Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in-flight at sunset.

Hawaiian reveals 2.5-class 787 and new Adient suites

Details and Design banner with text on graph paper backgroundAs Hawaiian Airlines transitions from its Airbus A330 fleet to the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that will be delivered from early next year, it is upgrading its seats and cabins, with a new name for its premium cabin too: Leihōkū Suites, or “lei (garland) of stars”. 

Up front, 34 of the Adient Aerospace Ascent-based Leihōkū suites stretch from doors 1 to 2 on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, arranged in a hybrid herringbone configuration. Window seats face the window, while the centre pairs face towards the aisle.

This hybrid configuration is a smart move from Hawaiian, which has a strong premium leisure focus to its routes, as it can offer something akin to a double bed in its centre pairs, with a kind of semi-honeymoon “kissing class” product that the airline calls “combined double seats”.

In essence, this is a double bed from waist up, where partners can say goodnight from bed with a kiss (looking up at the starry ceiling option that Boeing has offered for some years on its widebodies) instead of being separated by seat shrouding or structure. 

Hawaiian says that it is “the first airline to partner with Adient Aerospace”, the Boeing-Adient joint venture, although it is not the first airline to unveil these seats, which have been flying on Qatar Airways for some years now.

Inflight entertainment monitors sized 18″, wireless charging, and the usual array of power and USB outlets round out the hard product element of the passenger experience onboard.

The colour, materials and finish — created in conjunction with design house Teague — are a pleasing evolution of the previous generation of seats, the 2015-era Optimares Maxima that created the idea of “courtesy aisle access” for window seat passengers in its 2-2-2 configuration.

Hawaiian’s release talks of “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”, and in the limited renders that are available this means a premium cabin in tones of textured tan and beige, with pops of teal. 

The textures — particularly around the wood forms at the entry doors, the horizontal textures of the suite doors, the natural forms of accent patterns, and the warm brown leather — plus the colour pops rescue upgrade what could be a relatively plain cabin to something that feels elegant yet stands out from the competition. 


From front to back, from the leaf textures on the ceiling to the choices of material and textile for seat covers, this feels like a very intentional, carefully designed set of cabins. Inspired by Polynesian wayfinding, this feels like something of a masterclass in turning a design brief into reality — even when using established hard product within the known context of an airframe and cabin that is more than a decade old at this point.

Down the back of the aircraft, Hawaiian is offering an extra-legroom economy section comprising 79 seats in the same 3-3-3 configuration as the rest of economy. All seats in both extra-legroom and regular economy are Collins Aerospace Aspire, with 12-inch screens and dual USB-A and -C power outlets, and come in an attractive teal.

Throughout, the airline’s strong history, unique Hawai’ian culture and premium leisure focus are evident, from the beautiful Polynesian textures and patterns through to charming touches like Hawai’ian shirt- and dress-clad representations of the people on the signage for passenger lavatories.

The new cabins will début in early 2024 “on select routes”, the airline says.

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Featured image credited to PRNewsfoto/Boeing