Airport Guide to Honolulu International (HNL)

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Airport Name
Honolulu International Airport

Airport Location
The airport is located four miles west of Honolulu.



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Airport Overview

As the main gateway to Hawaii, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is one of the busiest airports in the United States, with 21 million travelers passing through it each year. The airport is busy with old-fashioned terminal buildings that haven’t changed much since they were built in the 1960s.

There are three terminals at Honolulu Airport, and as the airport is not as well-signed as it could be, transferring between them can be very confusing. The Commuter Terminal and the Interisland Terminal serve smaller regional airlines. The Interisland Terminal also sees some flights to and from the US mainland and Hawaiian Airlines’ international flights. The Overseas Terminal, also called the International Terminal, serves all other international arrivals and departures.

The city of Honolulu, about five miles (8km) from the airport, has more than 1 million inhabitants and is as bustling as any major city. Although you might want to go further afield for that remote-island holiday, it’s a warm and hospitable first experience of Hawaii.

Terminal Transfer

The Wiki-Wiki Airport Shuttle takes you between the terminals and gates along three color-coded routes. Check the signs outside the gates for specific route information – all shuttles from the arrivals sections make stops at the baggage claim areas, but not all the buses go everywhere in the airport. The shuttles operate from 6am until 10:30pm.

Getting into Town

Train: There is no train station at Honolulu Airport.

Taxi: Taxis leave from just outside the main baggage claim areas. Taxi drivers should be wearing a green shirt with “Taxi Dispatcher” printed in black. A trip into Honolulu should cost about $40, excluding a 10-15 percent tip.

Bus: There are two buses you can take from the airport: Bus No. 19 and Bus No. 20. Both go to Honolulu and Waikiki and leave from just outside the international departures area. No. 19 leaves every 15-45 minutes from 5am until 1:30pm, although buses in the late evening don’t travel as far along the route. No. 20 travels from 5:30am until 6:30pm, usually once or twice an hour but more regularly in the early mornings. Both buses will cost you $2 for adults and $1 for senior travellers and schoolchildren.

Car Parking

There are a number of parking options at Honolulu Airport. The Cellular Telephone area in front of the post office (corner of Nimitz Highway and Aolele Street) is free for up to an hour, although you have to stay in your car. Parking lots M and B are directly opposite the Interisland and Commuter terminals respectively, and are often full during business hours. Car parks A and D are in front of the International Terminal. All four parks are free for the first 15 minutes, $1 for 30 minutes, $3 for 30-60 minutes, and $2 for every hour thereafter. Car park J, between lots A and D, is the long-term car park, and costs $12 for 24 hours with a minimum change of $24.

There are also motorcycle/moped spaces and bicycle racks in parking lots A and D. The bike racks are free, while the motorbike spaces cost $1 for two hours with a maximum charge of $5 per day.

Information Desks

There are information desks throughout the airport, especially in the baggage claim areas, the arrivals lobby of the International Terminal, and in the interisland ticketing hall.

Airport Facilities

Money and communications: Currency exchange facilities and ATMS are located throughout the airport.

Luggage: The airport has no left luggage facility for security reasons, although there are some storage companies that operate in the vicinity of the airport. Ask at the information desks for more details. There is a lost property desk in the ground floor of the parking lot opposite the International Terminal. There are free luggage carts in the international arrivals area, although you’ll have to pay to rent them at the other terminals.

Conference and business: Many airlines have their own lounges for First-Class passengers, so check with your airline. The Business Centre has outlets in the International Terminal near Gate 13 and Security Checkpoint 4, and in the Interisland Terminal near Starbucks. Internet access at a workstation costs $3 for 15 minutes, and there are also fax and photocopying services, office and cellular phone supplies, phone cards, and a foreign currency exchange.

Other facilities: There is a post office across from the Commuter Terminal. There is also a medical center in the central concourse, across from the Japanese garden.

Wi-Fi: There is free Wi-Fi in most First-Class airline lounges. For other passengers, Wi-Fi is provided by Shaka Net and the two-hour plan costs $6.95.

Shopping: There are several newsagents, gift and souvenir stores throughout the airport, including flower carts where you can buy fresh flower garlands. There’s a small duty-free store in the international section. But unless you’re after Hawaiian mementos, there’s not a huge amount of shopping to be done at the airport.

Food and drink: There are a multitude of places throughout the airport to get something to eat or drink, including a couple of microbreweries. The Interisland and Commuter Terminals have just a few eateries, including a Burger King and an ice cream store, but the main International Terminal has a variety of fast food joints, snack bars, coffee shops, cocktail bars and restaurants. But remember that most of them are in the check-in area – so grab a bite before you go through to departures.

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Airport Guide to Honolulu International (HNL) was last modified: October 3rd, 2016 by Ryan Clare
Author: Ryan Clare (355 posts)

Ryan has traveled to more than 15 countries including Canada, France, Austria and Spain. He has an insatiable curiosity that manifests in a knack for travel. He hopes to travel to every continent and experience as many cites and cultures as possible.