Is It Worth Paying For First Class Seats When Flying To Hawaii?


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In August 2017, I flew domestic to Hawaii in Polaris First Class on a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California to Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

Is the domestic First Class experience worth the expense?

It was worth booking the luxury of First for my flight as we had the full lie flat experience. If we had not, and had booked similarly priced First Class angled seats, the experience would have been inferior and, depending on your budget, may not have been worth spending out on.

How Do I Know If I Will Get A Lie Flat Seat

Many domestic First Class flights between the United States and Hawaii have First Class cabins with angled seats rather than fully flat beds. Airlines do not always make it clear if they are offering a lie flat seat on their flight. In fact, it is quite easy to find which Delta and Hawaiian flights offer lie flat seats but extremely difficult to be sure on United and AA.

If you choose an airline and plane with lie flats then you are getting vastly superior flying experience than those planes with angled seats, particularly if the flight is overnight. Unfortunately, the lie-flat picture is mixed and ever-changing as new planes are introduced on each route, so check the aircraft type carefully before booking. My article detailing which airlines offer lie flat seats to Hawaii will help to point you towards better choices but always doublecheck the aircraft before booking.

Will I Get An Amenity Kit In First

For my United flight, because this was a domestic journey, there were no amenity kits, but flyers were all given a light throw blanket and a thick Saks Fifth Avenue pillow, similar to the ones you find on United’s intercontinental Polaris Business Class flights. The only difference with the Polaris Business Class product was the absence of a duvet.

What Is The Food Like In First?

A menu was not handed out during my United flight. Instead, one of the cabin crew members informed each passenger of the only meal option onboard this flight, which was salmon fillet, served with vegetables, lemon sauce, rice and a salad. The food actually tasted quite good. Strawberry ice cream was offered as dessert.

In conclusion, the experience IS better in First than Coach on domestic routes to Hawaii. It is vastly superior if you get a lie flat seat and if you can afford it, is definitely worth the money. The angled seat option is less exciting and whether it is worth the money really depends on how much you are willing to spend.

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