I had booked this the month before travel as a one way from Hong Kong to Edinburgh via Beijing on Hainan airlines, for $3,058 through Travel Expert. Hainan cancelled the specific Beijing to Edinburgh flight in advance, so rerouted on another airline: I wouldn’t bother booking with Hainan again based on this experience.
At the Airport
The checkin desk had only a short queue and the checkin agent was helpful. In just a little time, I could proceed to security. As it was a few days before Christmas, this was busier than normal but still took only several minutes.
The flight left from the midfield terminal, which necessitated me taking the train there.
This was flown by a very new, clean feeling Airbus A350 (ship number B-LGC) with a lot of red upholstery, as usual on Hong Kong Airlines.
There was a good-sized seatback screen, with a fair range of entertainment. There was also a USB and power outlet. The crew distributed blankets before takeoff.
The flight was the month that Hong Kong Airlines relaunched its inflight magazine as +852. In line with some of its serviceware, the design is contemporary, upbeat and anchored in Hong Kong design cues. The magazine, as before, is a good read.
We pushed back on time with almost a full load in economy class, almost all Asians. It was a smooth flight northwards over the Chinese mainland and we touched down in a foggy, cold Beijing winter evening.
The cabin crew were well-attired and I appreciate the effort the airline puts into their uniform design. The crew were friendly, smiling and hard working.
After takeoff the cabin crew came through with a meal service which was quickly done. After that they came through again with hot and cold drinks. After that, they passed through the cabin occasionally.
Food and drink
No menu was provided; the meal choice was between chicken pasta (spaghetti) and pork and rice. I had the pork rice, which was tasty though a pretty basic dish. But with no starter and just a simple tofu dessert, I would rate this meal as underwhelming for a flight of this length.
This was a new-feeling, decently comfortable A350 plane and the service was friendly and good. The food was a bit below what I would hope for on such a flight, but on balance it was a decent flight.