Hong Kong Airlines A350 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Los Angeles! After flying Ukraine International Airlines to Europe, Vietnam Airlines to Shanghai, and then Cathay Dragon to Hong Kong, my last flight of this review trip was from Hong Kong to Los Angeles on Hong Kong Airlines.

I had never flown Hong Kong Airlines before, and I came in with low expectations. I know Hong Kong Airlines claims to be a full service airline, but for whatever reason I had the impression that they were a second rate airline, and that the experience wouldn’t match Cathay Pacific. Wow, was I wrong.

First of all, this was my first time flying out of Hong Kong Airport’s midfield concourse. I thought the main terminal at Hong Kong Airport was beautiful, but this one puts it to shame. I also wasn’t expecting a lot from Hong Kong Airlines’ new flagship lounge, Club Autus. The lounge was beautiful. The whole ground experience greatly exceeded my expectations, so stay tuned for the full details on that. I’d post some pictures now, but you guys always point out when my “10 pictures” posts don’t have 10 pictures, so you’ll have to be patient (and for the record, I don’t count the featured image as one of the 10 pictures). 😉

Hong Kong Airlines’ new A350 features 33 business class seats in a staggered configuration.

In general I don’t love a staggered configuration, though this was the most comfortable and spacious staggered configuration seat I’ve ever had. The seat was really, really wide. See that massive armrest on the left? When the seat was placed into bed mode, that became part of the bed. As a side sleeper who likes to bend my knees, I could sleep in either direction without feeling constrained.

While Hong Kong Airlines doesn’t have the most extravagant bedding, it was functional. The pillow was large and thick, and the blanket was snuggly without being too warm (which is a good thing, since there were no air nozzles at each individual seat). Since the cabin was less than half full I could snag an extra pillow.

There was an amenity kit with socks, eyeshades, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and L’Occitane amenities.

The food quality was good, though not amazing. Lunch was served after takeoff, and the service was extremely efficient. First there was a side salad, and an appetizer of prosciutto ham with ricotta cheese, fig, and citrus vinaigrette.

Next up was a minestrone soup.

Then for the main course I had the vegetarian option, which was braised cannelinni beans and mixed vegetables in puttanesca sauce with potato rosti. The dish tasted much better than it looked.

For dessert I had a pina colada dacquoise cake and an iced Hong Kong milk tea.

Lastly there was a cheese plate.

The entertainment onboard was solid, and Hong Kong Airlines even has wifi on their A350s. They charge $20 for 500MB of data, which should last the entire flight (the speeds weren’t good, though). The best entertainment on the A350 is the tail camera, though.

This may not look like an incredible product, but there was some “X-factor” to it all that really impressed me. Maybe it’s that my expectations were low coming in, but the entire experience felt polished and well executed. I thought service was significantly better than what I’ve experienced in Cathay Pacific business class.

The flight attendants were not only friendly, but so professional. They really knew what they were doing, and service was highly customized. That’s especially impressive when you consider that ultra longhaul flights are still pretty new for the airline, and they just got A350s not too long ago.

Just to give one small example, I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the lavatory. When I emerged, the flight attendant held the curtain open for me and escorted me to my seat, and then asked what she could get me to eat or drink as a snack. As another example, they ran out of my main course option for the first meal. While that would usually be a negative, the flight attendant apologized profusely and said she’d take my meal order first for the second meal.

These are all minor things, but the crew was really top notch.

You really impressed me, Hong Kong Airlines, and I can’t wait to fly with them again. Now if only they’d join an alliance or at least some useful mileage partners (I paid cash for my ticket — fortunately their business class fares aren’t too bad).

Comments

  1. Good morning Lucky!

    Hong Kong airlines is partly owned by Hainan airlines, they belong to the same FF program (Fortune Rings Blub). So hopefully you can earn/spend Alaska miles with them soon!

  2. “the experience wouldn’t match Cathay Pacific. Wow, was I wrong.” lol if your FAs are kind and provide genuine service… you blow CX out of the water.

  3. “You really impressed me, Hong Kong Airlines, and I can’t wait to fly with them again” #grammarnazisquad

    Nice to know that you love this quirky airline!

  4. Thank you for your initial impressions ! The seat looks identical to what Iberia is going to offer in their A350 going forward less the colour scheme obviously. Excited for your elaborate review.

  5. VA!!!!!!
    Lucky Virgin Australia are partners with Hong Kong Airlines and VA are transfer partners of SPG

  6. Looks like those big collapsing armrests are exclusive to the seats closest to the windows. Nice.

  7. @Lucky. I looked up the price for a r/t from LAX to HKG – it was over $5k. Was there a promo when you bought your ticket? What did you pay for the o/w ticket if you do not mind me asking? Thanks.

  8. @ Daniel B. — Tickets are cheaper ex-HKG. Roundtrip tickets run ~$2,800 in business, so if you book one direction in business and one in economy, you end up paying ~$2,000.

  9. Daniel I frequently see promotions for HK airlines r/t averaging as low as 2500 to as high as 3800.

    Certainly worth it compared to other airlines like AA or Cathay.

    I wish delta still had direct flights to HK. Now I mainly fly on MU.

  10. A dish “puttanesca” (“in the fashion of the whores”) would not be vegetarian as it contains anchovies (fine for pescatarians, of course). And was the cheese course really served after the desert?

  11. Hong Kong airlines is legit.
    Just make sure you never board HK Express.
    2nd worst airline i ever flew.

  12. Surprise! HK is indeed something refreshing, never thought that they can level up or exceed CX in a way. Like the spacious window seat. Are the aisle seats also comfortable in width? The main meal looks terrible, is it really C class worthy?
    So no pjs? Need more info from your report.

  13. @Lucky
    I thought they are getting their own business class seat which is technically CX without the colour scheme, but I’m surprised you still flew with the Azul business class version of the A350. Do you have any idea when they will fly their own version, or is that not happening? As I think their first few planes are from Azul because they didn’t receive their A350s, and Airbus gave it to Hong Kong airlines.

  14. @LarryInNYC — In Britain cheese and port are often had after dessert. Given the British influence in Hong Kong, it’s not so strange that cheese was served after dessert.

  15. I’ve seen roundtrip LAX HKG for $492 on Hong Kong Airlines. Any upgrade offers at checkin ?

  16. I fly HK airlines a lot in their business within Asia as its a solid product on the ground and in the air (the Beijing lounge is also new and excellent) and the prices are half those of Cathay on most routes in business in Asia. There are different seat configurations depending on the aircraft 1-2-1 / 2-2-2 but then so is Cathay in Asia. And agreed, the service on all flights I have taken with them match and sometimes excel those of Cathay.

  17. @LarryInNYC – As far as cheese/dessert or dessert/cheese goes this is often seen as French style or British style. Both can work but obviously many people are accustomed to the French style (where your nice full-bodied red from the meat course can go well with the cheese which follows).

    Looks like a nice product!

  18. Being a frequent flyer with Hong Kong Airlines I have to say their services was really good most of the time. I guess every now and then one would come across a bad crew. But even then they are always professional and very well intentioned. It would be even better with a Japanese crew that have swapped herself onto a long haul flight. 😉

    I guess having a much smaller business class cabin that is most of the time not full would allow them to provide a much more personal service than Cathay Pacific.

    The food seems to have improved. Last time I flew long haul to Auckland the food, even in business class, was very horrible. (It was much better going the other way as it was proper business class food sourced in Auckland.)

  19. thank you for your review! Does the airline offer unlimited wifi for whole flight for a set price?

  20. The only problem with Hong Kong Airlines out of LAX is their schedule. Only a single frequency, so very hard to compete with CX for business market. Flight leaves LAX at Noon, so if you have anything to do in LA that day, no way to make the flight. Have brought CX some much needed competition on the LAX route (as has AA actually). Hope they open up JFK next, as CX has JFK-LAX route essentially all tied up (not that I’m sorry to have to fly them personally – but like having options).

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