Hong Kong - Airport review

Discussion in 'Travel Insider Tips' started by QF WP, Oct 21, 2002.

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  1. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    Brisbane
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    Having just done another trip to Hong Kong (arriving back this morning), thought I would give a review for those interested.

    As usual, the Airport Express train service was faultless. Probably the best run system I have ever used - certainly not cheap (HKD $100 which translated to almost exactly AUD $25 over the weeken). Probably equal to the Stockholm Arlanda Express. But if you want to get to Central in 30 minutes, then hop aboard. You can take your luggage in the trolleys right up to the doors and sometimes (particularly ladies), there are people who will help you load your luggage, smiling while they do it and not looking for tips.

    The airport - pristine (thankfully the street spitters have faded, just not their throat clearing cousins). For those lucky enough, the Qantas Club lounge and Cathay's The Wing and The Pier are just beautiful. Watch the walk to the higher numbered gates (33 to 80) as you catch a train to take you out there. If they print on your ticket 25 minutes, believe it. I was the last to board my Cathay flight to Manila at gate 68, having left the Qantas Club at the time designated on my boarding pass. First time in a long time I have come so close to missing a flight...

    A great benefit is checking in at Airport Express at Central (so long as you are there with more than 90 minutes before flight). Hop on board the train after check-in with your boarding pass and walk direct to Customs. Your bags go separately but mine have never missed being there at the other end.

    Hope this helps some...
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  2. icemann

    icemann Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    268
    0
    French's Forest, NSW
    Oh yes.

    Hotels - Metropole Hotel & The Marco Polo hotel are very nice, but, none of them are FF partners (I believe). The rates are very reasonable, because Hong Kong can be VERY expensive, particularly on the harbour / island. Stick to the Kowloon side.

    The Star ferry is as cheap as mate, and a really good way to get from one place to another. You don't really need to hire a car (and I would not recommend it, because HKG drivers are crazy). I believe I'm in a position to comment, because my fiancee is Hong Kong Chinese and we go back there a few times a year. And I would never even try driving there because I'm smarter than that. 8)

    Instead, get on the MTR trains. These are the subway trains, and everything is in English/Cantonese. Going downstairs to the MTR is a lot cooler than up above, and is a welcome relief from the humidity.

    Lindsay is right. I almost missed the plane too, because of two factors - the in-laws (outlaws) and the massive 'going away' and saying goodbye to everyone (40 people), and the rush through the duty free. I only just got into the QC club long enough to grab a bite to eat and was drinking cans of Foster's export like they were going out of fashion.

    I'm a nervous flyer. :(

    So, get to the airport in good time. And the word is, is that the CX first class lounge has spa baths / health massages. But I can't confirm this.
     
  3. arun

    arun Member

    Sep 5, 2002
    311
    0
    Sydney
    I am a Hong Kong fan as well. If you travel in the Airport Express, you will know why the Sydney Airport train link is going bust. HK Airport Express is very convenient with free bus travel to the main hotels.

    I stayed at Royal Pacific in Kowloon (Tsim Tsa Tsue). Very close to Star ferry terminal and the MTR. Their Executive Floor is very good with its own breakfast room and bar. Drinks are free during happy hour.

    No Frequent flyer points.
     
  4. ffhound

    ffhound Member

    Dec 1, 2003
    193
    29
    Melbourne
    Hi

    I love the new Hong Kong Airport. I have been to Hong Kong twice. The first time I went (1990) I arrived at Kai Tak Airport which was an experience as the plane flew across the tops of the buildings before landing.

    The new airport is very well laid out and quite nice architecturally.

    If you want to try something different take the KCR railway to Lo Wu (the border with Shenzhen). Go upstairs and get a short term VISA into Shenzhen then continue through both sets of customs and into Shenzhen. As you walk out of the building, on the left will be a railway station and on the right a multi storey shopping centre.

    Go into the shopping centre. Few people will speak english but there are lots of goodies to buy cheaply. I enjoyed shopping there.

    cheers Peter
     
  5. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    411
    2
    I also have to say how much I like the CLK airport, designed by Norman Foster. The Airport Express (run by the MTR corporation) leaves every 15 minutes (from the hour), and takes 23 minutes to Hong Kong station, it's $HK100 one way, or $HK180 return. Considering the speed and distance, I think it's money well-spent.

    The in-town check-in facility is quick and efficient, and passengers can check in from 07:00 until 100 minutes prior to departure times, or even the day prior to travel. Initially I wasn't sure why checking in the day prior to travel would be useful, but after contemplating taking QF188 from HK to Sydney, leaving at 08:05, I thought that the day-before check-in would be a helpful option. It was great to be able to check in, send the big bag off to the airport, then meet for dinner, before catching the train to the airport. Travellers to the States are seriously inconvenienced by their lack of access to this service.

    The QF lounge is jointly operated by QF/BA, and the First Class lounge is entered via the Business Lounge. Thought the First Class lounge was a little small, and not obviously differentiated from the Business lounge, but wasn't there long enough to discern what subtle differences may exist. Didn't think it was quite as nice as the new-ish First Class lounge in Singapore.
     
  6. icemann

    icemann Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    268
    0
    French's Forest, NSW
    Correct, HardieBoys. I saw that too :)

    Which made me wonder...what is there to stop me walking straight through to the first class lounge ?! :lol:
     
  7. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    411
    2
    What's to stop you walking right through? The staff member at the desk checking your boarding pass and frequent flyer card.
     
  8. Rossmurdoch

    Rossmurdoch Junior Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    43
    0
    Sydney
    Find little difference between QF/BA 1st and business sections of the HK lounge, the quality of the wine offered in 1st is a little better but all the toilet, shower and comm facilities are shared, and the 1st section is often so crowded that the businsess section is more comfortable.
     
  9. danielh

    danielh Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    352
    0
    I didn't bother going through the First Class section but you would think that since there was only Business Class on the plane I was flying (HKG-MEL) that all business class ppl would get to go into the first class section.

    I was not impressed with the food in the Business Lounges. Lots of sanwiches cut up into soldiers (3 finger sandwiches), lots of drinks, some cheese n chips and that was about it.

    Would have preferred some more variety and possibly hot food.

    Regards
    Daniel
     
  10. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    411
    2
    Returned from a brief trip to Japan, stopping in HKG to change planes. Went into the First lounge for Cathay (there are two: The Pier and The Wing). Separate dining room, nice lounges (though all had a big screen playing CNNNNNNNNN), and great showers. Beats the QF/BA First lounge any day. Was thinking of checking out the Business lounge, but got waylaid by some nice food. It's just near gate 65.
     
  11. Rossmurdoch

    Rossmurdoch Junior Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    43
    0
    Sydney
    Agree Hardie Boys, haven't been to the Pier but the Wing is so superior to the QF/BA lounge either class. The business class section has a nice noodle bar, the cabanas in 1st are also great.
     
  12. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    37,706
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    MEL
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    KG Lounge

    Back in my Emerald days (I'm only Sapphire now.. :cry: ) I had the privilege of visiting the Cathay 1st Lounge.

    Yes, they do have Baths! :shock: (I Thought "Nup"!, not enough time)

    They had a restaurant with a hot and cold buffet serving snacks/yum cha, the like of which would turn many a restaurant proprietor green with envy. The drinks there were waiter served. An amazing place.

    I used the train and was able to check in well before my evening MEL flight then travel to the airport and spend several hours looking around. The QF counter at the airport did not open until 2.5 hours before departure.
     
  13. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    30,088
    5,545
    BNE & SYD
    Re: KG Lounge

    [quote=The QF counter at the airport did not open until 2.5 hours before departure.[/quote]

    I have been caught by that before, usually when I am arriving to catch a QF flight from another flight that was not on the same ticket - I have been known to catch a train into town , check in and go back out!

    I was lucky (not) to go through CLK on the first opening day, not much fun, I was a smoker then with nowhere to have a puff, no flight info and later that night - no bags at my destination!

    Both of the CX lounges are my preferred places mainly due to the food options, the western style food is very good which is not always the case in HK (try pizza hut). Pier lacks a view which helps you relax after a long trip. Baths are fantastic in CX lounge, showers OK (not as good as Singapore First Class ones).

    Overall the airport is good, just watch the food costs on the top floor, once I arrived after a trip form Aus needing a softdrink after a big sesison inflight with the duty free, had too many in the party for lounge access so we went upstairs, the Coke was $8 which was dearer than the beer!
     
  14. cardenio98

    cardenio98 Newbie

    Oct 30, 2004
    4
    0
    Sydney
    I've been through the HK airport far too many times. Mostly because I travel through China, HK and Taiwan several times a year on business.

    The CX lounges are far better than the QF lounges. That's been discussed already and it's soooooo true. If you can't get into lounges, then head up to the main top level food area and follow the signs to the Champions Bar for good hot food and a smoking area if you are so inclined. Great place to pass a couple of hours if you can't get into an airline lounge.

    The airport express is absolute gold. Beats the crap out of most worldwide international airports. If you have an APEC card, then customs is an easy breeze when you join the local people's queue.

    All in all, the new HK airport is so much better than the old. I love this airport for everything but the shopping -- it's so expensive compared to HK street prices.

    HK airport is great. The best I visit.

    Cheers
    cardenio98
     
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