Since this was my first ride on and review of Hong Kong Airlines, I’ll start with some background on this airline.
Hong Kong Airlines
In 2017, Hong Kong Airlines celebrated its 10th year in business. This is its current route map:
Hong Kong Airlines belongs to no airline alliance. It has many airline partners, though, including Alaska, Etihad and Hainan, on which one can earn credit in the Hong Kong Airlines Fortune Wings frequent flier program. Hong Kong Airlines flies from HKG to Vancouver and started HKG-LAX service in September 2017.
When I booked a trip to Hong Kong on American Airlines, I had every intention to spend a few days in and around Hong Kong. While playing around with ITA Matrix after making that booking, I discovered a business class round trip fare from Hong Kong to Bangkok for only $311. I could not resist the opportunity to try an airline I had never flown, add another journey to my trip to Hong Kong, and take advantage of such a great price fro business class travel.
Arrival and Transfer at Hong Kong
American Airlines Flight 125 from Dallas, TX arrived at HKG Terminal 1 just before 4:00pm. Hong Kong Airlines Flight 761 to BKK was scheduled to depart at 9:45pm. The long layover was a good safety margin in case of a delayed flight on American and plenty of time to check out the Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia lounge if American was on time.
HKG is probably the best airport in ‘China’ for connecting on different airlines. All of the gates are connected without needing to exit customs and immigration, security screening between flights is efficient, and transfer desks are available at least three hours before flights depart to provide services like issuing boarding passes, seat assignments, etc..
After the on-time arrival at HKG, I picked up my Hong Kong Airlines boarding pass at Transfer Desk E1 and proceeded to the lounge for Hong Kong Airlines.
Hong Kong Airlines’ Club Bauhinia Lounge
Hours, Location and Access
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia (bauhinia is the flower that serves as the company logo) is located near Gate 23 in Terminal 1. Those traveling in business class on Hong Kong Airlines and elite members of its frequent flyer program have access. This lounge also serves certain passengers flying on a diverse group of other airlines. The lounge hours are 6:00am to 1:30am daily.
The 500-square-meter lounge accommodates 120 passengers. The lounge offers several seating areas, a buffet, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, showers, a business center with Mac computers, and two conference rooms. Wifi speed was excellent.
Food and Beverages
This lounge offers an assortment of hot and cold entrees, side dishes, salads and snacks.
Beverages include decent quality beer, wine, champagne, and liquor as well as soft drinks, coffee and tea.
The lounge also offers made-to-order Cart Noodles, a Hong Kong tradition.
I settled in at a private spot with comfortable divans at the rear of the lounge.
While lacking the luxury of the Cathay Pacific lounges at HKG, the Club Bauhinia lounge was a good place to spend four hours until the next flight. The food and beverages were better than the average Priority Pass international business class lounge. My sole complaint was a shortage of electrical outlets.
Hong Kong Airlines A330-300 Business Class HKG – BKK
Flight HX 761 boarded at the Midfield Concourse. From the lounge it was a 12-minute walk and train ride to Gate 218. Boarding was slightly delayed and began at 9:20pm shortly after I arrived. This gate has separate jet bridges for business and economy passengers.
A330-300 Business Class Cabin
The business class section on this Hong Kong Airlines A330-300 has 30 business class seats configured 2-2-2. Hong Kong Airlines also flies A330-300s with 32 seats arranged 1-2-1.
Seat and Amenities
These business class seats are 20.5 inches wide and have 60 inches of pitch according to SeatPlans.com. They recline to an angled, lie-flat bed.
On this two+-hour flight to Bangkok, I used flat-bed mode only briefly. For the duration of this flight, it was very comfortable to remain in a semi-reclined or upright position.
Seat cushions were firm. A warm quilt and soft pillow were available at each seat for those desiring to nap.
Hong Kong Airlines also suplied noise-cancelling headsets.
Seat controls and the the video remote are on the armrest on the right.
A variable intensity reading light and the headset plug are mounted on the seat at ear level above the console between the seats.
One can extend a panel near the reading light to serve as a privacy divider between the seats. On this flight the load in business class was light enough that everyone who wanted to sat next to an empty seat.
Pre-Departure and In-Flight Service
The flight attendants (FAs) were busy prior to departure. Five minutes after boarding they offered guava juice and water. A few minutes later they came by with newspapers. Next they delivered the menus and hot towels. Then, they distributed Thailand immigration forms and coupons for using the Premium Lane at immigration. Last, they took dinner orders.
At 21:45, the scheduled departure time, the captain announced a 20- or 30-minute delay due to traffic at HKG. Pushback was at 10:09 pm. We taxied to runway 25L (two five left) and took off at 22:25.
Our route of flight was direct to BKK. Cruise altitude was 40,000 feet. To complete the 1,050 miles to BKK, flight time was predicted to be 2:27 with arrival at BKK at 11:53pm local time.
Service began while we were climbing. Ten minutes after takeoff the FAs placed tablecloths on the tray tables. They brought nuts and beverages five minutes later.
These were the menus for the flight:
The three- course dinner was served at 10:56pm. I had chicken.
Warm bread and water followed at 10:59pm.
Wine was offered prior to dinner and glasses were refreshed after the meal as well.
The meal service concluded with hot towels at 23:25 Hong Kong time.
After dinner I reclined the seat to get some of the sleep that I had avoided in the lounge.
Before dozing I visited the lavatory. While there was no amenity kit on the flight, the bathroom had secure storage compartments for personal grooming items.
At 23:30 local time, the pilot’s announced our final descent to BKK and the need to prepare for landing.
We touched down at 23:46 and arrived at gate C6 at 23:53, the exact time of arrival predicted on departure from HKG.
The service of the flight attendants was courteous and efficient. While the food and seat fell short of standards for a long-haul business class flight, that was minor. For the money ($155 one way) this 1,000-mile, 2.5 -hour business class flight gets an A+.