Hawaiian Airlines has just revealed its long-awaited A321Neo interior. Designed by London based JPA, the new space has been created to “evoke the natural splendour of Hawai‘i through colour and form, bringing the outdoors in and extending ‘island time’ from the moment a guest steps onboard.”
The cabin takes colour palette cues from the new A330 interiors, which are being progressively rolled out across the fleet. “We are a unique destination carrier that caters to the needs of guests traveling to, from and between the beautiful islands of Hawai‘i,” said Avi Mannis, the airline’s senior vice president of marketing. “With an 88-year legacy of authentic Hawaiian hospitality, we are rooted in a sense of place and culture that guides the sensory design elements across our fleet. Together with JPA Design, we have created an emotionally satisfying, aesthetically rich inflight experience that will transform guests in every cabin of our A321neo aircraft.”
There is a distinct difference between the carrier’s interisland 717 fleet and long haul A330 fleet. “The medium-haul, single-aisle A321neo aircraft will usher in Hawaiian’s next growth era when they enter the carrier’s Western U.S. network. The A321neos will complement Hawaiian’s fleet of long-haul, twin-aisle aircraft used for flying between Hawai‘i and the U.S. Mainland and 11 international destinations, and its narrow-body Boeing 717 fleet flying short, interisland routes.”
Hawaiian’s recent B717 and A330 aircraft cabin redesigns further differentiate its premium leisure product, creating a contemporary design language of “Earth, Sea and Sky” that is interconnected throughout the fleet.
“Hawaiian presented JPA Design with a very unique proposition and set of creative challenges,” said Manson. “Collaborating closely with the team at Hawaiian, we crafted a cabin interior that draws inspiration from Hawaii’s rich past and contemporary present. Symbolism from Hawaii’s story is woven throughout the cabin interiors, subtly immersing guests in an environment that brings an elevated authentic premium leisure experience.”
There are key passenger experience differences. We were hoping to see the new lie flat seats in the A321, as passengers currently using the A330s from mainland US will come to expect fully-flat premium seats now, and the introduction of the A321 may be seen as a step back (even though they should be adequate enough for the 6 hour hop from the west coast.)
There will be three cabin products, with “intuitive and comfortable” seating provided by B/E Aerospace. The Premium Cabin will be luxuriously appointed with leather recliners, thoughtful design details and a custom lighting fixture incorporating Hawaiian’s signature ‘wave’ motif. The 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats will offer five more inches of legroom, priority boarding and other perks.
Seats in all cabins will be equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximise the amount of space available for carry-on luggage.
However, sadly, passengers will notice the lack of an in-built IFE system, and this is perhaps the biggest downgrade in the passenger experience, with passengers now expected to bring their own tablets onboard and stream the content using Wi-Fi onboard (sans internet connectivity). Hawaiian was always been seen as a premium leisure carrier, and its point of difference was the free meals, excellent entertainment and other perks of comfortable seats on clean and modern planes. Whilst the carrier is delivering with one hand, they seem to following the trend where commercial pressures are now impacting on the passenger experience.
The seats, with their handy IFE holders are a blessing though, the airline will also debut “tablet trays” in bulkheads and First Class for those without the fixed tablet holder in the seat back.
Negatives aside (and they are small gripes), the design, manages to encapsulate modern Hawaiian culture and the introduction of the pyramid motif, that symbolises the islands –and earth, sky and sea colour tones – JPA has delivered a long-lasting cabin interior that should grace the skies for many years to come.