Hong Kong Airline announced yesterday that they will be receiving their fifth A350, featuring new Business Class seats and IFE systems. Hong Kong Airlines has expanded extensively over the past year. Currently, their Americas services include daily service to Vancouver and Los Angeles and four-weekly service to San Francisco. Chris T recently covered their product on flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco and had an excellent experience. You can find both reviews for Business class and Economy class on our site.
The New Seats
Hong Kong Airlines has a total of 21 A350s on order, and the current 4 aircraft in service features a staggered 1-2-1 configuration in Business Class. Per the press release sent out by Hong Kong Airlines, all of their subsequent A350 deliveries will feature the new Business Class seats. The new seats will be in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout featuring B/E Aerospace super diamond seats and direct aisle access. These are similar to those found on Cathay Pacific’s long-haul aircraft.
The seat specification released by Hong Kong Airlines shows an improvement in bed width and bed length. A table for comparison is created by Hong Kong Airlines:
The new seats have multiple storage spaces. These include a shoe or laptop stowage compartment under the ottoman; a small item storage area found near the meal-table; and a reading material storage compartment.
A touchscreen seat control panel will be installed. I personally find touchscreen panels easier to use than other seat control designs. The reading light and seat controls are both located by the armrest.
All center seats will also include a privacy divider, which is a useful feature, particularly towards solo travelers.
New IFE System
Hong Kong Airlines has partnered with Thales Group to install a brand-new IFE system into the A350 aircraft. The current 16-inch screen will be upgraded to a larger 17-inches screen in the new seats. The new screen is also touch screen enabled, which can be a convenience for some.
New 17-inch touchscreen IFE display Hong Kong Airlines
Hong Kong Airlines also introduced the “Air Mouse” concept for its new IFE controls. An infra-red sensor allows the handset to be used like a computer mouse when controlling the IFE systems. The touchscreen and the “Air Mouse” collectively provide different control options for different passengers.
The new IFE systems on Hong Kong Airlines looks fantastic, at least based on the photos. It is modern and stylish and seems much better than the aging IFE systems on many Cathay Pacific aircraft.
For what is worth, Hong Kong Airlines also included some photos of the economy class cabin. The seats will remain the 3-3-3 layout. No details are given if the economy seats received a refresh.
It is always exciting to see a new airline product launching, particularly out of Hong Kong. The new offerings by Hong Kong Airlines is a step up from their already excellent Business Class and made them a lot more competitive against Cathay Pacific and other airlines serving transpacific routes.
The new A350 featuring these new seats will first be flying between Hong Kong and Bangkok for crew familiarization. Then, it will be placed on the Hong Kong – Los Angeles routes on select dates. So some that took advantage of the recent Hong Kong Airlines mistake fare will have a chance to sample these new seats.
As of now, Hong Kong Airlines has not updated their website to reflect the new aircraft and its configuration.
Below are more photos from Hong Kong Airlines press release: