HK Express Flight Review – HKG HND
So I just came back from a trip to Tokyo, Japan. It’s really nice this time of year, the temperature was hovering in the mid-teens during the daytime and no pollution while I was there, a nice change from Hong Kong. I flew Hong Kong’s newest budget airline, HK Express and here’s my take.
Check-in for HK Express is located in Terminal 2 of HKIA. Most of the budget airlines and Thai Airways is here, so you’ll see a lot of people heading to Southeast Asia milling around. In any case, I arrived 1 hour before the flight and had an extremely short line, probably waited around 5 minutes or less to check in. Probably would’ve been faster if not for one couple who looked to have some issues at check-in, and another couple trying to load tons of baggage on the plane that was duct taped together. Note the airline does charge for check-in baggage, rates here.
Checking in was super easy and I only did carry-on on the way to Japan. Interestingly enough, there’s an ad for HK Express right next to the check-in desks which I thought was funny. I figured you’d want advertisement away from the check-in desk so you can advertise to people who don’t know you’re there. Anyway, I digress, back to the check-in. Security and immigration are downstairs and they were checking passports with much more scrutiny after the Malaysia Airlines incident. You have to take a shuttle train to the main terminal building where my flight left from gate 505.
HK Express doesn’t serve complimentary drinks or food, so I wanted to buy some before I boarded to bring with me for the 5 hour flight. Check out the menu here. Unfortunately my flight departed during peak dinner time so the lines at the food court were INSANE. I’ve never seen so many people lined at McDonalds. I waited about 10 minutes and gave up after only moving halfway, and ended up getting takeaway dinner at Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家. Originally I wanted a roast pork noodle + bottle of water but it was over $120 so I settled for a wonton noodles instead. Geez, talk about crazy prices.
Gate 505 is actually located in the satellite building, so you need to take a bus from the main terminal to the satellite, but at least we boarded by jetway which was good. I was afraid we’d have to board by bus which takes forever. I made it to the gate with a few minutes to spare and caught a picture of a couple taking a selfie at the gate, see below. hehe.
Plane was very red inside. Looks like the Hong Kong Airlines livery, although HK Express does have new livery according to their website. Regardless, the seats and legroom were spacious on the A320 and comparable with any full-service airline. The flight attendants were helpful, guiding me to my seat in the rear and suggested where I place my baggage. This was another nice surprise, the attendants both female and male were helpful. Certainly not much expected from a budget airlines, but I got friendly service. The only thing that felt like a budget airline was the fact you don’t get food or drinks free.
The plane departed on time and arrived in Tokyo Haneda a bit late, I think all incoming flights were circling the airport for whatever reason that evening. But other than that the flight was a success from Hong Kong to Tokyo. The return trip was pretty similar, I’ll just mention it briefly.
On the return from Haneda I checked-in about 1 hour before the flight time again, the terminal was virtually empty since it was very late at night. I had 1 bag to check and with the baggage included on my ticket it wasn’t a problem, only weighed 12 kg. Security and immigration took a total of 3 minutes since I was the only one going through and I was just wandering the airport. HND has a great outdoor observatory deck by the way which I’ll mention in a coming post.
The flight boarded and departed on-time, another uneventful experience, which is positive when flying. I couldn’t really sleep well on the overnight flight, I think the temperature was a bit warm but otherwise flight landed without incident 25 minutes prior to schedule at HKG. I didn’t care for the remote bay parking, so we had to deplane on the tarmac and board a bus to the terminal which I hate, especially at 5am. Unfortunately this is one item you have to often deal with when flying budget, but on the positive side the bus does leave you right next to immigration. My bag arrived probably about 5 minutes after I reached the belt so kudos there.
Overall my experience was very positive with HK Express. It’s a budget airline with great prices but doesn’t feel budget except that you need to pay for baggage and food/drinks. Other than the few add-on fees, your experience should more or less be like something on any other mainstream airline.