The smallest aircraft and the only narrow-body type in Hong Kong Airlines’ fleet is the A320. While the airline mainly uses the type on shorter flights in the region, to destinations in China and Vietnam for example, they are also deployed on some longer flights to Japan and Korea.
I flew on the Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A320 from Hong Kong to Narita, after having a chance to try its larger A330-300 on a flight from Osaka to Hong Kong and A350-900 from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and back.
Continue reading this review to see what the red-eye flight was like in economy class.
Boarding Hong Kong Airlines Flight 606
As I had eight hours between my arrival from Los Angeles and departure to Narita, I spent some time wandering around the terminal photographing aircraft before settling in the Plaza Premium West Hall Lounge (which Hirofumi reviewed before).
Even though my departure wasn’t scheduled until 2:20AM, I left the crowded lounge around midnight, and headed over to the flight’s departure gate 211 where I was able to take a brief nap.
Once boarding started at 1:45AM, I managed to be one of the first passengers onboard.
Hong Kong Airlines Business and Economy Class Cabins
Hong Kong Airlines operates A320s in two different configurations – an all-economy-class one with 174 seats and a two-class one with 144 economy class seats and 8 recliner business class seats (two “2-2” rows).
Since my flight was operated by the latter, I walked through the business class cabin before settling in seat 36H, an aisle seat in the sixth row of economy class.
Even though it was a fairly short flight, given that it was a red-eye departing at 2:20AM and arriving at 8AM, there was a blanket waiting at the seat. The aircraft didn’t feature power outlets or personal screens.
The seat itself was comfortable enough.
Around the scheduled departure time, we were welcomed onboard by the friendly sounding Captain (likely Australian) who went on to introduce the night’s cabin crew – adding adjectives like “gorgeous” and “handsome” before their names. He also mentioned that we would cruise at 37,000 feet and the flight time would be 3 hours and 55 minutes.
We were pushed back at 2:24AM – four minutes behind schedule – and took off at 2:41AM.
Hong Kong Airlines Red-Eye Economy Class Snack
The seatbelt signs were switched off just five minutes after departure at which point the cabin crew started preparing for the snack service and I moved over to an empty row of three seats two rows ahead of my original seat.
About ten minutes later, the cabin crew went around the cabin distributing bags with snacks and serving drinks.
While it seems like Hong Kong Airlines cut back service on this flight (during a flight that I found a review of on the Internet they served a proper meal), I actually think its a positive development.
After all, who needs a proper meal on a four-hour red-eye flight departing at 2:20AM? I much preferred the quick snack service that allowed me to maximize sleeping time.
The snack bag contained a Mars chocolate bar, a muffin, a sticky rice snack, and a cup of water.
After receiving my snack bag and taking the above photo, I stretched myself across the three seats and fell asleep for a couple of hours.
Arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
I woke up around 7AM Japan time (6AM Hong Kong time), and not long after that, the Captain wished us a good morning, informing us that we had just left the cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, and had about 120 nautical miles and 25 minutes left to go.
Right after that, the seatbelt signs were switched back on and the cabin crew started preparing the cabin for landing as we continued our descent.
We landed on Narita airport’s runway 34R at 7:30AM, and after taxiing around the whole length of terminal 2 and then terminal 1, we reached our parking spot at the very edge of the latter at 7:54AM – six minutes ahead of schedule.
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A320 Economy Class Summary
For me, considering that I flew over Tokyo just twelve hours prior to taking this flight (eight hours of which I spent in transit at Hong Kong airport), the flight was the most inconvenient part of my trip to Los Angeles.
However, there is not much I can complain about in terms of the flight itself. The cabin crew (and the Captain) were friendly even though it was a flight departing in the middle of the night, and the service – although downgraded from what it was in the past – was more than adequate for a four-hour red-eye flight.
As such, if you are looking to maximize your time in Hong Kong before going to Tokyo (or vice-versa) or save some money by taking a red-eye flight between the two cities, and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of sleep, taking this flight is an option worth considering.