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Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees and how to avoid paying them

Oct. 08, 2022
8 min read
Hawaiian plane
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Editor’s note: We've updated this post with the most recent Hawaiian Airlines baggage fee information.


Hawaiian Airlines has a fairly unique market, which leads to a unique policy regarding checked baggage fees and carry-on guidelines. The Hawaiian Airlines baggage policy also provides a variety of ways to avoid paying fees to bring luggage.

Your ability to avoid those fees depends on many factors, including where you’re flying and whether you have elite status or carry the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. This guide will cover all the information you need to know about the Hawaiian Airlines baggage policy.

The information for the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hawaiian Airlines carry-on guidelines

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The Hawaiian Airlines carry-on guidelines are simple to understand and customer-friendly.

Everyone is entitled to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag onto every flight, even customers who purchase Hawaiian’s version of basic economy, Main Cabin Basic. According to Hawaiian, a personal item should fit underneath the seat in front of a passenger. Examples of personal items are backpacks, purses, briefcases and laptop bags.

The Hawaiian carry-on size restrictions require that your carry-on bag be no larger than 22 by 14 by 9 inches. Your bag should also be no heavier than 25 pounds.

Related: How to upgrade your seat on Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines baggage policy

The Hawaiian Airlines checked bag policy is among the most generous in the industry and also represents the unique destinations the airline serves.

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Hawaiian Airlines’ checked bag fees vary based not only on your destination but also on your point of origin. You can avoid these fees in several ways, including holding the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard or having status with Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees within North America

Unlike United Airlines and Spirit Airlines, you don’t need a fancy calculator to determine how much your checked bags will cost. You’ll also find relatively low baggage fees:

First bagSecond bag
Neighbor island flights (within Hawaii)$25.$35.
Neighbor island flights (HawaiianMiles members)$15.$20.
Flights to or from elsewhere in North America$30.$40.
Flights to or from outside North AmericaFree.Free.
Pualani Gold membersFree.Free.
Pualani Platinum membersFree.Free (and third bag free).
Active-duty U.S. military members and dependentsFree.Free (up to the fifth bag free when traveling on military orders).
Customers traveling in first classFree.Free.

The Hawaiian Airlines baggage weight limit before incurring fees is 50 pounds per bag, except for active U.S. military members and their dependents on official travel, in which case the weight limit increases to 70 pounds per bag.

Unique destination rules

There’s a unique wrinkle to the Hawaiian baggage policy for international travel. While the first two checked bags are free on all international flights, how much you pay for a third checked bag varies. You can find the full list of foreign airports and baggage fees on the Hawaiian website.

Overweight and oversize baggage fees

Hawaiian Airlines charges both an overweight and an oversized fee, so these fees can add up quickly. The Hawaiian overweight and oversize baggage fees are as follows:

  • Overweight fee: Starting at $35 per bag weighing between 51 and 70 pounds and $70 per bag weighing between 71 and 100 pounds.
  • Oversize fee: Starting at $35 per bag between 62 and 80 linear inches, including wheels and handles.

Interestingly, there isn't an overweight fee for bags up to 70 pounds if you fly to or from Australia or New Zealand.

Excess baggage fees

The Hawaiian baggage policy states that all excess bags will cost:

  • Neighbor island flights: $50 per bag.
  • Other North American flights: $100 per bag.
  • International flights: $150 per bag.

Sporting equipment

Surf’s up in Hawaii, and Hawaiian Airlines has customer-friendly rules if you want to bring your surfboard, paddleboard, wakeboard or kiteboard.

The Hawaiian baggage policy will allow you to take sporting items as checked baggage, but additional fees will sometimes apply. In other cases, such as fishing poles, Hawaiian will waive oversize fees within a certain size range. Unlike many other airlines with an extra surcharge for scuba tanks, Hawaiian will accept those as checked baggage without an additional fee.

You can check out the requirements and fees for checking sports equipment on Hawaiian Airlines’ website.

Related: How to change or cancel a Hawaiian Airlines flight

How to avoid Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees

WALLACE COTTON/THE POINTS GUY

Luckily, there are several ways to avoid paying Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees, even if you want to bring checked baggage on your next flight.

Elite status allowances

Both status levels in Hawaiian Airlines’ HawaiianMiles program offer checked bag benefits, though they are more restrictive than many other airlines:

  • Pualani Gold members receive a free first and second checked bag on all flights for themselves only.
  • Pualani Platinum members can check up to three bags for free on all flights for themselves only.

Unlike many other airlines, elite members cannot extend the checked bag benefit to others traveling on their reservation.

Credit card

Customers who hold the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard as a primary cardmember get a checked baggage allowance on select flights when using their card to purchase tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines. Specifically, members can bring two checked bags of standard size and weight on flights between North America and Hawaii (and between "Neighbor Islands") for no extra charge.

This benefit is slightly different for Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold and Premier Club members, though. Specifically, these Hawaiian loyalists who are also primary cardmembers of the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard can bring one extra checked bag free of charge on top of what their status would typically provide when flying between North America and Hawaii (and between Neighbor Islands).

Related: These credit cards can get you free checked bags

Fly first class

If you’re flying in first class on any flight operated by Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll receive your first and second checked bags for free.

Related: Best ways to redeem points and miles on Hawaiian Airlines

Use card travel credits to cover fees

Several travel rewards cards come with annual statement credits toward travel purchases. Some cards offer a credit that you can use for various travel purchases, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and its $300 annual travel credit.

On the other hand, some American Express cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, offer annual credits for incidental airline fees. So long as you enroll in this benefit and select Hawaiian as your airline of choice, your baggage fees could be eligible for reimbursement through this credit.

Related: How to avoid checked baggage fees on major domestic airlines

Bottom line

The Hawaiian Airlines baggage policy has more customer-friendly pricing than many other airlines, especially for flights between neighboring islands.

However, the Hawaiian Airlines baggage policy is much more restrictive for elite members and credit cardholders.

Only the elite member and primary cardholder receive free baggage — the benefit doesn’t extend to other travelers on the same reservation. That’s a stark contrast to most other airlines that extend this benefit to up to eight people traveling with an elite member.

However, Hawaiian’s carry-on policy of allowing a full-size carry-on bag and a personal item on all tickets, including Main Cabin Basic, sets it a notch above most other airlines.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees