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).