Hawaiian Airlines has finally introduced an elevated standard of leisure travel, inspired by early Polynesian voyages, with the unveiling of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner interior and much anticipated new class of premium service – the Leihōkū Suites. Guests onboard Hawaiian’s 787 – entering service beginning early next year on select routes – will be immersed in cabin design elements that evoke Hawaiʻi’s rich natural world through bold textures, island-inspired sunrise and sunset lighting and sinuous ocean and wind patterns, brought to life by Seattle-based studio, Teague.

“The combination of our evocative cabin design and unparalleled service will make our 787 the most relaxing and enjoyable choice for travel to and from Hawaiʻi,” said Avi Mannis, chief marketing and communications officer at Hawaiian Airlines. “We take pride in sharing our home with our guests, and the design and details of this product truly reflect what it means to be the flagship carrier of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Hawaiian’s 300-seat 787 features its newest premium product, Leihōkū (garland of stars): 34 suites that envelop guests in a tranquil, elegant space with fully lie-flat seating, an 18-inch in-flight entertainment screen, personal outlets, wireless charging and direct aisle access. Set in a 1-2-1 configuration with doors, the suites can offer privacy or a shared experience, with combined double seats allowing couples to fall asleep while gazing at a starlit ceiling.

In developing its Leihōkū Suite, Hawaiian became the first airline to partner with Adient Aerospace – a joint venture between the Boeing Company and Adient, a world leader in automotive seats. Now originally Hawaiian was going to pip Qatar Airways to the punch with this reveal but delays to the roll out meant its now the second carrier to bring this seat to the skies. Hawaiian’s iteration of the product however is intrinsically more detailed with an epic trim and finish.

“It was evident from the beginning that Hawaiian Airlines is very passionate about its culture and branding, and making sure that this came through in the design language and in the passenger experience,” said Trystan Parry, Adient Aerospace vice president – sales and product support. “It is so rewarding to bring this vision collaboratively to life and see it realised in the delivered product.”

In Hawaiianʻs 787 Main Cabin, there’s even more detail to absorb. Consisting of 266 Collins Aerospace’s Aspire seats with ergonomically contoured back and arm rests, guests will enjoy a lightweight, modern design that maximises seat space, offers more shoulder and hip room, and features a 12-inch seat-back monitor with USB-A and USB-C charging ports. Being Hawaiian, there are also seventy-nine Extra Comfort seats that offer more legroom and access to AC outlets.

Each design element of Hawaiian’s 787 thoughtfully celebrates Polynesian navigators who sailed the Pacific by observing the stars, sun, winds, waves and wildlife. The airline worked with design consultant Teague to realise Hawaiian’s vision of honouring Pacific navigation in a modern aircraft. From the Koa-wooden entryway through to ornate shadow prints in the toilets, there’s plenty of design flourishes that evoke Hawaii without being overtly gimmicky.

“Working alongside such an iconic brand in Hawaiian Airlines, we were able to create an experience that is true and authentic to what is Hawai’i,” said Loreto Julian, interior design and surface textile design manager at Teague. “Along the journey, guests will be able to appreciate the culture of Hawai’i and be surprised with discoverable moments.”

The natural wonders of Hawaii are ebbed and flowed through the cabin, The wind and waves that have shaped the Hawaiian archipelago are expressed through curved forms throughout the entryway and cabin. Accents of deep aqua grace the carpets and privacy dividers in the Leihōkū Suites. While guests in Leihōkū Suites will gaze up at a luminous star compass ceiling evoking the constellations that guided Polynesian voyagers at nights thanks to a simulated cabin sky, depicting soft daylight, soothing sunrises and sunsets, or dramatic starry evening skies.

Every detail of the interior pays homage to Hawaiʻi’s pristine environment, from wall panels depicting native wood grains to the lavatory floor inspired by shimmering black volcanic sand. ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) is also integrated in seat row numbers and other placards to guide guests through the cabin as they embark on their journey. Laminates and fabrics reflect the forms of native plants throughout the cabin.

Our take

This is an incredible material change for Hawaiian Airlines and certainly a contender for our awards this year. Like other airlines in the Pacific, there is a rich cultural background to draw inspiration from and Hawaiian have done this with beautifully balanced consideration. The result is a perfectly executed cabin that’s filled with surprise and delight moments, excellent new hard products and a rich brand motif that extends beyond trim and finish. The new Business Class Leihōkū Suites will also see the airline now compete with other international carriers on an equal footing and in some regards – privacy and authentic detailing – much better. We salute Hawaiian on producing what truly is an epic game-changing product. We look forward to faring the skies with them in the not too distant future. Stay tuned for a full behind-the-scenes design story soon.

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Posted by:Jonny Clark

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