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Hong Kong Airlines Ends Subpar Auckland Service

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Hong Kong Airlines has long been investing in their hard product, and they’ve been getting better and better. I had the chance to fly them around Easter last year, and thought they were solid, if not fantastic. Hong Kong Airlines has also been expanding rather nicely over the past couple of years, and now flies to destinations on the West Coast such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Rumour is that they’ll start flying to New York soon, which I’d really look forward to.

a plane with seats and a person standing in the back
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

While most of Hong Kong Airlines’ routes afford a quite comfortable product, there’s one route that features a product that has, unfortunately, fallen behind the times. Hong Kong Airlines currently runs one of their oldest planes to Auckland, New Zealand, and they had no plans to upgrade their product on the route, which made me quite curious.

Well, as per Airlineroute, Hong Kong Airlines seems to be cancelling their Auckland flight altogether. Around a couple of months ago the flight went seasonal, when Hong Kong Airlines cancelled their summer reservations of their Auckland flight; they have now cancelled their winter 2019 reservations, which means that the flight will more or less be cancelled altogether.

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View of Auckland Airport

As of now the Hong Kong to Auckland route is still mysteriously bookable as of October 27/30, 2019, and the Auckland route still bookable on October 29, 2019. I doubt they’ll be running one-time flights on those dates, so I see this as likely to change.

Now, the mysterious thing is how badly that particular aircraft was utilised. I’m pretty sure this was due to limited slots in Auckland, though the current A330 flight to Auckland lands at around 2-3 PM, and departs somewhere around 1 AM. While this allows redeyes for both segments (which I guess most people would enjoy – if only they didn’t run angled flat seats on the route), the aircraft sits on the ground for over 10 hours, which isn’t the best aircraft utilisation.

Also, I suppose there wasn’t enough yield for the airline to switch the flight to one of their A350s. Cathay Pacific operates an A350 to Auckland daily, featuring reverse herringbone seats; you’d figure that Hong Kong Airlines would do the same, as their A350s also feature a top-notch hard product.

a plane with rows of computers
Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin

Instead, Hong Kong Airlines runs angled-flat seats to Auckland, which I’ve listed as one of the most underwhelming/inconsistent premium longhaul products you’ll get on any airline in the world.

I guess the business class seatmap for the coming Tuesday night’s Auckland departure also makes it no surprise that Hong Kong Airlines is deciding to scrap this route altogether (all of Hong Kong Airlines’ seatmaps on ExpertFlyer are bugged, since ExpertFlyer can’t seem to pick up that Hong Kong Airlines’ planes don’t have rows 13 or 14 out of superstition; so the seatmap below denotes a completely empty business class cabin).

a chart of seats with letters and numbers

Bottom Line

The Hong Kong Airlines Auckland route was interesting to me, but for all the wrong reasons. While it’s sad to see an airline eliminate a route altogether (as it increases the price of the competition – and Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand both have some intense pricing), Hong Kong Airlines has had a subpar product on this route, and the aircraft was thus underutilised.

The elimination of this route seems to be a step in the right direction for the airline. Hong Kong Airlines is an incredibly refreshing airline with a solid branding scheme – so I’m hoping to see the airline focus on higher-yield routes, and can’t wait to fly them again.

Are you sad to see this Auckland flight being cancelled?

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