Hawaiian Airlines passengers to skip the line and Daniel K. of Honolulu. Inouye International Airport (HNL) is offering a new option for a little more comfort. And services include access to an exclusive new lounge.
The airline recently unveiled its premium airport service to Honolulu. To tap into the benefits, you don’t have to have HawaiianMiles elite status, carry a credit card that includes lounge access or travel on a business- or first-class ticket.
You just have to fly with Hawaiian and be willing to pay for the service.
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Hawaii’s new concierge-esque program has plenty of paid perks, which change in scope (and cost) depending on whether you’re arriving, departing or connecting in Honolulu.
Services range from priority baggage handling, an escort through the terminals and, depending on your plans, a private driver between terminals, or to and from airport rental car facilities.
In addition, departing and connecting passengers have access to Hawaii’s new, exclusive lounge in Terminal 1: Apartment 1929, named for the year the airline was founded. The lounge had a soft-launch in December but is now fully open to travelers who want to buy their way in
Now, these amenities certainly don’t come cheap: departure services, which include access to Apartment 1929, start at $750 for a party of two. Arrival services start at $500 for a party of two.
It’s worth noting that in many cases, you’ll pay less for a travel credit card that carries a year’s worth of lounge access at airports around the country (among other benefits).
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However, if you prefer a one-time expense to make your experience at the airport a little less stressful, the new service could certainly make for a more enjoyable trip through the terminals.
Hawaiian Apartments unveiled the 1929 Lounge
The centerpiece of Hawaii’s new, premium airport service is its Apartment 1929 Lounge, located right next to the Plumeria Lounge in Terminal 1 in Honolulu.
Featuring tables and sofas for eating, drinking or relaxing, the airline bills Apartment 1929 as a private lounge, available to paying passengers departing or connecting from the airport.
Visitors to Apartment 1929 will have access to a full food and beverage menu, including a cocktail list curated by Bar Leather Apron, a James Beard Award-winning bar in downtown Honolulu. Guests will order food before arriving at the airport as part of the check-in process with the Apartment 1929 concierge.
If you are tired of crowded airport lounges, you definitely won’t find it here. Apartment 1929 can accommodate up to 24 guests at a time, but it probably sounds less quiet than it is.
The lounge offers a “calm and relaxing atmosphere filled with soft sounds of Hawaiian music,” the airline says.
The venue has a private room that can accommodate up to eight guests.
Beyond that, there are only a handful of tables — both indoor and outdoor — that can seat no more than four visitors.
Apartment 1929 also has shower facilities if you want to freshen up during a layover or before a long flight to the US mainland or Asia.
Other departure services
As part of the premium airport departure service, a Hawaiian representative will greet you at the curb in front of the terminal, or at the rental car facility if you’re returning a car.
The service includes priority baggage handling, an expedited Transportation Security Administration checkpoint lane, an escort through the airport (who will assist you with any carry-on bags) and priority boarding once you board the plane.
If your gate is at Terminal 2, you will receive a private driver at the terminal.
And, once at the gate, you’ll have priority boarding.
For those wishing to use the service upon arrival in Honolulu, the service includes a greeting from a Hawaiian representative at the aircraft door, who will assist with any luggage.
Then, you’ll receive a personal escort to your transportation — including a personal driver from Terminal 2 and to the rental car facility if you picked up a car.
Don’t worry about stopping at baggage claim: As long as you’re on the island of Oahu, the airline will transfer your bag directly to your hotel.
Hawaiian also offers a combination of these services for travelers connecting in Honolulu, from driver assistance to priority boarding from Terminal 2, an escort through the airport and access to Apartment 1929.
Is Hawaiian Airlines’ New Premium Service Worth It?
For infrequent travelers with some nerves about navigating the airport, this service certainly has some advantages.
For arriving passengers, there’s the convenience of handing over your carry-on bags at the plane door and getting an escort through the terminal — even to your rental car pickup, not to mention dropping off your luggage at your hotel.
Passengers will likely enjoy a quieter, more uninterrupted experience relaxing in Apartment 1929 before a flight as opposed to the louder, more crowded airport concourses.
However, frequent travelers who already have elite status, lounge access and TSA PreCheck may want to weigh the costs and benefits of this new experience.
All in all, departure services start at $750 for a party of two.
For $695 annually (see rates and fees), Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, you get a full year’s worth of access to Centurion lounges worldwide and Priority Pass select lounges, along with a few Priority Pass options in Honolulu. Enrollment required.
Other cards, eg Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ($395 annual fee (see Rates and Fees)) and Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee), also includes a year’s worth of lounge access worldwide — including the lounge in Honolulu.
For what it’s worth, the airport includes airline lounges from every major global alliance, including an American Airlines Admirals Club and a Delta Air Lines Sky Club.
Click here for Amex Platinum Card rates and fees