Premiering now at the Lihue Airport

Gilbert and Arlene Wong were headed home to Kaneohe on Thursday when they asked if Hawaiian Airlines new Premier Club was open at the Lihue Airport.

Yes, came the answer.

“After we checked in, we decided to come this way,” Arlene said. “We heard the music playing and people signaled us into the room.”

They liked what they saw.

The clean, contemporary look that greeted them featured new furniture, artwork, two large screen TVs and a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Complimentary refreshments and snacks awaited, as did free high-speed Wi-Fi and an ice machine and a ceiling fan to keep things cool.

The Wongs, who saw their grandson’s team win two games and lose one in Little League action, said it was an improvement over the old club room.

“This is a big change,” Arlene Wong said. “It’s really nice.”

Hawaiian Airlines held a blessing ceremony Thursday morning for its renovated Premier Club. The celebration included music, food and drink, along with plenty of conversation and guests marveling over the detailed design.

Matthew Chang, Hawaiian Airlines director of loyalty marketing, said the Lihue site is one of six Premier Clubs the airline is remodeling across the state.

The multi-million project is taking place in two phases. The airline’s flagship Premier Club Lounge at the Honolulu International Airport opened in late January, followed by Kahului and Kona. Hilo was re-opened in May, followed by Lihue. The final step is the debut of the Plumeria Lounge, a new international business class lounge in Honolulu in June.

The Lihue club is about 500 square feet and has room to sit 12 people. One of the TV screens will offer flight information so no one misses a flight.

Clients can access the room via the bar code on their boarding pass. It is designed to offer “modern touches of Hawaii, which people appreciate,” Chang said.

For instance, photos that decorate that walls are of Kauai scenes, such as the Na Pali Coast.

“It really did add to the Hawaii-ness of this lounge,” Chang said.

The response has been as hoped.

“We kept the same look and feel across all of our lounges so far,” he said.

The clubs are used by thousands of Hawaiian Airlines clients. They are places where premier club members can relax, talk story, enjoy a cup of coffee or use one of the many power outlets to recharge electronics.

Premier Club lounge access is complimentary for Pualani Platinum and Pualani Gold members. Guests without this status can purchase a membership to Hawaiian’s Premier Club membership program for $299 annually, which includes other perks.

“It has all the benefits that make your travel a little more convenient,” Chang said.

Kahu Richard Kamanu presided over the blessing ceremony. He said it has become the custom of Hawaiian Airlines “to set things right to not only recognize our cultural connection to the islands and its people, but also to its spirit.”

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