A First Class Experience on Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner | Leihōkū Suites | HNL-SFO

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Aloha, everyone. On an absolutely gorgeous day in Honolulu, I was ready to board a brand new, Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Its inaugural flight was a success, and today, I’m thrilled to share with you a full review of my experience in the first-class Leihōkū Suites.

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The Anticipation

For years, many of you—and myself included—have closely followed the delivery of this aircraft. I vividly remember testing out the mockups at the Hawaiian Airlines Headquarters and walking through the aircraft when it first arrived in Honolulu. I purchased this ticket back in 2023 and upgraded with points. The anticipation has been building, and it’s finally time to experience this aircraft from a customer’s perspective.

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See what Hawaiian Airlines has to say about their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and also check out my latest interisland review on Hawaiians’ 717 aircraft.

Boarding and First Impressions

Boarding at Gate A2, the excitement was palpable. I wasn’t the only one captivated by the allure of the new aircraft; nearly everyone was snapping photos and videos of their seats. Settling into seat 3A, a window seat, I took a moment to observe the cabin’s layout—a spacious 1-2-1 configuration ensuring privacy and comfort for all passengers.

I know many of you consider the layout of a cabin when choosing your seats, what do you think of the 1-2-1 layout?

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 First Class Leihōkū Suites

The suite itself boasted a sleek design with natural brown colors accented by teal piping. The seat came with a range of amenities including a little desk area, a wireless charging spot, adjustable lighting, and a small cabinet stocked with headphones and a tiltable mirror—handy for taller passengers like myself.

The Flight Experience

As the Dreamliner taxied to the runway, we were treated to the brand-new safety video that Hawaiian Airlines just released. Shortly after takeoff, I indulged in the signature Mai Tai, followed by a fruity rum drink—though I reverted back to the Mai Tai after finding the former a bit too sweet for my taste.

Lunch was tasty; I opted for the braised beef with potatoes and carrots, which was nicely presented and deliciously tender. This was a West Coast flight from Honolulu so I will have to compare the long-haul experience soon. Boston or Sydney, hmmmm.

A highlight of the service was the dessert cart, which, to my surprise, featured a scrumptious rainbow cake with a crunchy bottom crust—a unique treat that was as visually appealing as it was tasty.

A lot of “liquid dessert” on that cart.

Lay Flat Comfort

After a satisfying meal, I explored the forward cabin lavatory, which was spotless and well-lit, all lavatories on this aircraft are the same. Back at my seat, I tested the lay-flat setting. Despite the footwell being a tad snug with shoes on, I managed to get comfortable enough for a nap, aided by the soothing sounds of Jimi Hendrix through my headphones.

In the video I get a better shot of me lying down, I am 6’2″ tall so take that into consideration.

Reflections and Looking Forward

This flight to San Francisco was not just a journey; it was a glimpse into the future of long-haul flights with Hawaiian Airlines. The service was exceptional, the food delightful, and the overall experience a testament to Hawaiian Airlines’ commitment to comfort and quality.

I’m now in San Francisco, gearing up for my return trip in the economy cabin, where I’ll be reviewing the food and service from a different perspective. Stay tuned, and if you’re ever on a flight with me, maybe I’ll see you eyeing the dessert cart or we’ll meet in the lobby.

Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below, especially if you have insights on how other Alaska Airlines might use the 787 Dreamliners still on order.


Brandon Hughes
Brandon Hugheshttp://www.suitesandlobbies.com/
Aloha, as the founder and chief editor of Suites & Lobbies, I enjoy offering unique perspectives on hotel accommodations, airline services, dining experiences, and the evolving travel landscape of Hawai'i. Raised in the town of Ka'alaea on O'ahu, a native Hawaiian, and a lifelong learner. My extensive travels across Hawai'i ensure that readers receive accurate and up-to-date information, from emerging hotel projects to the latest in restaurant openings and travel-related concerns. My commitment is to provide unbiased, thorough insights stemming from first-hand knowledge of current affairs here in Hawai’i. I further showcase this on my YouTube channel, where I present detailed visual reviews and updates.


  1. I flew on the return flight 11 the next morning. Hawaiian had quite a to-do at the gate with pastries, coffee/water, live music and dancers with a blessing of the aircraft before boarding where lei were given out as well as a nice commemorative metal luggage tag. I was in the second row of coach in the extra legroom seats on the window. Pitch was very good. Seat was comfortable enough. There was a nonrev flight attendant in the middle who was a bit squirrelly and wouldn’t sit still as she complained about being in the middle while someone with less seniority had an aisle seat. Blogger/YouTuber Scam Chewy (sorry, cannot stand him) was on board generally getting in the way walking around like it was his private plane. Comfort greatly increased after takeoff when the nonrev and her friend in the middle seat in front got up and went to spend the next 3 hours in the crew bunk area.

    Maybe teething issues with the 787, or maybe this is just how HA service is in coach as this was my first flight with them… they let the nonrevs on first and they took up all the overheads in the first couple rows regardless of where they were sitting. The flight attendants locked the windows on the darkest setting from about 10 minutes after takeoff until well in to our descent to HNL. The snacks for purchase cart came around quickly. Then it took another near an hour before beverages and the breakfast sandwich (handed out just sandwich in a wrapper) appeared. The crew did come down the aisle every 15-20 minutes with a big bottle of water after that point but on my aisle the F/A who primarily did so walked back to front so by the time you saw her, she was already passed and hard to wave down. The crew did close the curtains and make repeated announcements that the lavatories in front of coach were for First Class but it was a steady stream of people pulling the curtain open and going up there, even with curtain snapped shut on both sides to the bulkhead. Lavs in middle of coach were good sized.

    IFE screen is nice. Seems to be the same system that United is installing in its newer aircraft like A321neo or refurbs. However United has the ability to pair your own Bluetooth headset to the screen plus hands out free wired ear buds, neither of which seem to be the case with HA.

    Flew HA on a few inter island flights as well as WN. WN flights were pretty empty but I enjoyed that they had in seat power. And Mokulele…. Well I can see their owners Southern have rubbed off on them. Lana’i Air was a very pleasant experience.

    • Hi Jason,

      I will have a review up soon of the extra comfort seat from my same return trip but on the next day. I felt the seat was comfortable enough as will along with pitch. Scam Chewy, lol. The pay cart coming out so quickly and then the delay for the included in flight service irks me as well. I think walking the aisles to promote and taking orders is fine but deliver after/during the regular service would be better. I have flown Alaska a bit and havent seen this setup so it will be interesting to see if it carries over or if its a leisure market thing. Funny thing about the lavatories is there is only one in front of FC, rest are behind them. For new or unseasoned travelers the curtain just doesnt get the point across. Yes! on the bluetooth pairing, why HA why?

      Thanks for the comments.

  2. Lay flat comfort ??…… he looks like he’s been shoved into a corner of a small closet.

    • The photo does make it seem that way, in the video I move my camera above for a better angle. At 6’2″ I just fit so there is that also. Tight? yes and not the most spacious first class seat I have been in. I hope there is bedding on the future Hawaiian Airlines 787 long haul flights that this aircraft will be used for.


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