What Is Hong Kong Airlines’ Regional A330 Business Class Like?

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Hello from 38,000 feet! I’ve spent a great week in Japan, and on the way home I’m sampling Hong Kong Airlines’ regional business class on their A330-300. Hong Kong Airlines has a few business class cabin products onboard their A330; their shorthaul A330-200s feature their previous angled flat business class seat, all their longhaul A330s feature their staggered seat (which I flew on my outbound flight to Osaka), and they took delivery of a few A330-300s from Singapore Airlines, which feature a business class seat that is more or less identical to Singapore Airlines’ A330 business class, minus the finishes.

a plane with rows of seats and monitorsHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class

So how did my experience on this flight differ from my outbound, in one of Hong Kong Airlines’ own longhaul A330s? Well, exactly as expected, actually; I’m not going to go as far to say that I prefer these seats over their longhaul seats, because I don’t – but these are some of the most comfortable angled flat seats that I’ve sat in. Here’s a brief first impressions post of how my experience went, and of course a full report will follow in the coming days.

Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Seat

Singapore Airlines flies their A330 regionally, so their business class cabin features angled business class seats. So essentially Hong Kong Airlines has angled flat seats on these A330s, except these A330s feature 30 business class seats in the same space as their longhaul A330s feature 32 seats, and the economy class cabin is less dense as well.

a seat with pillows on the sideHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Seat

Yup – while most airlines configure their regional business class with higher density seats to maximise profit, Hong Kong Airlines actually has less seats on their regional A330-300s than they do on their longhaul A330-300s.

Anyways, Hong Kong Airlines’ regional business class is configured in a 2-2-2 configuration. The seat itself is great as far as angled flat seats go – obviously the seats aren’t flat and you have a seatmate, though there’s a large privacy shield, and more than enough legroom.

a seat in a planeHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Bed

While I originally selected a seat in the last row of the cabin, all but one of the seats in the bulkhead row was taken, so I decided to switch to one of the window bulkhead seats. The seat was infinitely more spacious, and I had tons of legroom – it also didn’t hurt that there wasn’t anyone next to me, so I basically had direct aisle access.

Be aware, though, that while all other seats have two storage “lockers” for small items (they fit most of my GoPro equipment, as well as my phone and glasses), the bulkhead seats don’t really have any storage space at all, which is something that you should take into consideration when selecting your seat, especially if you value storage.

a drawer in an airplaneHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Lockers

Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Meal

This isn’t specific to Hong Kong Airlines’ regional business class, as I’d get the same meal regardless of which business class product I was sat in.

The appetiser was rather bland.

a plate of food on a trayHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Appetiser

The main course packed a punch in flavour.

a plate of food on a trayHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Main Course

The dessert was perfectly fine.

a white and brown dessert in a bowl of red liquidHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Dessert

All in all I was impressed by the pace of service – the entire meal service took 35 minutes, from the serving of the appetiser to the clearing of the dessert. However, it was a light load in business class today, so I can’t exactly give the crew full credit.

Once again, yuan yang and lemon tea were provided on this flight, a feature of Hong Kong Airlines that I really like.

Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Amenities

This is where Hong Kong Airlines deserves a lot of credit – they offer the same quality of amenities on longhaul flights as they do on regional flights. While I never used the duvet, I appreciated that it was there; and the pillow was just as plush as it was on the outbound. The headphones were also the same headphones provided. I wasn’t provided slippers on this flight – the only deviation I noticed on this flight from the outbound.

a pair of headphones on a person's lapHong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Regional Business Class Headphones

I won’t go ahead to talk about the service on this flight – I’ll save that for the actual report. It was good, and in quite a few ways better than the service that we got on the outbound.

Bottom Line: Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class

Since I had two seats to myself and had my seat in bed mode for less than an hour, I was originally tempted to say that I preferred this regional business class product to the longhaul business class product. But I have to be rational here, and acknowledge that Hong Kong Airlines’ longhaul business class product reclines into a fully flat bed, every seat has direct aisle access, and there’s more storage space (albeit still not very much).

But what strikes me is how much better this product is than Cathay Pacific’s regional business class. There’s so much extra thought that Singapore Airlines put into this product when they first installed it on their planes. There’s a large privacy shield, the seat’s comfortable in lazy-Z and flatbed mode, more components of the seat are adjustable, and the amenities are far superior. Admittedly Hong Kong Airlines isn’t responsible for how well-placed everything is (apart from the amenities), as they acquired the plane directly from Singapore Airlines. But this post is about the product, and not the airline.

So overall, Cathay Pacific’s longhaul seat and food are superior, and some of their upgraded amenities are superior, such as their headphones (which are better than Hong Kong Airlines’). However, Hong Kong Airlines has a (much) better shorthaul seat, superior signature beverages, and more product consistency across longhaul and shorthaul flights. Also, while I’d try to pick a flight with their longhaul seat, I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid this regional configuration, as I would with Cathay Pacific.

My next goal is to try Hong Kong Airlines on the regional A330-200. These planes feature Hong Kong Airlines’ own angled flat seat, which seems far inferior to this one.

Does anyone prefer Hong Kong Airlines’ regional configuration to their longhaul one? How does the Hong Kong Airlines experience differ from what you were expecting?

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