Complaining about an airline lounge is a lot like being annoyed with the way in which a bowl of ice cream was prepared. It’s a petty thing to be miffed about, I know, but I’m going to say it anyway: the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club at the Honolulu Airport (HNL) straight up sucks.
There is nothing “premier” or “club-like” about this lounge. It’s incredibly small, seating options are limited, and there is no food. Coffee and soda / juice is available, but it doesn’t matter anyway since you probably won’t want to spend any time here.
And thus begins probably one of the most tone deaf reviews that I’ve ever written here on sanspotter.com…
Where is the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club located at HNL?
The Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club is located in Terminal 1 near the entrance Concourse A at the Honolulu International Airport. I find the location to be mostly convenient if you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines. I say “mostly” because it’ll be really far out of the way if you’re flying out of the far end Concourse A (gates A1-12).
If you’re having a hard time finding the Premier Club, don’t worry. I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer or anything, but…it’s not really worth visiting anyway.
The layout of the Honolulu Premier Club Lounge
There’s really not much to say about the layout of the HNL Premier Club. It consists of one small room broken up with several dividers. Technically, it consists of three rooms if you count the men’s and women’s bathrooms.
The best way to describe the layout of this lounge to tell you that it feels exactly like the waiting room at any busy(ish) hospital here in the US. It’s just got that vibe to it – complete with the smell of stale coffee.
FYI, despite what you just read, I don’t have a complete and total aversion to “waiting room” style airline lounges. For example, the Air France KLM Lounge at the Munich Airport is about the same size as this one (with a similar layout) – but I actually quite enjoyed it. The difference is the quality of the furniture – as well as the overall style and design.
Not that it matters anyway (because I can promise that you won’t want to sit in here), but I’m actually sort of impressed by how many seats they crammed into this place. On the flip side, it represents everything I hate about airport lounges.
The seating layout is extremely dense. Yes, I can appreciate the wide variety of seating types. You’ll find everything from cushy Barcaloungers to dining tables (that serve no real purpose because of the lack of food).
Yeah. The seating situation in the Premier Club is awkward. So awkward, as a matter of fact, that I didn’t even bother to sit down on my latest visit. I took some pics for this review, used the men’s room, and then wasted no time in getting the heck out of there.
What kind of food do they serve?
You’re kidding, right? I first visited this lounge back in 2015, and back then, they were kind enough to offer little bags of pretzels to go with the slim selection of drinks. On my most recent visit, the snacks were nowhere to be found. It was a stingy selection of drinks only.
Remember when I complained (and make jokes) about the lack of food in my Air Canada Edmonton Lounge review? Thinking back on it, I didn’t know how good I had it.
I think it’s the lack of food (any food at all) that annoys me most about the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club. I could easily deal with the awkward seating situation if they at least made an attempt to offer decent snacks.
How to get into the Hawaiian Airlines Lounge at HNL
It’s important to note that the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club is for domestic first class passengers. Yes, you’ll have access to this lounge if you’re flying international first class on Hawaiian Airlines, but that would be stupid since there’s a dedicated lounge for that (it’s called the Plumeria Lounge).
The Premiere Club, on the other hand, is really easy to get into:
- Hawaiian Airlines first class passengers headed to the US mainland (and neighboring islands) get complimentary access: BTW, flying Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 first class to Los Angeles is how I got in on my most recent visit.
- Pualani Platinum and Gold members can get in no matter what class of service they are flying.
- You can also purchase a Premier Club membership. But I don’t know why you would want to do that.
If you want my opinion (and I assume you do since you’ve made it this deep into the review), don’t stress too much about trying to figure out how to get into this lounge. I really mean it. There is nothing that this lounge offers that you can’t get somewhere out in the main terminal instead.
Pros and cons
Writing a negative review of an airline lounge like this makes me feel like a privileged a*****e (to say the least). The Honolulu Premier Club is surprisingly bad in my opinion, but in the grand scheme of things, it might be a neat experience for anyone who has never been inside an airport lounge before. Here are the pros and cons to consider:
- It’s extremely easy to get into. If you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines first class to the US mainland (or within Hawaii), they’ll welcome you with open arms. For the record, there aren’t any other US airlines that offer lounge access to domestic first class passengers.
- At the very least, it’s a place to pop in and get a free cup of coffee. It’s probably decent Hawaiian coffee as well, so that’s a bonus.
- The bathrooms are nicer than the ones out in the main terminal.
- It’s lame enough to make you not feel so bad about having a short layover in Honolulu. Don’t worry about not having enough time for a visit. You’re not missing anything.
- Holy **** is it ever awkward. The overall space is so small (and the seating so dense) that I find it to be an extremely uncomfortable place to wait for a flight.
- The lack of food (even little bags of snacks) straight up ticks me off.
- It’s noisy. As you might imagine with such a dense seating layout, it’s not a very relaxing place to get any work done.