Review: Best Airline Lounges At Honolulu Airport (HNL)


Book A Hotel

Honolulu Airport (HNL) is the main airport on Oahu which will give you access to Waikiki as well as the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina which is one of the best Four Seasons on Hawaii. We have already reviewed the best luxury hotels in Waikiki and the best hotels with executive club lounges in Waikiki. Now we review the best airport lounges in Honolulu.

Free Airport Lounge Access

If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at Honolulu airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.

1. ANA Lounge, Honolulu

The best and newest airport lounge in Honolulu airport is the ANA lounge which is modern, stylish and has a great food selection. You can get access to this superb lounge if you are a Star Alliance Gold member (with one additional guest) or those flying First, Business, and Premium Economy on ANA get access. It’s located on the third floor of Terminal 2 above Gate C4.

This lounge is decorated in creams with a big wooden bar area. The seating is largely rattan sofa seats and cafe style seats and there are lots of plants giving it an outdoor ambiance. The entire curved wall of one side of the lounge has massive windows looking out onto the planes which is great and unusual for the airport lounges at Honolulu airport.

The bathrooms are also modern and stylish and new, but lack showers. Food-wise, the buffet is the best at Honolulu airport with hot curries soups, and more, including vegetarian. The Hawaiian barbeque chicken gets a big thumbs up and is restaurant quality. There’s cut fruit, salads, and rolls too. Drinks are great too, with beer on tap, a coffee machine, and fresh juice from a machine. There is also lots of alcohol and a good selection of desserts.

If you are flying ANA from Honolulu, you will also board your aircraft directly from the lounge via a ramp that connects to the jetbridge. If you are flying United, this lounge is quite a walk from most United gates but it is worth the detour, as long as the lounge is open when you are departing. Opening hours are 8:30 am to mid-afternoon.

2. American Airlines Admirals Club Also JAL’s Sakura Lounge

The American Airlines Admirals Club, also JAL’s Sakura Lounge, is located in Terminal 2, airside, 3rd Floor. This lounge is quite different from other Admirals Club Lounges as JAL probably has more flights out of HNL than American does. This means it has more of a skew to JAL and the seating is orange rather than AA colors plus Hawaiian music is played which gives it an international feel.

The decor is a little dated but there’s loads of seating. The power sockets are from the US for reference. In terms of dining, you can eat chicken noodle soup, a Japanese dish that is made up of hot rice, usually Japanese beef curry with rice, and a chicken dish with rice. There are also chicken-flavored instant noodles. Snacks include buns, packaged cheese, and crackers in the refrigerator plus cookies. Breakfast is croissants and cake. Overall, the food selection is better than most domestic Admirals Club lounges. For alcohol, there’s beer in a refrigerator, self-serve spirits, juices, and soft drinks from a soda fountain.

There is no meeting room or showers in this lounge, but there are toilets. This is not a great lounge but it’s better than nothing and this is one of the better choices in Honolulu airport as most of the lounges are pretty poor. The views from this lounge are onto a garden rather than the tarmac but at least it has natural light, unlike the Delta Sky Club reviewed below.

3. Delta Sky Club

Delta Sky Club is located airside, in the main concourse, across from Gate F1. This is one of the nicer lounges at Honolulu airport although none are that great and most feel dated. The Delta Sky Club is not an exception in this respect. It feels a little dated but is fine until close to departure time when it can get quite crowded.

There are some nice touches in this lounge that make it stand out from the rest of the lounges at Honolulu airport, like the cart that is driven around the lounge offering up complimentary desserts, wine, and champagne to everyone in the club.

The small buffet in this lounge is also fairly decent with hot items like macaroni and cheese, meatballs, vegetarian chili. There’s a big selection of salad items and veggies like tomatoes and lettuce, so you can make up a good and filling meal out of the food that is offered. There are rolls and cheeses if you want something simpler.

The bar also offers free house drinks with premium drinks at cost. To be honest, the food in here is better than the American Airlines Admirals club above but the fact that some drinks are chargeable means it did not win the best lounge award in Honolulu airport and instead comes in at number two.

That said, the self-serve Starbucks coffee machine, in addition to the fountain of Coke products, makes it a bit of a hit for me. Downers are a lack of windows, small toilets, and no showers.

4. United Club Lounge

The United Club lounge is located in Honolulu Airport, Terminal 2, Airside, Diamond Head Gulf Wing, above Gate G2, and G3. This is not a great lounge but is better than the two Hawaiian Airlines lounges reviewed below. It has unique glass partitions with tropical leaves etched into the glasswork which makes it feel classy in a “faded glamor” way. The furnishings are pleasant and feel Hawaiian but are not very special. Again this lounge feels slightly dated.

The big plus of this lounge is the floor to ceiling windows which look out over the airport. As most lounges in Honolulu airport offer no view whatsoever, this tarmac view is a big bonus of the United lounge. The food on offer includes salads, cut fruit, bread, soup, yogurt, and desserts (really nice ones in glass bowls). Snacks include pretzels, cookies, and cereals (throughout the day) in big glass jars. There is plenty of free alcohol including wines and spirits, This lounge also has some unappealing toilets.

5. The Plumeria Lounge

Hawaiian Airlines manages two lounges at Honolulu International Airport. The Plumeria Lounge, located on the airport’s 3rd floor of Terminal 1 (the Inter-Island Terminal), is Hawaiian’s most upscale lounge and only accessible to passengers flying Business Class to one of Hawaiian’s international destinations, or holders of the unlimited Priority Pass can access this lounge for free. Although a pass is also available for purchase at the time of check-in, subject to seat availability.

If you are flying to Mainland USA in First, you will get access to Hawaiian’s Premier Club lounge which is reviewed below and is the inferior of the two airport lounges.

The look and feel of the two airport lounges are similar and neither is great. The Plumeria Lounge is reserved for Hawaiian’s long-haul premium class passengers. Thus, it is a step above the Premier Clubs at HNL, mainly because the food is better and there is a decent range of alcoholic drinks.

The food selection includes sandwiches, soup, and packaged snacks. The drinks included soft drinks, wine, coffee, and of course guava juice. The toilets are at the back of the lounge and there are no shower rooms. This is definitely one of the best Priority Pass lounges at Honolulu Airport.

6. Hawaiian’s Premier Club lounge

Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge is located in Terminal 1, airside on the 2nd Floor, near Gate A18. Hawaiian gives Premier Club access to all its First and Business Class passengers (including those who just paid for an upgrade from Economy), and to all of its elite members. You can see the look and the mediocre food selection in the photos above. We reviewed this lounge before traveling in First on Hawaiian Airlines back to mainland USA.

Passengers flying domestic First Class have access to Hawaiian’s Premier Club lounge, which is located near gate 56 in Honolulu’s Interisland Terminal. The Premier Club is a glorified name for what is basically an uninviting albeit contemporary decorated room, without windows, and with several seating areas.

The main reasons to visit the lounge are the free Wi-Fi and the complimentary beverage at the small buffet station, which offers soft drinks, coffee, and tea (but no alcohol or spirits). When you’re not in need of the internet or drinks, you are better off spending your time outside the lounge and enjoy the views of the apron and runways from the airport’s open-air walkways.

I reviewed this Hawaiian Airlines lounge at Honolulu airport before catching my Hawaiian Airlines A330 First Class flight back to San Francisco. Pictures of this lounge can be found in the photos above and were shared with us by our friends at The Luxury Travel Expert.

7. Qantas Club Lounge

The Qantas Club airline lounge is located in Terminal 1, Airside, and can be accessed by all Oneworld airline Business Class passengers including Emerald or Sapphire Oneworld members flying Qantas or any Oneworld flight, plus they can bring a guest in. Qantas and Jetstar Business Class passengers also get free access as well as Qantas Club, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members (plus a guest).

This lounge is pretty terrible and it is small and rectangular with TVs and drab, dated decor. The food is fairly awful too. Muesli bars, sandwiches, cereal, fruit, cookies, bread, and cheese. Drinks are plunge coffee as there are no machines, plus soft drinks, tea, and water, spirits, and other alcohol.

This is not a great lounge, and given that this airport is so unusual with all sorts of outdoor spaces, it is only really worth using this mediocre lounge to pick up a quick sandwich before heading somewhere else. If you hold Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status, you would do better to use the American Airlines/JAL Admirals Club lounge which is also a Oneworld lounge and is reviewed above.

8. IASS Hawaii Lounge

IASS Hawaii Lounge is located in Terminal 2, Airside, near Gates 14-23. There are two Priority Pass lounges at Honolulu Airport, The Plumeria Lounge, and the IASS Hawaii Lounge. This lounge is open from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm, and from 2:00 – 6:00 pm.

This lounge has old fashioned tropical furnishings and cans of coke, coke light, guava, sprite, and bottles of water. There is also iced coffee and orange juice and a coffee machine for hot tea and coffee. There are no snacks and no lounge bathrooms. This really is a terrible lounge and if you get the opportunity, use The Plumeria Lounge instead, as it is a much better lounge.

9. USO Lounge

USO Lounge is located on the ground level, between Baggage Claims E and F. You can access this lounge if you are active military or reservist, but not if you are a civilian flying out of HNL airport, hence our position in this listing as it won’t be open to most of our readers.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.