Series: Long-haul flight tips to and from Hawaii


If experience makes one an expert, then we are experts on making the best of long-haul flights to and from Hawaii. We’ve lost count, but we’ve probably made the trek to and from Hawaii 30 to 50 times.

From our North Carolina base, the travel time from door-to-door averages about 15 hours, barring delays. So, it’s not exactly a hop, skip and a jump for us to travel to Hawaii.

Over our many long-haul flights to Hawaii, we’ve learned some tricks for being as comfortable as possible that we share in a series of posts. These posts could apply to any long-haul flight, but it will have a Hawaii-travel flavor.

This series includes articles on these topics:

In the meantime, comment to let us know if you have questions or tips to share about Hawaii flights.

  1. The last time a flew (approx. 7 years ago) you were able to bring bottled non-alcoholic drinks on board and plenty of snacks. What is the status or current regulations on that now? We are taking a Hawaii vacation June 2014. Thanks!

    1. Mary – you can still bring non-alcoholic drinks and snacks on board.

      As far as drinks go, the only slight issue is around TSA security. You can’t bring drinks in containers greater than 3.2 ounces through security. As you know drinks rarely, if ever, come in 3.2 oz or less. However, once you’ve cleared security, you can purchase drinks of any size to bring on board at any of the shops. Also, you can bring empty water bottles through security and fill them up at a water fountain past security.

  2. I wear a light jacket or wind-breaker with lots of pockets on the plane. It doesn’t count as a “Cary-On” and you can stuff the pockets with stuff. You can also use it as a blanket or pillow. It comes in pretty handy.

  3. Great idea for a series, it is just coming too late for us as we are Hawaii bound from NY on Friday. I will take notes on ideas or issues and let you know what I come up with.
    Love your site and all the information it contains. We plan on using/doing a lot of it during our 17 day trip. Thank you

  4. We’re getting ready to head back home from Hawaii for the 10th time later this week. We hate the red-eye flight back because we get very little sleep on the plane. However, I’m watching my inbox to see what tips come in from your readers. Hopefully, that will make it easier next time.

  5. Shelia,
    We have made the trip a number of times and our first was a 17 hour flight from the east coast. We left at 6 am and arrived in Honolulu about 8:30 pm after going to Atlanta, LA and then on to HA. This kept us on our “normal” body clock and we never experienced sleep issues. While not a lover of changing planes, I think this did help us to endure the long flight.

    Now we fly to the west coast or close. Spend the night and fly on Hawaiian Airlines the next day. Their planes are so comfortable and they treat you well. We have flown from Phoenix, Seattle, and San Francisco. We arrive by 1 pm Hawaiian time and are ready to go feeling good. Coming back is the same. It makes it very bearable. If you are island hoping, Hawaiian gives you a discount on that ticket if booked when you book the other.

    We pack as light as we can since we always stay where we have a washer and dryer. We also try to limit the carry on weight and look at the airport we are flying thru to determine about buying food we will enjoy on the plane. A little planning makes all the difference. I also purchased on of the collapsible water bottle from AAA. I have seen them other places but easy to carry and fill once thru airport security.

    1. Thanks for sharing your strategy Annette!

      We haven’t ever tried stops as you’ve described mostly because we don’t have the extra time to plan into our travel.

      You are so right that a little planning makes all the difference.

  6. Sheila,

    Have you ever taken the Delta flight from RDU to HNL via LAX? It keeps coming up at the top of my searches for round trip airfare. The only thing that concerns me is there is only a 35 minute layover at LAX.

    1. No, we’ve not taken that flight. A 35 minute layover is tight. I think there are sites that track the punctuality of flights. You might want to check to see how on-time that particular flight is.

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