Lots of airlines fly between Hong Kong and Bangkok, how is Hong Kong Airlines on this route in business class?
Hong Kong Airlines’ Fortune Wings frequent flier programme is not very lucrative, so even after quite a few flights with them (our Hong Kong Airlines reviews are listed here) I still did not have very many. I haven’t paid much heed to rumours of the airline’s challenges, but a devaluation of frequent flyer miles can be an easy accounting trick even for an airline in good shape, so when they ran a redemption sale and I realized how their miles are already less valuable in redemption terms than several years ago, I decided that it might be as good a chance as any to use what few miles I did have.
I booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok in business class for 19,000 Fortune Wings miles and around $500 in fees. I booked on their website without much difficulty a little over a month out and there was good availability on several flights on the given Saturday, although some were timed late at night so I plumped for HX775, which would be on an A330. I would have preferred a different aircraft, ideally with the newer seating Dom previewed here, but prioritized a convenient arrival time over aircraft type.
Four days after the flight, I received an SMS from the airline saying that 1,350 miles had been credited to my Fortune Wings account for the flight. Normally, redemption flights do not accrue miles so this was a surprise and the points did indeed show up in my acccount.
At the Airport
There were queues at the business class checkin counter but not at the online bag drop and when I asked if I could checkin there it was fine. The ground agent was friendly and fast, issuing me with a card boarding pass for window seat 15A and lounge pass.
The boarding gate was to be 205 in the midfield terminal, so I had to take the train there. The escalators up from the terminal are poorly designed so one walks further than ideal, although the gates tend to be easy to reach.
I went to the enjoyable Club Autus lounge (reviewed here) and then headed to the gate (205) around twenty five minutes before scheduled departure, at which point it was already about to close.
The plane was an A330-300 (registration number B-LNU).
The interior was in decent condition and all pretty pleasant except for the watery, lime green soap in the toilet which was more like what one sees in a municipal toilet than a premium cabin toilet
The business class cabin was arranged in five rows of seating in a 2-2-2 configuration.
My seat had a decent amount of recline, a powerpoint and a couple of USB ports. There was a good sized seatback screen, and headphones in a compartment underneath. At the seat were a large pillow, quality blanket and bottle of mineral water. The inflight entertainment selection is middling and stopped working at one point, although the crew were very helpful in restarting it immediately.
The business class cabin was a little over one third full, and the seat beside me remained empty. We waited at the stand for fifteen or so minutes and had a smooth flight to Suvarnabhumi, arriving around five minutes behind schedule. There as immigration is variable, I made use of the priority lane which had no one queuing ahead of me.
Hong Kong Airlines cabin crews are often friendly, poised and helpful – this one was like that and I enjoyed flying with them.
Before take off, the cabin head and later purser came around and introduced themselves and welcomed me with what felt like genuine enthusiasm. I was given a fast track arrival card for Bangkok as well as immigration form. I was also offered a pre-departure drink, although rather stingily no alcohol is offered on the ground.
They also offered a sturdy card menu, took my order and took the menu away again before departure. I would have liked to hang onto the menu at least for the duration of my meal as it can be helpful to refer to it. The menu, along with some service items, carried the airline’s distinctive Hong Kong themed artwork, which though a bit informal does I feel have character.
Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendant came to offer drinks, served with mixed nuts in an attractive porcelain dish. After that, my table was laid with a tablecloth and the meal tray brought with the starter. The purser came around with a basket with multiple breads and later when I took some more of the tasty garlic bread and said “thank you” she responded “thank you for liking our bread so much” – a very welcome chirpy level of service.
The main course was served, then the tray cleared for dessert. In each case the service was swift and friendly, and the cabin crew were highly visible in the cabin throughout the flight.
Food and Drink
The menu was as follows.
I plumped for the beef, which had a disappointing texture: a bit tougher than I expected, and not attractively presented overall. The starter was tasty and the dessert though simple was tasty and I felt very prettily presented.
The drinks list was as follows, although wine is not a high point of the Hong Kong Airlines experience I feel. That said, they had a decent champagne.
A hospitable and well-groomed cabin crew, excellent service, good food overall and space to recline and relax: this was another solid Hong Kong Airlines flight.