Hawaiian Reveals New A321neo Interiors

Filed Under: Hawaiian

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.

  23. That’s a lot of seats for an A321! I wonder what the pitch and width of the seats will be!

  24. Just checked SeatGuru: 18″ width in F me 17.3″ width in Y. In an Airbus? Why?! They’re skimping too hard to make an extra .30 cents per passenger. No way I’m flying this.

  25. Late to the party as usual but I was looking up the delivery date for the 321’s and saw this… my two cents:
    Since the seats aren’t in an actual aircraft yet-I’d think the 17.3″ quote off SeatGuru is perhaps a placeholder until someone can get on the A321Neo and have a look/measure. As for the PTV’s, the reconfigured A330’s do still have them only in Y. The new First Class which has the 12.9″ iPad pro’s and clunky tablet holders which I heard Optimares and HA were working on.
    @Jason I’m very sorry to hear you’ve had a bunch of bad experiences with HA. I’ve flown on their longest domestic flight from JFK-HNL roundtrip a few times and also HNL-LAX, I found the service onboard to be well above most Y standards with happier flight attendants than the legacies. (particularly HNL-EWR that I did in F) I’d tend to choose them all the time for Y/Y+ but that also benefits my TrueBlue account. My major gripe is that they charge a quite ridiculous price from JFK-HNL in F whether they had the flatbeds or not! Mostly* it seems to begin at $3400RT and I’ve seen it as high as $5600RT looking out 90 days plus. (*I’ve seen a few ~$1580RT ones but try getting two seats at that price!)

  26. @EastCoastNHL —> a couple of thoughts:

    1) I’m not so sure SeatGuru is simply using a “placeholder.” Now, I haven’t researched it, but I would think that HA¹ would have announced whose seats they were installing on some press release somewhere announcing their purchase of the A321neo. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find the manufacturer and model of the seats.

    2) I acknowledge that HA gets a lot of kudos both overall and specifically for its customer service. In a web-based article dated July 11, 2017, Travel & Leisure (http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/domestic-airlines-in-us) ranked HA #4 among U.S. airlines. (FWIW: #5, WN; #3, AS; #2, B6; #1, VX.) And, according to the 27th annual Airline Quality Rating (AQR) — see http://news.erau.edu/headlines/alaska-delta-finish-no-1-2-in-new-airline-quality-rating-while-overall-airline-industry-posts-best/ — released April 10, 2017 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the rankings were as follows (with the 2016 ranking in parentheses):

    1. Alaska (5)
    2. Delta (3)
    3. Virgin America (1)
    4. JetBlue (2)
    5. Hawaiian (4) — special mention, ranked #1 for on-time arrivals
    6. Southwest (6)
    7. SkyWest (7)
    8. United (8)
    9. American (10)
    10. ExpressJet (9)
    11. Spirit (13)
    12. Frontier (11)

    3) The advantage I have, living on the West Coast, re: flights to Hawai’i is that I have multiple options in terms of which carrier to choose. For me, based upon past experience and the most useful miles *for me*, I opt to fly AS/VX. But certainly Hawaiian *is* the #1 choice for many . . .

    ¹ Or Airbus, or the seat manufacturer . . .

  27. @Jason thanks for the quick reply! You’ve got some interesting thoughts. I wish I had the plethora of options you do to hop over to Hawaii… I love being in the pacific far more than the few Caribbean spots I’ve been to (don’t ask me why but I just do. I suppose, being an avgeek, the journey is half the fun-far more fun to me in Y on HA than UA/DL) I’d certainly encourage you to maybe try HA again for some of that award ranking onboard* service that I’ve experienced multiple times-at least you’ll get some food lol! (*Manila and Bombay call centers purposely excluded!)

    -On the SeatGuru 17.3″ ‘placeholder’ idea-B/E is ID’d as the seat maker BUT seating numbers other than maybe pitch won’t be confirmed until it’s seen on the plane, HA’s website or SeatGuru gets it right (which they frequently do NOT do!)
    a. Airbus touts their 18″ wide Y seats as a selling point for their Airline customers to use in Y marketing-but they WILL configure as asked.
    For example, DL and AA have 18″ in Y and even spirit has 17.75” wide seats (at a bone crunching 28″ pitch) I just can’t see HA cutting that advantage for an extra smidge of aisle when it’s already wide enough-especially where it’d be a comfort selling point over the AS/UA/DL 737‘s (iirc-only AA takes A321’s to the islands now and that’s 18″ in Y)
    b. The seats can be manufactured in just about any width desired. Again, the seats are from B/E Aerospace with the Premium/F seat likely being the
    B/E “Miq” which some airlines use in W on long haul (CX and AA I believe) at 19-22“ but the seat can go as wide as the carrier desires.
    c. Speaking of B/E seating (now part of Rockwell) they make standard Pinnacle sets for the A321 at 18″ and JetBlue has them currently-even looking at pics they’re quite comparable seats minus the PTV’s on B6. So unless Hawaiian asked B/E to shave .7” off the Pinnacle seat or is installing a set of seats meant for a 737, I really think they should wind up in the aircraft to be 18″ or certainly closer to it (17.8-17.9 etc) than the paltry 17.3″ on the width.

    I’m hoping for HA service to Boston as it’s been tossed around a few times as a possibility for East Coast expansion since the A321 order was announced. Iirc, an article or forum post* somewhere said that there’s a decent amount of pax that originate in BOS and go to Hawaii and currently all those pax obviously connect thru the NY or west coast airports. If you’re in LA or SFO, you’ll most definitely keep quite a bit if not all of the A330 service due to the cargo factor so there’s always that if you don’t want to shoehorn into a 737 in the back 😉
    (*grain of salt if it was the forum)

  28. Just curious. Lots of comments here about tight seating. When a new airplane type is certified, the FAA requires the airline to demonstrate that the plane can be completely evacuated within 90 seconds. A new demonstration is required when the seating capacity of the airplane is increased. While looking through “CHAPTER 77. EVALUATE FAR PART 121 EMERGENCY EVACUATION/DITCHING PROCEDURES/DEMONSTRATIONS”, I saw no requirement that the “passengers” used for this demonstration NOT be previously trained and practiced airline employees. Seems to me these people should be chosen by the FAA at random representing a cross section of age, sex and physical condition, and reimbursed by the airline.

  29. Not true on the Hawaiian Air employees. I have used Hawaiian Air for many, many years. Have not had a bad experience with any employee whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the opposite. Always pleasant and professional. Always went the extra mile to make sure we were comfortable and our needs attended to. Will definitely continue flying Hawaiian Air, and would definitely rate them 5 stars.
    Thanks Hawaiian Air.

  30. John
    First class on the new 321neo was miserable. Comparable to the old saying “ like third class on a Bulgarian railroad”
    Not worth the money

  31. I only fly Hawaiian to the islands for the past 30 yrs, haven’t had an issue, flew first class, and economy, personally for such a short haul not worth the extra money for first class. It’s only been on the wide body so room hasn’t been an issue for me. I’m going back in a couple of months and it looks like my flight home will be on the neo single isle, not looking forward to it as it’s a similar configuration of the 737 which is okay for a 2-3 hr flight, seats are not comfortable at all. Will see if this is a trend for Hawaiian and if they plan on replacing all the west coast flights with this skinny plane.

  32. We’re Hawaiian Airlines fans…until this month, that is. Just flew round trip SJC/Kona – first time on the new 321 plane. Pretty much the most uncomfortable flight we’ve ever experienced. Leg room non-existent, cramped cabin, narrow center aisle…plus cutbacks on all the little perks that made traveling on HA special. Change isn’t always for the best…

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *