Lounge hopping: My new favorite lounge in Honolulu

The lounge options in Honolulu are, for the most part, pretty sad. Sure, it is a US airport and most lounges in those are comparably bad, but with most passengers taking reasonably long flights to get home from Honolulu I feel like things should be better there. Alas, it seems I don’t get to make that decision.

Recently I’ve spent most of my time in the United Club in Honolulu and, quite frankly, it isn’t all that impressive. I love the big picture window views but the rest of the lounge is just a regular United Club, and that’s not a particularly great vote of confidence. On this most recent trip, however, I ended up in the JAL Sakura Lounge. It isn’t incredible by any stretch, but I definitely like it better than the United Club.

The JAL lounge is quite spacious and split up into a few different rooms. There are a variety of seating options available, making it easy to find the appropriate arrangement for different sized groups. I chose a a work carrel by the windows but there are chairs and couches available, too.

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On the food & drink front, everything is self-service, including the booze, at the two stations they have set up. They could stand to improve the beer selection a bit, but overall quite reasonable. There is also soup & bread available for snacking. It isn’t enough for a full meal, really but way better than the snack mix options which seem to otherwise be the norm.

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There is also a massage chair to relax and a kids play area to keep the little ones occupied.

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I got in using the Priority Pass membership which came with my American Express Platinum card. One of the few benefits of that card I still enjoy.

This is hardly the best lounge ever. Overall it is probably just a mid-level option. But compared to the other choices in Honolulu, this just might be my new hangout of choice. Read more about the JAL Sakura Lounge at HNL and other lounges over at the Airport Lounge Guide.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. The old shared AA/QF club in HNL was the saddest-looking Admirals Club in AA’s network, as far as I’m concerned, albeit with more complimentary food options. I’m curious to know what the new club looks like.

  2. Good post since I’ll be in HNL in 2 months. Any idea if One World Emeralds get access to the lounge flying to the US? Based on your comment to the previous post, is this serving as the new AA lounge as well?

    1. This is definitely the lounge AA uses now.

      As for OW Emeralds, I’m not sure how those rules work. It is branded as the Sakura Lounge, not an AA lounge, and I definitely saw the OW cards on a display outside. I just don’t know the rules about international versus not well enough to be authoritative there.

  3. I thought Priority Pass Select membership thru AMEX Plat card is not honored in the United Clubs. It plainly states that on my Priority Pass app. I recently had to pony up $50 for a day pass to a Houston United Club.(Term E) The snack selection was disappointing.

    1. You are correct, Huff, that the PPass Select will not get you in to the UA lounge in HNL. But it will to the AA/JAL lounge. That’s one of many reasons I chose to go there this time around.

  4. They have rennovated the right side of the lounge…no moee massage chairs. 🙁 But still best lounge in terms of booze, view, and work space

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