Imagine touching down in Hawaii after a 10-hour flight, feeling fully refreshed and ready to hit the beach.
Hawaiian Airlines is hoping that scenario appeals to travelers. It is introducing lie-flat seats that allows passengers to fully recline and get some sleep.
The airline has begun installing 18 lie-flat seats in the Premium Cabins of its Airbus A330 aircraft. The seats fold into 180-degree beds that are 76 inches long (a bit longer than 6 feet) and 20.5 inches wide. Unlike many lie-flat seating arrangements aimed at solo business travelers, Hawaiian’s are aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration with adjustable privacy partitions designed for honeymooners and other couples headed for the islands.
The premium seats also include first-class bedding, advanced entertainment tablets, two USB ports, and an A/C power outlet. Twinkling fiber-optic lights form stars in a “constellation panel” between the premium and main cabins.
In addition to the upgraded Premium Cabin, Hawaiian’s remodeled A330 jets will receive 28 additional Extra Comfort seats, a clear sign of the growing demand for premium economy seating. The new configuration will seat 18 in the Premium Cabin, 68 in Extra Comfort, and 192 in the Main Cabin.
Extra Comfort passengers receive 36 inches of seat pitch, priority boarding, complimentary on-demand entertainment, and a personal power outlet. A typical economy seat provides 31 inches of seat pitch, though it can be as high as 34 inches on a JetBlue flight. Seat pitch is what the airline industry uses to measure legroom—it is the distance from any point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front or behind.
The first A330s featuring lie-flat seats start flying in June as a surprise feature for passengers. Official sales begin in September, when Hawaiian will reveal the first dedicated routes.
Stretching out in a lie-flat seat is perhaps the best way to catch some sleep on a plane. You should also consider bringing earplugs and an eye mask to block out lights and sounds.
If you can’t afford lie-flat seating in the premium cabin, your seat selection in the main cabin will impact whether you sleep. Choose a seat by the window, and avoid seats near the bathrooms or galleys where other passengers tend to congregate. If you cover yourself up with a blanket, fasten your seat belt over the blanket so the flight attendant can confirm you’re buckled in during turbulence.