Guide to and Questions Concerning Connecting thru HNL & other Hawai`i airports
Aloha! This thread has been created to assist you with your connections & layovers at the Honolulu International Airport (HNL). If you have any questions unanswered by the next few posts, please feel free to post a question!
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(1) Connecting in Honolulu International Airport (HNL) off a Mainland Flight TO an Interisland Flight on Hawaiian Airlines or Mokulele Airlines (Mainline) (with assistance from cblaisd)
For a printable version of this post, click on this link and print pages 2-4 only. But please respect the “no public reproduction/dissemination” rule contained in Post #1 above.
TIME FOR CONNECTIONS. Allow anywhere from 30-75 minutes to connect for your interisland flight on any Hawaiian Airlines flight. If you are connecting to a go! or Island Air flight, please read the segment listed below. I have heard of a few who have made 15 minute connections, but remember that your bags might not make the flight you're on. Allow at least 45-75 minutes if you plan on checking your bags through to your final destination. More importantly, use your best judgment and understand that neither Hawaiian nor Mokulele provide free “standby” for passengers who miss their flight (see below).
Note to those arriving into HNL on American Airlines: According to some reports, American Airlines will only accept luggage interlined in HNL with a 75 minutes or greater connection. When flying AA, make sure to allow 75+ minutes for connecting in HNL if you want to interline your luggage.
Note to those arriving into HNL on United Airlines: If you're arriving off a United flight from the Mainland, it is advisable to add 10 minutes to your transit time. The United gates (Gates 6-11) are the farthest from the inter-island terminal.
MISSED YOUR FLIGHT? If you miss your flight, Hawaiian & Mokulele allows for paid standby (unless your flight is the last of the day). Depending on the fare class your ticket is booked in, they may impose a penalty ranging from $15-$30. If your inbound flight to the Honolulu International Airport is delayed, ask the agent of your delayed carrier for a "Late inbound" flight card or some note signifying that your flight indeed did arrive delayed. It may not be of much use in waiving the penalty but it can't hurt.
HNL IS AN OPEN-AIR TERMINAL. Also, please allow enough time as your comfort allows. 75% of the Honolulu International Airport is an open-air terminal (read: no air conditioning). On hot days, you may work up a sweat. In addition, the WikiWiki shuttles that transport passengers airside are also not air conditioned.
1. Check-in for your interisland flight online using Hawaiian Airlines' website (recommended) unless your interisland flight is a codeshare* or your ticket is a paper ticket. As of May 1, 2009, Mokulele has still yet to offer online check-in for any of its flights. Be sure to allow a little extra time when connecting to a Mokulele E175-operated flight.
You do not need to check-in online, but if checking bags, this is the fastest way for the agent checking you in at your departing city to see the information needed to pull up your PNR on Hawaiian Airlines interisland flight and process bag tags for your checked luggage to your final, interisland destination. This allows you to skip the gate check-in podiums in Honolulu, which can get pretty busy.
When checking in online with Hawaiian for your inter-island flight, you may receive the opportunity to upgrade to first class for $25 or $50. Please note that the fee to upgrade at the gate is always $50.
cblaisd has discovered that sometimes one can indeed check-in online on a codeshare IF you have the eticket number. But not always. The other way to check-in online for a codeshare (usually) is to call HA and get their PNR (which of course is different from the issuing airline's) which one can use for online check in.
2a.If you are flying to Hawai‘i and then to an inter-island destination on two separate tickets (e.g., if booked your Mainland-HNL ticket on AA's website and thereafter booked your HNL-Neighbor island ticket on Hawaiian's website, your interisland flight is NOT a codeshare):
Check your bags all the way through to your final destination if you are checking bags. For example, if you're flying ORD-HNL-KOA, ask the agent at ORD to check your luggage all the way through KOA. In order to do this, you may need your e-ticket number for Hawaiian Airlines handy, which can be found via an online confirmation e-mail or on your boarding passes you printed by checking in online for your interisland segments. Checking bags thru to your final destination will allow you to "skip" going through the security checkpoint again at HNL, if you have checked luggage.
2b. If your interisland flight is a codeshare, your bags should already be checked through to your interisland final destination. Double check with your check-in agent and the bag tag to make sure that you bag is headed to your final destination.
3. Once you arrive in HNL. Check the video display monitors for your interisland gate assignment and do NOT leave the secured area. Follow the signs that will guide you to the interisland gates (which will read "interisland gates" or "Hawaiian Airlines"). Hawaiian Airline's gates are 55-66. They are past the “Ewa” concourse of the main domestic terminal.
You can also take the WikiWiki shuttle. Follow an escalator to get up to the WikiWiki shuttle boarding area. (Note: the non-air conditioned WikiWiki shuttles have a tendency to make their loops very slowly. Only take it if you have the time, or are connecting off a United flight).
4. On this leg, you will not need to proceed thru the agricultural screening station; however, on the return you will. All bags (checked or carry on) must be screened by an agricultural station for flights departing from Hawaii to the US Mainland.
5. If you have not checked in for your interisland flight online, you may check-in at the podiums fronting your departure gate. Remember that you need a boarding pass with a paper ticket, if you have one, to board the flight. During peak travel times, these podiums have a tendency to get pretty busy.
6. Interisland boarding begins 15-20 minutes prior to flight. Interisland flights are hit or miss when it comes to on-time departures. If you're booked on a reward ticket or a lower class fare and wish to stand-by for an earlier (or later) flight, Hawaiian & Mokulele may impose a stand-by/ticket change penalty (see above).
Your bags may or may not have made it on your flight. If you have allowed ample time, it is highly likely that your bags will be on the same flight as yours. Do note, however, that bags have a tendency also of beating its owners to the neighbor island destination. Also, if you did not allow ample time for your bags to transfer, your bags may be on the next flight to your destination. In other words, you will not know until you arrive at your neighbor island destination.
Return Flight: On your return through HNL, repeat the same process, checking your bags through to your final destination. Upon arrival into HNL from your interisland flight, do not leave the secured area and walk or take the Wiki Wiki shuttle to your departure gate in the main terminal. You will need to proceed through an agricultural screening station, but this is not a TSA screening station. Any fruits (except USDA-checked pineapples), non-inspected plants, animal etc. may be confiscated at this point. For more information, see the USDA’s website. Please remember that flights departing from Honolulu to the US Domestic Mainland board earlier than interisland flights, anywhere from 45-60 minutes prior to departure. If you are interlining bags to your final destination, remember that your bags will first need to clear the agricultural screening at your point of departure (e.g., OGG, JHM, KOA, ITO, LIH) before you board your first flight. Hours of neighbor island agricultural screening stations are posted on Island Air’s website. Note that some agricultural stations close earlier than the last departing flight.
(2) A Note About Connecting With Island Air/go!/Mokulele's Caravan Service in HNL
CHECK-IN TIMES. Be very sure to allow the maximum time for connecting on to an Island Air, go!, or Mokulele caravan flight and check with your carrier on what their cut-off for check-in is. The last thing you’d want is to be stranded in Honolulu after missing the last Island Air/go! flights to the neighbor islands. The airlines currently operate out of the commuter terminal, which is further past main inter-island building, meaning a longer walk/Wiki Wiki shuttle commute (please refer to map linked above).
Online Check-in (OLCI). However, be aware that both these carriers offer online check-in, which means one can have their boarding passes in advance. Also, security times are normally very minimal at the commuter terminal. But also note that Island Air usually locks you out of OLCI if you have a ticket ticketed with a partner airline's miles (e.g., MileagePlus, OnePass, etc). Take this into consideration as you schedule your layover in HNL, since Island Air does require passengers to be checked in 60 minutes prior. (Note that not being able to OLCI should not affect your ability to interline your bags to your final destination).
TRANSFERRING IN HNL. You do not need to leave the secured area if transferring from any domestic airline to go! or Island Air. Simply walk to gate 66 (the last gate in the interisland terminal in the Hawaiian Airlines terminal), proceed down the escalator and wait for an agent to escort you via the tarmac to the commuter terminal holding area.
WIKIWIKI SHUTTLE. There is a WikiWiki shuttle (electronic vehicles that are air conditioned) that operate landside and make a loop to all terminals including the commuter terminal. If you are arriving off one of the airlines operating in the Diamond Head area of the domestic terminal (United, Continental or Northwest Airlines) and were not able to check your luggage to your final destination, this may be an alternative option that may get you to the commuter terminal faster. The WikiWiki shuttle that operates airside does not continue to the commuter terminal. The last stop is the interisland terminal.
STANDBY ON GO! OR ISLAND AIR. Note that Island Air and go! do provide free standby for passengers wishing to take an earlier flight. Consult your fare rules and the airlines' websites for more information.
(3) A Note About Connecting from an International Flight to an Interisland Flight on Hawaiian Airlines
Once clearing customs, passengers may recheck their bags in the bag re-check area.
This is a note to myself. To link directly to this post, please use this link:
1. If you are returning your car, follow the signs to the rental car return. If you are returning your car to Budget, National, Hertz, or Dollar, please note that you do not have to catch the shuttle bus to return to the main terminal, especially if you are flying United, Continental, American or Northwest. Simply reverse the directions listed in the "What you should know about renting a car at HNL" section below to get from the rental car stations to the baggage claim, and then take the escalators to ticketing.
2. All luggage you wish to check must first proceed through the agricultural screening stations, located closest to the curb. Please note that this is not a security screening station. Our USDA officials are screening these bags for fresh fruits, animals, and plants, most of which are not allowed back to the US Mainland. If you will be checking luggage, you must (yourself) send your bags through these stations.
3. On busy departure days, many of the airlines lines baggage check lines are long. Please calculate this into your schedule. Flight departures on the weekend are usually the busiest time to travel out of HNL.
4. There are currently three security checkpoints in operation at most times at the domestic terminal of HNL. The interisland terminal has two security checkpoints; additional ones at the interisland terminal are open when necessary. Since there are three security checkpoints, if one has a long line, you might consider checking the other two. All three are within a short 1-2 minute walking distance away from one other security checkpoint. If you are seated in First Class on United, Northwest, Continental or American, ask the agent checking you in for a "Gold Lane" stamp on your boarding pass. HNL does not have dedicated elite/First Class security lanes, but the "Gold Lane" stamp will allow you to cut most of the line when the lines are long.
5. Once through security, the garden area (during the day) is a nice place to relax prior to your flight. Please scroll down for more pictures. Please note that beginning November 2006, there will be no smoking allowed from the curb to gate. This policy will affect all of Hawaii's airports.
6. Please note that consessions and sundry stores at HNL are more expensive than stores at US Mainland Airports. If you need something for your flight, it is highly advised that you purchase it prior to arriving at the airport.
7. HNL sells pineapples airside if you need to purchase them at a ridiculous price.
(4) Non-Stop Flights to/from Hawai‘i
Please note that this is by no means a comprehensive list. The airline industry is constantly changing their routes. If you notice something that might be missing, please let me know via Private Message. Flyertalk, nor I, am responsible for any errors that may be contained in this list.
Domestic Non-Stop Flights to/from Honolulu, O‘ahu (HNL)
To see a complete list of the non-stop flights departing out of HNL today, please click here: http://hnlairportweb.com/hnlflights/departures.asp (This will give you a sense of what flights are available out of and to HNL.)
For a map of the Honolulu International Airport (HNL), please click here. Please note that all gates are designated as common use and are subject to change. Check the Honolulu Airport Flight Information page for more information.
Hawaiian Airlines (inter-island): Gates 55-66 Hawaiian Airlines (domestic): Gates 28-36 (and others throughout the domestic terminal)
(6) Interisland Flights Between Two Points in Hawai'i
This list contains Interisland flights between two points in Hawai‘i. Serviced routes are listed, in addition to any Big-5 partner affiliations.
KEY: HNL-Honolulu, O‘ahu International Aiport; OGG-Kahului, Maui International Airport; LIH-Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i Airport; KOA-Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i (Big Island) International Airport; ITO-Hilo, Hawai‘i (Big Island) Airport; MKK-Moloka‘i Airport; LNY-Lana‘i Airport
Hawaiian Airlines (HA) www.hawaiianair.com | (800) 367-5320
Partnership with Continental Airlines (earn CO, EQM miles; codeshare agreements; redeem Continental's OP miles for Hawaiian Flights, 10,000 miles required), Northwest Airlines (earn NW, EQM miles; codeshare agreements; redeem Northwest's WP miles for Hawaiian Flights, 10,000 miles required), American Airlines (earn AA, non EQM; codeshare agreements; redeem American miles for Hawaiian Flights, 10,000 miles required), Delta Airlines (earn DL, MQM miles; codeshare agreements; redeem Delta SM for Hawaiian Flights, 10,000 miles required), United Airlines (recently announced; details pending)
Flies: HNL-(LIH/OGG/KOA/ITO/LNY/MKK); LIH-(HNL); OGG-(HNL/LIH/KOA); KOA-(HNL/OGG/ITO); ITO-HNL; (Hawaiian no longer flies to LNY or MKK. These flights are now operated by Island Air as Hawaiian codeshare flights.) operating 717-200 aircraft.
go! (Mesa) www.iflygo.com
Partnership with Mokulele Airlines -- but only for MKK, LNY, and Kalaupapa
Flies: HNL-(LIH/OGG/KOA/ITO) operating CRJ-200 aircraft
Island Air www.islandair.com | (800) 652-6541
Services many smaller destinations. Route map can be found here: http://www.islandair.com/flightinfo-map.asp
Does have partnerships with Aloha Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, and Continental Airlines, call airline for more information regarding codeshares. Island Air is now a separate company from Aloha Airlines. According to cblaisd, "you can have IslandAir put either your UA or AQ FF # in (although who knows when you'll actually see the mileage!). Only IslandAir flights to Molokai and Lanai can receive HA mileage if booked through HA as an HA codeshare."
(7) Security Checkpoint Wait Times at Hawai‘i Airports
These numbers are provided by the TSA and can be found here. Please note that these times provide an estimate as to when you should arrive at the airport. You should always follow the estimates given to you by your airline as YMMV. Enter in all the correct values to get your results from the link above.
Many of the airline clubs provide wireless services, some paid and others free. However, you don’t have to be a member of this club to take advantage of this free wireless service. Outside the Hawaiian Airlines Premier club upstairs in the inter-island terminal, the Continental President’s Club and Northwest WorldClub (across from gate 12) in the domestic terminal, one can pick up on these free WiFi signals and “smooch” off this service. Of course, the airport does offer internet kiosks if needed and paid wireless is available throughout the terminal. At last check, which I will admit was in 2003, wireless costed $7/day or $20/month. But, that price could have easily risen over the years.
(12) What you should know about renting a car at HNL
Many people ask whether a car rental would be necessary when staying in Waikiki or having a short layover under 12-24 hours. It is my opinion that one should rent a car, especially since they come cheaply in Honolulu. If you do rent a car, however, do note. Alamo and Enterprise are all located off-site and are relatively far from the main terminal at HNL. Also, if you choose to rent from National, Budget or Avis, those car rental counters are within walking distance of the domestic terminal at HNL. You may be better off not taking the rental car shuttles, especially if you are at the United, Continental, Northwest and American baggage claim areas. If so, exit the terminal through the doors in between the G and H claims and take the escalator that leads down into a tunnel. Walk across this underground tunnel to the other side of the road. The car rental facilities for National, Budget and Avis will be ahead towards the right. This should save you time and get you to your hotel faster.
(13) Which Side to Sit on When Landing into HNL?
It really depends on the winds landing into HNL. If there are Kona winds, you'll make your landing past Diamond Head, Waikīkī and right into HNL from the Southern side of the state, keeping an FAA regulated 1 mile distance from land. This is actually a rarer event, but if it does happen, anything on the RIGHT side of the plane will give you amazing views of Diamond Head, Waikīkī and Downtown Honolulu. This is a very spectacular landing into HNL.
The more common landing pattern is with trade winds. The plane will cut across O‘ahu diagonally from some point out at Kāne‘ohe/Kailua towards the South shore where Honolulu is, go out towards Kapolei about 1/2 mile from land and then make a 180 for the final approach. Or, your aircraft will trace the Northern part of the island, giving you great views of Laie, the North Shore and Kaena Point. You will then trace the South shore past Ko‘olina and make a final line-up for the Honolulu Airport. For both situations, it's during this final approach that you'll have stunning views of the Ko‘olau Mountain range, Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial, etc. If the plane has this landing pattern, your best bet is to sit on the LEFT side of the plane (e.g., seat A on the plane) so you can see these attractions from the plane.
However, there's no way of knowing which landing pattern is being used at HNL unless you check the weather report for Honolulu on the day of your travel (even then, there's no guarantee).
Just remember: Southerly/Kona Winds: RIGHT side of the plane
Northerly/Trade Winds: LEFT side of the plane
(thanks to roesner for pointing out the error here )
(14) Where to sit on domestic flights to Hawai'i from the mainland?
http://www.seatguru.com provides information on where to sit on many airlines in general. Here is a list of links of the Seatguru pages of the many aircraft which fly to Hawai‘i. Check the aircraft you're flying with your itinerary and then pick the green seats, cross checking with the section above, and have the best seat to Hawai‘i.
More information about cabs, busses and car services to Waikiki can also be found at the link provided above.
(16) Lounges Locations at Hawai‘i's Airports
Honolulu International Airport (HNL):
Air New Zealand First Class Lounge - Garden Conference Area
American Airlines - Shared with Quantas Club
China Dynasty Lounge - Garden Conference Area
Continental Presidents Club - Across Gate 13 - Free WiFi
Delta, Korean (airlines share lounge) Crown Room Lounge - Garden Conference Area (closing in May 2008)
Hawaiian Premier Club - Third Level, Interisland Terminal
Japan Sakura Lounge - Garden Conference Area
Northwest World Club - Opposite Gate 13 - Free WiFi
Qantas Qantas Club - Above Gate 26
United Red Carpet Club - Above Gate 10
Kahului Airport (OGG):
Hawaiian Premier Club - Across Gate 17
Līhu‘e Airport (LIH):
Hawaiian Air Premier Club - Departure Concourse Opposite Gate 5
Kona International Airport (KOA):
Hawaiian Air Premier Club - Hawaiian Air Terminal
Hilo Airport (ITO):
Hawaiian Air: Premier Club/Pualani Plus - Located in the passenger
departure lounge on the first floor in the northwest corner
Access to Hawaiian Airlines lounges are only available to Hawaiian's elite members. No other elites for partner airlines, with the exception of United elites, unless traveling on a first class tickets on Hawaiian Airlines, are allowed access to these lounges.
If using the lounges in Kona or Hilo and flying FC (either paid or on an award ticket) be sure to get the combination for the door (these are unmanned clubs) from a CSR at the check-in. You may not be able to find an HA rep near the club and you'd have to exit security to get the combination. (Thanks to cblaisd for pointing this out!)
There are a few flights that get into HNL a bit too late for some to make connections to the neighbor islands. If your flight arrives past 9 p.m., you will likely need to find a place to spend the night as airport security has chased people away from the terminal following the last flight.
There are a few hotels within a one-mile radius of the Honolulu Airport. Many of these places have been discussed in detail on this board and a search would bring up some good suggestions. Waikīkī is not included in the list below; however, if you're looking for a cheap hotel in Waikīkī for one night, you might try Priceline. Better Bidding is an excellent resources for trying to obtain the best Priceline rate. Unlike other major airports, HNL lacks any major brand name hotel in a 4 mile radius, aside for maybe Best Western (e.g., no Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Marriott, etc).
Here's a brief list of the lodging places around HNL:
The Shower Tree
The Shower Tree is "a two minute" drive from the airport looks like a reasonable place to stay overnight. For 7 days, one person can pay $110-$147.00 for a somewhat sized room. One night, walk-in costs $22-$30.00 plus tax for one person. There's no shuttle, so you'd have to take a cab or drive to their location. However, you can take the Alamo Rental Car shuttle and walk a few doors west to get to the Shower Tree. Please Google Honolulu Shower Tree for more information on contacting this location.
Best Western the Plaza Hotel at Honolulu Airport www.bestwestern.com
Another prospect. Trip Advisor Reviews are available; owned by the same folks who own the Ohana Airport Hotel. Also recently remodeled. Tends to be noisier than the Airport Hotel. Also has a free shuttle.
Ke‘ehi Lagoon might be another option. For those truly wanting to save money, it's a public park located near the airport. Highly NOT recommended.
Let me just take a moment to reemphasize: None of these hotels have received even 2-star reviews on TripAdvisor and other similar travel review sites. I advise that you: (1) avoid making an overnight connections in HNL completely; or, (2) if you have to make an overnight or are forced an overnight, pick a hotel in Waikiki and schedule a later flight the next morning to enjoy it! Some reasonably priced suggestions include the Ala Moana Hotel, the Waikiki Prince Hotel, or the Aston Waikiki. Other "name-brand" hotels might cost you over $200 a night.
At the same time, the flip side of this is that the Waikiki transfer will add an hour to two hours round trip and cost $14 to $70 depending on how you transfer. Thus, many feel that a night at either the Ohana or Best Western (since their remodeling) is worth the tradeoff in amenities if all that is needed is a clean place to sleep between connections.
No problem. Just check your bags through to your final AA or whatever destination when you check in for your inter-island flight. In HNL stay inside security (its quite easy) by taking the Wiki-Wiki or walking (10-12 minutes) to your AA gate without going downstairs except going to the airline clubs inside security in the Garden Area. Ask any of the 10,000 HNL airport employees if you think you are exiting the secure areas. Ag inspection is quick and easy, ie dont carry any fresh fruits or veggies and it usually is one min or less.
[This message has been edited by MisterNice (edited 11-10-2003).]
Moderator: Hawaii-Based Airlines & United MileagePlus
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ka ʻĀpala Nui
Programs: Global Entry, United, Delta, Hyatt, Kimpton, Marriott, mLife, Best Western, and Hertz
This is really good information and I hope others will appreciate the work you did in compiling it.
I don't know if you want to take a stab at adding the international routes into Hawai`i (looks like you nabbed a few of the Canadian ones, eh?), such as the Qantas service from OZ, all of the Asian carriers, and the Polynesian destinations.
Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Apr 2, 04 at 6:31 pm..
Reason: No can type with da kine beer goggles on!