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After snagging an outrageously cheap, $600, business class fare to Asia, I was excited to check out an airline that I really hadn’t seriously considered flying. I’d read the odd review here and there, but before this mistake fare, error fare, genius promo I’d passed over Hong Kong Airlines purely because there aren’t any easy ways to book their flights using points. They’ve been expanding their schedule to the US market, and when the deal popped up, I was stoked to give it a go. I’m going to combine the reviews as there wasn’t a lot of difference in service in either direction, but I did fly in two different seats.
A little history.
A little backstory on Hong Kong Airlines. They’re new airline, founded just 12 years ago in 2006, and their parent company is HNA, which you may recognize as the parent of Hainan, another “affordable luxury” airline that has made a lot of waves by offering sub $2k biz tickets to China. The similarities are pretty evident when you compare the cabin coloring…Red
Hong Kong Airlines operates a fleet of 42 aircraft. Of those 42 aircraft, just 5 of them are A350s and 4 of those are fitted with the business class cabin that I flew. They have just 1 A350 fitted with Super Diamond Seats ( Much like you’ll find on China Airlines, Qatar, and AA’s newest 772). Sadly, I flew this flight a few weeks ago, and Hong Kong Airlines hadn’t taken delivery of their newest A350 design with Super Diamonds ( they are my fave), and my flight featured a nice business class that offered lie flat seats, aisle access, but a widely different experience depending on the seat.
- When: August 2018
- Where: Los Angeles to Hong Kong
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 12D and 11F
- Loyalty: Credited to Fortune Wings
- Miles Earned: 30,300
In LA you have access to the Los Angeles International Lounge which is pretty basic and I wouldn’t advise showing up early for any sort of “experience.” In Hong Kong we utilized “Club Autus,” Hong Kong Airlines newest lounge near the 200 gates. While it can’t compare with Cathay’s lounge offerings, it is a nice lounge with hot food and a shower.
You either need to phone in to request your seats, or do an online chat. The website is cumbersome and needs to be updated for ease.
I’ve written an entire post on Seating so if you’d like a more in depth look at the seats, etc, check that out. But an overview is this: there are 4 different seats that can choose. The best for singles are along the window with greater privacy and a larger footwell for sleeping. The best for couples who like eachother 😉 are the odd rows with the honeymoon suites. However, you will lose a great area for storage if you choose these, but they are quite cuddly.
I sat in middle seats both directions as I was flying with my SO. Here’s what I can tell you. The honeymoon suites offer a ton of room as the middle partition drops down, the footwell is quite a bit bigger, and you’re completely shielded from the aisle. I slept a solid 7 hours.
The middle aisle seats are completely exposed and you will get bumped especially if you sleep in a fetal position. At 6′ 170-80 and a side sleeper, I couldn’t really find a comfortable position, and I suffered for sleep. It should be noted that it’s a mid-day flight so falling asleep isn’t exactly easy, but the feeling of falling into the aisle didn’t help. You’re also far apart from your mate, and it’d almost make more sense to be across the aisle…
The best seat for a single is the window seats, even numbers A/K looking like this:
Second best is the odd window seats, A/H, looking like this:
The middle seats offer two choices: you’re either right up on of someone, or you’re pretty far away from them.
Service and Food:
On both long haul flights the service was great. No complaints, and lived up to the great reputation Asian carriers have for service and attentiveness. There was pride taken in providing service and the cabin was kept cool, bathrooms clean, etc.
Food was just ok. One thing in particular I liked was the ability to order a special cake. It was only a couple of weeks ahead of my girlfriend’s bday so it was a fun surprise when they brought it out.
Here’s a quick look at the food presentation.
I really liked the design. I have a thing for keeping these kits or giving them away as a way to say thanks for reading, and it’s nice to see that they have branded them in a way that creates a memory of Hong Kong. There’s even a little flare on the inside, and of course, it’s filled with the business class essentials.
The service is great, and I’d guess long term the A350s with these seats will be phased out on the US routes in favor of the Super Diamonds. I’d love to fly them again when that happens, as the experience overall was positive. Long term I think Hong Kong Airlines is going to do quite well as it continues to penetrate the US market, but they need to iron out a few things for US departures to make themselves truly competitive.
The two biggest inferiorities are the lounge situation and a partner mileage program. Etihad ( who they codeshare with) has a brand new lounge that is rarely used – that would be a big improvement, and there’s an obvious partner in Alaska who’s already partner with Hainan. Fix those two things, and keep the pricing competitive, and I think there’s a real opportunity for them to steal away some market share.
Wanna read more of our $600 business class to Bangkok and back #weekendwarrior trip
- Los Angeles International Lounge
- Hong Kong Airlines Business Class A350 Los Angeles to Hong Kong
- Where to sit on Hong Kong Airlines Business Class A350
- Hong Kong Airlines business class lounge – Club Autus
- American Express Centurion Lounge – Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
- Waldorf Astoria Bangkok during its soft opening
- What it’s like eating in Asia’s #1 Restaurant – Gaggan
- Bangkok’s floating markets – Dumnoen
- Diora Spa – Thai massage and Ayurvedic treatments
- Peninsula Bangkok – Grand Deluxe Suite with River View
- Smalls Bar – the hidden Sathorn IT bar
- Miracle Lounge Bangkok BKK
- Sky City Marriott Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Airlines Business Class A350 Hong Kong to Los Angeles
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