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Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees and how to avoid paying them

June 11, 2022
8 min read
Hawaiian plane
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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.

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Hawaiian Airlines carry-on guidelines

(Photo by 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, laptop bags and approved pet carriers.

Meanwhile, the Hawaiian carry-on size restrictions require that your carry-on bag be no larger than 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.

Related: Hawaiian Airlines investing in ‘seagliders’ that fly a few feet above the water

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. Hawaiian Airlines' checked bag fees vary based not only on your destination but also on your point of origin. You can avoid these fees several ways, though, including by 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 figure out 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 (and fifth bag free).
Customers traveling in first classFree.Free.

The Hawaiian Airlines baggage weight limit before incurring fees is 50 pounds per bag with the exception of 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 fee and an oversize fee, so the fees can add up quickly. The Hawaiian overweight and oversize fees for baggage are as follows:

  • Overweight fee: Starting at $35 per bag weighing between 51 and 70 pounds and at $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.

Excess baggage fees

The Hawaiian baggage policy states that all excess bags will cost $100 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 other sporting items as checked baggage, but fees will apply in some cases. In other cases, such as fishing poles, Hawaiian will waive oversize fees within a certain size range. Unlike many other airlines that have an extra surcharge for scuba tanks, Hawaiian will accept those as checked baggage without an additional fee as well.

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

Related: The ultimate guide to flying with sports equipment

How to avoid Hawaiian Airlines baggage fees

(Photo by 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 with many other airlines, elite members only receive the checked bag benefit for themselves, not others traveling on their reservation.

However, HawaiianMiles elite members who also hold the airline's credit card can stack those two checked bag benefits on top of each other. For example, a Pualani Gold member who also holds the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard would be able to check a total of three bags for free.

Related: Hawaiian Airlines announces free Wi-Fi courtesy of Elon Musk’s Starlink

Credit card

Customers who hold the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard can bring one free checked bag on all flights for themselves. While this benefit does not extend to anyone beyond the primary cardholder, it can be combined with any elite status benefit for free checked bags.

Related: These 27 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 bag 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 card holders. 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 both a full-size carry-on bag and a personal item on all tickets, including Main Cabin Basic, sets them a notch above most other airlines.

One important detail to note is that, unlike many other airlines, Hawaiian allows some customers to "stack" their free checked bag benefits. For example, a Hawaiian Pualani Gold member who holds the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard can get a total of three free checked bags (two for their elite status and one as a credit card holder).

Featured image by (Photo 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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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

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  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases