My parents have always wanted to go on a cruise, and we’ve decided that this summer is probably the time to finally do so. I live in London now – though as luck would have it, I need to be in Hong Kong near the end of June, whereas the cruise occurs during the second part of July. I’m finally trying Cathay Pacific’s A350 premium economy from Gatwick to Hong Kong in June 2020, which I’m really excited about – stay tuned for that. Since I’m trying British Airways’ premium economy in January, I’ll have tried all three airlines’ premium economy products that fly direct between Hong Kong and London by then, which I’ve vowed to do for the longest time.
Right, back to Italy. Now, I’ve checked award space on American AAdvantage and Cathay Pacific, and have had no luck in either direction (Etihad has award space for two, but I don’t have enough miles for four passengers, and they don’t fly from Venice). The four of us need to fly into Rome and out of Venice, and I’ve narrowed my options down to the following.
Now, since my dad is travelling, we’re trying our best to get ourselves in a premium cabin with a maximum of one connection each way. Here are the options I’ve found:
British Airways business class (HK$21,629/pp)
My go-to method for finding relatively cheap flight deals is to search for availability on Google Flights. Google Flights manages to accurately price a majority of airlines conveniently, and I’ve found it to be much more accurate than ITA Matrix. British Airways was by far the cheapest option that Google Flights offered.
The drawback? British Airways doesn’t exactly have the world’s best business class seat (although it isn’t that bad, apparently). On top of that, my parents and Hailey are flying British Airways in January (since it was also the cheapest option, by far, for them to get to their ski trip in Geneva). If the experience isn’t great, I reckon they’d prefer to try something new.
British Airways Boeing 777 Club World Seat
Qatar Airways business class (~HK$26,000/pp)
Qatar Airways offers a really good business class soft product, and their price from Hong Kong to Italy is on the lower end of what’s available. There’s also reasonable transit times in both directions. The caveat? Ever since protests worsened in Hong Kong, Qatar Airways has been less rigorous with delivering on QSuite-equipped 777s to Hong Kong – the two daily flights between Doha and Hong Kong scored 3/7 and 4/7 last week on QSuite-equipped planes, respectively. I don’t like Qatar Airways’ old business class seats one bit, so would prefer trying something new, for now. Also, I’m not sure if HK$26,000 is worth it for Qatar Airways business class, considering they have fare promos where I can fly them for much less.
Qatar Airways Boeing 777 Business Class
Swiss/Lufthansa 747-8 business class (HK$24,672/pp)
Sometime last year Lufthansa stopped flying their A380s between Frankfurt and Hong Kong. I’ve flown Lufthansa’s A380 between Frankfurt and Hong Kong before they switched to running 747s, though I’d be down to try Lufthansa’s 747 business class product, especially since it would let me cross another 747 off my list.
I’d fly them in both directions (and even fly through Munich and cross off their A340, since they’re apparently pulling their A380 off the Munich-Hong Kong route by then), but I actually can’t get that to price on Lufthansa’s website. The only way I could get a cheap fare to price was if I flew Swiss in one direction. On one hand that’s great since I get to fly another cabin product, though I’ve already done Swiss’ 777 business class between Hong Kong and Zurich twice, and have no desire to fly them a third time (especially with how much they charge to reserve a throne seat). Still, I suppose I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.
Lufthansa Airbus A380 Business Class
Bottom Line: Which should I pick?
Ultimately reviews are one of the reasons I try to fly as many airlines as possible. I would’ve tried to do some more exciting airlines (e.g. Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Finnair, etc.) but unfortunately their prices are quite high over our period of travel. That being said, if you can find any good business class prices from Hong Kong-Rome/Venice-Hong Kong over the mid-July 2020 period, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Would you like to read a British Airways, Qatar Airways or Lufthansa/Swiss business class review? Alternatively, I’m also open to flying premium economy on Lufthansa, though I’ll already be flying British Airways’ premium economy…
SAS has some sub-$20,000 fares eg 13/7 to 29/7. On the outbound there’s a 24-hour connection, ideal for having a short city trip too. The long flight would be on A350 with nice-looking business class cabin.
@ Cliff – Hmm, I’m not getting the sub-20k fares to price on their website…
Round trip to Rome there are some great fares (around 17k HKD) on China Eastern on their A350 with fully enclosed suites in biz class. The return flight out of Rome is at night, so there are plenty of cheap/short flight or train options to Rome.