Hong Kong Airlines Ending San Francisco Flights

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Well that sure didn’t last long.

For quite a while Hong Kong Airlines looked like a promising airline that could give Cathay Pacific a run for their money. In the past couple of years the airline has taken delivery of some Airbus A350s, which has enabled them to offer nonstop flights between Hong Kong and the US.

Hong Kong Airlines’ A350 business class

The airline has added nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and San Francisco, both of which are also Cathay Pacific destinations. This has been great for consumers.

Unfortunately Hong Kong Airlines is in a really bad financial situation — the airline is owned by struggling HNA Group, which has largely been trying to sell off assets, and which has not been able to pay for many new Airbus planes, some of which are still sitting on the ground in Toulouse.

There had been talks of some serious restructuring at the airline, including the possibility of Hong Kong Airlines cutting their long haul flights to the US.

Well, it looks like this is now happening. Hong Kong Airlines has closed reservations for their Hong Kong to San Francisco route as of October 4, 2019. The airline only launched the route in March 2018, meaning the airline lasted in the market for about 18 months.

It’ll be interesting to see if the airline plans to cut their other US route as well, or if San Francisco specifically just proved too competitive. Looking at the Hong Kong to San Francisco market:

  • Cathay Pacific offers 3x daily flights, using a mix of 777-300s and A350-900s
  • United currently offers a once daily flight with a 777-300, but as of October 2019 will increase frequencies to twice daily flights using 777-200s
  • Singapore Airlines offers a once daily flight with a 777-300

United is doubling flights between San Francisco & Hong Kong

I’m not surprised that four airlines was too much for this market, especially with United increasing frequency in the market as of October.

Are you surprised to see Hong Kong Airlines cutting service to San Francisco?

  1. I hope they keep Los Angeles as they are a good alternative to the oneworld AA/CX duopoly on the route.

  2. HK airlines is quite frankly garbage. I flew them from YVR -> HKG and then from HKG -> TPE return. Over the course of these 3 flights I incurred over 24 hours in delays. When I was in Japan we would hear news of their planes dropping parts on the runway. I would avoid HK airlines like the plague, still better than AA, but not by much.

  3. I’m surprised they’re doing well enough to keep HKG-YVR. They have to compete with 2 daily Cathay 777s, a daily Cathay A350 and a daily Air Canada 777/787. Their lone A330/A350 isn’t much by comparison.

  4. I heard a while ago that they ended their flight to LA. I can’t remember where but I guess that wasn’t true

  5. @Zortan

    Hk airlines offers one way tickets at almost 55% of a round trip. Theyre also much cheaper than Cathay. Vancouver/Richmond is also the most asian city outside of asia so thry can support that ecosystem.

  6. Wrong market imho. If you have 100 other long haul destinations you make money off, well, I guess you can try to squeeze the competition out of routes like HKG-SFO or LAX. But if these are some of the few long hauls you´re flying, then where are you making the money to burn here? To me that looks like adventureism more than anything.

  7. Seems to me that the average fares for LAX-HKG are the lowest as compared to anywhere . . . definitely cheaper than SFO. Low fares for JFK-HKG seem much higher still, and don’t understand why they didn’t try that (it was scheduled to start late last year but obviously never happened, and seemingly never will) . . . . and could have been the only decent carrier with guaranteed WiFi on that route (CX won’t have guaranteed WiFi from JFK until at least October 2019).

  8. i’m booked on Hong Kong Airlines MLE-HKG in April. Hopefully they’ll still by around by then!

  9. I’ve flown them intra-China about five times for short flights and they were fine and reasonably priced. Perhaps they should stick to domestic only.

  10. @Tim,
    Like Singapore, there is no domestic flight in HKG. Every single flight take off and land in HKG is an international flight. There is border between Hongkong & China, mainland Chinese need to get a special “passport” & VISA to travel to Honngkong from China & Vice Verse

  11. @Hill – Technically speaking HK is a SAR of China, which does not change Chinese sovereignty over it, so “international” is certainly overkill. Your argument might make more sense for flights between Taiwan and mainland China.

  12. We have flown Hong Kong Airlnes in Business from Cairns to Hong Kong and return via The Gold Coast , a few weeks before they pulled the plug on that route .
    I’ve never encountered such a disinterested and lazy crew , maybe they had received word that they were being made redundant , however the service was abismal , a case of disappearing cabin crew , and worst still was just two of us being dumped in a cold and deserted Gold Coast transit lounge at 5.30 am for a three hour wait whilst the plane was cleaned , with no access to the lounge , when Us two reborded , I tracked down the disinterested cabin manager, and he said I should have found him beforehand and asked for a $30 voucher !
    if that’s Hong Kong Airways Business Class , I really feel sorry for anyone attempting to fly long distance economy !

  13. I’ve built up some mileage on HK Airlines (event got their elite status). I love their prices, vs Cathay. Cathay is definitely overpriced, snobbish airline.
    I usually buy 1 way ticket, for various reasons (weather one way HKG->SFO or SFO->HGK). Was enjoying that pricing. I hope they can come back alive, and re-establish the route to SFO.
    Yes, while they were struggling, there were delays. However, their new lounge @ HKG (2nd stop on the train from the main gates) was amazing, and all the staff was great. I wish they can disturb Cathay for little longer….

  14. I’ve been flying them frequently LAX-HKG-BKK roundtrip. Other than not so good munchies at the back of the cabin, I like the airline for its low fares, good service, and ample leg room in Economy. I used to fly Cathay on this route but switched when HK Airlines came along as it saved me a lot of money. However, Cathay feels like a luxury airline compared to HKA. Finally, the food options in the HKA terminal in Hong Kong feel like a flea market compared to the Cathay terminal. In the end, it’s the pocketbook that counts.

  15. Flew on HK Airlines HKG-YVR-YUL/ORD-SFO-HKG in last October, interline partners were WestJet and Alaska. The problem for SFO-HKG and other of its west coast departures is that they all depart around noon, so one must take a 6am flight on the East Coast (or 8am in my case) to get same day connection.

  16. I am an ID traveler and I had really great experiences from HKG-NRT. Flew them many times and their business class is new and fresh. I do hope they survive.

  17. Feeling confident that did my due diligence and didn’t book with them for my YVR-BKK flights for next year. Flew them in economy and business earlier this year thanks to that China Airlines strike and was very happy with the service.

  18. I must be the outlier. For a birthday trip in March of ’19, I bought a ticket from SFO/HKG, and even after paying for a better economy seat with seat selection, I still only paid $550 RT. Check in was very easy in both airports. I was two rows behind business class on the aisle. Seats were very comfortable, and the cabin crew was great. Plenty of choices on the entertainment center to keep me busy for the 14 1/2 hour flight over, and the 111/2 hour flight back. As for the food? Very good, for airline food. I had no bad issues at all.

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