Get the most from Hawaiian Airlines economy class

We may earn a commission if you buy through some of the links on this page, at no cost to you. Advertising policy

Although Hawaiian Airlines is only the tenth largest passenger carrier in the US, it operates more flights to and from its home state than any other airline. If you’re flying into or out of Hawaii, it’s likely that your options will include Hawaiian Airlines flights. All things considered, Hawaiian’s economy service is a relatively comfortable and convenient way to reach the islands, and beyond.

Knowing the details of Hawaiian Airlines economy class can help you optimize the value, comfort, and convenience of your flight experience. Use this guide to learn about and plan your next flight in Hawaiian’s economy class, from fares to seats to meals to baggage allowances, and everything else you need to know.

Looking for more information about Hawaiian Airlines? Check out our guides to Hawaiian’s fare classes and codes, flight changes, seat upgrades, and more.

What is economy like on Hawaiian Airlines?

Most passengers who fly Hawaiian Airlines economy class find it to be a pleasant and comfortable experience, especially when compared to its competitors. Hawaiian’s economy class product is slightly more upscale than other US carriers and generally has better customer service.

Low fares along with regular sales and promotions keep Hawaiian Airlines competitive for the routes it flies. Overall, the carrier is rated as a 3-star airline.

Hawaiian’s cabin and ground staff regularly get high marks for friendliness, enthusiasm, and overall hospitality. Standout features of Hawaiian’s economy class include excellent on-time performance and reasonably comfortable seats – although taller passengers may require more legroom than is provided by the 31″ seat pitch on standard economy seats.

A330 aircraft

The Airbus A330s used for long-haul flights represent the older generation of Hawaiian Airlines’ aircraft. The A330s have 260 seats in the economy cabin, arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. Of those, 68 are designated Extra Comfort seats and are 18″ wide with a generous 36″ pitch (legroom).

The remaining 192 seats are Main Cabin seats with a 31″ pitch. Most A330 economy seats are 18″ wide but some seats in the rear of the plane have only a 16.5″ width. All economy class seats on A330s operated by Hawaiian Airlines have an LCD touch-screen monitor.

A321neo aircraft

Hawaiian Airlines operates newer and smaller Airbus A32neos on long-haul flights, primarily to and from the West Coast of North America. The A321s have 173 economy class seats, arranged in a 3-3 configuration.

Hawaiian’s A321s have 129 Main Cabin seats, most with a 30″pitch and 18″ width, although some seats in the rear of the plane are only 16.8″ wide. The remaining 44 Extra Comfort seats are 18″ wide and have a 35″ pitch. The A321 economy seats feature a USB outlet but no seatback monitor.

Key takeaway: Economy class on Hawaiian Airlines is a good value overall and a relatively comfortable way to travel between the US and Hawaii, between Asia and Hawaii, or between the US and Asia.

What’s included in Hawaiian Airlines economy class?

Food and drink

On North America and international flights, Hawaiian Airlines passengers in the economy cabin enjoy complimentary meals, snacks, and beverages (water, soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, and wine). Cocktails are available for purchase. In terms of airline food, meal quality in Hawaiian Airlines economy class is fair to average.

On inter-island flights, Main Cabin passengers receive complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and free island maps.

If you have special dietary needs, you can request a special meal on international flights. The special meal options are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and a children’s meal. If you’d prefer a special meal to the regular in-flight options, you’ll need to request it at least 48 hours before departure by calling Hawaiian’s reservations department.

If none of the meal options on Hawaiian Airlines appeals to you, you’re allowed to bring your own food on the plane. Just remember restrictions on liquids when you’re traveling by air.

In-flight entertainment

You can watch TV shows and movies or play games on Hawaiian Airlines‘ in-flight entertainment systems. Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft feature in-seat entertainment screens, while A321neo planes do not. Content on the A321s is streamed directly to your device.

In-flight entertainment content choices in Hawaiian’s economy class are somewhat limited. We recommend bringing a device pre-loaded with content.

Baggage allowances and fees

Hawaiian Airlines Main Cabin and Main Cabin Basic economy fares have the same baggage allowances: one carry-on bag and one personal item for free on all flights.

On Hawaiian Airlines international flights, the first and second checked bags are free. On North America flights, the first checked bag is $30 and a second will set you back another $40. Fees for inter-island flights are $25 and $35 for the first and second checked bag, respectively.


There is currently no Wi-Fi service available on Hawaiian Airlines flights, although plans have been announced to add free satellite Wi-Fi to all flights by the end of 2023.

Economy fare types: Main Cabin vs. Basic

Hawaiian Airlines offers two types of economy fares, Main Cabin and Main Cabin Basic. Both fare types include complimentary in-flight entertainment, meals, and beverages on North America and international flights. The main differences between the two are that Main Cabin tickets have more flexibility, better seat selection options, and higher boarding priority than Main Cabin Basic tickets. Main Cabin tickets are eligible for upgrades; Main Cabin Basic tickets are not.

Are Hawaiian Airlines economy flight tickets refundable? Economy fares on Hawaiian Airlines are non-refundable unless the fare is specifically advertised as refundable, which is rare. The only exceptions are Main Cabin fares to or from Japan (see the “Main Cabin” section below).

Main Cabin

Hawaiian Airlines‘ Main Cabin fares include advance seat selection, can be changed without a fee, and are eligible for upgrades to first class, business class, or Extra Comfort seating, as well as for standby. If you change your flight and the new fare is more expensive, you’ll have to pay the difference. Be aware that if the new fare is less than you originally paid, Hawaiian doesn’t issue a credit or refund for the difference, unlike most other airlines.

You can change Hawaiian Airlines Main Cabin fares before or even after you’ve already used part of the ticket and get a credit for future travel. All unused trip segment tickets are valid for one year from the date they were purchased. Again, an exception is made for Japan – US, North America – Japan, and Hawaii – Japan flights. Flights on these routes aren’t eligible for refunds once the trip has started.

Unless otherwise specified in the fare rules for your booking, Main Cabin fares are non-refundable unless cancelled within 24 hours of booking and at least 7 days prior to departure. An exception is made for flights to or from Japan, which can be cancelled before departure by paying a fee.

For flights from Japan to the US, the cancellation fee is JPY 30000 (adult fare) and JPY 22500 (child fare). For flights from North America to Japan, the cancellation fee is $200 USD. The fee to cancel rises to $250 USD for flights from Hawaii to Japan.

Main Cabin Basic

Main Cabin Basic is Hawaiian Airlines‘ no-frills, basic economy service class. The most important thing to know about Main Cabin Basic fares is that they aren’t eligible for itinerary changes and they’re non-refundable, unless you cancel within 24 hours of booking and at least 7 days prior to departure.

And that’s just the start of the list of things you don’t get with Main Cabin Basic tickets. You can’t standby or upgrade Basic fares to first class, business class, or Extra Comfort seats, and they’re not eligible for Hawaiian’s Fare-Hold option. Main Cabin Basic passengers board last and can’t choose a seat until check-in. What’s more, this discounted fare type doesn’t earn bonus miles.

One thing to note is that you can’t mix cabin classes with Main Cabin Basic. If you’re willing to put up with the inconvenience for part of the trip but want some extra legroom and priority boarding on the way home, you’re out of luck. If you select Main Cabin Basic for your flights, you must fly that class for all flight segments.

Key takeaway: Hawaiian Airlines economy class passengers who prefer to save money, don’t mind boarding last, and are OK with purchasing tickets that can’t be cancelled or changed should choose the Main Cabin Basic fare type. Passengers who may need to change their flights or who want options to upgrade will appreciate the greater flexibility of Main Cabin tickets.

Economy seats and upgrades

Most of the economy class seats on Hawaiian’s aircraft are 18 inches wide, with a 31-inch pitch, which is on the edge of adequate for most passengers. On Boeing 717s, exit row seats are 17.5 inches wide. On Airbus A321neos, some seats in the rear of the plane are 16.8 inches wide. On Airbus A330s, some seats in the rear of the plane are only 16.5 inches wide. Taller passengers may wish to consider whether an Extra Comfort seat is worth the additional cost for the extra legroom.

Seat selection

You can select seats for Hawaiian Airlines Main Cabin fares during booking or anytime prior to (or during) check-in. Advance seat selection isn’t available for Main Cabin Basic tickets, but you can select a seat during check-in (usually 24 hours before departure).

Extra Comfort Seats

Hawaiian Airlines‘ version of premium economy is its Extra Comfort seating, although it’s not a true premium economy product. These upgraded seats feature five or more inches of extra legroom, considerably more than standard economy seats. If you’ll be flying Hawaiian and you’re 6 feet tall or taller, it’s probably worth it to purchase an Extra Comfort seat – especially for those 10-hour international flights.

When you upgrade to an Extra Comfort seat, you’ll also get access to the Priority Security Line and priority boarding. Extra Comfort seats also have A/C power and USB ports. Extra Comfort seats are available on Hawaiian’s Airbus A330, A321neo and Boeing 717.

As you might expect, Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort service class includes complimentary in-flight entertainment, beverages, meals and snacks. International Extra Comfort passengers also receive a free amenity kit with ear phones, ear plugs, eyeshade, toothbrush, toothpaste, hydrating mist, lotion, lip balm, tissue, comb, sunscreen, and a Hawaiian Airlines pen.

Hawaiian’s Extra Comfort seats can only be purchased with cash or gift cards. You can’t use miles to purchase or upgrade to Extra Comfort seats. If you bought an economy ticket using miles, you can’t use miles to upgrade it to an Extra Comfort seat, but you can upgrade it with cash.

The cost to upgrade to an Extra Comfort seat on Hawaiian Airlines ranges from $9 to $399 depending on the route and seat location.

Preferred Seats

Passengers who are flying on a Main Cabin fare can upgrade to Hawaiian’s Preferred Seats, which are more conveniently located than other economy seats. These seats tend to be located near the exits and boarding areas. Preferred Seats have standard legroom and space around them; their advantage stems from their location.

How to book Hawaiian Airlines economy class flights

Here’s how to search for, select, and book Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Booking with cash

1. Enter your trip details and click “Search Flights”.

How to search for Hawaiian Airlines economy flights

2. Click “Restrictions Apply” and “Details” to see the terms for each set of flights in the search results. Click “Flight Details” to see the flight itinerary, connection and layover times, and on-time statistics. Click “View Seats” to see available seats on the flights, along with seat upgrade options and prices.

How to select Hawaiian Airlines economy flights
How to see available seats for Hawaiian Airlines economy flights

3. When you’ve found the flights you want, select your desired fare type and follow the instructions to complete the booking.

Booking with miles

To book a Hawaiian Airlines economy class flight with miles, you’ll need to sign in to your Hawaiian Miles account. When you search for flights as described above, you can choose to see the price in dollars, miles, or cash plus miles. Select the desired itinerary and follow the instructions to complete the booking.

Hawaiian Airlines has between six and eight levels of economy awards, depending on where you’re flying. The levels correspond to demand – the greater the demand for award flights, the more miles you’re going to have to pay for one.

Hawaiian Airlines economy (Main Cabin) award flights between the US and Hawaii will set you back, at a minimum, between 20,000 and 30,000 miles each way depending on where you’re flying. International economy award flights to or from Asia start at 40,000 miles each way. Elite HawaiianMiles members often have access to discounted award options, which they can see by logging into their account.


Even though it has suffered some recent setbacks in both service and food quality, economy class on Hawaiian Airlines remains an affordable, comfortable way to get to and from Hawaii, as well as international destinations beyond. If you can deal with basic meals, limited entertainment options, and lack of in-flight Wi-Fi, you’ll most likely be more than satisfied with your economy class flights on Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines economy class FAQs

Does Hawaiian Airlines have premium economy?

Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t offer a true premium economy product but does offer Extra Comfort seat upgrades in economy class.

Does Hawaiian Airlines have basic economy?

Hawaiian Airlines offers a basic economy product called Main Cabin Basic.

Do you have to pay for WiFi on Hawaiian Airlines?

Wi-Fi isn’t currently available on Hawaiian Airlines flights. However, the carrier plans to introduce satellite Wi-Fi service beginning in 2023.

Does Hawaiian Airlines have pillows and blankets?

Pillows and blankets are included with Hawaiian Airlines premier cabin fares (first class and business class).

Can I bring my own snacks on Hawaiian Airlines?

You are allowed to bring your own meals and snacks on Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Do you have to pay for food on Hawaiian Airlines?

Food and beverages are complimentary in economy class on Hawaiian Airlines North America and international flights.
On , Hawaiian Airlines economy passengers enjoy complimentary meals, snacks, and beverages

What is preferred seating on Hawaiian?

Preferred seats on Hawaiian Airlines are economy class seats that are more conveniently located than other seats, like those near boarding areas.

Do the seats recline on Hawaiian Airlines?

Economy passengers on Hawaiian Airlines are able to recline their seats. Whether they should, however, remains a matter of opinion.

How big are Hawaiian Airline seats?

On Hawaiian Airlines flights, most economy class seats are 18 inches wide with a 31-inch pitch. However, some seats in the rear of the plane are as narrow as 16.5 inches.

Do Hawaiian Airlines seats have TVs?

Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 aircraft feature in-seat entertainment screens. Hawaiian’s Boeing 717s and A321neo planes do not.

What is the standard legroom for Hawaiian Airlines?

The standard economy seat on Hawaiian Airlines has a 30″ to 31″ pitch.

Do you get a free carry-on with Hawaiian Airlines?

All Hawaiian Airlines economy fares include a free carry-on bag.

How many bags are free on Hawaiian Airlines?

Hawaiian Airlines economy fares include a free personal item and carry-on bag. For North America and international flights, Hawaiian’s economy fares also include 2 free checked bags.

Can you have a backpack and a carry-on Hawaiian Airlines?

If you have a Hawaiian Airlines economy ticket, you’re permitted to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item such as a backpack.

Do you get a free checked bag with Hawaiian?

On Hawaiian Airlines international and North America flights, economy passengers are allowed two free checked bags.

Scroll to Top