Hawaiian Airlines Launches Lie-Flat Seating in Premier Class

Aviation News

Hawaiian Airlines has taken delivery on its first jetliner with lie-flat seating. How does it compare to lie-flat seating on other airlines? Will it find favour with passengers?

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Tablet holder in Premier Class on Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines has taken delivery on its first Airbus A330 aircraft with fully lie-flat seating in its premium class cabin.

There will be 18 lie-flat seats in premium class, and they will fold into 180-degree beds that are 20.5 inches wide and 76 inches long.

Passenger seats will be  arranged six seats abreast in a two-by-two-two configuration.

To put these figures in context, the average width of a hospital gurney is 22 inches and the average length of a hospital gurney is 77 inches.

Even a camp cot could offer even more comfort: A camp cot measuring 24 to 26 inches in width is considered to be “narrow”!

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So how do Hawaiian Airlines’ seat measurements in premium class compare with the industry average for this type of aircraft?

According to Airbus, the typical seat width in premium class cabins of A330 aircraft is 27 inches in four abreast seating, which is typical of the configuration of First Class cabins.

Typical seat width is 22 inches in six abreast seating, which is typical of the configuration of Business Class cabins.

The typical width of passenger seats in premium economy cabins with seven abreast seating is 20 inches.

The standard width for economy class seats in eight abreast configurations is 18.1 inches.

With nine-abreast seating, which would be typical of no frills or budget air carriers, the standard width of seats is 16.7 inches.

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Premier class lie-flat seating on Airbus 330 aircraft.

Translation: Hawaiian’s seat width of 20.5 inches in premium class will be closer to premium economy (20 inches) than business class (22 inches).

Needless to say, there are other factors to be taken into consideration such as the cushiness of the seats and the aesthetics of the interior design of the cabin, but these things are more difficult to quantify.

Seat controls, meanwhile, are described as “intuitive”. There is access to multiple power ports, including two USB connections and one A/C outlet.

An advanced in-flight entertainment system is powered by the next generation of large-format tablets resting on an adjustable telescoping arm for optimal viewing angle and comfort.

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Hawaiian Airlines is also adding 28 additional Extra Comfort seats in premium economy class on the airline’s A330 aircraft.

Passenger flying premium economy will have  36 inches of seat pitch. They will also have priority boarding at the gate, complimentary on-demand in-seat entertainment, and a personal power outlet.

Hawaiian’s wide-body, twin-aisle A330-200 aircraft currently seats 294 passengers, with 18 in Business/First Class, 40 in Extra Comfort, and 236 in Cattle Class.

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Seats in Premier Class on Hawaiian Airlines will fully recline to a lie-flat configuration.

In the new configuration, the aircraft will seat 278 passengers, with 18 in the Premium Cabin, 68 in Extra Comfort, and 192 in Cattle Class.

Seat pitch in the Main Cabin will remain 31 inches.

Hawaiian’s newly outfitted Premium Cabin will be phased in through early 2018. Travel destinations on the U.S. West Coast will be the first to benefit.

Hawaiian Airlines operates more than 200 flights per day, including 160 flights between Hawaii’s main islands: Kauai, Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu.

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The airline maintains a hub at Honolulu International Airport, where it is the dominant air carrier.

The airline offers non-stop service to Hawai’i from 11 cities on the U.S. mainland, more than any other airline.

International travel destinations include American Samoa, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Tahiti.

Comment and Analysis

I flew business class several times before lie-flat seats were introduced, and I’ve flown business class twice on aircraft with lie-flat seats.

Interestingly  enough, I actually prefer the old  business  class seats to the new ones. The old business class seats were wider and  cushier.

Sitting in them was like sitting in a comfortable armchair, and I can easily fall asleep in a comfortable armchair.

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The lie-flat seats I’ve sat in seemed to be narrower than the old business class seats, and they were not as cushy.

Not only that, when they were fully reclined, I felt as if I were lying on a camp  cot or a stretcher.

There was another issue. The adjustment of seats was operated electronically, and they emitted a very annoying high-pitched whining noise when they were being adjusted.

After about 90 minutes of this racket, I wanted to stand up and scream, “Would everyone please stop playing with their seats?”

I’m booked on Qatar Airways business class flight to Europe this summer. It will be interesting to see if any improvements have been made.

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