Hong Kong Airlines have been considered a ‘budget’ carrier, yet seem to offer fairly full, premium service. For very low prices, they offer personal IFE, complimentary meals and drinks, complimentary checked baggage and a flat bed in Business Class. This was to be my first experience with the carrier.
This is one of the last components of the November trip:
- Singapore Airlines Premium Economy (Sydney – Singapore)
- Singapore Airlines Economy (Singapore – Beijing)
- Hilton Wangfujing, Beijing
- Air Koryo Economy (Beijing – Pyongyang)
- Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang
- Hyangsan Hotel, North Pyongyang
- Tour of North Korea
- Air China Economy (Pyongyang – Beijing)
- Raffles Beijing
- Hong Kong Airlines Economy (Beijing – Hong Kong)
- Singapore Airlines Economy (Hong Kong – Singapore)
- Singapore Airlines Premium Economy (Singapore – Sydney)
Carrier: Hong Kong Airlines (HX)
Flight Number: HX 337
Route: Beijing (PEK) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Duration: 3h 10m
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Seat Number: 47K
Boarding commenced early, with a very friendly welcome at the door. The cabin itself felt very open and warm, thanks to the cleanliness and the colours of the seats, walls and floor.
Legroom and seat width were of a basic Economy standard, and nothing to complain about. I will note here that row 47 was the last row of the forward cabin, and so had NO RECLINE. For a 3 hour flight it wasn’t an issue, but I can imagine the pain for a longer haul.
Prior to take off the crew made their way through the cabin to distribute headphones, blankets and moist, pre-packaged towelettes, all touches that make the airline more premium than it is given credit for.
As we were taxiing I noticed some strange intermittent bangs from below the floor that sounded like the vacuum pump from a lavatory. My assumption was that the ground-flush system was faulty, as the sound wasn’t heard once airborne.
Following the meal service, turbulence struck, and a very strange comical chime played through the headphones as the screen paused and said “Passenger announcement in progress”. An automated recording played in English, Mandarin and Cantonese to inform passengers of the turbulence.
Meals were served later on very cheap looking trays and crockery, however the food was incredible. The salad was crisp and the main course flavoursome, something very unexpected!
Landing preparations began about 30 minutes prior to touch-down, and it was strange to note that the first words we heard from the flight deck occurred just before descent. Most carriers have their tech-crew make a welcome announcement, however the crew on this flight only came on the PA system just before arrival.
With about 20 minutes to landing, the IFE systems were locked into boarding mode, so could not be used… No gate-to-gate entertainment!
Following a smooth landing, we taxied to a remote stand and were taken via bus to the terminal building.
I am very pleased with the HX experience, thanks to excellent crew and a full offering for a budget carrier price. They are highly recommended.