Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

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Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

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Aloha! It’s Brandon. Today, I want to show you my inter-island journey on Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo, Flight number 172. From extra busy check-in areas, F22 Raptor sightings, and flying directly over Haleakala, let’s dive into this inter-island experience

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If you want to see other inter-island flight reviews check out my playlist for all Honolulu flights I have taken.

Check-in Experience

The morning began with a packed lobby at the check-in area. It seemed that there were a few big groups likely headed to Vegas. The lobby buzz was palpable. A small hiccup, however, was that only Security Checkpoint 1B was open, requiring all passengers to navigate to the end of the two lobbies.

busy terminal for Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo

Recommendation: Always consider getting TSA pre-check. It enabled me to breeze through swiftly, leaving me some time to soak in the ambiance of the airport.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

Terminal Exploration

Post-security, I found myself at Terminal 1. To the right was the newer section, and directly ahead lay the older part. My departure was from the B area, specifically Gate B2. On my way, I passed the perpetually crowded Starbucks, the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Lounge (distinct from the Plumeria Lounge), and even managed to enjoy a quick outdoor stint.

My flight to Kona was from the older section of Terminal 1. I also reviewed the only good restaurant in the Honolulu Airport located in the newest section of Terminal 1, Mauka Market.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

One cannot miss one of two gardens at the Honolulu airport – a serene spot where the chirping of the birds momentarily drowns out the airport’s usual din. Even in the early morning hours it was nice to walk through and enjoy.

B Gate Insights

If you happen to be departing from the B gates early in the day, be aware that most concession stands remain shut. However, the vending area, stocked with a variety of beverages and snacks, are up and running. And yes, the future feels automated; these machines allow self-checkout, diminishing human interaction.

For avid plane spotters, the B gate area offers a fantastic vantage point. You can observe Hawaiian Airlines flights taking off and landing – a sight I always relish.

Hawaiian Airlines Mobile App – A Lifesaver!

Amidst the hustle and bustle, an alert from the Hawaiian Airlines mobile app informed me of a gate change from B2 to A17. This was quite handy, negating the need to rely solely on overhead announcements. The new gate would cater not only to direct bookers like me but also to transfer passengers from American Airlines and Japan Airlines.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

Boarding & In-flight Experience

Our aircraft bore the name ‘Io – for the Hawaiian Hawk. Despite being a full flight, boarding was largely efficient. We did face a slight delay due to the captain’s availability, but soon enough, we were airborne.

Raindrops on the window pane were momentarily concerning, but they soon gave way to clear skies, offering breathtaking views. A special mention must be made of the spectacular sight of the Ana “Flying Honu”, the A380 aircraft – a sheer beauty to behold!

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

The flight offered several visual treats: from the Reef Runway to the lineup of F-22s readying for takeoff. But the most mesmerizing moment? Soaring above the clouds, capturing splendid shots of Makapu’u, Hanauma Bay, and parts of Oahu.

Not taking off from the reef runway also meant a direct flyover of Haleakala and on this day it was clear for me to get some great views.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

In-flight Refreshments

In true Hawaiian Airlines style, we were offered juice. I opted for jungle rain aka “water”, gotta watch my sugar nowadays.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO

Landing

Our descent into Hilo was a bit rough around the edges, but as they say, any landing you walk away from is a good one.

Review: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Hilo | Boeing 717 | HNL-ITO


I always find joy in sharing these Hawaiian Airlines experiences with you. Next up, I’ll be hopping onto Southwest Airlines, detailing the nuances of their inter-island flights. Also, stay tuned for a comprehensive Hilo airport guide.

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