Virgin Blue - Velocity Rewards
Member since 12 May 2011
Total posts 1
I was one of the winners of ausbt competition for flights to Hong Kong for the inaugural and David suggest I post my write up here. So... Mrs 777 and I were both on the inaugural and both back on the following saturday. The flight over had the full treatment with DickBran, JoBo, and Celebrity Chef Luke Mangan (tm) up the front of the bus. There seemed to be a big VIP contingent from HX but I didn't recognise anyone. We were near the front of Y and surrounded by journos from TV networks who will filming in flight stories and took turns at doing interviews with the key folks on board. A few inflight bells and whistles: SRB did a lap to shake everyone's hand and pose for selfies (my trip was a little screwed up by the fact I left my phone in the Uber on the way to the airport). They handed out fortune cookies, dragon dances at both ends and SRB did pretty poor Cantonese lessons over the PA. Mildly amusing and mercifully reasonably short. Other details: - The crew were pretty excited -- the ones i spoke to had come off international long haul and were excited to go somewhere other that AUH or LAX for a change. Some had never been to HK. - Etihad lounge had the morning breakfast spread -- first time i've been there during daylight hours so was nice to be out of the basement and have a view- The Hong Kong airlines lounge was pretty packed but seemed slightly better than average (or than my expectations): lots of staff there and very personal service, was relatively easy for both of us to get showers, some limited a la carte options and a basic drink selection. A slight pain was that the lounge is a long way from the midfield terminal so we had to leave a little early to get to the gate. My understanding is that a new improved lounge in the midfield terminal is on its way but was delayed by a fire during construction- Priority bag tags worked for us at both ends and our bags came out pretty quickly. We were behind SRB as we walked at the HK end out so we made a pretty quick escape. Flight seemed to run pretty smoothly both ways -- a few teething hiccups (The other competition winner ended up at the lounge on the return without an invitation and had a bit of stuffing around but they'd sorted it out by the time we came through about 1/2 an hour later). At a guess there was an 80% load both ways. Promisingly for VA there seemed to be a big Chinese/ HK contingent on the way back so the partnership with HX seems to be getting bums on seats. Check in at the HK end was handled by HX staff with a few VA people troubleshooting and greeting. There were also a few HX flight attendants both way - i don't know if that's a permanent or temporary thing but it seemed to make the service work better for the Chinese contingent. All in all it seemed a pretty promising debut. It's a very competitive route so they will be up against it but I think it's a good move by VA, good use of the A330 and the more international destinations they want to add (particularly ex MEL) the better. Thanks to David, Virgin and Ausbt for the chance to be on the first flight. Hong Kong is a great city (it was my 1st time there) so i'm already looking for another excuse to go back!
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
Member since 29 Nov 2013
Total posts 438
Thanks for sharing 777!
Member since 28 Jul 2016
Total posts 68
Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer
Member since 17 Nov 2014
Total posts 78
One week later, I was on VA87 to Hong Kong yesterday and I can share a few reviews after a week of operations:
Member since 20 Jun 2014
Total posts 38
Interesting. I hate that Qantas only serves 1 main and snack on their HK flights, a 9 hour flight that you've paid $1000 for justifies 2 meals. Also mid-flight cup noodles are definitely available on Cathay.The loadings are a bit of a worry though. I have noticed over many trips on Cathay and Qantas that loadings on this route are very dependent on the time of day. Overnight flights are often full, day flights are often half empty, early departures in particular are often wide open for reward seats. Bad news for Virgin because I believe all their flights are early or midday departures. But I guess it is early days. Also I have seen Virgin sale fares on this route from $449, if they keep doing that it will fill economy up with the weekend away crowd pretty quickly.
Member since 01 Jun 2016
Total posts 27
Give VA some time for loadings, it seems like they're still trying to secure better slots in a slot competitive airport. Maybe with some future success HX will swap a few
Member since 13 Sep 2016
Total posts 15
Great write-up, thanks 777!
Member since 15 Dec 2016
Total posts 171
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
Member since 08 Feb 2016
Total posts 83
I flew MEL- HKG on the 10th. Business was at 100% capacity, not a single free seat. The crew were excellent and still very excited about the prospect of more Chinese cities. The hard product is one of the best in the sky, I really love 'The Business' but what I found was that the A330 business class is slightly smaller than the 777.
Member since 20 Mar 2012
Total posts 196
Member since 19 May 2017
Total posts 26
Does anyone have advice for VA Melb to HKG, then CX from HKG to mainland China (on seperate bookings obviously), if there is a interline baggage agreement for checked bags to go through to CX for the onward journey the same day - and checkin at the transit desks airside? Or if I need to exit through immigration, collect bags and re-check in at HK airport?
Air New Zealand - Airpoints
Member since 31 Oct 2016
Total posts 204
Member since 10 Apr 2012
Total posts 178
Hi, I'm just curious about the comment "There's also a crew from Hong Kong Airlines who can speak Cantonese and Mandarin to serve Chinese customers".... how is this working out? Are they working for VA or for HK airlines on a VA Aircraft? Are they being hired as Australian workers on Aussie wages or hired as cheaper chinese labour under different agreements?
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VA MEL-HKG inaugural mini-review
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