Review: Thai Smile A320 Economy Class Phuket to Hong Kong

This flight was taken in March of 2019, but I never actually got around to writing up the review. The Young Travelers of Hong Kong team strongly discourages non-essential travel at this time. Stay home and stay safe!


In March of 2019, I had the chance to fly with Thai Smile from Phuket to Hong Kong as I returned from a trip. I never got the chance to write up the flight experience. Considering the somewhat copious amount of free time, and the fact that Thai Smile is one of the lesser-reviewed airlines on the internet, I thought I’d write about my experience.

What Is Thai Smile? 

IMG_1133.jpegThai Smile A320 at Phuket Airport

Thai Smile is a regional offshoot of Thai Airways International. The airline operates a fleet of narrowbody Airbus A320 aircraft flies short-haul low yield and leisure routes. Phuket to Hong Kong is an example of a leisure route that Thai Airways mainline spun off to Thai Smile. Flights are staffed by crews that are paid less than their Thai mainline counterparts. While I’ve seen Thai Smile described as a low-cost carrier, the airline’s offering is more similar to that of a full-service airline. This means that checked bags and meals are complimentary. All things considered, I see Thai Smile as a less premium version of Cathay Dragon.

Continue reading Review: Thai Smile A320 Economy Class Phuket to Hong Kong”

Review: British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
Qantas Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong
British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London


This flight was taken in January 2020 and our team at Young Travelers of Hong Kong does not endorse non-essential travel during this time.

As part of my travel back to London for second term at university, I had to find a way to get back to the UK in January. Award space is never abundant during the Christmas period, I pounced on the ability to fly British Airways’ premium economy (also known as their “World Traveller Plus” cabin) for 45,000 Asia Miles on a date that worked for my schedule. I want to review all three premium economy products between London and Hong Kong, and British Airways premium economy is a very useful product to review for both students and business travelers alike anyway. With that in mind I bid farewell to my parents on January 1st, before heading to the airport at around 9 PM in order to catch my flight.

At the airport I found a long check-in line, as British Airways’ 777 and A380 depart just a few minutes apart out of Hong Kong (I’m not sure why this is, though I’m not complaining, since I’d choose a night flight between Hong Kong and Europe any day). British Airways doesn’t feature a separate check-in line for premium economy passengers, which sets them behind Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic.

Long check-in line in Hong Kong for British Airways passengers

The check-in line took around 20 minutes. British Airways allows two 23 kg bags to be checked in for each premium economy passenger. I underestimated the weight of one of my bags, which weighed 29 kg – there was not much to be done with 6 kg of extra stuff (I was moving for the next few months, after all), so I sorted out the dilemma with an overweight baggage charge of HK$664.

Continue reading Review: British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London”

Review: Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
Qantas Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong
British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London


This trip was taken in December 2019 and our team at Young Travelers of Hong Kong does not endorse non-essential travel during this time.

In March 2019 my parents had a bit of a dilemma: they had around 95,000 expiring Asia Miles that they didn’t quite know what to do with. Now, I was slated to go to London over summer, but I wasn’t quite sure what my dates were yet. The only certainty I had was when I’d be flying back over the winter holiday, since the dates were the same regardless of which university I’d get into. (This isn’t a problem anymore, since Asia Miles don’t expire anymore with activity.) 95,000 miles was enough to either fly British Airways Club World back to Hong Kong, which would get me insight into all three business class products flying between London and Hong Kong (I’ve flown Cathay Pacific business class from Hong Kong to London a while back, and I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic Upper Class between the two cities as well), or with 5,000 more miles I could fly Cathay Pacific first class to Hong Kong.

As an aviation analyst that tries my best to compare business class products across a variety of airlines, it was a no-brainer to book…Cathay Pacific first class. 😉 In all seriousness, I don’t regret trying Cathay Pacific’s first class product on this route – I figured I might as well have a taste of what first class on my home airline is like, given I knew I wouldn’t always have opportunities like these. I’ve also flown British Airways’ business class in the meantime, so feel free to check out my review of that flight.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Heathrow Airport

Continue reading Review: Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong”

Review: British Airways A380 Business Class London to Hong Kong

I took this flight because I needed to get home. Our team at Young Travelers of Hong Kong does not endorse non-essential air travel during this period.

While the coronavirus continues to throw its little temper tantrum around the entire world, the best thing we can do to calm it down is stay home. As a student away from family in London, this wasn’t ideal for me. Originally the best idea was to stay put in London, though with an imminent lockdown a college dorm no longer became the safest place for me to live, both for my physical and mental health. With that in mind, my parents flew me home.

They also flew me home at quite a cost. Originally I had myself a roundtrip ticket on British Airways leaving April 2nd and getting back on April 30th,  though talks of an imminent lockdown unsettled my family. I converted this ticket to a future voucher and booked myself a Singapore Airlines one-way in business class, which quickly went out the window after Singapore stopped allowing transit passengers into Changi Airport grounds (Hong Kong has since done the same, as of this morning). So early in the morning of the day before my departure, I booked myself a ticket in British Airways Club World for a hefty £4,500. To put things in perspective, four flights in Qatar Airways’ fabulous QSuite cost just over £2,000. There was no time to complain and only time to pack.

To my reassurance I had done everything I’d needed to in the UK, so the biggest favour I could do for my friends in London was to be one less person for the NHS to worry about. So I took an airport transfer to Heathrow’s eerily empty Terminal 5, where I walked to Aisle H and checked in for my flight.

Heathrow Terminal 5 Check-in

Continue reading Review: British Airways A380 Business Class London to Hong Kong”

Review: Qantas Lounge London Heathrow

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
Qantas Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong
British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London


During the morning rush in the Cathay Pacific lounges prior to the 11:15 AM flight, I thought I’d check out the new Qantas lounge at London Heathrow, which I’d heard really good things about. The Qantas lounge is located in Lounge B at Heathrow’s Terminal 3, and is open from 7:55 AM to 8:35 PM every day.

The lounge itself had a snazzy wooden entrance, where sliding doors led to two booths where my boarding pass was scanned.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow Entrance

I was welcomed into the lounge and informed there wouldn’t be any boarding announcements.

Continue reading Review: Qantas Lounge London Heathrow”

Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
Qantas Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong
British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London


As part of my first class ticket I had access to the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge at Heathrow, though I thought I’d be a bit irresponsible not to check out what I’ve heard people consider one of the best business class outstation lounges anywhere in the world – Cathay Pacific’s business class lounge at London Heathrow.

Cathay Pacific’s lounge complex at Heathrow is located by Lounge C near gate 11. The First Class lounge is located nearer to the entrance, whereas the business class section spans the rest of the lounge.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow Entrance

The entry requirements to Cathay Pacific’s business class lounge at Heathrow is the same as any other oneworld business class lounge worldwide – you can get in as a oneworld first or business class passenger, a Marco Polo Diamond, Gold or Silver member, a oneworld Emerald or Sapphire member, or if you have a lounge pass.

Continue reading Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow”

Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
Qantas Lounge London Heathrow
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class London to Hong Kong
British Airways 777 Premium Economy Hong Kong to London


Recently I had the chance to fly in Cathay Pacific first class between London and Hong Kong. I’ll provide the full details of my booking in my review of Cathay Pacific’s first class, but long story short the flight was motivated by expiring Asia Miles in my mother’s account. I also flew back to London after my holiday in British Airways premium economy, which I’ll also be reviewing in this trip report series.

My flight from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 was leaving at 5:50 PM, though I wanted to be at Cathay Pacific’s first class lounge for lunch. Since London is an outstation destination check-in only opens three hours prior to each flight, so check-in was closed between 11 AM and 1:50 PM due to how Cathay’s flights out of London are timed. Thus, I dropped my bag at 10 AM, then headed past fast track security to get to Cathay Pacific’s Heathrow lounge, located at Lounge C in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 lounge area. I was pointed into the first class section of the lounge by a friendly lounge attendant – access to Cathay’s First Class lounge at Heathrow is permitted for First Class passengers, Marco Polo Diamond members and oneworld Emerald members.

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow

Continue reading Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow”

Review: Emirates A380 Business Class Dubai to London

Emirates Lounge Hong Kong
Emirates 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Dubai
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse C
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse B
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse A
Emirates A380 Business Class Dubai to London


With all the glamour that Emirates’ A380 has boasted over the past decade, I knew I had to try it out at some point. Emirates introduced their A380 in 2008, and it started the innovation of inflight amenities such as onboard showers and bars that we see on quite a few different airlines today. Over time, though, the actual hard product on Emirates’ A380 became slightly less competitive, especially as it competed with newer revolutionary products such as Qatar Airways’ QSuite, so I was curious how it would fare in the grand scheme of things in 2019.

Now, I need to note that my flight experience was hindered by a purser who accused me of taking photos that were against the rules (he had the rules mixed up, and I’m still trying to sort things out with Emirates to see how this never happens to other airline bloggers out there). I’ll obviously mention it in the report below, though I’m going to strive to make this report as objective as possible, as my experience – prior to my interaction with the purser, of course – was stellar.

Anyway, my Emirates A380 experience began at the boarding gate B17, where boarding started at around 2:10 PM. It’s worth mentioning that as a business class passenger I could board this flight through a separate entrance for premium passengers, right outside the lounge – however, boarding starts a few minutes later for the upper deck, so boarding from the main gate area afforded me a couple of extra minutes to photograph Emirates’ beautiful A380 cabin.

Emirates Airbus A380 Dubai Airport

I was one of the first onboard the Emirates A380, and boarded through the lower deck.

Continue reading Review: Emirates A380 Business Class Dubai to London”

Review: Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse A

Emirates Lounge Hong Kong
Emirates 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Dubai
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse C
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse B
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse A
Emirates A380 Business Class Dubai to London


Emirates has multiple lounges in Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3, but going in I knew that their lounge at Concourse A would be the largest by far. I made my way onto the train that connects Concourse B/C and Concourse A, and found myself in the grand atrium where connecting passengers landing at Concourse A are screened.

Concourse A Dubai Airport

The entrance to the lounge is located by where the airtrain lets off, smack in the middle of the concourse.

Continue reading Review: Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse A”

Review: Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse B

Emirates Lounge Hong Kong
Emirates 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Dubai
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse C
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse B
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse A
Emirates A380 Business Class Dubai to London


Emirates has four lounges for business class passengers in Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 – two massive lounges in Concourse A and B, a smaller one in Concourse C, and a tiny one further into concourse C. After visiting Emirates’ lounge in concourse C, I headed towards Concourse B, where my flight would be departing.

Emirates’ Concourse B lounge is situated near gate B16. It’s one floor above the main deck (and spans the length of half the terminal, with the other half occupied by the first class lounge) though you can board your aircraft from select B-gates, including B17, where our flight would be departing. I was welcomed by a friendly lounge attendant, and told that there wouldn’t be any boarding announcements for my flight.

Since the lounge was recently touched up, the furniture and furnishings were quite modern. Near the entrance was a circular area with lots of seating.

Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai Concourse B 

Continue reading Review: Emirates Business Lounge Dubai Concourse B”