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Hawaiian Air Airbus A330 plane set to begin service to Pago in February 2018

Hawaiian Air Airbus A330 plane [photo:]
Larger plane, more comfortable flight, adds 30 seats per flight…

Hawaiian Airlines will be adjusting its Friday flights starting March 2018 as the Honolulu-based carrier moves to introduce to the Pago Pago route, its Airbus aircraft, which provides more seats compared to the current Boeing 767 plane used in the American Samoa market.

Currently, Hawaiian operates to and from Pago Pago on Fridays and Mondays but Samoa News recently learned from both local and off island travelers that the airline will change the Friday flight to Thursday — starting March 2018.

A test booking that Samoa News made on Hawaiian’s online reservation shows that the Friday flight will change to Thursday, beginning Mar. 22, 2018.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Hawaiian spokesperson Ann Botticelli explained that the airline will start flying the Airbus A330 aircraft to Pago Pago on Feb. 5, 2018.

“In order to switch to that aircraft, we had to adjust our schedule to Pago Pago and move the Friday flight, back to Thursday. That will start March 22, 2018,” Botticelli said yesterday from Honolulu. (Hawaiian in the past had operated on Thursdays and Mondays but later changed the Thursday flight to Fridays.)

“The A330 fleet is being upgraded to provide full lie-flat seats in the front cabin and more extra comfort seats in the main cabin (or economy class),” she said. “The A330 will have a few more total seats than the B767.”

“It’s a very nice upgrade for the American Samoa market,” she continued.

Hawaiian Air, which celebrated last Saturday, Nov. 11th, its 88th anniversary, said the A330 aircraft’s seating capacity is 294, and that's 30 more seats than the B767, which translates to - over the course of a year - 11,000 additional seats per route.

Additionally, the spacious front cabin — first class or premier cabin — features 18 lie-flat leather seats that extend into 180-degree beds at a roomy 20.5 inches wide and 76 inches long. Aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration, the seats are ideally tailored to leisure guests such as couples, families and honeymooners, while offering superior functionality to the business traveler.

Seating configuration in the main cabin, or economy-class, is 2-4-2, according to information on the airline’s website, which points out that, maybe most important, “everyone gets a personal LCD touch-screen monitor.”

American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe says the A330 planes are used by Hawaiian on all its international and US mainland destinations and now the territory will be included.

“Frequent travelers on Hawaiian Air will have consistency when traveling on Hawaiian either from Pago Pago to the US mainland or from the US mainland to American Samoa, using the same A330 aircraft, instead of the B767 just on the Pago Pago route,” Vaeafe said yesterday. “Customers like consistency on products. And Hawaiian is providing that consistency to customers.”

In terms of benefits for American Samoa using the A330, he said the Pago Pago route will have 60 extra seats a week — or 30-extra seats per flight.

Additionally, A330 configuration provides extra comfortable room on the plane, said Vaeafe, who has traveled on Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft between Honolulu and the US mainland. “Overall, the A330 will benefit our American Samoa market,” he said.

A local business representative who traveled to the mainland recently describes the A330 as “great”, with a little extra legroom, making for a comfortable flight. “I do really hope the A330 aircraft will further improve our tourism industry with more visitors from the US, thereby improving our economy. We really need a big boost to our economy.”

Some industry officials told Samoa News last week the A330 aircraft will be of great benefit to the American Samoa market during the busy long-summer break, when “travel is at its peak and hard to get a confirmed seat” as well as Christmas and New Year’s holidays.