A Great Way To Spend Your KrisFlyer Miles

Last week I booked an itinerary for myself that gave me a direct turn to Taipei for 40,000 KrisFlyer miles. Now, I know that that’s not a good deal, but it seemed like a good chance to try the EVA 787. After reevaluating I decided I was an idiot, and I probably should’ve flown Singapore Airlines to Singapore as a direct turn, so I’d be getting more value for each mile I was spending. Turns out it gets worse. 😉

You can fly from Hong Kong to Perth for 65,000 miles, and on the way you’d get to try out Singapore Airlines’ 787 business class, new A380 business class, and old 777 business class with reasonable layovers each way.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Hong Kong Airport

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YASS – Hong Kong Airlines’ New Economy Meals Show They Understand Their Brand

I love good airline branding, as it represents what I love about airlines. Airlines have – or are at least supposed to have the unique opportunity to show a certain country’s culture off to its passengers. This makes flying fifth-freedom flights or one-stop itineraries especially fun (say, flying Egyptair from Hong Kong to Bangkok or Qatar Airways from Hong Kong to Munich through Doha), as it exposes you to a culture that you otherwise wouldn’t be visiting.

Airlines have many opportunities to do this – through their cabin design, their service elements, and their food. Obviously there are more opportunities to do this in premium cabins than in economy, but there’s a huge opportunity for airlines to potentially get creative in economy, which most airlines waste. Specifically, that’s through food.

On Tuesday Hong Kong Airlines invited me to have a look at their new economy menu. My expectations weren’t high, but I quickly realised that their new economy class catering is exactly what I’m looking for with airline maximising their culture immersion opportunities.

Here are the Hong Kong options on offer:

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BOOKED: EVA Air 787 Business Class (I’m An Idiot)

I’m an idiot sometimes.

This December break I found my schedule freer than I was expecting, and I also saw that my social media following was going quite well, so I decided to do a review trip to show my thankfulness. Obviously I’m a high school student so I’m broke (to say the least), but from previous travels I managed to rack up quite a number of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. Since I can’t be away from home for too long, I decided to book myself into a same-day return Star Alliance shorthaul business class product, so started looking at options.

I came across a Singapore Airlines roundtrip ticket from Hong Kong to Singapore and back for a total of 55,000 miles. This would seat me in business class on their 777-200 and 777-300ER, and would get me home in time (as well as letting me spend some time in my favourite city in the world, even if I wasn’t actually leaving the airport). However, for some reason Singapore Airlines wouldn’t let me book a ticket on their website, so I started looking at other options, thinking that it was to do with my unaccompanied minor status (which, being 17, I’d have to fill out a waiver form for).

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class 

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Review: Royal Brunei A320neo Economy Class Hong Kong to Brunei

In November 2018 I had commitments in Bandar Seri Begawan, and also headed off to a jungle resort in Ulu Temburong National Park, a national park in Brunei. This was booked as part of my fourth and final trip with school – you can check out my reports in previous years of my trips to Myanmar, Fujian, and Yunnan here. Once again, my parents funded this trip, and I’ll reiterate once again that my goal in life is to be able to use the tactics I learn in this industry to give my parents such experiences in the future, for pennies on the dollar.

Royal Brunei Airbus A320neo Brunei Airport

With that in mind, I was booked a HK$3,800 roundtrip economy class ticket on Royal Brunei, which operates the only nonstop flight between Hong Kong and Bandar Seri Begawan. I was thrilled to see that I’d be flying their new A320neo, which I was excited to review – I quickly did a little research, and found out that Royal Brunei had installed PTVs on their A320neos, which isn’t usually the case in economy class on narrowbody aircraft in Southeast Asia. For your reference, business class starts selling from HK$6,900 roundtrip on this route.

Here’s my review of the product, which will work a little differently from the other reviews I’ve written in the past.

Continue reading Review: Royal Brunei A320neo Economy Class Hong Kong to Brunei”

Ridiculously CHEAP HK$14,000 R/T Fares From London To Hong Kong

This is for all of those Hong Kongers studying in the UK and needing to get home (and back) sometime before August 31, 2019.

Flying between Hong Kong and London isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. While it’s hard to find great deals between Hong Kong and London, usually fares are marginally cheaper the other way – a roundtrip between London and Hong Kong. However, thanks to Premiumflights on FlyerTalk, some of you may be able to take advantage of a certain deal and come back in comfort, on the cheap between December and next August.

img_1792Swiss Boeing 777 Zurich Airport

The Lufthansa Group is offering ~HK$14,000 roundtrip business class fares between London and Hong Kong throughout basically most of the first half of 2019. While the return dates are marginally more restrictive (some days are substantially more expensive), you can basically choose any outbound date to take advantage of the fare.

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Royal Brunei A320neo Economy Class: Better Than What You’d Expect

Hello from Bandar Seri Begawan! Today I had the opportunity to fly from Hong Kong to Bandar Seri Begawan on Royal Brunei. The flight was operated by one of the airline’s brand new A320neos. I was especially excited about this flight because I hadn’t heard much about Royal Brunei’s A320neos prior to booking myself onto the flight, but was intrigued by the cabin photos that I searched up.

Royal Brunei Airbus A320neo Hong Kong Airport

After searching up the cabin photos, my expectations of Royal Brunei’s A320 heightened. I’m glad to say that those heightened expectations were met. While Royal Brunei doesn’t have the world’s most luxurious narrowbody products, this is a great way to spend 3-4 hours.

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NEXT UP: Royal Brunei’s A320neo

I’m in Hong Kong, having spent the last three months on the ground. The last two months have been a PITA – while I’m closer to university life and the prospect of flying between Europe and Asia continually than ever before, it sure isn’t easy to get there, and I’m sorry for the lack of posts in the meantime.

I’ve gotten endless support from a multitude of friends and fans. One of these friends you guys may know is Josh Cahill, who’s one of the most dedicated aviation YouTubers out there; while I’ve continued to get overloaded on all fronts, Josh has been behind me, giving me a plethora of ideas about how I can keep this blog at its best with the schedule that I operate on. The least I could do is give him a little public gratitude, so if you have free time on your hands, check out his video trip reports on YouTube (while I’ve been stuck on the ground for the last three months, I don’t think Josh’s spent any more than three days on the ground throughout the past few months, so a lot of terrific content is being generated on his channel every week).

I’m excited to announce that I’ll finally be off the ground later this week. I’ll be headed to Bandar Seri Begawan for a few days on Royal Brunei.

Royal Brunei Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport

Continue reading “NEXT UP: Royal Brunei’s A320neo”

Qatar Airways Will “Highly Likely” Leave Oneworld

One of the greatest assets of the oneworld alliance would have to be Qatar Airways. They have an amazing business class product, they’re known for having a quality economy class soft product, and they operate an extensive routemap, if not as extensive as their neighbour (and rival) Emirates.

Qatar Airways’ business class product is all-rounded

However, on the other hand, Qatar Airways’ CEO is kind of a nutcase. Akbar Al Baker is a very smart guy who’s proud of his airline, but sometimes he just says things that others find cringeworthy. As much as I love the airline he runs, I don’t find it enough to back up his ego (and that’s saying a lot).

So while Qatar Airways has always had a good reputation among customers, the same can’t be said for its reputation among fellow industry members, such as airlines, oneworld, and Airbus (they threw a tantrum when their A380s arrived late).

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Revealed: Turkish Airlines’ 787 Business Class Configuration

While I’ve never flown Turkish Airlines, I’ve heard basically unanimous praise about their soft product. In particular, their inflight catering is provided by DO&CO,  which is renowned for having premium cabin catering that rivals anything you’d get in a nice restaurant on the ground. I’ve never actually taken a flight with DO&CO catering, but I may very soon. 😉

One issue where Turkish Airlines quite obviously lags behind is in the hard product. I haven’t flown Turkish Airlines before, but LATAM’s A350 features essentially the same seat, minus the finishes. It’s a good seat, but it’s not spectacular – I ranked it 6th (out of 9) out of the best business class configurations in 2018 last month.

img_2642Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport

Thankfully Turkish Airlines is fixing this by introducing a new business class product on their 787s. While nothing about the product has been revealed yet, Turkish Airlines just revealed their first routes and uploaded a seatmap accordingly, which gives us a few solid hints.

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Worst Premium Longhaul Products: Don’t Let These Airlines Screw You Over

Over the past decade we’ve seen the standard for longhaul flying transition from angled-flat and herringbone seats to reverse herringbone flat beds. A month ago I listed a ranking of my favourite business class hard products flying today. Asia is a joy to fly in and out of when in first or business class, since there’s so much competition between a range of different airlines.

However, as the entire industry moves and develops itself, there are some routes that are just stuck behind the times. Most of the time, this is due to structural development, when they need to keep their old planes on certain routes due to their new planes not being rolled out at a quick enough pace. At other times, this is simply due to the logistics of the flight working out when an airline operates a route with an inferior product, where the airline doesn’t feel a need to improve its product on the route due to low yields or excess demand.

img_5322Business class in this cabin for 11 hours? No thank you

I thought it’d be fun to point out some of these routes so you guys know which ones to avoid. First of all, this isn’t a list of the worst business class products out there (I’ve heard unanimously bad things about British Airways’ hard product, so you’ll expect a consistently bad experience no matter what – they’re not on the list). I’m focusing on airlines that have done a lot to invest in and advertise a good premium product, but still operate certain flights with an older or inferior product that isn’t half as comfortable. In other words, I’m focusing on airlines with inconsistent premium products, and specifically, I’m exposing the anomalies.

Continue reading “Worst Premium Longhaul Products: Don’t Let These Airlines Screw You Over”