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