Hong Kong (HKG) to Los Angeles (LAX)
On the Ground: Hong Kong Airlines’ recent entry into the United States allowed a great new innovator into this space, and I have to say this fresh and modern airline made quite an impression. After a week of meetings throughout Asia, I headed home from Hong Kong on a Sunday morning. HKG is always busy, and the Hong Kong Airlines check-in was to the right and a bit confusing for me to find at first. I was checked in within a few minutes at the business-class counter and received a VIP passenger pass, enabling me to use a VIP line through security, easily cutting my time by 20 minutes.
I had about an hour before boarding, so I was able to experience the Hong Kong Airlines lounge. The lounge, on the second level, sports an open-air ambience, so it wasn’t too loud. Despite the bustle of passengers, there was plenty of seating at couches and large tables for families, but my favorite was casual tables against the windows facing the taxiway with warm sunshine spilling in. The buffet-style cuisine included dim sum, juices and a made-to-order omelet bar.
Pre-Flight: The Airbus A350 business class features a 1-2-1 herringbone configuration, giving everyone lots of space — especially the window seat. I arrived at seat 15A, where the crew greeted me with a choice of water or lemon tea. I went with the slightly sweet lemon tea. Hot towels, newspapers and menus were promptly offered. We took off shortly, and I settled in to enjoy this new aircraft.
In-Flight: As we reached cruising altitude, I began to scope out my seat. The 180-degree lie-flat seat featured a warm red fabric, a decent width and lots of extra storage for my personal items. The technology was also a great surprise, starting with a large screen with excellent quality. I was interested to see a new handheld remote for the entertainment system that looked and ran like an iPhone, which made choosing movies or shows much easier compared to the old gamerlooking consoles or reaching over your seat. Decent entertainment choices included new Hollywood releases.
As our flight attendants began to take our orders, the menu really caught my eye — the unique design featured cute, cartoon drawings and figures on all the pages, lightening a normally boring piece of paper. The items on the menu were also diverse and, more importantly, tasted delicious. My favorite dishes were the foie gras starters, seafood stir-fry main course and the chocolate pancakes for breakfast.
I am not the best flyer, as I hardly sleep on planes, so a 14-hour flight can seem endless. However, the beyond-friendly cabin crew made my trip easy and fun. It started mid-flight (I was the only one up, watching a movie), and they surprised me with a cup of tea and a warm doughnut (yes, a warm doughnut). On my first flight the crew also realized I wasn’t sleeping and offered to chat in the galley if I got bored and brought me tea and chocolate. I am not sure how they knew sweets were the way to my heart, but they did.
◆ Menu options offered traditional dishes like dim sum and modern perks like chocolate pancakes!
◆ Onboard technology was convenient and of great quality. I enjoyed the wide selection of new movies and easy, iPhonelike controls.
◆ The onboard crew went above and beyond to make the flight enjoyable and memorable.
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