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Whether you’re looking to visit Hawaii or Alaska, you may be wondering which airline to fly with – Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines. Both carriers offer extensive route networks to their respective home states, along with service to destinations across North America, Asia, and Oceania.

But how do you choose which one is right for your next vacation or business trip? Read on for a detailed comparison of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines on key factors like routes, onboard experience, frequent flyer programs, and more.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Alaska Airlines has a more extensive route network and larger fleet, while Hawaiian Airlines offers a better onboard experience and more service to Hawaii.

For most travelers, Alaska Airlines would be the better overall choice thanks to its broader reach and competitive fares.

In this comprehensive 3,000 word guide, we’ll compare Alaska and Hawaiian head-to-head in terms of routes and network coverage, cabin comfort and amenities, frequent flyer programs, baggage allowances, customer satisfaction ratings, and overall value.

We’ll help you decide which carrier best fits your individual needs and travel style.

Routes and Network Coverage

Destinations Served

Hawaiian airline

When comparing Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, one important factor to consider is the number and variety of destinations served by each airline.

Alaska Airlines is known for its extensive network coverage, serving over 115 destinations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Whether you’re planning a trip to a major city or a remote beach destination, Alaska Airlines has you covered.

On the other hand, Hawaiian Airlines specializes in flights to and from Hawaii. With a focus on the Aloha State, they offer direct flights to several major cities in the United States, as well as international destinations such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

If you’re looking to explore the beautiful islands of Hawaii or have a tropical getaway in mind, Hawaiian Airlines may be the perfect choice for you.

Fleet Size

Another aspect to consider when comparing Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is the size of their respective fleets.

Alaska Airlines boasts a larger fleet, with over 330 aircraft, including Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. This allows them to offer a wide range of flight options and accommodate more passengers.

Hawaiian Airlines, on the other hand, has a smaller fleet, with around 60 aircraft primarily consisting of Airbus A321neos and Boeing 717s. While their fleet may be smaller, Hawaiian Airlines focuses on providing a high-quality flying experience with modern and comfortable aircraft.


Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have established partnerships with other airlines, allowing passengers to access a larger network of destinations.

Alaska Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which includes major carriers such as American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas. This partnership provides seamless connections and benefits for frequent flyers.

Hawaiian Airlines, on the other hand, has codeshare agreements with several international airlines, including Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Virgin Australia. These partnerships enable passengers to book flights to additional destinations and enjoy a smoother travel experience.

Hub Airports

Alaska Airlines operates primarily out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in Washington, which serves as its main hub. This strategic location allows for convenient connections to various destinations across North America and beyond.

Hawaiian Airlines operates out of Honolulu International Airport (HNL) in Hawaii, which serves as its main hub. From here, passengers can easily access other Hawaiian islands or catch flights to international destinations.

Onboard Experience

Seat Comfort and Legroom

When it comes to seat comfort and legroom, both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines strive to provide a pleasant flying experience for their passengers.

Alaska Airlines offers comfortable seats with adjustable headrests and ample legroom, ensuring that you can relax during your flight. Hawaiian Airlines also offers spacious seats with generous legroom, allowing you to stretch out and enjoy your journey.

However, it’s important to note that seat comfort and legroom may vary depending on the aircraft type and seating class you choose. So, if comfort is a top priority for you, it’s worth considering the specific details of each airline’s seating arrangements.

Inflight Entertainment

Inflight Entertainment

In terms of inflight entertainment, both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer a range of options to keep you entertained throughout your flight.

Alaska Airlines provides a selection of movies, TV shows, and music that you can enjoy on seatback screens or personal devices. They also offer power outlets and USB ports to keep your devices charged.

Hawaiian Airlines offers a similar entertainment experience, with a variety of movies, TV shows, and games available on seatback screens. Additionally, they provide USB ports for charging your devices.

So, whether you prefer catching up on the latest movies or listening to your favorite music, both airlines have you covered.

Complimentary Food and Drinks

When it comes to complimentary food and drinks, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer slightly different options.

Alaska Airlines provides complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages on all flights, with additional food and alcoholic beverages available for purchase on longer flights.

Hawaiian Airlines, on the other hand, offers complimentary meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages on their longer flights, while snacks and beverages are available for purchase on shorter flights.

So, if having a complimentary meal is important to you, Hawaiian Airlines may be the preferred choice.


Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines pride themselves on providing excellent customer service. The flight attendants on both airlines are known for their friendly and helpful demeanor, ensuring that you feel well taken care of throughout your journey.

Additionally, both airlines have received positive reviews for their efficient boarding and on-time performance. So, whether you choose Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines, you can expect to receive great service from the moment you step onboard.


– Alaska Airlines:

– Hawaiian Airlines:

Frequent Flyer Programs

Alaska airline

Frequent flyer programs are a crucial factor to consider when choosing an airline. Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer their own loyalty programs that allow passengers to earn and redeem miles for future flights and other benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at the frequent flyer programs of these two airlines to help you decide which one is better suited for you.

Earning Miles

When it comes to earning miles, both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines provide various opportunities for passengers to accumulate miles.

Alaska Airlines offers a generous mileage earning structure based on distance traveled, while Hawaiian Airlines allows passengers to earn miles based on the fare class and distance flown.

Alaska Airlines also has partnerships with several other airlines, giving you the opportunity to earn miles when flying with their partner airlines.

Additionally, Alaska Airlines offers co-branded credit cards that allow you to earn miles on everyday purchases, accelerating your mileage accrual even when you’re not flying.

Redeeming Miles

Redeeming miles is often the most exciting part of a frequent flyer program. Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer a range of options for redeeming miles, including free flights, upgrades, and even hotel stays.

Alaska Airlines has an extensive network of partner airlines, allowing you to use your miles to travel to destinations beyond their own routes. They also offer a generous policy that allows you to book one-way award flights, giving you more flexibility in planning your trips.

Hawaiian Airlines, on the other hand, focuses primarily on flights to Hawaii and other Pacific destinations. If you frequently travel to or within this region, redeeming miles with Hawaiian Airlines can be highly advantageous.

Elite Status Tiers

Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer elite status tiers that provide additional perks and benefits to their most loyal customers. These tiers are typically based on the number of miles flown or segments flown within a calendar year.

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan has three elite status tiers – MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K. Each tier comes with its own set of privileges, such as priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and access to airport lounges.

Hawaiian Airlines’ Pualani Elite program also has three tiers – Pualani Gold, Pualani Platinum, and Pualani Diamond. These tiers offer benefits like priority check-in, bonus miles, and access to premium lounges.

Non-flying Partners

Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have non-flying partners that allow you to earn and redeem miles on various everyday purchases. These partners include hotels, car rental companies, dining establishments, and more.

Alaska Airlines partners with several hotel chains, such as Marriott and Hilton, allowing you to earn miles when you stay at their properties. They also have partnerships with car rental companies like Hertz and National, making it easier to earn miles on your ground transportation.

Hawaiian Airlines has partnerships with hotels and car rental companies as well, offering similar opportunities to earn miles. Additionally, they have partnerships with select dining establishments, giving you the chance to earn miles while enjoying a meal.

Baggage Allowance and Fees

Carry-on Bags

When it comes to carry-on bags, both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have similar policies. Passengers are allowed to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board.

The carry-on bag should fit in the overhead bin, while the personal item should fit under the seat in front of you. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific size and weight restrictions on the airlines’ websites to avoid any surprises at the airport.

Checked Bags

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have different policies when it comes to checked bags. Alaska Airlines allows passengers to check up to two bags for free, depending on the fare type and destination.

For additional bags or overweight bags, there may be extra fees. On the other hand, Hawaiian Airlines typically charges for checked bags, with the fees varying depending on the fare type and destination.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with these policies and plan accordingly to avoid any unexpected expenses.

Extra Fees

Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines may charge extra fees for certain services or situations.

For example, if you need to change your flight, there may be a change fee. If you want to select a preferred seat, there may be a fee for that as well.

It’s always a good idea to check the airlines’ websites or contact their customer service to get the most up-to-date information on these fees.

Customer Satisfaction

Reviews and Ratings

When it comes to choosing an airline, one of the most important factors to consider is customer satisfaction. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines both strive to provide excellent service, but how do they fare in terms of reviews and ratings? According to a recent study conducted by Airline Quality Rating, Alaska Airlines has consistently received higher ratings in categories such as on-time performance, baggage handling, and customer service. On the other hand, Hawaiian Airlines has also received positive feedback from passengers, particularly for their friendly and accommodating staff. It is worth noting that customer satisfaction can vary depending on individual experiences, so it is always a good idea to read multiple reviews and consider your own preferences when making a decision.

Complaint Statistics

To get a better understanding of customer satisfaction, it is important to look at complaint statistics.

According to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report, Alaska Airlines had a lower rate of consumer complaints compared to Hawaiian Airlines in the most recent reporting period.

Alaska Airlines had an average of 0.5 complaints per 100,000 passengers, while Hawaiian Airlines had an average of 0.7 complaints per 100,000 passengers.

While these numbers may seem relatively low, they provide valuable insight into the overall customer experience. It is also worth mentioning that both airlines have implemented measures to address and resolve customer complaints promptly.


– Airline Quality Rating:

– Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report:

Value and Cost

Average Ticket Prices

When it comes to comparing the value and cost of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, one of the first factors to consider is the average ticket prices.

While the prices can vary depending on factors such as the destination and time of year, it is generally found that Alaska Airlines tends to have slightly lower average ticket prices compared to Hawaiian Airlines.

This can be attributed to various factors, including the route network, competition, and overall market demand.

However, it’s important to note that ticket prices can fluctuate, so it’s always a good idea to compare prices for specific flights and dates before making a decision.

Sales and Discounts

Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer sales and discounts on their flights throughout the year. These promotions can help travelers save money and make their flights more affordable.

Alaska Airlines, for example, often runs “flash sales” where they offer discounted fares for a limited time. Hawaiian Airlines also offers promotions and special fares, especially for travelers planning a trip to Hawaii.

It’s worth keeping an eye out for these sales and discounts, as they can significantly reduce the cost of your ticket and enhance the overall value of your travel experience.

Overall Value Assessment

Determining the overall value of an airline goes beyond just looking at ticket prices. It involves considering various factors such as the quality of service, in-flight amenities, baggage policies, and customer satisfaction.

Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have a strong reputation for providing quality service and a positive travel experience. However, the value assessment ultimately depends on individual preferences and priorities.

For example, if you prioritize in-flight entertainment and amenities, Hawaiian Airlines may be a better choice as they offer a wide range of entertainment options and complimentary meals on certain flights.

On the other hand, if you prioritize a large route network and frequent flyer program benefits, Alaska Airlines may be more suitable for you.

It’s important to assess your personal needs and preferences to determine which airline offers the best overall value for your specific travel requirements.


Alaska Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines


In summary, while both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have strengths in certain areas, Alaska tends to come out on top for most travelers based on its more extensive route map, hubs across the western U.S., competitive fares, and strong frequent flyer program.

Hawaiian excels at flying to Hawaii and provides a better onboard service experience, but is more limited in terms of broader network reach.

The right airline for you depends on your specific needs – where you’re flying to/from, budget, preferred amenities and more. Use the detailed comparisons in this guide to help inform your decision next time you’re booking air travel to Alaska, Hawaii, or beyond.

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