Hong Kong is a dazzling city. With a dazzling international airport. And some great hometown airlines. Though not the oldest or largest among them, Hong Kong Airlines has arguably been the most exciting over the past year, launching new long-haul routes to North America on the wings of its small new fleet of Airbus A350s. With that unique aircraft’s help, the airline launched service to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver over the past year.
We have a blast reviewing airlines for the first time, and we got to do exactly that with Hong Kong Airlines on a flight to its Hong Kong (HKG) hub from San Francisco (SFO), barely a month after the route launched. From the fresh and roomy business class seats to the impressive dining experience, we found a lot to get excited about. Plus there’s the AvGeek joy of flying on the relatively new A350!
Read on for plenty of photos, videos, and thoughts on Hong Kong Airlines’ A350 inflight experience.
Meet the competitors! – Photos: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Reviewing airlines is fun. But ranking them is even better! I got to review five Star Alliance premium cabins in 2017, and in the spirit of a little healthy competition I wanted to consider how they stacked up against each other. Our contenders are a Taiwanese AvGeek favorite with a penchant for Hello Kitty, a legacy U.S. carrier with a knack for being in the news, one of South Korea’s largest long-haul airlines, Scandinavia’s hometown favorite, and a company that’s looking to become the dominant Middle Eastern airline.
The routes we flew – GCMap.com
Read on as we rank United Airlines, EVA Air, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Asiana Airlines across a range of categories including lounges, seat design, dining experience, service, amenities, and in-flight entertainment. By the end, we’ll see if any of our contenders can rise to the level of champion!
Welcome to Club World – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
British Airways’ business class — branded “Club World” — has been flying for a long time. It was unveiled back in 1999 as one of the very first fully-flat business class seats. It’s undergone a few updates and refinements in the years since, but the design fundamentals are still the same. I’ve wanted to fly Club World for a long time, because of its unique layout and because of the aviation blogosphere’s mixed opinions on the product. I finally got my chance — on the majestic A380, no less. While there’s no denying that the seat isn’t the best out there, I found plenty to like about my experience.
Read on for the full scoop on my flight in Club World and the future of BA’s business class.
Our ride to London Heathrow – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
We get it. You love your electronics. You can probably go longer without water than without your laptop or iPad. So it was a nasty surprise when the U.S. sprang an electronics ban on all inbound flights from seven Muslim-majority countries. Any device larger than a smartphone (excluding medical devices) can’t be carried into the cabin, and needs to be checked instead.
Sadly, we at AirlineReporter aren’t invited to top-secret government intelligence briefings, so we can only hope there’s an excellent reason for the ban. The downside is a little more evident. Beyond the inconvenience, devices and their flammable lithium batteries are now all stuck in the cargo hold, where they are harder to monitor and contain.
Even so, the ban isn’t the end of the world. There’s more to flying than watching downloaded movies or checking your email on overpriced inflight wifi. Take our word for it. We caught a flight on Turkish Airlines, one of the carriers affected by the ban. We were flying out of the U.S. so we technically weren’t subject to the ban, but we decided to leave our laptops off anyways. And guess what? We still had a blast. Read on for the — count ’em — TEN great ways we still had plenty of fun in the skies without our electronics.