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Dreaming of a luxurious Hawaiian getaway but wondering what it will cost? First class tickets to the Aloha State don’t come cheap, but the experience can be well worth the splurge for some travelers.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: First class fares to Hawaii generally range from $2,000 to $10,000 roundtrip, with most tickets falling between $3,000 to $7,000 from major mainland US airports.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the cost factors for first class flights to Hawaii, when you can find deals, and whether the premium experience makes it a good investment.

Average First Class Fares from Mainland US Airports

Honolulu/Oahu Prices

Flying first class from major mainland airports to Honolulu on Oahu tends to cost between $1,200-1,800 roundtrip depending on the time of year according to data from TravelMath. Prices are generally highest during peak travel seasons like summer and the winter holidays.

For example, first class roundtrip flights in July from Los Angeles to Honolulu average around $1,712. Prices are often 30-40% cheaper during shoulder seasons in September-November and April-May. savvy travelers can sometimes find first class tickets as low as $950 roundtrip from LAX during those periods if booked well in advance.

Maui, Kauai, Big Island Fares

Flying first class to Maui, Kauai or the island of Hawaii (the Big Island) is generally 15-25% more expensive than fares to Oahu. This is because fewer flights go directly to these neighbor islands. According to Hawaiian Airlines data, average first class fares are:

  • Los Angeles to Maui: $1,900 roundtrip
  • Seattle to Kauai: $1,950 roundtrip
  • Chicago to Big Island: $2,100 roundtrip

As with Oahu routes, prices fluctuate considerably based on travel dates and demand. Last minute trips will be far more expensive. Planning 6-12 months ahead will yield the biggest discounts in first class cabin rates.

Route Avg. First Class Fare
LAX to Honolulu/Oahu $1,712 roundtrip
LAX to Maui $1,900 roundtrip
Seattle to Kauai $1,950 roundtrip
Chicago to Big Island $2,100 roundtrip

What Impacts the Price of First Class Tickets


The airline you choose to fly with will have a significant impact on the price of a first class ticket to Hawaii. Legacy carriers like United, American, and Delta tend to have the most expensive first class fares.

However, newer entrant Hawaiian Airlines often offers competitive rates on their lie-flat first class seats. Check prices across multiple airlines to find the best deal.

Time of Year and Seasonality

Flying during peak tourism seasons in Hawaii will always cost more regardless of which cabin you are booking. Expect significantly higher prices for first class tickets around major holidays like Christmas and New Years as well as the summer months of June through August.

For lower fares, consider booking your Hawaii trip during the fall and spring shoulder seasons.

Booking Window

As with economy class tickets, the earlier you can book a first class ticket, the better deal you will get. Most airlines release award seat availability 330 days before departure, and anywhere from 11 to 9 months out is ideal.

First class tickets to Hawaii can run $2,000+ closer in, while you might pay around $1,300 for the same seat if booked 7-8 months in advance.

Amenities and Aircraft Type

First class fares will vary based on the amenities like lie-flat seating, high-end dining options, and even onboard showers on some routes. As well, the type of aircraft operating the flight will impact prices.

International wide-body jets with premium cabins like long-haul 767s, 777s, 787s, and A330s will command higher fares than first class on domestic narrow-body 737s and A321s.

Best Time to Book Hawaii First Class Flights

Aim for 1-4 Months Out

Booking Hawaii first class flights 1-4 months in advance generally provides the best fares. Fares tend to be lower during this period compared to last minute bookings or booking 6+ months out. However, there are always exceptions, so check fares both further out and closer in.

Be Flexible Around School Holidays

If possible, avoid traveling to Hawaii during popular school holiday periods like spring break and summer vacation. Fares spike due to higher demand from families. For cheaper fares, visit Hawaii either before or after peak season.

An off-season first class ticket to Hawaii can be hundreds less than during school holidays.

Watch for Sales and Off-Peak Times

Keep an eye out for Hawaii flight sales, especially in slower seasons like fall and early spring. Sign up for fare alerts from your preferred airline. Visiting Hawaii in shoulder seasons when the weather is still nice but crowds are smaller can also mean major savings in first class fares.

Is First Class to Hawaii Worth It?

The Premium Experience

Upgrading to first class for flights to Hawaii provides an ultra-luxurious experience that can make the long 6+ hour plane ride feel like a vacation from the start. You’ll get significantly more personal space with seating configured 2-2 rather than the usual 3-3 in coach.

First class seats are like luxurious recliners with plenty of leg room and the ability to fully lie flat for sleeping. Many first class cabins provide upgraded dining with complimentary champagne, wine and top-shelf liquor.

You’ll be served gourmet meals on real dishware rather than just snacks and drinks. The overall environment feels exclusive and relaxing.

Of course, these premium amenities come at a steep price. First class fares to Hawaii typically cost around $2,000-5,000 roundtrip depending on the airline and exact route. For some, dropping a few thousand dollars extra is well worth it for the vastly improved 12+ hours flying to and from the islands.

The experience alone can feel like you’re already on vacation. But for more budget-focused travelers, the upcharge may be hard to justify.

Using Miles to Upgrade

One popular option to experience first class at a discount is by using airline miles to upgrade from economy tickets. Most airlines let frequent flier program members bid for access to open first class seats at check-in or even at the departure gate.

Pricing depends on the route and demand, but upgrades on Hawaii flights can range from 10,000 to over 100,000 miles each way. If you have a stash of unused miles, this can effectively give you 50-80% off the cost of first class from buying directly.

Another option is to use credit card points to book award seats in first class. For example, American Airlines AAdvantage members can book roundtrip first class award seats to Hawaii for as little as 90,000 miles. Compare that to paying over $4,000 for revenue first class tickets on many routes.

However, award availability is quite limited so you’ll need to plan far in advance to lock something in.

When to Save with Economy

At the end of the day, over $2,000 extra is still a tough spend for many travelers heading to Hawaii. Flying economy is a great way to save money for Hawaii hotel upgrades, fun activities, delicious dining and other splurges to make your vacation more memorable.

Unless having the absolute premium flying experience is critically important, most will be perfectly comfortable making the journey in coach.

Hawaii is an immensely popular leisure route for airlines. As a result, many carriers offer upgraded economy amenities like extra leg room, free in-flight entertainment, power outlets, free snacks and drinks.

Combine that with the friendly aloha spirit on board, and you’re set for an enjoyable trip to paradise without breaking the bank on first class tickets.


While first class fares to Hawaii don’t come cheap, the upgrade can provide an unforgettable travel experience for some flyers. With plush lie-flat seats, high-end meals, and attentive service, first class makes the long Hawaii journey much more enjoyable.

Paying cash for these premium tickets can run several thousand dollars, but using miles to upgrade around the $1,000 mark can make first class a better value. As you plan your Hawaiian vacation, weigh the costs against the elevated experience to decide if a front-of-cabin seat is worth it for you.

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