I was really looking forward to testing out Hawaiian Airlines, I’d heard great things about them and their inflight service. Instead of getting to Hawaii from Europe to the USA and then continuing onto Honolulu, I decided that I would fly through Asia instead. I flew from Paris to Tokyo, and then connected with Hawaiian Airlines from Narita to Honolulu, I chose Narita as I knew they would be offering their new business class cabin.  On Narita flights Hawaiian work with Chef Lee Anne Wong from Koko Head Cafe in Honolulu, and together they create a truly wonderful fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian flavors.

TOKYO NARITA TO HONOLULU – BUSINESS CLASS 

The flight time was short just over 7 hours, and as soon as I boarded I knew it would be a great flight. A nice warm welcome from the crew, coupled with a beautiful looking cabin! It already felt like I was in Hawaii, not many airlines can pull that off, kudos to the Hawaii Air crew on this flight.

As soon as I was settled a cabin crew member came over to introduce himself, offered me the inflight menu and a choice of a welcome drink. On offer were a range of juices and their signature Mai Tai, I opted for a juice.

Here’s a look at their printed inflight menu.

THE MENU 

It was a set menu on this night flight in order to have a simple and efficient meal service, let’s face it who wants the lights turned up for hours on a night flight. The meal consisted of:

Garden Salad with Yuzu Dressing

Braised Chicken with Miso-Adobo Butter, Salted Fish Kamameshi and Sauteed Green Beans. 

Fresh fruit, Macadamias and a Salted Caramel Pudding.

The first thing that I noticed was the fact that the cabin crew plated the main meal themselves, which is a nice touch and adds to that ‘restaurant’ experience in the sky. Some airlines will just serve stock standard pre prepared airline meal plates to you in business class, but not on Hawaiian.

The meal itself was tasty, the garden salad was fresh and the yuzu dressing gave it a nice tangy/citrus taste. The main meal was delicious, the green beans didn’t taste overcooked at all, the chicken was succulent and the salted fish kamameshi was delicious. Kamameshi is traditional Japanese rice dish that’s cooked in an iron pot called a kama, and I really loved this touch of Japanese cuisine as part of the meal.

Finally it was time for dessert, a salted caramel pudding, this was probably the only part of the meal I didn’t enjoy. I couldn’t taste the caramel or salt at all, it was quite a bland simple taste. I still ate it of course…!

It was then time for bed…

Prior to landing the crew started the breakfast service, however there were two options here for passengers, the great thing about Hawaiian is that they offer you a continental breakfast up to 45 mins prior to landing.

But being me I ordered the full breakfast which consisted of:

Tomato Edamame Quiche with Grilled Pork Sausage

Warm Croissant

Fresh Fruit

The breakfast was the right amount of food, not too little and not too much, The pastry wasn’t too oily and the tomato/edamame combination was nice, yet again a nice Japanese fusion combination.

Soon after the meal service it was time for landing.

Hello Hawaii!

The biggest surprise of all however was towards the end of the flight, the cabin crew came through the cabin to offer everyone a Hawaiian inspired gift. What a nice touch! Shortbread cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company.

HONOLULU TO LOS ANGELES – FIRST CLASS

Several days later I flew onto Los Angeles from Honolulu and got to experience the airlines domestic First Class service, as it was a day flight the service was slightly different as you will soon find out.

Yet again a lovely welcome onboard, a choice of welcome drinks and printed inflight menus. I had to try the signature Mai Tai drink and it didn’t disappoint, in fact I ended up ordering one more during my flight.

THE MENU

Appetiser

Roasted Beet Salad, Macadamia Nuts, Lilikoi Aioli
and Arugula with Maui Onion Dressing

OR

Kim Chee Shrimp Poke with Salted Cucumber
and Pickled Maui Onions

Main course

Shoyu Roast Chicken with Sweet Corn Relish
and Creamy Mushroom Rice

Ginger Scallion Pesto Udon Noodles, Baby Bok Choy
and Roasted Mushrooms with Sesame Sauce

Dessert
Passion Chocolate Cake

The service on this flight was slightly different to the night flight from Tokyo, this time you received your appetiser first, then the main followed by the dessert. For the appetiser I selected the Kim Chee Shrimp option.

Totally loved it and the mixture of different tastes also loved the fact that they used local Maui onions in the dish. Fresh, tasty and creative.

For the main meal I selected the udon noodle option. It was mouthwatering, the flavors of the ginger scallion pesto sauce coupled with the mushrooms and sesame sauce were fantastic. I really enjoyed it, the noodles were zesty and was like I just had ordered them from a noodle stand. Delicious.

Dessert was a lot better on this sector than the previous one, a simple passion fruit chocolate cake, it was on point.

THE VERDICT

I really enjoyed my inflight meal experience with Hawaiian Airlines, the crew were super friendly genuine and proud of their island home. The meals are carefully planned and really highlight the islands products where possible, I wouldn’t hesitate flying them again. I haven’t flown with that many US based airlines but I think Hawaiian might be miles ahead of their competition, everything is well thought out and the crew are just so nice!

About The Author

Founder of Inflight Feed

Nik has been running Inflight Feed since 2012, and since then he’s taken well over 500 flights for work and pleasure. He documents his inflight meal experiences right here and he’s also a freelance writer covering inflight meal trends, he has written for CNN and has a regular columns in leading industry magazines. He’s been featured in Vogue, QZ plus many major news outlets across the globe, and has become the ‘go to’ person when someone needs an opinion about airline meals!