 2015 they even introduced a new fully flat first class product, which Tiffany reviewed last year.


Well, Hawaiian will be taking delivery of 18 A321neo aircraft between the fourth quarter of 2017 and 2020, which will be operating many of their flights between the west coast and Hawaii.

The A321neo is an updated version of the A321, with updated engines that make it more fuel efficient and give it a longer range. Hawaiian has just revealed the interiors for these new plans, and later this year they’ll reveal the routes on which these planes will be operated.

Hawaiian’s A321neo aircraft will feature a total of 189 seats, including 16 first class seats, 45 extra comfort seats, and 128 economy seats. Here’s how they describe the new interiors:

Guests will enjoy the choice of three cabin products, with intuitive and comfortable seating provided by B/E Aerospace. The Premium Cabin will be luxuriously appointed with leather recliners, thoughtful design details and a custom lighting fixture incorporating Hawaiian’s signature ‘wave’ motif. The 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats will offer five more inches of legroom, priority boarding and other perks. Seats in all cabins will be equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximize the amount of space available for carry-on luggage.

New to Hawaiian’s guest experience, the A321neo will feature wireless streaming inflight entertainment. Guests will be able to download an application on their personal devices before they board to enjoy a wide selection of complimentary movies, TV shows, and Hawai‘i content available exclusively through the airline’s Hawaiian Skies channel. Holders for personal hand-held devices and tablets will be integrated into the tray tables of the Premium Cabin as well as the first row of Extra Comfort, and built into the backrest of all other seats in the aircraft.

Hawaiian’s A321neo aircraft won’t feature any personal televisions, but rather will have streaming entertainment, which seems to be the way of the future, for better or worse. Personal televisions add weight to the plane (which in turn increases fuel burn) and can malfunction, so nowadays many airlines are instead deciding on streaming inflight entertainment.

What I find interesting here is that Hawaiian’s new A321neo first class is absolutely a step backwards compared to the first class product that they’re presently installing throughout their A330 fleet. Those planes are getting flat beds, while the A321s will have a more standard domestic first class configuration.



Now, in fairness, this configuration will only be used for flights to the west coast, so you won’t see this product to New York, Sydney, etc. However, they previously flew the A330 to the west coast, so this does represent a significant product downgrade.

The economy cabin looks nice enough, especially given that they have 45 extra legroom seats.



Bottom line

Hawaiian’s A321neo aircraft will be worth avoiding once they’re introduced. Whether in first class or economy, I’d much rather be on an A330. In first class the A330 product is much better, while in economy a 2-4-2 configuration is more comfortable than a 3-3 configuration, in my opinion.

Still, I don’t blame Hawaiian for what they’re doing here — they went with a pretty standard configuration, which makes perfect sense, since they couldn’t really command much of a price premium for their flat bed product to Hawaii. Now they’re more in line with what most of the competition is offering.


  1. Yikes, 189 seats on an A321 sounds really tight. AA’s already-tight A321 config has 181, if I remember correctly.

  2. I read an article the other day about tablets fading out of style. If so, the airlines’ assumption that “everyone has a tablet” may be misguided. The future may consist of passengers staring at an iPhone Plus screen for longhaul flights.

  3. I only fly Hawaiian if I have no other choice. If possible I would rather swim from island to island than fly with them. They have the most arrogant and unpolite employees I ever experienced in any airline.

  4. the whole point of the 321neo is servicing far smaller airports along the west coast frequently ignored by the Big 3. If you really want to avoid the convenient and time-saving nonstop just to fly a flat bed, the big 3 already all offer a form a 1-stop service with flat bed to Hawaii (UA being the most conveniently located at SFO for connections up and down the coast), so that’s not a particular advantage for HA either.

  5. Nice to see that the bulkhead seats in economy have extra space at the bottom of the bulkhead for your feet.

  6. Nice looking cabin. It’s only a 5 hour flight, so lie-flat seats are not a necessity. And I like how the a320 series cabins feel much more spacious compared to 737s. Overall, it’s in line with United and AA. Looking forward to a review once these are flying.

  7. @Pat:

    Can you provide a link to this article about tablets falling out of style? I’m curious to know the rationale behind that line of thinking. Did the article mention what was going to fill the tablet void? If anything, it would seem tablets are replacing laptops, but that’s just my anecdotal sightings.

  8. I don’t like this new lack of IFE trend. If I’m traveling long haul with my 2 year old and 4 year old, they will happily watch cartoons on the IFE but we don’t have tablets for them.

  9. The trend west coast to Hawaii is narrowbodies with domestic recliners. UA, AA, DL, AS, etc. Sucks but that’s the way the market going. HA could have differentiated itself by keeping the widebodies, we’ll see how this works out for them.

  10. Traveling on a narrow body aircraft to Hawaii seems to downgrade the whole “going to Hawaii” fun. From LA it’s a 5.5 hour flight. I agree with Ben’s candid remarks, avoid the narrow body experience. What is it with American airlines? Can’t they figure out a way to differentiate?

  11. I would think that they would use the new A321 on their secondary west coast cities (Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, PHX…etc). I would assume that they would still use their A330’s to LAX/SFO/SEA markets as they would demand that type of service. Am I way off here?

  12. Flying to Hawaii on a narrowbody is disappointing.

    From Seattle, we’ve chosen Hawaiian every time we’ve flown ot the islands for the widebody aircraft and the Hawaiian ‘experience’ – in spite of the lack of points earning potential and opportunity cost.

    Having just flown yesterday 6h from BOS to SEA on a dated AS 737, there’s no way I’d consider flying that plane to the islands regardless of affiliation.

  13. Agree that there’s something special about flying to Hawaii on a widebody – you feel like you’re going somewhere important. But everyone else is running primarily narrowbodies from the west coast (Delta and United have the odd widebody, but American is 100% narrowbody from PHX and LAX).

    Guessing Hawaiian will continue running A330s from LAX, SFO, SEA, LAS, JFK, etc, but if I lived in a city that currently receives 767 service, I’d get ready for the A321. Higher frequency + smaller planes… the same formula that the other carriers adopted for West Coast-Hawaii about a decade ago.

    Just be thankful they got the A321 and not the 737-900. Now *there* is a truly miserable aircraft.

  14. OK I’ve not figured this out yet, but do Hawaiian’s A330s have Personal TVs at all, just in business class, or not at all?

  15. No personal TVs??? That’s a step backwards in my opinion. No, not everyone has tablets or wants to pay $20 for wifi to watch something on their phones. So stupid.

  16. @Tiffany – That’s Terrible! So if I’m in economy (which I always am, not enough $$ for Biz Class), I just sit bored to death for the super-long HNL – JFK Flight? What If my phone’s dead and I can’t do streaming. Do they at least have overhead TVs?

  17. Other thing to note is Hawaiian appears to be going with the same F class seat AA has installed on the reconfigured pmUS A319s. Those seats are brand new and are already in very tattered shape, they are wearing very quickly! I’ve been on several planes now where there’s duct tape on the arm rests, so I’d expect the same issues after HA has them in service for a few months.

  18. HNL-YVR now sounds like a possibility, and this onboard product would be an upgrade over WS’ 737-800 and AC Rouge’s thigh-crushing 29″ seat pitch 767-300ERs.

  19. @zortan Each seat will have USB power to charge your device, and Y+/F will have AC power as well. The plane will also not be flying anything more than about 6 hours (due to range), so JFK will remain A330.

    While I, as well as everyone else find the downgrade from widebody’s (some with lie flats) disappointing, we knew this was coming for a while, and you can’t really blame Hawaiian for matching their competitors. It’s well known lie flats don’t command a price premium on west coast-Hawaii flights. It seems like HA equipped the A330’s to fly primarily longer flights, but they ended up sticking around the west coast longer, due to the Pratt engine delays on the NEO. Overall, I think I’d still fly these 321’s over the competitions 737’s, if for nothing more than a free meal in Y, fresh/clean/comfortable looking cabins, and the Hawaiian atmosphere throughout the company and its employees.

  20. @Hawaii.aviation —> I can only surmise you have had delightful experiences while flying Hawaiian (or maybe you’re a private pilot who flies a lot in the skies over Hawai’i). I, OTOH, have taken 6 flights in my entire life on HA, and that would be six flights too many, IMHO. Well, OK — four flights too many; not many alternatives to an inter-island flight on a 717. But when you’re BEST experiences on an airline take <60 minutes onboard a 717, I would say that isn't a good sign . . . YMMV, and apparently does.

  21. Really dislike the use your own device trend. Sure, I have a device with me, but the last thing I want to be doing is looking down with my tray table out with little room for anything else for hours. No thanks. Makes jetblue look even better as they begin to remodel their A320’s with the A321 interior with 10″ screens at every seat – perhaps someday jetblue will send their A321 with mint to Hawaii.

  22. Success breeds contempt. With the switch to the A321neo HA is no longer distinguishing them from the other carriers as an airline of Hawaii for Hawaii. Cramping the locals into a single aisle aircraft will accent the battle for overhead baggage space, and longer or earlier boarding times. With the change in diets personnel are becoming bigger in stature and seats are becoming tighter, there is a disconnect except for the potential of more profits vs the loss of customers. The “elite” customer program has become somewhat of a “joke” except for the long haul flights. Hawaiian is destined to become just another airline serving Hawaii. Price will be the absolute again! not service and comfort.

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