When an airline forgets a zero in its ticket worth and by accident sells a $6,600 enterprise class fare to Southeast Asia and again for $660, you purchase it. That’s only a life rule.
So when Hong Kong Airways had this error fare final summer time, a pal and I jumped on the prospect to fly in type for a shock, 10-day journey to Vietnam. And I do know we weren’t alone, as many Thrifty Traveler Premium members capitalized on the error fare alert, too.
Hong Kong Airways is the scrappy competitor of famend Cathay Pacific, although it’s fallen on exhausting monetary occasions in current months. However what’s it wish to fly of their enterprise class for a fraction of the traditional worth? Learn on.
One word: Hong Kong Airways has a number of totally different enterprise class cabins, and I flew in two totally different seats on the best way to Hong Kong (HKG) and the best way again to Los Angeles (LAX). I’ll incorporate some pictures of every seat all through the evaluate.
When a flight deal is scorching, it is advisable to act quick. When it’s this scorching, you’ve acquired minutes to ebook.
That’s how you have to strategy mistake fares, when airways promote aircraft tickets for much cheaper than they meant. Typically these too-good-to-be-true fares are the results of a foreign money conversion error, and different occasions it’s so simple as an agent hitting the incorrect quantity.
Both method, time is of the essence. On this case, my good friend and I purchased our tickets, inside about 20 minutes of getting the alert. After which we waited.
See, with mistake fares, there’s no certainty that the airline will truly honor them. The U.S. authorities provides airways nice latitude to cancel tickets once they make a mistake in pricing. That makes it important to carry off on reserving lodges, excursions, excursions, rental automobiles, and another side of your journey till you already know your ticket is confirmed. And that may take anyplace from a couple of hours to some weeks.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to attend lengthy. Hong Kong Airways confirmed it will honor the tickets the very subsequent day.
No, it wasn’t intentional…undoubtedly not a advertising gimmick. We actually screwed up.
It hit once I was BBQing at a pal’s home on my trip. We have now determined to honor the tickets at our personal value.
We’re prepared to pay a worth to maintain our guarantees as a model. https://t.co/YKhNtXqxvV
— George Liu (@GeorgeJLiu) August 17, 2018
And since Hong Kong Airways isn’t part of a serious airline alliance, there isn’t a possible strategy to simply guide these flights with miles. So your greatest guess goes to be a money fare.
So it was time to determine what we had gotten ourselves into. Although small, Hong Kong Airways is a top-notch service.
It flies to Hong Kong (HKG) from simply three North American cities: Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Vancouver (YVR). And it has a brand new fleet of Airbus A350s to make these flights throughout the Pacific. These planes are a few of the greatest you will discover for these lengthy jaunts, as the extra air moisture and strain contained in the cabin is invaluable on the subject of beating jet lag.
However issues aren’t so sunny with the airline proper now. Its mother or father firm, HNA Group, is hemorrhaging cash, and just lately bought low-cost offshoot HK Categorical to Cathay Pacific. Most of Hong Kong Airways’ prime executives left in late 2018 or early 2019. And the airline just lately introduced it will reduce flights from the U.S. to Hong Kong and again from their present every day departures to only three or 4 occasions weekly from late October by means of the top of 2019.
Between Cathay Pacific’s excellent trio of lounges, a brand new American Categorical Centurion lounge, and even some spectacular Precedence Move choices, Hong Kong (HKG) is among the greatest airports on the planet on the subject of lounges. And whereas Hong Kong Airways’ Membership Autus lounge will not be among the many world’s greatest, it was nonetheless a tremendous area.
For starters, it’s fairly large, and the entire place performs off the airport’s open and ethereal really feel. There are a minimum of seven totally different seating areas, with an ideal mixture of desks for working, devoted consuming areas, some good locations to chill out, a quiet space with loungers to nap, and even a devoted space with therapeutic massage chairs. And even mid-morning earlier than our departure, it was pretty empty. That’s spectacular.
Along with the usual buffet choices for each meal, there’s a devoted made-to-order noodle bar. And when you want a refresh earlier than or after a long-haul flight, there are a number of very good bathe suites which you can reserve from the entrance desk on the lounge entry. Waits vary from anyplace to getting instantly whisked again to your personal bathe area to 10 or 15 minutes, relying on how busy the lounge is.
Hong Kong Airways flies two totally different enterprise class cabins to and from the U.S. Simply which one you get will depend upon which U.S. gateway you’re heading to – and a little bit of luck.
Usually, the airline flies its latest enterprise class association out and in of Los Angeles (LAX). Laid out 1-2-1, these are outfitted with reverse herringbone seats, which suggests each seat is kind of similar. You’ll have direct aisle entry, seats are angled away from the aisle to spice up privateness, and there’s an ultra-crisp, 17-inch display. These are the very same seats that you simply’ll discover on some American Airways flights, in addition to enterprise class on Air Canada, Virgin Australia, and different common airways.
This enterprise class product is excellent, with an excellent mix of spaciousness and privateness. And I’m not joking, it’s model new. This aircraft was lower than 5 months previous, and it seemed prefer it.
However each from time to time, LAX flyers will get the older setup, with staggered seats that fluctuate row-by-row. These are additionally flying between San Francisco (SFO) and Vancouver (YVR) – although each of those flights sometimes get the newer mannequin, too. That is what we flew on the primary half of the journey from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG). The seats are comparable – although considerably wider – to what you’ll discover in enterprise class on Iberia, Emirates, Asiana, and extra.
To be clear: Each enterprise class cabins are wonderful, and there are execs and cons to every seat. Extra on that later.
Thrifty Tip: Need to examine which model of enterprise class you’ll have in your flight? Sort in your flight quantity at Flightradar24.com and take a look at the aircraft registration quantity assigned to your flight. B-LGA via B-LGD are the older model, whereas B-LGE and up are the newer cabin.
Regardless of which setup you’ve received, there are a complete of 33 enterprise class seats unfold all through one single cabin. And actually, there’s just one seat I’d keep away from in any respect prices: 11G. That is the right-side middle seat within the first row of enterprise class. And due to the best way the cabin is laid out, it’s about three steps away from the rest room.
Talking of bathrooms, they’re good however primary. And whereas some airways put extra enterprise class restrooms behind the cabin, Hong Kong Airways isn’t considered one of them. There are simply two bathrooms for your complete 33-seat cabin on the entrance of the aircraft. They have been stocked with L’Occitane handsoap and lotion, which is a pleasant contact.
One of many beauties of those reverse herringbone seats is that they’re all kind of similar. And on this case, each seat was nice.
Although easy, I really like the look of the sharp purple seats set towards the grays and whites of the seat shell.
Every seat is about 26 inches extensive, and sports activities almost 80 inches of legroom. And I’m not joking once I say that it’s one of many longest enterprise class seats I’ve ever sat in. As you begin to recline the seat, you’ll discover that the legroom seemingly goes on for days.
I discovered the seats to be insanely snug, with higher padding than virtually some other enterprise class seat I’ve flown. From the again to the ample headrest, it was nice for sitting, lounging, and laying down.
These seats are designed close to completely to maximise area whereas additionally remaining personal. For starters, seats are angled away from the aisles. The seats themselves are barely staggered inside every row, so a middle aisle seat is definitely barely forward of the wing-side seats. And each seat has a wraparound shell that blocks some sightlines of your neighbors – and vice versa.
This makes these seats among the many greatest you’ll discover for solo vacationers. However that comes with a draw back: Even the middle part is just not the perfect association you’ll discover for couples or buddies touring collectively.
My good friend Jim and I have been seated in a pair of middle seats in row 15 (which, because of Hong Kong Airways’ system that skips rows 13 and 14, is the third row of enterprise class). And whereas it’s nonetheless pretty straightforward to hold on a dialog together with your neighbor in these seats, you’ll have to lean ahead a good quantity because of the angle of the seats and the consoles that separate them. When you don’t know your neighbor, you’ll be able to pull out a divider to get much more privateness.
On the flipside, Hong Kong Airline’s older enterprise class cabin is among the greatest methods for a pair or chatty buddies to journey in type. These so-called honeymoon seats are proper subsequent to one another, although because of the best way these seats are staggered, the seats behind them are separated by giant consoles and really uncovered to the aisle. It’s a excessive danger, excessive reward state of affairs.
Again to the newer seats, the place there’s no scarcity of storage. For starters, there are two compartments within the console. The primary is giant sufficient for nearly something however a laptop computer. That is additionally the place you’ll discover the wired distant for in-flight leisure, USB and common energy ports, and the headphone jack. There’s a small hole between the compartment and the lid, so your headphone and charging cables can simply thread by way of – no have to hold the flap open.
Subsequent to that, there’s a a lot smaller – and shallower – compartment that’s good for a pockets, passport, or pair of glasses.
Close to your head, there’s a small storage space, however signage makes clear that is just for the security card and obligation free magazines. That is additionally the place you’ll discover a small studying mild.
On the aisle aspect of the seat, there’s a well-cushioned armrest you can manually increase and decrease by holding a button. One other button opens up but yet one more storage compartment, which is greater than deep sufficient for a water bottle.
And eventually, there’s another open storage cubbby down by your legs. It’s a great spot to stow a water bottle and your amenity package.
If there’s one draw back to this seat, it’s the footwell. With regards to storage, neither the area above or beneath the footrest is giant sufficient for a private merchandise like a backpack. A pair of footwear will match right here, however your private merchandise will probably have to go in an overhead bin.
Extra importantly, the footwell itself is just not very giant. And whereas I by no means discovered it constraining, it could possibly be an issue for some vacationers. That’s very true come bedtime, when the angle of the seat mixed with the footwell might make it a problem for some aspect sleepers.
When it’s time to get some relaxation, there’s an easy digital set of controls. You’ll be able to shortly recline into lie-flat mode, although there are additionally some controls that let you fine-tune the help all through the seat.
In mattress mode, the seat isn’t the widest you’ll ever discover. However I discovered it insanely snug. So snug, the truth is, that I slept like a rock for a strong seven hours. The two a.m. wakeup name to catch a connecting flight earlier within the day was doubtless an element, however I’m prepared to provide the seat itself some credit score right here too.
An opulent pillow and high quality cover have been ready at every seat throughout boarding. I assumed the pillow was nice. And whereas the cover wasn’t the puffiest on the planet, it was good for a barely heat cabin.
There was additionally a pair of branded, noise canceling headphone inside one of many storage compartments. These have been satisfactory, however nothing particular.
As boarding wrapped up and we ready to push again, flight attendants got here by way of the cabin and handed out amenity kits. Can we speak about how cute these kits are?
They usually weren’t simply appears, because the contents have been additionally unbelievable. The kits contained a facemask, pair of socks, a toothbrush with a small tube of toothpaste, and a pair of earplugs. There was additionally a tube of lip balm and hand lotion from L’Occitane.
And eventually, there was a pair of sturdy and cozy slippers ready in a small material bag at every seat.
Service and Eating
The service all through the flight was on par with what you’d anticipate for these lengthy flights throughout the Pacific Ocean on an Asian-based airline. That’s to say, it was nice – and positively a step above what you’ll get from all however the perfect flight attendants on U.S. airways.
In my expertise, enterprise class flight attendants on Asian airways have mastered the artwork of paying attention with out being overbearing. Whereas there was nothing excellent about any portion of the service, each flight attendant was immediate and type. The crew working my aisle continuously cycled by way of the cabin, proactively providing refills on drinks.
Service started shortly after boarding with a selection between orange juice and water. Like many airways, Hong Kong didn’t serve alcohol on the bottom.
About 30 minutes after takeoff, flight attendants got here by means of the cabin; first with tablecloths, after which dropping off a small dish of nuts alongside together with your beverage of selection.
About 15 minutes later, they introduced out the starter: fois gras stuffed sachima (a sort of Chinese language pastry) with mandarin oranges. Fois gras isn’t my favourite, nevertheless it tasted fairly good. There was additionally an in any other case easy aspect salad with an excellent contact – jelly bobas. Add in some garlic bread from the basket a flight attendant introduced by means of the aisle, and it was a very good starter.
Up subsequent was a bowl of roasted tomato soup, which was perhaps the spotlight of the meal. It was scrumptious.
A couple of minutes after clearing the soup course, a flight attendant delivered the entree. There have been three decisions on the menu: a black bean tapenade hen breast with pumpkin gnocchi, dong po pork with rice, and mushroom risotto wellington. I selected the pork.
I’d say it was someplace between “good” and “nice.” The sauce was tasty, however there wasn’t sufficient of it. The pork itself was good, although definitely on the fatty aspect. It was undoubtedly a big step above your typical financial system meal, however an honest step under restaurant high quality.
Lastly, there was a dessert course, with a selection between a choice of cheese, ice cream, and blueberry cheesecake. The cheesecake I ordered was fairly good. And very similar to the soup, it was served in a flower-shaped bowl – a cute contact.
In all, this lunch service took about 90 minutes from begin to end – a reasonably good tempo for the 12-hour flight. But when I needed to decide one shortcoming of Hong Kong Airways’ enterprise class, it might be the meals. Nothing was disappointing, however nothing was excellent both.
Hong Kong Airways has a small snack menu for the lengthy flight. However seeing as I slept for greater than seven hours, I missed my probability to check out the cheese, cheese and tomato calzone, or the pan-fried pork loin bun on the menu.
As an alternative, I awoke about two and a half hours earlier than touchdown – and about 30 minutes earlier than the breakfast service started with drink and meal orders. Hong Kong had a selection between a choice of Chinese language dim sum, a leek and pumpkin frittata, and chocolate pancakes with banana custard cream.
As intriguing as these pancakes sounded, I went for the dim sum with a glass of orange juice – dangerous comination, I do know. Flight attendants first dropped off a tray with fruit, yogurt, and drinks earlier than circling again about two minutes later with the entree.
Once more, this was someplace between good and nice. And that simply underscores why the meals was maybe the most important shortcoming of Hong Kong Airways’ enterprise class. Nothing was disappointing, however nothing was excellent both.
Equally, the drinks served on board have been a bit lackluster. Whereas I by no means went thirsty, different airways flying between the U.S. and Asia have a lot better drinks on the menu – from the champagne to the liquor. It’s a small however noticeable disadvantage.
Each seat within the cabin has a excessive definition 17-inch display. And whereas many reverse herringbone seats like these require you to unlatch the display – and stow it throughout takeoff and touchdown – this isn’t one among them.
The monitor is fastened squarely in entrance of you. And may I simply reiterate how crisp the show was? You possibly can management the display by contact, however there’s additionally a useful touchscreen distant as nicely. Both means, they’re each very responsive.
Sadly, the leisure itself doesn’t reside as much as the sterling hardware. There’s a reasonably respectable number of films onboard, nevertheless it was brief on any of the current Hollywood hit releases aside from Loopy Wealthy Asians and Ant Man and the Wasp. There was, nevertheless, a great mixture of older classics like Ratatouille, Inception, and Shutter Island.
However when you’re interested by catching up on American TV exhibits, you’re out of luck. There have been two episodes of Associates, two extra of Trendy Household, and … that was about it.
Hong Kong Airways has Wi-Fi on board these Airbus A350s, however the pricing is steep, to say the least. At $23 for a 100MB move, I skipped it altogether.
However then there’s the most effective in-flight leisure of all: the tail cam. You’ll be able to watch your aircraft soar by means of the skies for your complete flight in the event you’d like. In case you’ve by no means tried it, change it on for take-off and touchdown, on the very least.
It virtually feels fallacious to complain about any facet of this flight. For the worth of a typical financial system ticket, I acquired to fly in an opulent seat that became a mattress, eat higher meals and sleep for greater than half the flight residence.
So I’ll say this: On the finish of the day, Hong Kong Airways is a superb choice in the event you can snag an affordable fare in enterprise class. The seats and cabin are superb, whereas the meals, drinks, and leisure might use some work to catch as much as the likes of top-notch Asian airways like Singapore Airways and EVA Air.
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Editorial Observe: Any opinions, analyses, critiques, or suggestions expressed on this article are these of the writer’s alone, and haven’t been reviewed, authorised, or in any other case endorsed by any card issuer.