Honolulu Airport Visitor Guide 2024: Everything you need to know

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Vintage fighter plane at Honolulu Airport, Hawaii

Honolulu Airport or to give it its full title, the Daniel K Inouye International Airport, has been receiving aircraft on the Hawaiian island of Oahu since the late 1920s. HNL is the official abbreviation for this immense aviation transport hub, which covers over four thousand acres and accepts international, domestic, and military craft.

Tourism-related industries are what make Oahu's economy tick. Visitors looking to enjoy time on its beaches, go snorkeling over its coral reefs, or surfing on the Pacific waves contribute a major percentage of its mass annual traffic. HNL's four terminals see on average a staggering twenty million-plus passengers every year. 

HNL’s four main runways, one of which - the Reef Runway - is completely surrounded by water, are used for take-offs and landings by hundreds of thousands of planes. Unless their flight lands or takes off after dark, passengers in the window seats get a breathtaking look at the scenic island and what better start or end to a vacation could you get than that?

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Plane on runway at Honolulu airport, Hawaii

Bag policy at Honolulu Airport

Many airlines at HNL don't open their check-in desks until two or three hours before the flight takes off. Online check-ins can be open up to twenty-four hours beforehand. Although that sounds convenient, you'll still be stuck with your bags until you can deposit them at the desk so it's really not a great help. And just in case you're thinking of it, no, you can't just dump them somewhere and wander off.

Don't waste time sitting in the airport check-in area when Waikiki Beach is only ten minutes down the road. Bounce has a convenient luggage storage service in Waikiki so drop your bags there before going to the airport and you'll be able to make the most of your day.

Food policy at Honolulu Airport

If you just couldn't tear yourself off Waikiki Beach even to get something to eat, don't worry, you'll be able to remedy that when you get to Honolulu Airport - no problem. All four terminals in HNL have a wide variety of eateries, but be aware opening and closing hours are scheduled to coincide with incoming and outgoing flight times. Whatever meal or snack you have in mind, there'll be an outlet to satisfy your fancy from fried chicken to sushi to a sandwich or sub. If you want one more tropical cocktail to finish off your stay, you'll find plenty of bars ready and willing to make you one.

Camera policy at Honolulu Airport

There's some great views from the windows of the terminal buildings at Honolulu Airport and if you have a camera or iPhone you're bound to be tempted to snap off a series of shots. There's no reason why you shouldn't either. The planes make excellent photographic subjects too, especially if they're on the Reef Runway. All you need to remember is to be respectful of other travelers and not take photos of them without first asking their permission. That applies to airport staff too, whether they're working at the check-ins, in passport control, security, or anywhere else in the facility.

Rules at Honolulu Airport

Honolulu Airport has the same basic rules as many other international airports worldwide. No baggage may be left unattended, so if you don't want to stay with it, get a luggage storage locker to store your suitcases. 

Smoking isn't permitted by law anywhere inside the terminals and if you decide to indulge in a quick smoke before entering, make sure you're at least twenty feet from any entrance or you could still end up with a stiff fine. Terminals 1 and 2 have designated smoking areas but smoking in terminal 3 is only allowed in the parking lot.

Lockers at Honolulu Airport

If you've checked out of your hotel and don't have a flight until much later on, you won't want to spend hours and hours in the airport. There's so much to see and do in Waikiki and it's so close to HNL, it's the perfect place to pass the day. You could head over to the airport first and deposit your bags in the luggage storage there, but you may find it's not exactly convenient. The lockers at HNL are in terminal two in front of baggage carousel eighteen.

Save yourself a lot of frustration by going straight to Waikiki when you leave your accommodation and use the Bounce luggage storage lockers there. When you hire a locker from Bounce all you're charged is a minimal daily fee for each bag you deposit. It's a charge comparable to what many other similar companies charge per hour, but you'll still get the same security and protection cover, plus you'll be wandering around Waikiki bag-free in no time.

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