Review: American Airlines Admirals Club, Honolulu

The Honolulu airport Admirals Club is a shared lounge with Japan Airlines. It’s actually controlled by JAL, but is branded both a Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge and an American Airlines Admirals Club. It’s in terminal 2 across from security checkpoint 3 (regular security).

If you go through Precheck then you head to the right and then look for THE LOCAL @ HNL restaurant. There’s an elevator and stairs beside the restaurant and you head up from the second floor (main concourse) to the third floor (club).

The club is open from 5:15 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and is a good 10+ minute walk to gate C5 where we departed from. Departing at 7 a.m., though, the club was useful because few concessions were open so early (and the line for Starbucks stretched down the terminal). The best thing you can say about the lounge, though, is it’s large and wasn’t busy when we were there.

There are restrooms on the floor – in the hallway before you reach the lounge – rather than inside the lounge. Those, then, are maintained by the airport and far more dreary than the lounge itself.

Signs ask you to wear a mask in the dining area, but no one does, or at least no one did while we were there.

Food and alcoholic beverages aren’t self-serve – you queue to get those from a staff member, a holdover from Covid-19 protocols – but the soda machine is DIY. It didn’t produce any carbonation, however.

During the afternoon you’ll find chicken curry or chicken karaage. There’s Apple danish; cereal; croissants; fruit; pretzels; chicken-flavor instant ramen; rice; soup; yogurt.

There’s beer and wine, but currently no liquor.

The staff though is excellent. I received an email a couple of days prior to departure and could have responded and been in touch with them directly, I’ve read that they frequently reach out to elites in advance of travel (or at least Executive Platinums and above).

Airline lounges in Honolulu (and Hawaii generally) are quite weak, so this is hardly one of the inferior lounges at the airport. It’s an air conditioned place to sit, but not worth coming to the airport early for.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. The left-hand side of the lounge, walking in, has nice views of the airport garden. I used to get there a little early and work facing out, looking over the garden. Otherwise very average space.

  2. @Gary – do you know of any reasons why better lounges (Centurion, etc.) don’t consider HNL? Is this airport too pricey, difficult or whatever to be considered?

    A simple Alaska Boardroom lounge would be better than the spartan lounges at this location.

  3. The friendliest Admirals Club employees I’ve ever found (although tbh, most are super-friendly as it is) have been at the HNL lounge. We were just there on Friday AM before heading back home from a week-long trip running the Honolulu Marathon. Many years ago when my husband was out there for work a lot I tagged along and when coming back (solo) I was bumped from my frequent-flier-points first class seat and moved to a completely different flight (In coach! “Sorry, no first class seats available”). My husband suggested a day pass at the Admirals Club to see if they could help and lo and behold – a lovely employee there got me back into my original seat on my original flight. Why AA bumped me I don’t know, but I was then and will continue to be grateful for her help.

  4. My kids, now teens, still mention this as one of their favorite lounges simply because when we were there about 8 years ago they served sushi in the evenings

  5. Today, a team member just visited the Admirals Club in CLT — slightly off-topic. Facilities were nice but the food was inedible. Worse than food at a 7-11. I’ve never experienced such at an Admirals Club. Not great, perhaps. Inedible, nope. Gary, your thoughts?

  6. HNL has some of the best agents I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. They almost always reach out before a flight and when I used to upgrade they would keep an eye on things since I favored the center row in the old 2-2-2 config. They also usually have Tonjiru (miso with pork and veggies) which is pretty tasty.

    I usually only ever spent a few minutes there before every departure and haven’t visited in a while since I now fly the ORD-HNL direct on United for less than any AA connections.

  7. AA executives need to visit this lounge. The food was bad and the bathrooms disgusting. No comparison to the Korean Air lounges we visited.

  8. Our familial annual pilgrimage to HNL has became our tradition. We’ve been to HNL since the birth of our daughter in 2010. We almost always stayed at Sheraton, and once at Royal Hawaiian and Moana Westin at another. We’ve been back to HNL twice since the pandemic. We keep saying that we should probably go to another island or go to another place instead. At the end we still returned to HNL even with their stratospherical hotel, food and rental cars prices. Gary, Sakura lounge is already an upgrade from the previous Qantas Lounge American used to operate out from. It’s much closer now. Lounge although is not great, but it’s adequate. It’s always a bitter sweet when visiting HNL lounge. It’s a nice lounge to visit, but sad that we are leaving paradise. We missed the Boeing 767 that American used to operate out of LAX that we get lie flat seat in First. Flight attendants used to dress up like an Hawaiian shirts or wear leis. We are already grate that we still get to visit paradise in these turbulent world right. Just be glad that you still have most comforts. Don’t be a baby Gary.

  9. Agreed about Hawaii lounges. The Hawaiian Airlines lounge in Maui is a closet with Coke Zero and juice.

  10. The lounge looked nice and the staff were friendly. However I was a little disappointed with the fact that you could not go to the lounge if you were not flying American Airlines even though they do not even offer interisland flights so they would not let me in. I wish there was a better option here for this instance. I was looking forward to enjoying my benefits that I pay for but couldn’t.

  11. Years back when AA had their own club, in a different location from where it is now, it was smaller but, much nicer. I used their shower facility a few times since my flights were usually in the evening. I even maintained my club membership through Honolulu to help with their numbers. The location wasn’t great but, much warmer than the current club. My last visit to the current club was pre-covid. I remember that on the side where the Japanese airline travelers lounged, there was yummy food, if you like Asian food, which I do. Sadly, my travel days are much less than they were and, it is very humbling to go from Exec Platinum to life-time Gold. Thanks for your stories!

Comments are closed.