a seat in a plane

Review: Hong Kong Airlines A350 Business Class

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This year is the year of premium cabin mistake fares for me. I recently got the chance to take advantage of an awesome mistake fare from Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai (PVG) via Hong Kong (HKG) on Hong Kong Airlines in business class for $540.

I paid for my trip with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which enabled me to earn 3x the points on travel. I earned 1,620 Chase Sapphire Rewards points worth approximately $33. Paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve also covers me with a little bit of additional travel protection should anything have gone wrong.

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Hong Kong Airlines has been around since 2001, but long haul flights started for them not too long ago. The Los Angeles to Hong Kong market is pretty saturated with 3 airlines flying up to 5 flights per day. I was curious to see how Hong Kong Airlines product was.

Hong Kong Airlines recently took delivery of the Airbus A350. It was the only plane I flew on with them for all 4 of my legs. What’s unique is that they offer 2 different types of business class seats on the A350. 3 of my 4 legs were on their older product, which I liked better and 1 flight was aboard their newest A350, which had reverse herringbone seats

Check In

a person walking with luggage in front of a glass building

I received an email to check-in online but unfortunately it wouldn’t actually allow me to check in. When I arrived to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles (LAX) it was packed. Hong Kong Airlines economy check-in line was over flowing from the queue all the way down to the door.

people standing in front of a counter with a group of people

Thankfully the Business class line only had 2 other people in front of me. I was through check-in in about 15 minutes. The agent gave me both boarding passes along with a lounge pass and this awesome card acknowledging the mistake fare.

a man sitting in a plane eating food

While cheeky, good on them for honoring a mistake fare, they deserve all the PR for it.

a red sign with white text


Los Angeles (LAX)a sign on a wall

In Los Angeles Hong Kong Airlines uses the Los Angeles International Lounge. It overlooks the terminal but the food and beverage options were limited.

a bar with bottles and glasses

food on a tray in a display case

The only thing that was good about the lounge was that it was a quite space.

a large building with a large screen

I didn’t spend much time in the lounge, as I prefer walking the terminal. TBIT always has a variety of planes on display with amazing views

a large white airplane on a wet runway 

Hong Kong (HKG)

In Hong Kong there are 2 lounges you can access. The Club Bauhinia is by gate 23 while the Club Autus lounge located in the 200 gates.

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Club Autus

I would skip the Club Bauhinia as the Club Autus lounge is much larger with a larger selection of food and beverage.

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Club Autus

The food selection at Club Autus included some food to order stations too, but it was pretty packed. 

Shanghai (PVG)

In Shanghai they contract to the No.77 lounge. In addition to hosting over a dozen airlines it is accessible via American Express Platinum and Priority Pass.

a wall with many different colored signs

There is a walk up bar and a decent selection of food.

a counter with bottles and a kettle on it a group of steamers on a counter a trays of food on a counter

There were lots of seating options and the lounge was pretty empty when I was there. Not too memorable but still nice to have.


I keep saying it but its true, not all lie flat seats are created equal. On my first flight from LAX-HKG I was onboard the very first A350 that Hong Kong Airlines received. (B-LGA)

a plane at an airport

The seat was actually my favorite because of how wide it was. I chose seat 12K located in the bulkhead on the far side of the plane.

a small red bed with a grey bag on it
Bulkhead footwell

The window seats (All A and K seats) in this configuration are the most comfortable.

an airplane with red seats and a shelf

Hong Kong Airlines made the decision to cushion the empty space between the window.

a seat with a pillow on it

a pillow on a seat

Center seats don’t have the wide seat luxury and are exposed to the aisle.

a tv screen on an airplane

For my return I was onboard 1 of 2 A350’s with new zodiac reverse herringbone seats (B-LGE).

an airplane on the runway

While these felt more modern and private they also felt significantly more cramped.

a seat on an airplane

a row of seats in a plane

The few places where these seats thrived was the ample storage space and each seat had individual air nozzles.

 a tv on a table in an airplane


Waiting at each seat on boarding was a great pillow and a comfortable blanket.

a seat with pillows in it

There was also some pretty low quality noise canceling headphones.

a remote control in a plastic bag

Before departure flight attendants came around with amenity kits. They were designed by Ricebowl Republic and had fantastic design. Each kit contained socks, an eyeshade, a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, and l’Occitane branded moisturizer and lip balm.

a group of objects on a table 

In-flight Entertainment

On all my flights the in-flight entertainment was super responsive. There was a fair amount of new movie options along with old classics. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring some movies of your own as well to supplement. There was a significant section dedicated towards foreign and Chinese films as well.

a television screen showing a couple of people sitting at a table

On my first 3 flights the screen is older and on the smaller side. That being said the planes were delivered in August 2017 so quality wasn’t bad, just small.

On the last flight with the reverse herringbone seats, the in-flight entertainment was over designed to the max. The screens were really large but what was interesting is that you could watch a movie from 4” handset while playing something else on the main screen. A feature no one ever asked for or needed.

a screen with a picture of an airplane

You could also use the handset as a virtual mouse on the main screen which sounded better in concept than in execution. a hand holding a phone


The food on all the flights was very hit or miss, and if they missed, they missed by a lot.

On my first flight from LAX-HKG the food was probably the worst. Service started with appetizers that included lobster, abalone and a side salad.

a plate of food on a table

Next came a very traditional pork soup.

a bowl of soup with meat in it

For the main course I went for the western option, which ended up being chicken stuffed with cheese. It wasn’t the most appetizing looking and ate very over cooked and greasy.

a plate of food with vegetables

The second meal was pork with a fried egg, which was much much better.

a plate of food on a table

They also had a selection of foods on demand including dim sum, which was tasty.

a plate of food on a tray

On the flight from HKG-PVG I was served dinner even though we departed after 9 PM. I made the same mistake again by picking the western option. I was served an anemic piece of beef along with 2 different kinds of potatoes.

a plate of food on a table

From PVG-HKG I flew in the morning. The breakfast was among one of the better meals. Service on the 2.5-hour flight started with fruit, yogurt, and a muffin.

a plate of fruit and cupcake on a table

The main course was an omelet with pork loin and vegetables. I absolutely loved their mug design; oddly these were only used on my short flights instead of the longer ones.

a plate of food on a table

My last flight from HKG-LAX started off with a tasty fig and ricotta salad.

food on a plate on a tray

I finally learned my lesson and had the stir-fried chicken option, which was excellent.

a plate of food on a table

The one place that Hong Kong Airlines really exceeded my expectations was with their beverages. They have an extensive list of delicious teas.


On all of my flights the flight attendants did a fantastic job. I always felt welcome and warm. The lavatories were kept tidy.

There was one odd thing that did happen, and I had seen it reported on before. On my first flight only, the flight attendants did not clear my plates between courses. Plates just kept piling up on the side table next to my seat until I was finished with the meal 


Overall I was very satisfied with my time onboard Hong Kong Airlines. There is of course room for improvement but I would gladly fly with them again. With this being a mistake fare, the price was definitely right but I would gladly pay more to fly with them again in Business class. The biggest downfall I have with them is that they aren’t a part of a useful alliance for a US based traveler. I am excited to see their product evolve for the future

Have you flown with Hong Kong Airlines?

Sign up now to earn a limited time offer of  50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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