If I had to name three airports that I’ve found incredibly efficient when it comes to security, I’d name Singapore Changi, Zurich Airport and Hong Kong Airport. I’ve used all three airports at least a couple of times, and I’ve never needed to wait more than 10 minutes to get through security and immigration (actually, Zurich Airport took me quite a bit of time, as they found a pair of compasses in my bag, though that’s not related to the airport system itself). Singapore Airport is a special case, as security is done at each individual gate, though overall I find the three airports to have the most streamlined security processes.
I understand that I’m used to traveling off-season (international schools have summer off early, so I’m gone by the time the real peak season begins), and my Hong Kong identity card allows me to pass through immigration quickly, so I’m more of a special case. However, I was still surprised to see this happening.
As of September, Hong Kong Airport is introducing a fast track lane for security which will be open to the infirm. Hong Kong taxes their passengers quite a bit when it comes to security and immigration, so this comes as good news to premium travelers, especially those who fly frequently. This is a great idea in theory, and I was excited when I first heard of this news.
As of SCMP:
Industry sources have told the South China Morning Postthat the airport will charge airlines HK$20 for just the premium passengers using the so-called “fast track” security service, to be officially launched in September.
Cathay Pacific Airways, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines will also take part in a test run of the new facilities later this month. The three airlines said they welcomed “any initiative” that boosted the experience of passengers.
But a number of major international airlines told the Postthey were not interested in signing up for the new service, noting that it did not include speedy immigration checks.
One prominent carrier felt it was being pressured to sign up, while another criticised the lack of details about the facility and the benefits for airlines.
Passengers currently pay a HK$45 security charge, and in the 2016 to 2017 financial year, 99 per cent of them queued for 4.5 minutes or less, according to the Airport Authority.
One major international airline based in the regions of Europe, Middle East and Africa welcomed the new fast-track security facility. “We try to standardise and have the same service around the world, including on the ground, but we don’t have that in Hong Kong, yet security is already very fast.”
But it also noted: “Every cost that comes on top of the ticket price for us, in the end, [will have to be charged to] the customer.”
So yes, if this idea is implemented, all travelers in first and business class cabins will be charged HK$20 more when departing Hong Kong (presumably – the airline could bear the cost, but it’s 2017, so I doubt any airline would do that). Personally, unless security’s abysmal, I don’t see the need to pay HK$20 more to save about 5 minutes of my time. I’d appreciate the concept, but I doubt there’d be much of a need for it.
I’m sure wondering if Cathay Pacific will get creative with it, or if it’s just a convenient excuse to start taxing premium passengers HK$20 more out of Hong Kong Airport.