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I recently completed flying Delta One Honolulu to Atlanta (HNL-ATL), United First class Honolulu to Washington Dulles (HNL-IAD), and American Airlines first class Dallas-Fort Worth to Honolulu (DFW-HNL) from July – September.
After trying 3 different US airlines first class products, I say American offers the best first class, lie flat seats from the US mainland to Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines lie flat first class looks really good as well but I haven't tried it yet.
My wife and I flew first class on all of these routes thanks to credit card miles and points I accumulated from earning credit card welcome bonuses. Currently I get $5000 in annual fees waived from Chase and American Express thanks to their military credit card fee waivers.
If you're active duty military or a military spouse, you can learn how to get your first $550 fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course. Or check out this month's best credit card welcome offers and my step by step SCRA and MLA credit card guide for military troops.
On this trip, my wife and I flew from Baltimore, Maryland (BWI) to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (DFW). We then caught AA5 from DFW to Honolulu, HI.
DFW Admirals Club Military Lounge Access
I'm still getting used to the fact that even if you spend thousands of dollars on a first class or business class ticket in the States you do not automatically get club or lounge access with the airline. This is not the norm overseas.
You can access thousands of airport lounges and the Amex Centurion lounges, including the one at DFW, with the Amex Platinum card.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Annual fee of $695 waived for US military personnel and spouses (rates and fees)
- Best Ever Public Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Reward Points welcome bonus (valued at $2000+) when you spend $6000 in the first 6 months
- Earn 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US up to $25,000 in combined purchases for the first 6 months (an extra 250,000 points potentially!)
- Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
- Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
- $200 annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection booked on Amex Travel and paid for with your Platinum Card
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits when you use your Platinum card to pay for: Peacock, Audible, Sirius, and the New York Times. Enrollment Required.
- $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
- $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, can be used for gift cards
- 40 Centurion Lounges and 1200+ Priority Pass airport lounge access for free
- $179 CLEAR Credit: Get through airport security faster with CLEAR
- No foreign transaction fees
- Heavy metal card that looks and feels really cool
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply
Since we were only domestic first class, we did not get Admirals Club lounge access at DFW. I asked if they allowed military servicemembers and was able to get in that way.
The club's food options were not very extensive. They were offering avocado toast at a special station, so I munched on that.
AA 5 Business Class Seat
Boarding was smooth. Plenty of overhead space on today's AA5, a 777-200 with American's Flagship Business Class seats.
Like United from HNL there was no amenities kit provided. The bathrooms were spacious and clean but lacked amenities other than soap and water.
First drink service was 20 minutes after takeoff as soon as we reached cruise. Service was friendly and quick throughout the flight.
The entertainment system had good selection and a large, bright screen.
The seat was very comfortable and had lots of great storage compartments. In fact is say this was probably my favorite business class seat after Singapore's and Emirates.
Food on American Airlines First Class to Hawaii
First course of dinner was ginger shrimp, hot bread selection, and a salad with green goddess or balsamic vinaigrette. Bread was served with Kerrygold butter, so bonus points for that.
The seat's sliding tray is a real nice feature and makes getting out of your seat during dinner service easy.
Dinner was actually really nice. I had the pumpkin tortellini option with kalua pork ragu and mushy peas. The other food options on AA5 were:
- Friend chicken with mashed potatoes, haricot vert and sweet chili Thai sauce
- Sweet and Sour eggplant with brown rice, broccolini, carrots, and sweet and sour sauce (vegetarian option)
The mushy peas on the side weren't that exciting, but the pumpkin tortellini and kalua pork ragu was delicious.
For dessert we had a choice between a cheese plate or vanilla ice cream sundae with mango, strawberries, Macadamian nuts, whipped cream. I went with the sundae and a chamomile tea.
Overall I really enjoyed my flight from DFW to Honolulu on American Airlines. I would like to fly American Airlines first class to or from Honolulu again.
I do not recommend Delta's or United's first class product from HNL. They have a lot of work to do to catch up with American. I would even fly American with a connection in DFW to avoid flying Delta or United again.
This flight would have cost $1600 each but instead I traded in 87,500 American Airlines miles for it. Thanks to my annual fee waived Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve, it's easy to accumulate points and miles to cash in for really nice flights like this one.
My next big redemption is a $27,000 flight to Tokyo on ANA. Look for that review next year!