Hong Kong Airlines offers a bundled ticket known as an airpass. This often seems like an excellent value compared to purchasing tickets individually.
For example, between Hong Kong and Bangkok a book of three tickets costs $5,730 in economy class, and $10,830 in business class. For a book of five tickets the saving is greater: $7,800 in economy class and $15,300 in business class.
They are available for travel starting in HK to:
- China (Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tianjin)
- Japan (Osaka and Tokyo)
- Taiwan (Taipei)
- Thailand (Bangkok)
as well as for travel to HK starting in Bangkok or Taipei. The tickets are for specific cities except for the ones to China which are offered as “North China” (Beijing and Tianjin) and “Eastern China” (Hangzhou, Nanjing and both Shanghai airports). Usefully, for those, one can book to different airports using the same Airpass.
Airpass tickets have no minimum stay and up to three months maximum stay. The book of tickets is eligible for one year. Although the book of three tickets can only be used by one passenger, a book of five tickets can be shared amongst two passengers.
Full details are available on the HK Airlines website here.
Dates and availability
There are some blackout dates, mostly around festivals like Golden Week, Christmas, Chinese new year and so on.
My biggest frustration using an Airpass has been on availability. Basically it seems that the airpass can draw from the allocation of cheapest booking classes in the cabin. So, each flight has a certain number of seats available in that class and only they can be booked with Airpass, even if the cabin has other empty seats.
Frustratingly, one can only see availability with Airpass once one has bought the Airpass.
That said, although I have had problems finding good availability a week or two out, further in advance I haven’t had big problems seeing availability using the Airpass.
Using the Airpass to book flights
This is what I found to be the hardest thing about the Airpass – actually booking the tickets. The website is not at all intuitive. Here we explain how it works (it works well, it’s just not an obvious interface).
First, you need to log in. The Airpass is linked to a Mileage Wings Club membership number, which you need when you purchase an Airpass. Then, in the left hand column, under “Order Management”, click on “Airpass Order”.
That will bring up details of your Airpass. Under “Status”, click on “Detail”.
That will show you the tickets under the Airpass. Under “Operate”, click “Use” next to the ticket that you want to use. That will take you to a page with dates you can select for your ticket. Be aware that when you enter dates, available flights are shown and if you select them and press “continue”, the flights will be booked – it isn’t clicking through to more information, for example.
I find the Airpass to be a very cost effective purchase, but don’t expect to be able to choose the flights at the last minute and use the guide above to navigate the booking process.