The second Hong Kong Airlines’ aircraft type that I had the chance to try on my trip to Los Angeles was its flagship Airbus A350-900. The airline uses the type mainly on its trans-Pacific flights connecting Hong Kong with the United States and Canada.
Continue reading this review to see what the economy class flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles was like.
Boarding Hong Kong Airlines Flight 68
After arriving in Hong Kong from Osaka, me and other passengers continuing on to Los Angeles were met at our arrival gate by Hong Kong Airlines’ ground staff. She took us to the security checkpoint where I separated from the group as I had to visit the restroom before heading to the departure gate.
When I got to gate 208, the nice-looking A350 seemed almost ready for departure and passengers were being processed through the US-specific security screening into the waiting area.
The actual boarding – by zones – started about 45 minutes before departure.
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A350-900 Economy Class Cabin
Onboard, I walked through the galley where some newspapers were available, all the way to the back of the plane where my aisle seat – 62G – could be found. At the seat, a pillow (with a cut so that it would fit around one’s neck) and a fairly nice blanket were already waiting.
Before continuing with the flight itself – in case you are wondering – Hong Kong Airlines’ A350s are equipped with 334 seats including 33 staggered lie-flat business class seats. The first few rows of economy class are marketed as “Economy Comfort” and feature slightly better leg room than the rest of economy class.
While I was seated in one of the regular economy class seats, I found the legroom to be more than sufficient (although there’s never enough legroom on a long-haul flight) and the seat to be quite fairly comfortable.
That said, it was quite narrow – I was lucky to have an empty seat next to me, though.
Once most of the passengers were settled in their seats, the flight attendants went around the cabin handing out earphones. A couple of minutes later, they distributed amenity kits that contained a sleeping mask, a pair of socks, earplugs, and a dental kit.
Departing Hong Kong Airport
At 11:45AM – fifteen minutes before the scheduled time of departure – the captain addressed us over the PA mentioning that we were expecting to depart on time. He also informed us about our expected flight time of 11 hours and 40 minutes, and of our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet.
The aircraft doors were closed at 12:01PM, and a couple of minutes later, a manual safety demonstration followed. That took me by surprise given that each seat was equipped with a screen and that on my flight from Osaka to Hong Kong, a safety video was played.
Eventually we were pushed back with twelve minutes of delay, at 12:12PM, and we took off more than twenty minutes after that, at 12:35PM.
Hong Kong Airlines Long-Haul Economy Class Lunch
The seatbelt signs were switched off ten minutes after take-off at which point the flight attendants sprung into action.
The meal service begun around 1PM with a round of drinks and a pack of mixed nuts. Shortly after those were served, though, the service was briefly interrupted because we encountered some turbulence.
While waiting for the turbulence to clear, one of the crew members announced the lunch menu:
- Chicken pasta with mushroom sauce
- Hong Kong-style braised brisket with steam rice
- Biryani vegetarian meal
She also mentioned that throughout the flight there would be some snacks in the galley, and that breakfast would be served before landing.
Once the service was resumed, I was served almost right away given that the service started from the rear of the aircraft.
I went with the chicken pasta which was tasty and came with a salad and a piece of bread. The dessert – a packaged dark chocolate butterscotch mousse – was excellent as well. For drink, I had a cup of Coke Zero.
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A350 In-Flight Entertainment System
Because of ongoing turbulence, it took an hour or so until the crew came around to collect the meal trays. While waiting for my table to be cleared, I played with the in-flight entertainment system a bit.
The seat was equipped with a high-resolution touch screen. And, since there was no actual controller, I am glad to report that the screen was very responsive, and the system worked smoothly overall.
The video and audio content on offer was more or less the same as that on the A330-300. There were about 50 Hollywood movies, and about the same number of episodes of various TV shows. One could also choose to listen to one of the dozens of albums the system offered.
The selection of games was better than on the A330, though, and it even included some well-known games such as Angry Birds.
A curated selection of child-friendly content was available in a special “Kids Space” menu.
In addition to the above, the IFE system also offered an airshow that allowed for the map to be freely rotated, zoomed into, and so on. And, it also offered downward-facing and tail camera views.
Besides the entertainment available on the personal screen, the aircraft was also equipped with in-flight wi-fi, and each seat was equipped with a USB port and a universal power port.
I didn’t try the wi-fi as it was – as is often the case – too expensive to be worth using. The following are the data packages that were offered:
- 15 MB for 4.99 US dollars
- 30 MB for 9.99 US dollars
- 50 MB for 15.99 US dollars
- 100 MB for 22.99 US dollars
Hong Kong Airlines Economy Class In-Flight Snack
Since by the time I was done with looking around the in-flight entertainment system, it was just after midnight Los Angeles time, I decided to get some sleep.
I briefly woke up around 2:30AM when one of the flight attendants was passing through the aisle handing out little bags of popcorn. I fell asleep for another hour or so right away, though.
When I woke up for the second time, I went to the galley to get a cup of apple juice. I got myself a couple of chocolates and a pack of nuts from the selection of snacks as well. Biscuits and popcorn we available too.
Separately from the snacks available in the galley, the cabin crew also went around the cabin offering warm pizza baguettes a couple of times. I had one while watching movies on the in-flight entertainment system, and it was tasty.
In case you are curious, the two movies that I watched on the flight were Hidden Figures and The Spy Who Dumped Me. While I enjoyed both of them, I especially recommend watching the first of those which is about NASA’s early space flights.
Hong Kong Airlines Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast
Breakfast was served two hours before landing, around 7:30AM. The two options were “chicken sticky rice” and “scrambled eggs with mushroom sauce.”
I went with the latter which was fine. Although the presentation was a bit weak (even for an economy class meal) since there were so few beans it looked like someone ate half of them before the meal was served.
It was also unfortunate that there was no jam served with the bread. (That was the case with all of the Hong Kong Airlines meals I had during the trip.)
Arrival at Los Angeles International Airport
Around 8:50AM, we were greeted by the captain once again. He mentioned that we were cruising at 38,000 feet, and were about 260 miles west of Los Angeles. He also mentioned that we were expecting to land around 9:30AM, and that Los Angeles is 15 hours behind Hong Kong.
Just as he was finished with his announcement, we started descending, and less than twenty minutes later, the seatbelt signs were switched on in preparation for landing.
Another twenty minutes later, the landing gear was lowered, and at 9:35AM, we landed on runway 24L of Los Angeles International Airport. We reached our parking spot at Tom Bradley International Terminal at 9:49AM – sixteen minutes ahead of schedule.
Hong Kong Airlines A350-900 Economy Class Summary
When I booked the flight, I had no idea what to expect as I only chose to fly with Hong Kong Airlines as they offered the cheapest fare and more or less the best timing for my needs. And, to be honest, my expectations were not overly high.
However, now that I have flown with the airline, I can only recommend it.
The seat was comfortable, the in-flight entertainment system had enough content to make a long-haul flight go by quickly, and the aircraft was equipped with power ports allowing me to get some work done on my laptop. On top of that, the meals were decent, and there were enough snacks and drinks to keep passengers fed and hydrated throughout the flight.
Because of that, I hope the airline manages to get out of the difficulties it is having right now, and will keep flying for years to come.