Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong to Shanghai Pudong Airport), BUSINESS CLASS, AIRBUS A330-200
Route: Hong Kong Airport (Chep Lap Kok) to Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Departure date and time of flight: 21:30pm on the 22nd July 2011
Flight Number: HX234 (code-shared with Hong Kong Express Airways, flight code UO4234)
Flight duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Class: BUSINESS CLASS
Aircraft type: AIRBUS A330-200
Loyalty Program: Fortune Wings Club
Punctuality of the flight:
The flight departed at least 3 hours late because of traffic congestion at Pudong International Airport. Pudong always has delays because of three main reasons: 1. There is normally military activity going on close to the north of the airport (Chinese Air Force practices sorties) around the sea, 2. The airport cannot handle too much traffic during busy periods, and 3. During poor visibility and bad weather the air traffic control cannot manage the slots well, and also the pilots of most Chinese airlines avoid flying in poor visibility because they are either not trained for that or they just do not want to take the risk of flying in bad weather (even if it should be OK provided the pilot is trained and experienced enough). There is also a lot of bureaucracy involved at airports in China.
Any baggage issues:
No issues. In Business Class each passenger can carry up to 2 pieces weighing a total of 30 KG.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
The check-in staff at Hong Kong Airport were polite, and very professional. There was no problem what so ever.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Business Class passengers were offered a choice of champagne, orange juice, tomato juice, and apple juice out of a hand tray service provided by the crew members. A choice of either sparkling or still mineral water is also offered.
All Business Class passengers are handed out hot hand towels just prior to the meal service. The towels have a lemon scent.
Comments regarding the first meal:
Passengers in Business Class are offered a detailed dinner menu (the same menu is provided for flights leaving around lunch time as well).
Dried mussel and hairy cucumber soup was served with all the meals. As they say in Chinese culture that soup is the main essence of every good meal, so it was no exception in this particular case that we had a delicious bowl of nice soup. The chefs have taken great care in choosing the right kind of the ingredients, and the cuisine is made to be as authentic Cantonese as it can get. Served warm.
Then there was the ‘cajun chicken breast with green bean salad’. Three delicious slices of cajun chicken provided a fine decoration over a neat blend of green beans, roasted baby cherry tomatoes, and a few curry flavoured roasted potatoes. There could be nothing wrong with the a dish that included a dash of tartar sauce presented in the shape of a lotus flower (the national motif of Hong Kong and also the brand image of Hong Kong Airlines). Served cold.
There were three choices for the main dish. These included:
· Pan fried fish with tomato concasse with potato slices, boiled carrots, and spinach,
· Stir fried beef and bean curd sheet with satay sauce with vegetable rice and Chinese vegetables,
· E-Fu noodles with daylily, and marinated braised gluten.
I opted for the first because I love fish, and fish always tastes better as airplane food because it does not lose its taste even at high altitude in a pressurised cabin. The fish (which was cod fish by the way) had a generous covering layer of the tomato concasse, which made the cod fish melt in the mouth with each bite. This dish was not just about the fish but also about those lovely boiled baby carrots and the boiled spicy potatoes wedges. A neat sprinkling of salt and pepper goes fine with the meal (both are provided in small 3D square ceramic cubes that have the Hong Kong Airlines logo on them (the lotus flower). The main meal was provided with a selection of bread rolls and pastries from the bread basket.
There were two portions of the dessert:
The first portion included a tub of Haagen-Dazs ice-cream (delicious!), and the second portion was a bowl of freshly cut exotic fruit (include mango, melon, pineapple and apple slices).
All the dishes were served on fine bone china cutlery embedded with the Hong Kong Airlines logo on it (with the lotus flower crest).
Comments regarding the drinks service:
A second round of drinks was offered after the meal. This included coffee and tea (green tea and black tea).
Comments regarding the in-flight snacks (if any):
Since Hong Kong Airlines is a Cantonese airline, so instead of giving away Godiva chocolates (like some other international airlines do), passengers get a traditional Cantonese Fortune Cookie with a lovely message. My message was ‘You will meet an opposite sex in the horoscope of Libra’. Whether that is true or not will come into light in the month of Libra (well, I am still single!)!
Comments regarding the second meal (if any):
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
On the Airbus A330-200 Hong Kong Airlines provides a mobile 10.6 inch PTV screen in Business Class and a 10.6 screen in Economy Class as well.
Economy Class seats have the screens embedded at the back of the seats while passengers in the Business Class cabins have their screens neatly tucked away in the armrest and can be pulled out wherever you want.
Noise cancellation headphones are provided to every passenger in Business Class, and normal headphone are provided in Economy Class. In Business Class there is also the provision of purple slippers and a cotton blanket.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The staff were very proud of their brand image and represented their airline at the highest level possible. When under a situation of high pressure, the staff seemed to act with professionalism and integrity.
Improvements that could be made:
None. For such a short flight, you could not really ask for much.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
Hong Kong Airlines has an emerging brand that is beginning to be globally recognised. For A330-200, Business Class cabin accommodates 24 passengers in a 2-2-2 seat design while Economy Class cabin caters for 259 passengers in a 2-4-2 setting.
The seats in Economy Class on the Airbus A330-200 have a pitch of 32 inches recline, and are 17.5 inches wide.
Business Class seats on the Airbus A330-200 have a pitch of 60 inches recline (flatbed), and are 20 inches wide.
All the Business Class seats come standard with a plug for laptop or mobile phone (though you can only recharge the mobile phone but you cannot use it!), and an in-built massage system (the seat vibrates), Hong Kong Airlines are very proud of their brand image and have encrusted the lotus lower logo onto every product that they have on the aircraft. Lovely purple and red colours adorn the seats and the interior of the cabins.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 10
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