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Review: My $5,000 Business Class Flight On Hong Kong Airlines Cost Me Just $680!

News

Back in August 2018 Hong Kong Airlines had Business Class tickets from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Asia on sale for just $680 Round Trip. These tickets typically sell for $5,000 or more. It was such a great deal and didn’t involve messing around with airline miles. It was a simple, book it before it’s gone rate.

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Departure

Hong Kong Airlines departs just 3 times a week from San Francisco (only the Los Angeles service is daily). It is still a new service on the company’s new A350 planes. As you would expect the company does not have their own lounge in San Francisco.

Instead, you are invited to use the Air France lounge at SFO (which also hosts many other airlines Premium passengers and is a Priority Pass lounge). I have been to the lounge many times before. This time I found some high-quality breakfast items quickly and thankfully it wasn’t too crowded.

After just 15 minutes it was time for boarding at the gate just 5 minutes walk away. Boarding was started exactly at the announced time and it seemed the agents were serious about an on-time departure. SFO was about to receive a major rainstorm that day and arrival delays stood at a staggering 5 hours for inbound flights.

The line for Business Class seemed short but it was deceiving, boarding was done in minutes and 80% of the seats were taken. While I’m often the only photographer when boarding, it seemed everyone in the Business Class cabin was taking pictures and video. This would go on for quite some time after boarding and the Economy Class passengers had a hard time making their way through all of us standing in the aisles snapping every little detail. The excitement was palpable though.

It seems many bloggers had been on top of and had booked this mistaken fare.

Hong Kong Airlines A350 Business Class Interior

Hong Kong Airlines uses the Stelia Solstys seat. You will find the design and form factor familiar if you have flown Etihad 777 Business Class, Iberia or the new Air Mauritius Business Class. It isn’t a terrible seat but comes with minimal privacy and the ‘outward’ seats open up to much into the aisles.

Every seat comes with a full lie-flat bed, noise cancelling headsets and a big LCD screen. The Stelia Solstys seat is pretty roomy once you find a comfortable position.

I’m not a fan of the shoulder strap but it is apparently an FAA regulation for these seats.

Each seat also comes with a USB outlet, a 110 Volt power outlet, remote, amenity kit, pillow and blanket. My seat was very clean and the pillow and blanket seemed of high quality.

The seat reclines to 180 degrees and forms a fully flat bed. In fact, I chose to decrease the angle to about 175 degrees as I felt the plane’s upward slope made me slide.

I thought the seat is pretty nice for sleeping – there is enough width and length (I’m 6’3) to stretch out. The hardest part is to get into your seat when it is (fully or partially) reclined. Once settled in I felt I had enough space though I like the ‘cocoon-like’ shell and privacy of the Cathay Pacific Business Class seat more.

Hong Kong Airlines A350 Business Class Service And Catering

The flight attendants seemed friendly though reserved and more chaotic than on comfort airline Cathay Pacific Business Class. Departure drinks were served during the boarding process and before takeoff, I was able to order my main course.

A short time after takeoff (it was quite turbulent) another drink service rolled around and the lunch was served. I liked that all the dishes were served individually. I never saw a drinks or food cart.

I wasn’t a fan of the catering. The avocado (yes it is hard to see) appetizer was ok and the main course was just like an Economy meal. It looked gross but wasn’t bad in taste. The cheese dessert was quite good actually.

I was surprised that despite the length of 14.5 hours the only other food service would be two hours before landing. In between snacks would be available but for most passengers this was lunch and dinner would not happen until midnight – odd…

I ended up having dinner around 7 PM with a noodle bowl and dim sum which was pretty decent. I skipped the dinner service before landing and instead was sleeping.

I found the flight attendants to be great at verbal communication and service seemed friendly though rather robotic.

Hong Kong Airlines A350 Wifi

Hong Kong airlines uses the T-Mobile/ Deutsche Telekom WiFi. The company was one of the first out in the market but is now a generation r two behind and the speeds are often extreme;y slow. In addition, the packages provided by Hong Kong airlines are limited by 100MB. I personally run through 100MB in a few minutes so I skipped the WiFi.

Verdict

Hong Kong Airlines runs a ‘tight ship’ and the A350 is a magnificent, quiet plane. The new Business Class seats are very competitive as well. I wish the company would invest in better catering and provide a WiFi without a limit on usage.

Given the $680 price tag, this was a fantastic deal and I feel lucky I could take the trip thanks to Hong Kong Airlines honouring the deal.

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