Hawaiian Airlines' new fleet of Airbus A330s features a personal, on-demand entertainment system in every coach seat.
I had the incredible opportunity to attend Hawaiian Airlines’ blessing and ceremony today as it introduced its fleet of the future by welcoming the first of 27 new long-range Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft joining the company’s fleet this decade. The new A330 is named for the constellation Makalii, otherwise known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, which guided ancient Polynesian voyagers across the Pacific and was seen high in the sky when Inter-Island Airways (renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) launched its first scheduled flight on November 11, 1929. Each of Hawaiian’s new A330s are being named after a star or constellation used by Polynesian voyagers for celestial navigation.
There were several hundred people in attendance who were greeted by traditional chants and listened to remarks by Governor Linda Lingle, Airbus Americas Chairman T. Allan McArtor, and Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley. Hawaiian’s new aircraft will offer improved onboard amenities as well as greater operating range that will enable growth and expansion in the years ahead. Starting a new era for Hawaiian Airlines, the company will inaugurate service with its first new 294-seat, wide-body A330-200 aircraft this Friday, June 4, on a flight departing Honolulu for Los Angeles.
Reinforcing the ceremony’s theme of looking to the future, the event concluded with a surprise performance by the award-winning, 110-member Pearl City High School Marching Band, who were joined by 80 keiki hula dancers of the renowned Halau Hula Olana. The took the Continental Airlines hanger by storm and belted out a few songs that got everyone’s blood pumping.
Then it was time for the moment I was looking forward to most…boarding Makalii for a tour. And for the record, yes, there is a new airplane smell. 🙂 The inside of the Airbus A330 was beautiful as expected. First Class seating was impressive as it should be, but coach seating (in a 2-4-2 configuration) was surprisingly spacious and each headrest is equipped with a personal on-demand, state-of-the-art entertainment system.
I bumped into Allan Staker on the plane, who is part of the Hawaiian Airlines Transformation Team, and he was kind enough to give me an overview of the entertainment system’s capabilities. As an iPhone user, I was stoked to find out there’s a USB port in each headrest to charge gadgets, but there’s much more. Here’s what you can expect to keep you busy on-board for a nominal fee:
Hawaiian Airlines Transformation Team Director Allan Staker explains the features of the on-board, on-demand entertainment system found on the new Airbus A330-200s joining the fleet.
So as you can see, passengers aboard a future Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330 are in for quite a treat. There more photos from today’s ceremony posted to my Flickr account and also a few more below
My co-workers Noreen Kam (@buzzbunny) and Erin Kinoshita (@shmerin) aboard Makalii in First Class. The touch screen entertainment systems are much larger and have iPod capabilities.
First Class passengers on Hawaiian’s new A330 aircraft will enjoy the added advantages of larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.
Passengers flying in coach class on Hawaiian’s A330 will enjoy the comforts of the new aircraft, including more legroom and a state-of-the-art on-demand entertainment system. High-resolution LCD touch screen monitors in each seatback allow each passenger to choose from a wide selection of movies and video programs, audio channels and video games. Each system also includes a USB port allowing connectivity for personal media players.
Entertainment systems are equipped with special screen protectors for privacy so your seat neighbor can't see what you're watching or playing.
And last but not least, this new fleet of Airbus planes provides Hawaiian with incredible potential to connect Hawaii with the rest of the world. The A330’s give Hawaiian an increased operating range of 6,050 nautical miles and the capability to expand its service area on both sides of the Pacific by offering nonstop flights between Hawaii and points in eastern Asia and all of North America.
Hawaiian second A330, Hokulea, arrived yesterday and a third plane will join the fleet in November with more on the way in 2011. Then the next-generation A350s will be here in 2017 and will seat 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and have an operating range of 8,300 nautical miles. This provides Hawaiian with the capability to offer nonstop flights to Hawaii from points in Asia, Australasia, the Americas, and Europe.
I’m excited about the future of Hawaiian Airlines and I hope you are too!
Disclosure: Hawaiian Airlines is a client of Anthology Marketing Group, the company I’m employed by. I attended today’s Airbus A330-200 blessing and ceremony as a guest, travel industry representative, and social media enthusiast. I’ve never been in a brand new airplane before, so if this post sounds like I was a kid in a candy store…well…I kind of was.
[All photos and video taken by me with my stock Canon EOS Rebel T1i.]