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Flying Hawaiian Airlines Economy With Kids

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I was sitting on a plane a couple months ago thinking about going to Hawaii.

I imagined the warm air and the beautiful blue waters that I remembered when I visited years earlier. I also imagined starting the vacation “feel” before we even got to the island. But really how do you do that? I learned quickly that when you fly with Hawaiian Airlines, you will be on Aloha time way before you even step foot on an island. We were so happy to be partnering with them to bring you this post.

Also, this smiling lady above really does greet guests as they begin their Hawaiian vacation at the San Diego Airport. I had multiple people see my picture and comment that they love seeing her as they start their adventure to Hawaii too!


Our flight left bright and early.  It is a good thing that we arrived at the airport as early as we did, because Hawaiian Airlines boards nearly an hour before take off. I’m used to boarding 30 minutes before so this was a nice twist. I think it’s always better to get on the plane as early as possible, especially with kids. Mine are all seasoned travelers and they love to fly, but it is still nice to be able to get settled in before the flight.


Our flight from San Diego to Honolulu was on the Airbus A330 which has a 2/4/2 setup. The girls and I had the four across and Pete sat in an aisle seat ahead of us. 20160312_095512

We were all really impressed with the space in the seats. Plenty of room and the seats are really comfortable. This was in the economy class, so I can only imagine how great the seats are in their Extra Comfort section. We plan to try those next time!

Emmy reviews the safety information on every single plane… and she really reads over every single thing on there. We’ve tested her knowledge!


A little while after take off they served a drink and a snack. The snack is their special Pau Hana Snack Mix and the drink is POG (Passion, Orange, and Guava fruit mix). It was refreshing and delicious!  


Emmy loved snack time. It’s served just at the right time for kids. For us, the first hour and the last hour of our flights seem to be the hardest for the kids. They are getting comfortable knowing that they are going to be on the plane for awhile in the beginning, and then that last hour they know that the plane ride is almost over.  So, this is a great little break to start the adventure.


Would you believe it that the older girls fell asleep after the snack? Seriously! 

But they were wide awake for meal time. One of the wonderful things that Hawaiian Airlines does is that they offer a complimentary meal to all classes of passengers. And it was a really good meal too!

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We got really lucky that the lunch that day was vegetarian. Lunch consisted of a salad with dressing, Hawaiian cookie, water container, and baked pasta. It’s harder to make food taste good when you are 40,000 feet up in the air, but this really did taste good.

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Hawaiian Airlines has a great variety of entertainment on their planes. On the way over, I listened to complimentary music, watched shows about the airline and the islands, and just relaxed. Pete, and Maddie each paid to watch movies while Ashley paid $7.99 to watch recorded TV shows and classic movies. Emmy didn’t want to get off the plane because we bought the Keiki Pack which costs $5.99 for unlimited access to kids movies, shows, and games.  She thought it was the best thing ever to watch some of her favorite shows while being served snacks and food right to her seat.

If you are like me, and you like to follow along on the flight, you will be happy to know that they also offer a live map.


Before we knew it we were landing in Honolulu. The plane took off on time and arrived a few minutes early too.


After a joyous week in paradise it was time for us to head back home. Normally Emmy is devastated at this point, but this time she had really been looking forward to the flight home. She played some music on her ukulele and then we headed back to the airport.


We arrived early to watch our plane land and pull up to the gate.

The Hawaiian Airlines terminal in Honolulu is a busy one.  I normally recommend that you arrive two hours early for flights that are not international, but this time we arrived three hours early and it worked out really well. 

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One thing I didn’t use on the other flight, but did on this flight, was the charger that each seat has next to their touch screen entertainment screen. It kept me all charged up for the entire flight.

We boarded about a minute before everyone else so that I could take pictures, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough time to be able to take out my “big” camera and get better quality pictures. I think these still show how fun it was to fly Hawaiian Airlines. 


Here is a look at the seat configuration… and see that sunlight streaming in, that is there on purpose. Each of the flights we were on, Hawaiian Airlines had the curtains raised so you could see the view from your seat of the water below on take off and landing. It wasn’t great for pictures, but I was still happy.

Let’s talk about the crew. They really treat you like family and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. Everyone on our plane was great and so friendly. Plus, look at those outfits they wear! The ladies even had flowers in their hair! Emmy wanted to know if she could buy one of their shirts to wear at home…


On this flight, the girls had the middle row and Pete and I sat arms reach away in  window seats.

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This is another little trick I learned. We have Pete board first followed by all of us. He loads the carry-ons while the girls get buckled in. There is nothing as frustrating as the hold up from people not being able to get in their seats quickly, and with this plan, we are all ready to go in minutes. We also make sure that our tags are all sticking out.  We load our bags wheels in and we use matching bright green tags. This has saved our luggage from accidentally being taken over and over again. People see a black bag and assume it’s theirs. I can tell from pretty far away if it’s ours.


The paid entertainment options are great, but I was in love with watching the complimentary ones about the islands…so beautiful. I don’t normally get to just watch TV. Since the Hawaiian Airlines planes don’t have wifi, it was actually a nice break from working for me.


Snack time again! Also there are 2 other beverage services during the flight for 3 total. One right after take off, another before dinner, and then one after dinner where they serve Kona coffee too!


Along with your complimentary meal, they also offer everyone 21 years and older a glass of wine!


Dinner was a sweet and sour chicken dish so we just ate the salad, the rice, and the cookie. It was still nice to have a fresh meal.

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Here is a video recap of our Hawaiian Airlines Flights:

Flying Hawaiian Airlines With Kids

We had a great flight with kids on Hawaiian Airlines and would definitely recommend them to others traveling with or without kids. 

Do you fly with kids often?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I love to fly Hawaiian. The juice is great and it’s one of the rare airlines that still serves a meal on some flights. It’s my choice when going to the islands.

  • Oh what I would give to be able to go to Hawaii right about now.
    I would trade in the grey and cold in a heart beat for the sun and surf.
    We normally fly economy but the extras on yours makes me rethink our carrier….

  • Wow! Looks like a lot of fun! I probably would have fallen asleep pretty quick too.

  • This looks like a fantastic airline. I would love to take my kids to Hawaii in a couple years. I think it would be a fantastic trip!

  • This looks awesome! I love that your little one reads the safety cards so carefully 🙂 Flying can be kind of a drag these days so it’s really nice that Hawaiian Airlines makes it a pleasant experience!

  • Thanks for sharing. I dedicated my 2016 to travel and Hawaii wasn’t on my list…reading this it should have been! I am making it my business to get there next year. I will be sure to check out the airline

  • I did not fly a lot with the kids when they were little. Hawaiian Airlines looks like a great way to fly.

  • The kids look so excited to go to Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines has great food. I would love to fly with them.

  • I haven’t flown anywhere since 2001. It’s kinda sad.

    It looks like Hawaii air is a very nice airline. I’m guessing they have flights out of DFW. I do like that they provided you with a meal. I wonder if there is a way to let staff know about dietary restrictions prior to take off so you have a meal that you can actually enjoy.

  • Wow, what an experience. I have to say that I have always wanted to go to hawaii and worried about bringing the kids on such a long flight. Worries gone.

  • I love that you really broke down this flight. Flying is a fear of mine, but this post made it seem so relaxing!

  • It looks like you had such a great experience flying with your kiddos – this always makes me nervous since there are so many unexpected things that can happen.

  • It sounds like Hawaiian Airlines is the airline to take when traveling with your family to Hawaii. I’m not sure if my boys can handle that long of a flight yet (8 hours from Chicago) but I would happily head to Hawaii right now!

  • Hawaii is definitely on my must visit list and when I do, I am going to check out Hawaiian airlines. It seems like they treat you like kings on those flights!

  • The only thing I care about outside of safety of course, is being able to sit w/the kids. Happy to see that wasn’t an issue on the flight. Sometimes with other airlines it has been for me, and that’s a huge deal. I will go to Hawaiian Airlines first when we book our flight for my daughter’s graduation present.

  • This reminds me of our trip from Tokyo to Atlanta which was 12 hours. Our son who was only 7-years old then was never bored at all and it was because our plane had that TV too. It totally kept him entertained.

  • I would LOVE to fly with this airline. It looks comfy with much needed space to accommodate a smooth and relaxing flight. Looks like a lot of fun occured on this trip. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ok I would absolutely need the kid pack when f
    Going with my two! Endless snacks, oh yeah! Thanks for sharing this! Now if only I could get my husband on a plane.

  • I have never been on a plane myself, and my children have special needs so it would be too much for them. I hope we can take a flight someday when they are older.

  • This sounds like a wonderful experience! I have never flown to Hawaii before, but I’d love to someday. It looks so beautiful and serene!

  • Great ideas on letting your husband board first. We’ll b trying this next time we fly. We’re planning on going to Hawaii next year and I’ll b looking into Hawaiian airlines after reading this. Thx fir thr info!

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