Hong Kong Airlines prices their seats very reasonably compared with their competitors on the route, who are Cathay Pacific and American Airlines. CX and AA generally price around the same since they codeshare, but of course most of us would prefer to take CX over AA. With Hong Kong Airlines you can be saving a couple of thousand USD, or tens of thousands of HKD by choosing HX over CX for example. Service and food is comparable and you really can’t justify paying the difference. Now with the new seats, Hong Kong Airlines has the newest hard product on this route too.
Super easy check-in at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. Barely any line for business and economy class. I arrived 1h 45m prior to flight departure and had plenty of time to spare. There is a separate line for business as expected and only waited a minute or two before I was called. (Economy line was also short.)
Gave my passport and checked my luggage. Given a lounge and boarding pass in a minute, very easy and headed to security.
As expected in the US, there was a hoard of people there, and they had bomb-sniffing dogs holding up the line. Still only took ten minutes to get through TSA despite the masses of people, so good job to them for keeping the lines moving. Note there is no TSA-precheck with HK Airlines.
HK Airlines uses the LAX International Lounge at TBIT. It’s a small basic lounge, typical of the US. The SFO lounge is a little better since there’s actually cooked food, at LAX there was only sushi and fruits. There is instant oatmeal and cereal in the am though, so you could still get a decent filling before your flight. I did manage to take a few Pepperidge Farm Milano’s in case I got hungry, yum.
Few seating areas, full self-service bar, lots of drinks in the fridge, and tea and coffee selection. Overall no complaints here since I had a bit of food and drink before my flight and it was relaxing to be upstairs away from all of the people on the departure level. I may write a separate review in the coming weeks.
Boarding was quick and efficient, no delays there. I’m always one of the last to board so I’ll wait for everyone to get on and listen for the final boarding announcement. The flight is already 14 hours, no need to extend my time on the plane. Easy enough to find my seat and the new business class seats are in the herringbone layout as found in some other top tier airlines.
Layout ensures ultimately privacy, particularly if you are in the window seats. It’s a great arrangement where you are totally alone and relaxed and don’t see any neighbors. The angle is perfectly, where you can stay outside the windows and see the clouds and blue sky. Very picturesque.
Flight attendants provided more or less the same level of service as my flight from SFO last year. Good consistency there. Purser will come greet you by name and take meal and drink orders while still at the gate. There’s welcome orange juice or water.
As typical with Asian airlines, flight attendants will constantly ply the aisles to see if you are comfortable, have any rubbish which needs to be thrown out, take orders, etc. Glad to see the high level of service continuing since overall the airline industry is trending towards a more basic service level. If you ever need anything, you can ring the flight attendant bell, it was a little hard to find with the futuristic plane (it’s on the TV screen.) Flight attendants aren’t afraid of the bell in the Asia, whereas in the US they tend to get angry when you call them
New Business Class Seat:
As mentioned brand new seats in herringbone layout, so little to complain about. Amenities provided are; pillow, blanket, toiletry kit, and slippers (yay.) Since it’s 2019, there’s no more physical buttons to recline your seat and turn it into a bed. There’s a slick LCD screen with digital buttons on the side. Also, the meal table is tucked under the TV which I haven’t really seen before. It’s handy since there’s always a ledge there to put cups, phones, etc.
Speaking of storage, there’s a few cubbies to put your belongings. Two on the window side, one which contains the headphones and jacks for the outlet and charging ports. Another for your wallet and passport, and one on the opposite side of your seat which fits the toiletry bag nicely. There’s also a little compartment by your knees. Let’s say you won’t run out of cubbies to place your things.
TV is large and clear. Perhaps the biggest TV I’ve been on a plane. It’s touchscreen, or you can use this fancy remote which looks like a smartphone. TV and movie selection consists of both Asian and Western selections. It isn’t the biggest selection but will be enough to get you through the flight. One thing that was odd was the screen displayed a 19h flight time to HK, but once we were airborne it went back to normal.
Legroom is plenty and I would stretch out easily ay 5’8”. If you’re around 6’ or taller you’ll probably have to bend your knees a bit.
Two little touches I appreciated was a flush light that you can pop out for reading. Usually it’s a snake looking thing attached to your seat, but this minimalistic design is cool. Also, for the flight attendants the little step is nice. Typical on Asian airlines since the population is generally shorter than Western counterparts.
Seat of course turns into a lie-flat seat upon a push of a button. Blanket and pillow are high quality and I was warm throughout the flight. Sometimes the airlines freeze you to death, but was very comfortable with the temperature on this flight.
If you need to be connected there is wi-fi on the plane. I didn’t try it, but here are the rates. Best for texting, emails rather than actually downloading things or visiting websites since it’s limited to bandwidth.
The meal selection is excellent in business class, a variety of items to choose, Western, Asian, or vegetarian. Here’s the menus, and the mains should change seasonally. The airline is also promoting Chris Cosentino’s menu (of Cockscomb restaurant in San Francisco) on the LAX route, so I’m glad I was able to try that too.
To start before the meal you’ll get your preferred drink and nuts. Nuts were good, but would suggest they get warmed a bit before serving. I was watching some odd China variety show where the Rock, Dwayne Johnson, was appearing. A bit random, haha. The milk tea is very good by the way, highly suggest it. I must’ve drank 8 cups during the flight.
The appetizer is standard for everyone and is the same offering I had on the SFO flight, kohlrabi and shrimp. It was just as delicious as last time and I chose my favorite, the garlic bread amongst the few other bread options. It was nice and warm, yummy. (My suggestion last year for replacing the plastic sauce container didn’t get enacted it seems, lol.)
Did ask for some additional garlic bread later on in the meal and it came cold. Not as yummy, lol. Note to airline, please warm the bread again. (Tastes better and butter melts more easily.)
Cream of mushroom soup was next, delicious but a little lukewarm. Very strong shroom taste with real shitake, and wish the bowl was bigger. Not the worst complaint. 😛
Main course is up next and I chose Chris Cockscomb’s selection which was the red wine braised beef. It was good, and perfect portion size, if not little too big since I ate at the lounge, then had the appetizers and bread already. Nice taste of red wine and the white bean and fennel combination was a nice arrangement which I don’t see often.
Dessert has plenty of choices and I asked for ice cream but they only had chocolate which is my least favorite flavor, so I went with the panna cotta. Probably a better choice since it was absolutely delicious and enjoyed the bit of fresh fruit that accompanied it.
In business class, attendants don’t come around and throw sandwiches or things like that at you as they do in economy. You request to eat whenever you are hungry.
The dim sum option sounded particularly appetizing so I ordered that. Wanted to also check out what cheeses they offered, so I asked for a cheese plate at the same time. I know, I’m a pig. Glad I did though since I enjoyed the cheese more than the dim sum, though both were good.
For the dim sum you get a shrimp cheung fun, beef ball, and a pork bun. (Again the plastic sauce container, lol. You can tell that’s not my favorite sauce vessel.)
Cheese dish contains a combination of nuts, raisins, crackers, and 3 types of hard and soft cheeses. The hard and soft cheeses were my favorite, but I wasn’t sure what they were since I rarely eat cheese. I asked on my return flight, but actually the cheeses were a little different and declined. The crackers were the most delicious with the cheese and I could’ve ate a whole box of them. HK Airlines, what crackers are these??
Either way, you won’t get hungry since you can keep asking for food. I had a total of 2 dim sum plates and 1 cheese plate. (Don’t judge, it’s a 14 hr flight.)
About 1.5 hours prior to landing the pre-landing meal is served. I was a bit groggy since I was in deep sleep but figured I should eat.
The chicken was surprisingly delicious and moist. Even more moisture than the beef which is usually the opposite case. The sauce and squash puree were yummy and the bread tastes like the one at Cheesecake Factory, lol. Pretty impressive for a pre-landing meal. If you prefer a breakfast option, there is the shrimp with egg white option which you could consider, since there’s eggs, lol.
Overall very impressed with the meal and drink selection. You aren’t paying crazy high business class prices, so very reasonable for what you get.
As mentioned in the opening of my review, Hong Kong Airlines is a serious contender on this route for business class. Fares are reasonable and service is as good as any other airline that would fly this route. With their new seats you’re assured a comfortable flight and certainly won’t go hungry with all of the food and drink options. You can book directly through the airline’s website.
This flight was provided by Hong Kong Airlines. All content and opinions expressed are true and original to the author.