TRIED & TESTED

Hong Kong Air­lines A330-300 Busi­ness Class; Juneyao Air­lines A321 Busi­ness Class; The Lang­ham, Haikou; Kerry Ho­tel Hong Kong

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

BACK­GROUND Hong Kong got its first di­rect ser­vice to Aus­tralia’s Gold Coast in Jan­uary last year, when Hong Kong Air­lines launched a three-times-weekly ser­vice. The re­turn flight in­cludes a stopover in Cairns.

CHECK-IN I ar­rived at Gold Coast In­ter­na­tional Air­port (OOL) at 6.45am for my 0940 HX16 flight. De­spite there be­ing sep­a­rate busi­ness and econ­omy lines, the staff di­rected all pas­sen­gers to one queue. For­tu­nately, I com­pleted the process within ten min­utes.

As Hong Kong Air­lines doesn’t op­er­ate a lounge at OOL, I was given two A$15 (US$12) vouch­ers to redeem at the ter­mi­nal restau­rants.

I moved to the sec­ond se­cu­rity scan for in­ter­na­tional departures at 0845. The im­mi­gra­tion check was an im­pres­sively speedy af­fair, thanks to high-tech electronic self-scan pass­port sta­tions – even for for­eign pass­port hold­ers.

BOARD­ING Board­ing was called at 0905. Again, the de­mar­ca­tion be­tween busi­ness and econ­omy pas­sen­ger lines was ig­nored. There are no air bridge fa­cil­i­ties at OOL, so we had a five-minute walk on the tar­mac to reach the air­craft.

THE SEAT There are 32 busi­ness seats ar­ranged in a stag­gered 1-2-1 con­fig­u­ra­tion. My win­dow seat 18A of­fered plenty of pri­vacy.

There was a gen­er­ous amount of legroom, but not much stor­age space: the com­part­ment un­der the arm­rest (the only holder) was big enough for my glasses and an iPad – if I re­moved the bot­tled wa­ter and head­set. The work/din­ing ta­ble was solid and bal­anced and an in­ter­na­tional power socket is con­ve­niently sit­u­ated un­der the arm­rest.

A high­light was the built-in seat mas­sage func­tion.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE Ev­ery pas­sen­ger is af­forded di­rect aisle ac­cess, how­ever win­dow seats A and K give more pri­vacy than their C or H coun­ter­parts as the side ta­ble acts as a buffer to the aisle. I would avoid rows 11 and 20, as they are close to the gal­ley. THE FLIGHT I stowed my be­long­ings in the empty over­head com­part­ment and set­tled into my seat with

Gold Coast–Hong Kong (via Cairns)

an or­ange juice and wa­ter be­fore we took off at 1000.

A light break­fast (drinks and a muf­fin) was served on the short Gold Coast-Cairns leg, be­fore the flight landed in Cairns at 1220. All pas­sen­gers were re­quired to dis­em­bark be­fore board­ing again at 1305.

My seat was pre­pared with re­freshed ameni­ties, in­clud­ing a new pil­low, blan­ket, head­set and an at­trac­tive Hong Kong-in­spired amenity kit with L’Occitane prod­ucts.

I re­vis­ited the ex­ten­sive IFE sys­tem and was happy to find the movie I had started en route to Cairns was paused where I’d left it. We took off again at 1350.

Drinks and nuts were brought round, and it was great to see spe­cial home­town op­tions, in­clud­ing Hong Kong-style yuan yang (a mix­ture of milk tea and cof­fee).

Lunch was served soon af­ter: the prawn cock­tail starter was okay – though noth­ing spe­cial. For the main dish I chose grilled beef ten­der­loin with a demi-glace sauce and gratin potato. The beef was a bit over­cooked and soaked in too much sauce, though the potato was tasty. The meal was com­pleted with de­li­cious Maggie Beer burnt fig, hon­ey­comb and caramel ice cream.

Af­ter do­ing some work, I re­clined into a fully flat po­si­tion. Though it was a tight fit for my 190cm frame, the semi-open footwell did give my feet plenty of room.

I slept com­fort­ably for about two hours be­fore wak­ing at 4.30pm for an­other meal of sea­sonal fruit, chicken lasagne and choco­late cake. The chicken was very tasty – a big im­prove­ment over lunch.

AR­RIVAL We touched down at 1855 – ten min­utes ahead of sched­ule. Im­mi­gra­tion was quiet and fairly quick, how­ever I was slightly an­noyed to find my “pri­or­ity tagged” lug­gage did not emerge un­til most of the econ­omy pas­sen­gers had re­trieved theirs.

BUSI­NESS ECON­OMY DE­PAR­TURE TIME BED LENGTH

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