The plane, a Boeing 777, had already passed Hawaii by two hours but was forced to make an emergency landing and a u-turn back towards the island.
The passengers have suffered minor injuries, reported ANI. A spokeswoman for the Honolulu emergency services department was not able to immediately provide details about the passengers' injuries.
"We hit turbulence and we all hit the roof and everything fell down, and stuff... people went flying", passenger Jess Smith told local station KHON in Honolulu.
"The lady in front of us, I don't think she had her seatbelt on and she hit the ceiling", passenger Sharon Thornton told CTV.
Alex Macdonald, from Brisbane, told Canadian broadcaster CBC News the passengers on board were "extremely shocked".More news: JAXA: Hayabusa2 has landed on Ryugu
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A case of severe turbulence in June on a flight from Kosovo to France was captured on video, showing a flight attendant hitting the ceiling and another praying. "A couple of the air hostesses were bringing food out at the time, and they hit the roof as well".
The turbulence happened at about 10,970 metres 966 kilometres southwest of Honolulu, said U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor. Its spokesman said crew members had asked for medical personnel to meet the plane at the gate.
"We are now making arrangements for the passengers including hotel accommodations and meals in Honolulu, as well as options for resumption of the flight, " the spokesperson said.
In another case, 29 people were injured after a Turkish Airlines flight encountered severe turbulence on its approach to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in March.