Reader Juliette e-mailed me a few weeks ago inquiring about rumors that Hong Kong Airlines was cutting the HKG – LGW (London Gatwick) route, unfortunately I didn’t have any definitive confirmation at that time.
The press release indicated HK Airlines will be providing customers with full refunds or alternative bookings. I’d choose the full refund, the alternative booking is probably for other destinations served by the airline, but they don’t fly any other routes to Europe so if you want to go to Europe you won’t be flying HK Airlines.
This is yet another all business class flight that failed, I can’t understand why airlines keep trying this model out. Demand is too cyclical and you’ll need economy class passengers at cheaper fares to keep planes somewhat full. If only relying on business passengers, their travel budget can be cut in an instant, as we’ve seen this year. Not to mention if I were a paying business class passenger, I certainly wouldn’t choose HK Airlines, I’d choose a more prestigious airline like Cathay Pacific or Virgin where I can accrue miles and receive better service and amenities.
HK Airlines has a lot of bad news this year, especially after the typhoon debacle. They’ve also cut their expansion plans dramatically due to the poor economic environment. I don’t suggest booking flights with them too far in advance and be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute the charge if they go bankrupt or cut your route as a precaution.
Here’s a related article.