Hawaiian Mediocrity?

Old Apr 25, 18, 4:40 pm
  #1  
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Hawaiian Mediocrity?

For years I've flown VX SFO-HNL quarterly to every other month. The Alaska take-over happened this week, so I now contemplate sending my Hawaii business elsewhere. It looks like I could theoretically qualify for a Gold or Platinum status depending on travel miles...but that it also could cost me my AS status. (I'm also a UA Gold and WN Companion Pass Holder.) My only recent experience with Hawaiian was using the HNL Plumeria lounge via my Priority Pass which was an incredible disappointment. Is Hawaiian mediocre, or should I consider sending business their way?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 11:13 pm
  #2  
 
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HA is a mixed bag. The loyalty program is pretty terrible, the call centers are in the Philippines, and their management appears to be much more interested in customers who fly them a couple of times a year and spend money on their credit card than they are in frequent flyers. OTOH their inflight product is pretty good and they run a reliable operation (with the caveat that my recent experience is overwhelmingly interisland). Personally I find a ton of value in AS MVPG. HA Plat is mostly valuable interisland. They do give you a couple of upgrade certificates for mainland flights, but no complimentary access to extra-legroom coach unless you’re willing to take your chances at the gate, and even then only for the elite member, not for a +1.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 10:23 am
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WrightHI summed it up well. You have to keep in mind that Hawaiian is primarily a tourist airline so they aren't going to offer some of the things targeted to frequent flyers that other airlines do. HA's frequent flyer program is pretty crappy, but then again so was VX's, so you might not notice much of a downgrade here. However, Alaska's Mileage Plan is one of the better programs these days, so that would be an advantage to staying in their camp. Because of the lie flats, HA's first class beats VX and AS hands down. If you're in coach, you will appreciate the free food which VX/AS don't have, although the IFE isn't free. The lounge situation with HA is pretty dire. The lounges in Hawaii are mediocre and there are no longer any lounges at all on the mainland (though the latter may not be so much of a problem since you have Priority Pass). I find HA's onboard service to be better and more consistent than their competition to the mainland.
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Old May 4, 18, 5:46 pm
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I only fly HA for SFO/OGG once a year in paid F, and I love their old barca and new lie-flat. Of course the new lie-flat is ace!
The HA staff is always consistently kind and friendly. Only airline with this consistent kind service is SY. My 3-times-a-year VX never had consistently kind service.

No matter which airline I fly, I always try to get snacks or food at airport just in case I will dislike what is served on the plane. Id rather have too much great food than to have only limited quantity of mediocre food!
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Old May 6, 18, 12:16 am
  #5  
 
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I live in Hawaii, but used to live in the Bay Area. Here are my thoughts to help a Bay Area traveler decide:
Without question, HA offers the most consistent pleasant experience.
In terms of personnel, HA is the best between the Bay Area/West Coast and Hawaii. They are not perfect and sometimes you will have the occasional rude/lazy/apathetic agent or FA, but later on during your same flight/trip you'll meet someone who will just blow you away and make up for the other person. AS comes a close second (judging pre-VX merger) and UA is the worst.
In terms of food, in first HA is better than AS, but not as good as UA/AA and honestly, it's probably the lack of ice cream sundaes that does it for me. In coach, HA has really downgraded their free food and I would probably pass on what they offer now. I like AS's BOB program better than HA's free food and UA's BOB so win for AS.
In terms of aircraft, the A330 in first is the best product from the Bay Area and the A321neos in first is the same as a AS/UA 737. So in first a win for HA. In coach, I still give a slight edge to HA if you're flying the A330, but essentially a tie.
In terms of FFP, HAMiles is by far the worst program between UA/AS/HA. I was AS and UA Gold over the past couple years and give a slight edge to AS here.
In terms of lounges, HA and AS have none in the Bay Area so UA wins.
In terms of schedule, HA flies to all 3 Bay Area airports w/ flights to HNL and OGG and an upcoming OAK-LIH. All have the same schedules--AM departure, PM return. UA wins hands down w/ frequency and variety of departure times (AM, afternoon, redeye).

Seeing that you're UA Gold, I'd probably stick w/ UA and try for 1K. And w/ WN entering the market, you might want to stick w/ them and bring your companion along.
As a disclaimer, my personal bias remains HA then AS then DL. I reluctantly fly UA and AA only when they are at least a thousand dollars cheaper in first or my schedule is just not flexible.
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Old May 7, 18, 6:57 pm
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Agree with everything above except the food. I know that HA's new coach food to the west coast is supposed to be a "downgrade" that saves them money and works with more limited galley space, but I actually like it better than the old stuff. I got a bit sick of the eggplant pasta after a while LOL. And for me personally, free food beats BOB any day. The problem with BOB is that even if it's good, it still usually isn't any better than what you can bring on board yourself and it's pretty much always extortionately priced.
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Old May 8, 18, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
My only recent experience with Hawaiian was using the HNL Plumeria lounge via my Priority Pass which was an incredible disappointment. Is Hawaiian mediocre, or should I consider sending business their way?
It looks like the totality of your argument is a lounge. Do you want to expand upon that, or are lounges really the be-all, end-all for you?
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Old May 8, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
It looks like the totality of your argument is a lounge. Do you want to expand upon that, or are lounges really the be-all, end-all for you?
I'm not trying to make an argument at all, but trying to figure out where to steer my Hawaii business. In no small part because Hawaiian does not offer points on airlines whose currency I manage (i.e. UA, AS, WN, and in a pinch AA) they have to offer a truly compelling price to make the math work. I like that they fly A330s vs 737s or the dreaded UA domestic 777s, and offer meals at mealtime. My only recent experience as a customer was a very mediocre lounge, sounds like the rest of the airline is hit-or-miss but has its following.
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Old May 9, 18, 1:03 am
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If you're UA Gold, I would fly United and try for platinum. You won't get upgraded as a gold but have a slightly better chance as a platinum which also gives you two regional upgrades a year. You're guaranteed an economy plus seat and there is currently five flights a day in both directions vs one for Hawaiian. With Hawaiian, you get two upgrades as a platinum but they don't upgrade to extra comfort seats until day of and there's no guarantee you won't get a middle seat. I usually hit 75k on Hawaiian which gives me six extra upgrades. If you can get to 75k on Hawaiian, I would say it's worth it, otherwise stick with UAL or Alaska. I am usually able to use my upgrades on Hawaiian so I end up in business class but with United, I rarely get upgraded nowadays and usually end up in economy plus.
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Old May 12, 18, 1:03 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
It looks like the totality of your argument is a lounge. Do you want to expand upon that, or are lounges really the be-all, end-all for you?
you have to admit .. that lounge is pretty mediocre, and VX was not mediocre, which is what made them special.

-David
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Old May 15, 18, 1:34 pm
  #11  
 
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I am 75K with AS and matched to HA Pualani Platinum and got the enrollment package... very underwhelmed by the benefits. Like others have said, they are a primarily leisure airline with some business travelers on neighbor island routes but they have a monopoly on those (for now) so why compete?

I thought it would be worth throwing some miles to HA to get upgrades but the killer for me is no +1 upgrades and pretty terrible partnerships. On AS I get upgraded to F at least half the time and the rest are in Premium which is definitely "good enough" for the short flight to the West Coast (I fly a lot on EK, so these are short flights to me!)
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