Hong Kong Express (commonly referred to as HK Express) is a low-cost airline based in – as its name suggests – Hong Kong.
It’s been founded in 2004, and since then it has grown its network to include dozens of destinations in nine countries (including ten destinations in Japan). The airline’s fleet is entirely made up of Airbus A320 series aircraft including the A320-200, A320neo, and A321.
I had a chance to try its A321 on a red-eye flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo Haneda, so here’s a quick review.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
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Booking the Hong Kong Express Flight
Choosing Hong Kong Express when looking for flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo was simple. It offered the cheapest fare and a convenient schedule, and it would take me to Haneda airport which is closer to my home than Narita.
When looking through the various fare types the airline offered on the route, I realized that “U-Biz” which was the highest fare with many perks compared to the regular fares was mere 50 Hong Kong dollars (about 6 US dollars) more expensive than “Fun+” – the cheapest fare with free checked-in bag.
It was 480 Hong Kong dollars (about 62 US dollars) more expensive than the cheapest (and thus most restricted) fare, “Fun.”
As you can see in the chart above, the “U-Biz” fare offered priority check-in, pre-boarding, the ability to choose “Sweet Seats” (more on that further in the article), 25 Hong Kong dollars (about 3 US dollars) meal credit onboard, priority luggage handling, as well as the ability to refund the ticket.
What is more, it offered free access to Plaza Premium Lounge – that in itself was worth more than the 6 US dollars extra the “U-Biz” fare cost over the “Fun+” fare.
In case you are wondering, I ended up paying a total of 1,533 Hong Kong dollars (about 195 US dollars) for the one-way “U-Biz” ticket between Hong Kong and Tokyo Haneda.
Boarding HK Express Airbus A321 and the ‘Sweet Seat’
After spending some time in ***the Plaza Premium Lounge***, I took an automated people mover to Hong Kong airport’s fairly new (inaugurated in 2015) and nice looking Midfield Concourse.
There, I headed to my flight’s departure gate, gate 218, straight away.
Thanks to the priority boarding that was bundled with the “U-Biz” fare, I was the first passenger onboard. I walked down the aisle and settled in my “Sweet Seat,” 12A which offered massive legroom (that could rival any first class seat).
Before continuing, a quick note on the “Sweet Seats.” As you might have suspected by this point, they are basically seats with very generous legroom – either because they are behind a bulkhead or in an emergency exit row.
On the A321, there were 20 “Sweet Seats” – six each in rows 1, 11, and 26. And, two – 12A and 12F – in row 12. Those were the ones that had the most space because the seat in front of them was absent and the row in front of them was an emergency exit row.
The one issue with the “Sweet Seat” was the lack of storage as there was no underseat storage – instead, everything had to be stored in an overhead bin.
That said, I was still glad to have opted for the extra legroom seat, since the regular seats looked very tight. HK Express is a low-cost airline after all.
The Uneventful HK Express In-Flight Experience
We departed Hong Kong right on time at 11:40PM, and shortly after take-off, I was able to enjoy Hong Kong’s “Million Dollar Night View.”
As soon as the seat belt signs were switched off a few minutes after take-off, the cabin crew sprung into action – offering drinks and food for sale.
To make use of the 25 Hong Kong dollars voucher that I received as part of the “U-Biz” fare, I decided to get a bottle of Evian water.
Once the crew was finished with in-flight sales, the cabin lights were dimmed, and most of the passengers including myself felt asleep for the rest of the flight.
Arrival at Tokyo Haneda Airport
As we were expected to land at Tokyo Haneda airport at 4:55AM, I had an opportunity to enjoy dawn over Miura Peninsula with a view of Mount Fuji in the distance.
Not long after that, we landed at Tokyo Haneda airport, and parked at our arrival gate on time.
Hong Kong Express A321 ‘U-Biz’ Summary
Overall, it was well worth paying the small extra to get a “business class treatment” with a low cost carrier. The flight was on-time, the legroom was almost too good, and the in-flight sales voucher and free lounge access were nice perks to have.
As such, as long as the “U-Biz” fare continues to be priced attractively compared to the “Fun+” fare, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose it again.
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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.