Take-off with food trays? HK Airlines HKG <-> SHA


Here I am sitting in Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Terminal 1. Waiting for my return flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong on Hong Kong Airlines. I took this flight last year also and my experience thus far has been about the same. Read on for the weird part about the plane taking off with passengers holding onto their meal trays.

hk airlines plane

There’s a shuttle from the terminal to the plane. Pic walking up the stairs.


Minor delay on the outbound from HKG – SHA on a Wednesday afternoon, led to a late arrival about 40 minutes late. Certainly not bad considering I’m traveling during the announced flight restriction dates for the eastern coast of China.

I checked-in online and printed out my boarding pass without issue. Web site could use some sprucing and speeding up, but at least it worked. I couldn’t change my assigned seat though, which sucked.

Bus to the plane in HKG as usually. Large A330-300 that was probably only 2/3 full, at most. I was sitting in a full row but the agent allowed me to move to a different seat after the cabin door was closed.

Entertainment system was as expected, nice screen that can handle a higher resolution than the actual movies displayed on it. Decent selection of movies, TV shows, music, etc. The software sucks though, but as expected for a proprietary Chinese entertainment system. I watched Lego movie on the short 2 hour hop up to Shanghai.

hk airlines entertainment

Modern entertainment system. Software sucks though.

Food sucked, it was like this overcooked spam thing in a chinese bun, not worthy of using up memory on my phone to take a pic. De-planed by jetbridge and whisked through security and customs. Zero lines. Was off the plane and out of the terminal and no more than 5 minutes.

The plane took an interesting route inland since it had to avoid the typhoon that was passing by Taiwan towards China.

hkg to sha route

Route inland to avoid the typhoon coming from Taiwan


Return flight leaves from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Terminal 1. I’ve never seen many people around check-in here since there’s only a handful on international flights departing here. Check-in, security, immigration required no more than 5 minutes total, super quick.

They had the gate wrong when I checked in and made everyone move, but other than that, no complaints. Flight was on-time, gasp, and they started boarding at exactly 30 minutes before departure. Uncharacteristic timeliness for China, thought I was in Japan for a second.  However, as soon as we boarded the plane and they closed the cabin door, the pilot came on saying we have a 2 hour+ delay, yay!

The attendants served food about 45 mins after sitting on the ground, which was good because I was starting to get a bit hungry at that point, around 8pm. Of course as soon as that happens the captain comes on saying we’re pushing back to take off. The flight attendants are stunned and have no clue what to do. After conversing for a few minutes they decide to announce that we can keep our trays as the plane takes off…WTF? Are you kidding me? I’m sure this is a violation and safety hazard; having trays down & meal trays flying about during takeoff. In my case, I decided to quickly eat and ask the attendants to take my tray away which they did. It was some weird pork and spaghetti mix. Not tasty, but filled the stomach.

hk airlines meal

Disgusting food, but it was edible

Once we did actually make it off the ground, conditions on the flight were as expected and similar to the flight to Shanghai. Also, I was lucky not to have anyone’s food fly into me during the takeoff!

Arrived in HKG about 30 mins late and no complaints overall aside from the delay, but that’s not the carrier’s fault. I only spent $1,799 round-trip, which I thought was a good deal. Be sure to book your flights using the Hong Kong Airlines Weekend Bazaar coupons. I was able to shave off $150 HKD by buying my ticket on a weekend.


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