AIRLINE – HONG KONG AIRLINES
CLASS OF TRAVEL – BUSINESS
AIRCRAFT – A330
ROUTE – CAIRNS TO HONG KONG
Hong Kong Airlines currently operates 3 flights per week from Cairns to Hong Kong, and following a wonderful weekend in Port Douglas, ScrubySnacks decided to try out their Business Class offering on their Sunday afternoon flight. Despite its relatively small size and sleepy qualities, Cairns Airport does offer both regional and international flights, although it wasn’t surprising to find that the check-in counter at Cairns Airport consisted of just a handful of passengers.
The check-in process itself was seamless and the staff upbeat and friendly, despite some unavoidable system issues they were having at the time. Along with our Hong Kong Airlines boarding passes, we were also each presented with an AUD30 meal voucher to enjoy at Trib’s Café located in the departures hall. This rather generous offering was due to the absence of a Hong Kong Airlines reciprocal lounge at Cairns Airport, and even with the over-inflated airport café prices, we actually struggled to spend the full amount. Instead we decided to donate one of our unused vouchers to an excited gaggle of pensioners in the café queue behind us, who were about to embark on a long journey to Manchester in the UK.
As we boarded the Hong Kong Airlines A330 aircraft, we were greeted by a team of immaculately presented Hong Kong Airlines crew who graciously led us to our seats, and offered us a welcome drink of orange juice or water (don’t worry, the bubbly stuff was available after take-off). The flight was relatively quiet in Business Class and after a quick chat with the cabin crew, we were allowed to swap our window and aisle seats to two side by side middle seats for a little more space and privacy.
The Hong Kong Airlines Business Class cabin was very spacious with a total of 30 seats in a 2-2-2 staggered configuration. The seats were covered in a rich red, oriental patterned fabric, complimented by a rather regally coloured purple cotton covered pillow, plump comforter and a pair of soft towelling slippers.
The seat itself was impressive, offering a large silver fold-down table, a substantial side table and a storage compartment housing a bottle of water and a pair of noise-cancelling headsets. Also available for personal use was a coat hook, power outlet, flexible reading light, and a cushioned foot rest with a storage area which could be used after take-off. Controls for the inflight entertainment and seat settings were located on a panel to the side and we could hardly wait to try the various seat options available, including the 180 degree fully-flat bed position and in-seat massage function.
The personal TV screen was in a stationary position so there was no need to stow away for take-off or landing, meaning that every minute of viewing time could be savoured. Although boasting an on-demand entertainment system with around 100 blockbusters, audio files and video games in total, there wasn’t a huge selection of new releases or western TV channels but certainly enough to keep us entertained for the 6 hour 40 minute flight.
What was a rather nice touch was the welcome video presented during take-off, guiding us through the new business class cabin, showcasing its fine-dining, attentive service and various seating positions we could look forward to experiencing during the flight ahead.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Soon after take-off, we were handed a hot towel, a business class menu and our lunch orders were promptly taken. Drinks and a small bowl of mixed nuts were served as our tables were laid with a crisp white linen table cloth.
Soon, the chilled starter arrived consisting of a prawn cocktail with a Marie Rose dressing and a seasonal fresh fruit bowl, which was all refreshingly tasty. The main course of braised barramundi and mushrooms with oyster sauce, steamed rice and seasonal vegetables was delicious, especially accompanied by the hot, buttery garlic bread which was selected from the large bread basket. The fish was flaky, juicy and generous in size – in fact too large to finish. Thankfully, vital stomach space was located just in time for the arrival of dessert – an outstanding Maggie Beer burnt fig, honeycomb & caramel ice cream. The accompanying wine selection consisted of Lanson Black Label Brut and a selection of basic Chilean and Australian white and reds.
With our bellies bulging, our tables were promptly cleared and the crew enquired as to what we would like for our next ‘refreshment’ meal. Avoiding the immediate urge to press the recline button on the seat, we glanced at the meal options and placed our orders. We were also asked what time we would like the meal to be served at and if we would be happy to be woken up beforehand. With a smile, we insisted that we would be awake at the time considering that this was a relatively short daytime flight. Oh how wrong we were!
Hot towels were distributed, the cabin lights were dimmed and we reclined into the much anticipated 180 degree position. It only took a few seconds before the purple inflight slippers were kicked off and we were swaddled in our super soft comforters. Within minutes we had drifted off into an unavoidable gentle slumber.
Two hours before landing, we were awoken by the gentle raising of the cabin lights and the offering of yet another hot towel in preparation for the next meal. The ‘refreshment’ meal of choice consisted of a fresh fruit starter, a main course of a delicious chicken lasagne with seasonal vegetables and a dessert of a very rich, flourless chocolate cake. All were again extremely pleasurable to taste but yet again, we struggled to finish the whole meal.
A final steamy hot towel was thrown in for good measure and soon enough, the cabin was prepared for our landing in hot and humid Hong Kong.
Our journey on Hong Kong Airlines in Business Class was almost not long enough. The attention to detail from the staff was outstanding. In fact, even when they handed us a customer feedback form prior to landing, we were pushed to find anything negative about our first experience with the carrier.
The cabin crew were immaculately presented and professional, ensuring that all passengers were comfortable throughout the whole journey. They were extremely prompt in clearing things away and ensuring that the space around each seat was kept clean and tidy.
We even enjoyed the very cute melodic tune that accompanied the frequent turbulence announcements.
One thing we noticed was the lack of an amenity kit. As this was a daytime flight, it was not something that we missed, but if you are partial to a pre-landing freshen up, it’s worth packing your own essentials. Be prepared to sleep on this flight even if you weren’t planning to. This is a very comfortable product indeed and after all the delicious food they feed you, it’s impossible to keep your eyes open for the entire duration of the flight.
Check out and compare ScrubySnacks’ other airline reviews:
British Airways Review – Club World (Business Class)
American Airlines Review – Business Class (Long haul)
Japan Airlines Review – Sky Suite II (Business Class)
British Airways Review – World Traveller (Economy Class)
Cathay Pacific Review – Economy Class