Depending on where you’re located in the United States, flying to Hawaii can be over a half a day trip. As I began searching for tickets to Honolulu next January, I wanted to have the option to fly in Business/First class with a lie-flat seat. I soon discovered that flying to Hawaii is considered “leisure” and airlines typically only offer standard First Class seats for their customers. However, there are some routes you can fly if you must have a lie-flat bed to Hawaii!
I’ll show you what routes to search for and what to pay attention to when searching for tickets on your own. You can use miles to book a lie-flat seat to Hawaii, but just be prepared to either cough up extra miles or find no availability beyond 1 award ticket per flight.
American Airlines only flies out of Dallas, TX to Hawaii with angled lie-flat seats. Angled seats will offer a slight incline when you decide to extend your seat out fully. While the seat won’t lay completely flat, this shouldn’t be a problem for most travelers. SeatGuru has an article here that does an excellent job of describing the different types of seats.
American Airlines has 2 routes. They are:
DFW >> HNL
DFW >> OGG
American Airlines makes it a little difficult to know which routes offer a lie-flat bed. You basically have to know which route offers this type of seating. If you’re looking to fly to Honolulu, you need to search for flight that offers their 767-300 aircraft. In my search results this was flight #123 and #5.
If I search for a flight from Dallas to Maui, this brings up 2 options: Flight #7 and #119.
Just to confirm these flights flight offer lie-flat seats, I like to compare my findings to SeatGuru.com. Seat Guru will confirm what type of seating the plane offers. All you need to do is visit their site and click on the “Find Seat Maps” button on the top. From there, just type in the airline you’re flying, the flight number and the date of departure.
If you’re looking to fly 2 or more people to Hawaii with AAdvantage miles in lie-flat seats, you will not be able to book all your tickets at the SAAver level, 37,500 miles each way. American Airlines typically only opens up 1 SAAver ticket per flight. All other tickets would have to be booked at the AAnytime level which costs 67,500 miles each way!
Back in December Delta announced that from October 25, 2015 to March 26, 2016, they will offer seasonal lie-flat seats from Minneapolis to Honolulu. There will be 25 lie-flat Business Elite seats on their Boeing 767-300ER. Delta’s Business Elite seats are going to be upwards of $2,000+ per ticket. So unless you have the cash, be pre-pared to pony up around 150,000 SkyMiles per person round-trip.
Delta has other routes that offer lie-flat beds. They are:
LAX >> HNL
ATL >> HNL
JFK >> HNL
How to look for lie-flat seats with Delta
Delta actually makes it quite easy to search for lie-flat beds. You don’t have to know what plane type to search for or know any fancy tricks. Simply filter your search results by clicking the Flat-Bed Seat option. I’ll show you below:
Delta also makes it easy by displaying this icon for every single flight that offers a lie-flat bed option:
Keep in mind, flights within the mainland are not going to offer a lie-flat bed. For instance, in the picture above it shows a flight going from MSP to ATL and then from ATL to HNL. The MSP to ATL leg will be in a standard First Class seat.
What if I don’t live near any of these airpots? That’s okay! You could find that your layover is going to be in one of the cities that offers a lie-flat bed option. For instance, my parents live in Charlotte, NC. When I searched for their tickets to Honolulu, their layover happened to be in Minneapolis. This means that from Minneapolis to Honolulu they would have the option to book a lie-flat seat as long as the search result displays the special icon shown above.
United airlines offers 3 routes from the mainland to Honolulu with lie-flat seat options. They are:
EWR >> HNL
SFO >> HNL
IAD >> HNL
Out of the 3 routes listed above, I would really only care about Newark and Washington D.C.. San Francisco is the closest to Honolulu and I personally don’t think it would be worth it to spend the extra money or miles to have a lie-flat bed.
When searching for lie-flat seats with United, you want to look for a flight that is being flown on 767-400 aircraft. After you know the plane type, United makes it easy to spot a lie-flat seat by viewing their seat map.
If you’re going to pay out of pocket for your United flight, be prepared to fork over hundreds of more dollars to have the lie-flat seat option! At the time of this blog post, the difference is currently $715 between having a lie-flat seat and a regular First Class seat when flying out of Newark. You could use United miles to book an award ticket, but the price is 90,000 miles each way! If you need to book 2 tickets, you’re looking at almost 400,000 miles! You’d be much better of trying to book your award tickets via American Airlines.
So which route should I take?
Now that we’ve looked at the 3 largest U.S. airlines and how to fly to Hawaii in a lie-flat seat, you might be a bit confused on which route to go. You really have 2 options:
1. Pay out of pocket. If you go this route, then it’s a matter of which airline you prefer to fly with and who is the cheapest. Personally, I would go with Delta if I had the choice. I like their service and I can get a non-stop flight out of Minneapolis between October and March.
2. Book your ticket with miles. This is the route I would go. American Airlines requires the least amount of miles to get to Hawaii. There’s 2 issues with American Airlines though. They only fly out of Dallas and they only offer 1 SAAver award ticket per flight. Therefore, if you need to book more than 2 tickets you’re going to have to have enough miles to book the 2nd ticket at the AAnytime award level, which costs at least 67,5000 miles one-way. This is still cheaper than Delta and United which require up to 90,000 miles each way.
I would start searching for award tickets as soon as possible (331 days out is the max you can search.) If you don’t live in the Dallas area, you’ll have to try and route your layover to be in Dallas. This will allow you to book a flight on one of their flights that offers lie-flat seats. This will require a little work on your part, but it can be done!
So there you have it! Now you know how to book a lie-flat seat in First Class the next time you want to fly to Hawaii.