Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

Hawaiian Airlines opened its new Plumeria Lounge specifically for its international business-class travelers late last month at the Honolulu Airport, wrapping up a multimillion-dollar improvement project involving each of the carrier’s six airport lounges across the Aloha State.

The overhauled Honolulu business-class lounge complements Hawaiian’s renovated Premier Club, unveiled at HNL in January. The airline completed similar Premier Club overhauls and unveilings at the Maui Airport in Kahului and the Kona and Hilo airports on the Big Island of Hawaii this spring. The Premier Club at the Lihue Airport on Kauai was finished up toward the end of May.

While nonalcoholic drinks, snacks and WiFi are complimentary at Hawaiian’s Premier Clubs statewide, the carrier’s new, 3,600-square-foot Plumeria Lounge features free wine, local craft beers from Maui Brewing Co. and catered food options, offering travelers breakfast, lunch and dinner items along with snacks and WiFi.

According to Matthew Chang, Hawaiian’s director of loyalty marketing, the improvements were motivated, in part, because of comments made by the company’s customers familiar with international business-class benefits offered by other airlines.

“We definitely offer our business-class travelers lounge access through a third party on the international side,” Chang said. “But when they’d leave Hawaii to return home, there wasn’t a comparable lounge experience, so we wanted to at least be on par with our competitors.”

On July 15, the carrier began offering access to the Plumeria Lounge, which is located on the third floor of the Honolulu interisland terminal, for $40 a day to travelers booked on any Hawaiian Airlines flight.

“We have this beautiful space, and there is only a limited number of business-class guests that fly us,” Chang explained. “And whether it’s to the Neighbor Islands, whether it’s to North America or to international destinations in economy class, anybody with a ticket can buy a $40 lounge pass.”

Chang said people can simply walk up to the Plumeria Lounge and purchase entry on a space-available basis. But like a popular restaurant, it may be best to reserve your lounge seat ahead of time.  

“We’ve incorporated technology where it’s part of the check-in process on the screens when you use our airport kiosks or if you’re checking in on the website or using your mobile phone,” he said, noting that barcodes on either printed or mobile device boarding passes will provide purchasers lounge access. “It’s another feature just like adding bags.”

Chang was quick to report that use of the upgraded airport clubs has increased since the renovation work was completed.

“I’m definitely seeing an increase in the number of people in our Premier Clubs,” he said. “It’s a nicer space, and the WiFi always works, and we have plenty ice for folks on a hot day. People want to be in there.”

Access to the airport Premier Clubs is free for Pualani Gold and Pualani Platinum members of the HawaiianMiles program. Pualani Gold status requires either 20,000 flight miles or 30 flight segments, while the Platinum classification goes to those who’ve accumulated 40,000 miles or 60 different flight segments. Travelers can also purchase access through the carrier’s Premier Club annual membership for $299.

According to Chang, customers booked in Hawaiian’s first-class seats on domestic and interisland flights also qualify for complimentary access to the Premier Clubs.

This article has been updated to reflect that Matthew Chang is Hawaiian’s director of loyalty marketing. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version.

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