People for quite a while have been willing to tolerate sub-par products to Hawaii. Lately, competition has increased to the islands, though, and airlines are stepping up their game. I flew to Maui from Dallas on an American Airlines 777-200 - an internationally configured one - not a cheap imitation one like United flies. This 777-200 featured a lie-flat business class cabin, which I didn't get upgraded to, sadly. Still, I was offered a seat in the Premium Economy section (think domestic First Class) thanks to my status with American.
I checked in for the flight via the American Airlines app. I connected from another American flight, and spent the layover in the American Express Centurion lounge where I napped and had a nice massage, and then the American Airlines Admirals Club in Terminal A, where my flight was departing from. The flight was delayed almost an hour due to maintenance, but gate agents did a good job keeping us informed. The proximity of the gate to the Admirals Club meant I could relax and have a drink while I waited out the creeping delay. While in the Admirals Club, I was paged to the desk, where I was thankfully offered a seat in the Premium Economy cabin.
Once onboard, I was greeted with a nice pillow and blanket awaiting me at my seat. The seat had its own armrests (not shared with your seat mate), a table in between seats for drinks, and personal televisions, air nozzles, and handsets for the televisions.
Service on this flight in the Premium Economy section is the same as in the back, but the alcoholic drinks are at least free. Meal service was offered after takeoff, and consisted of a complimentary box of either a veggie or chicken wrap. I went with the chicken wrap, which was fresh and tasty, and served with a bag of Hawaiian potato chips, and chocolate berry clusters for dessert. About mid-way through the flight, a second drink service is offered and a complimentary fruit and cheese tray is passed out, which comes with a peppermint chocolate square and 2 packages of cream crackers.
Overall, I was happy with the flight, and the nice seat and cool cabin for most of the flight allowed me to get some rest.
The 777 was certainly a nice way to start my Hawaiian vacation.