Hong Kong Airlines Cuts All Inflight Service, Except Water

Filed Under: Other Airlines

We’ve seen many airlines adjust inflight service as a result of coronavirus, though Hong Kong Airlines has taken it to a different level this past week.

Hong Kong Airlines suspends inflight service

Hong Kong Airlines has cut all inflight service except water, “to further strengthen precautionary measures and reduce the risk of crew and customers being potentially exposed to coronavirus.”

Hong Kong Airlines is only serving water, even in business class

With that, Hong Kong Airlines will be limiting inflight cabin activity and making the following onboard service adjustments:

  • There will be no more pillows and blankets
  • Magazines and newspapers won’t be offered, but rather reading materials will be limited to what’s in the seatback pocket
  • Inflight catering will be limited to a bottle of water for business class passengers and a cuplet of water for economy class passengers

The airline says they’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments to inflight service accordingly.

Hong Kong Airlines already closed lounges & cut IFE

Not just has inflight service been cut, but Hong Kong Airlines has also closed their largest lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.

While this is probably partly being done due to reduced demand (Cathay Pacific has done the same), the primary reason is because the concourse out of which Hong Kong Airlines operates in Hong Kong is being shut down due to reduced demand, so their flights will be moved elsewhere.

The Hong Kong Airlines Lounge has been closed

On top of that, due to financial trouble the airline suspended inflight entertainment in November 2019, and it’s my understanding that they still haven’t restored that.

Hong Kong Airlines has no inflight entertainment at the moment

Cost cutting or coronavirus response?

Hong Kong Airlines was on the brink of liquidation in late 2019, as the airline couldn’t even pay their staff on time. The airline ended up cutting all long haul routes, and got a last minute cash injection that allowed them to continue operating.

Now the airline is even worse off, due to the combination of the protests and coronavirus, and also as HNA Group is rumored to be taken over by the Chinese government.

While there are no doubt health justifications for reducing service and limiting the amount of stuff being passed through the cabin, I imagine there’s also an element of cost cutting involved, given the extreme to which Hong Kong Airlines is taking it.

Hong Kong Airlines A330

How does Cathay Dragon compare?

Perhaps it’s interesting to compare Hong Kong Airlines’ approach to Cathay Dragon, as both airlines are at this point essentially regional airlines. Cathay Dragon has also modified their inflight service, but not nearly in as extreme of a day:

  • In first and business class, meals are being served on a single tray, with the appetizer, main course, and dessert, all at once
  • Trolley service has been suspended in first & business class, and first class gets the same food as business class
  • Passengers in premium economy and economy are served disposable snack bags including a hot handheld snack and other items

Cathay Dragon A330

Bottom line

If you’re flying Hong Kong Airlines in the coming weeks, expect nothing more than water. The airline is taking one of the most drastic approaches of any airline, and this all comes as their inflight entertainment has been turned off as well. Fortunately they don’t operate very long flights anymore.

I feel bad for all the staff at Hong Kong Airlines, given that all the signs point to this airline not being around much longer.

  1. @Lucky, who do you think will disappear first, Hong Kong Airlines or Hainan Airlines? Or both at the same time, given everything happening with HNA Group?

  2. Coronavirus is an overreaction. It’s already spread and it’s just another flu strain. Just like the flu most people will get it and it will run just course. Others may suffer and pass away , just like the flu. Who says more people are getting sick? Those who have Corona Virus may have gotten the flu instead. It’s all over hyped garbage and there is no way to contain it anyway.

  3. So glad we have armchair doctors from
    this epidemic like Ryan. Clearly China needs to hire him to understand what’s going on

  4. I’m not a Doctor at all. Just have a feeling the virus already spread and it will be here to stay anyway so all this economic hardship in Asia could be for nothing. If it saves lives I’d be all for it. I just personally believe it doesn’t. Beliefs aren’t facts. Just sharing my opinion.

  5. Anyone knows how Air China is handling catering on long haul flights in Business and First Class within the last couple of weeks?

  6. With just 2 deaths among the minimum 639 confirmed infected on the Diamond Princess, giving us a death rate of 0.28% among what you’d assume were people older than the average population I’m not sure this is much worse than the normal flu – although certainly more infectious, and helped along by the fact humanity has zero immunity.

    I’m living in China, a few hours train ride from Wuhan, and I’m positive the Chinese government’s mishandling will ensure this virus stays with us forever – the extreme measures borne out of fear ensures that people with mild symptoms go into hiding – and remain infectious long after symptoms have passed.

  7. They make a predepature announcement and my bottle of water was awaiting me at my seat upon boarding. Wearing masks Is mandatory, too. Yes, IFE is suspended. There weren’t even any magazines, just the security card.

  8. Vietnam Airlines have also cute inflight service (at least on short haul flights between Vietnam and Bangkok). Their inflight announcement said this was “to reduce contact between staff and passengers” but they still proceeded to hand out water bottles, and there was no requirement for passengers to wear masks (about 80% were, the bulk of those who weren’t were Westerners).

    I can only guess this is actually a cost saving measure.

  9. More than 10k people in US died due to flu, but no flight got cancelled, nor flight attendant wearing mask

  10. @Ryan I cannot recall healthy men in their 30s 40s to die of flu in a week in developed countries… But if you feel confident and safe, good for you. Maybe you can book holidays in HKG for all your family. Lots of bargains!!!!!

  11. I recently flew SEA – PEK – BKK on HU in Business. Very limited service on the SEA – PEK leg. No bedding, pillow or PJ, just a thin blanket. Instead of noise cancelling headphones it was the standard in ear buds distributed to economy. No booze was served. Instead of multi course meals, there was a meal at the beginning of and at the end of the flight. No choices were given, just a warm tray of food (still pretty good). FA were all very friendly and apologetic for the limited service. PEK was empty! I was the only person in the HU lounge. Only 9 people on the flight from PEK – BKK. Then HU cancelled my flights back to SEA. I rebooked with CX BKK – HKG – SEA They were operating as normal – meals, booze, bedding, headphones etc. Very friendly crew. Also first time trying the burger on CX – delicious!!! (for an airplane burger – lol). At SEA I had to go thru the CDC screening, but it only took 10 minutes and because I had been in Thailand for so long after my PEK layover, I only had a 3 day self imposed quarantine – no biggie.

  12. Wow Ryan did not know you were a MD or disease center specialist. It has already been proven that this virus has a much higher death rate than other viruses which is why their is such great concern and widespread precautions.

  13. Ryan – The point they were (apparently too subtlely) making was that it’s evident you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

    Blabber on about it “just being my opinion” all you want. You’re ignorant and wrong – PERIOD.

  14. @lucky it’s not the case that “there are no doubt health justifications for reducing service and limiting the amount of stuff being passed through the cabin”. HK airlines is just a stupid failed airline cutting costs and using the coronavirus as an excuse. It should just go out of business and die. Ben, Stop defending airlines in the industry because you get free tickets to fly, brat. You r always so defensive and lenient to airlines/flight attendants, stop giving them the “benefit of the doubt”. Richass white disgusting American.

  15. AC, ever heard of sponsors? Sure there should be a bit more of a disclosure if he does indeed take free tickets, discounts, etc but you dont bite the hand that feeds. Although I dont think he is sponsored by them, i remember reading a review of someone who did sponsor him and pay for his tickets and remember seeing a quite bold disclaimer stating as such. in this case there are other airlines that are providing less services as well so it is partially to prevent spread of disease.

    If you were sponsored by let’s say, American airlines, you wouldnt leave a bunch of negativity in the review. They’d never sponsor you or pay for anything for you again and rightfully so.

    Use your brain, or what’s left of it and either dont read these articles or do it with the grain of salt that someone who is sponsored wont leave overly negative feedback.

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