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Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates Inaugural Flight of Flagship Dreamliner

The inaugural flight of the new aircraft, featuring 34 Leihōkū suites, departed Honolulu for San Francisco.

by Samir Kadri

April 16, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines celebrated the inaugural flight of its new flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which took off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu on April 15 to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

The plane, named Kapuahi after a Hawaiian term for a star known as Aldebaran in Western astronomy, was welcomed with live music and hula, and all passengers were given fresh lei.

New Safety Video Debuts

Passengers onboard were among the first to view the airline’s new in-flight safety video, featuring 57 Hawaiian Airlines employees and their relatives outlining in-flight safety protocol from stunning locations across Hawaiian islands.

Starting today, the new Dreamliner will operate a nonstop daily service between Honolulu (HNL) and San Francisco (SFO). This service will continue until May 14, after which the new 787-9 will launch flights to Los Angeles (LAX) from May 14 and Phoenix (PHX) from May 15.

Business Traveler will cover the inaugural service to Los Angeles and provide a full Tried & Tested review of the airline’s newest Business Class product after the flight.

Hawaiian Inspired Cabin

The aircraft’s design is heavily inspired by Hawaii, with passengers treated to soothing sunrise and sunset lighting depending on the time of day.

It offers 34 premium seating options, called Leihōku suites, which feature lie-flat seating, private power outlets, wireless cell phone charging, and a state-of-the-art 18-inch screen with hundreds of entertainment options.

The Leihōkū suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with doors that allow for privacy or a shared experience, perfect for couples who want to combine their suites and fall asleep together under an artificially starlit ceiling inspired by the constellations that guided early Polynesian adventurers.

The 787-9 Dreamliner’s main cabin has a capacity of 266 passengers, with seating supplied by Collins Aerospace from its Aspire range.

Photo: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

Seats have ergonomically designed backs and armrests to maximize shoulder and leg room for passengers, while passengers have access to 12-inch seatback monitors and a selection of charging ports.

Hawaiian Airlines has 12 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on order, and last week, it confirmed receipt of its second aircraft, N790NA. Hawaiian is expected to have three 787-9s by the end of 2024, with the rest arriving by 2027.

“Today marks an incredible achievement for all of us at Hawaiian Airlines, and I’d like to thank all of our teammates, Boeing, and our many partners for helping us make this moment possible,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

“Our 787-9 is a true flagship product that, when paired with the award-winning hospitality of our crew, will provide guests with an unforgettable Hawaiʻi travel experience.”

Hawaiian Airlines has been providing continuous service for 95 years since 2024. This island-based airline has grown significantly over the years, now offering approximately 150 daily flights within the Hawaiian islands. Additionally, it provides nonstop flights between the Aloha State and 15 U.S. gateway cities, and offers international flights to destinations including Australia, Japan, Tahiti, and New Zealand.