Hong Kong Airlines’ non-stop Vancouver service is set for an aircraft upgrade next year with the carrier’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A350-900, scheduled to operate flights to the British Columbia capital starting January 1.
The deployment is, unfortunately, only a temporary one at this point in time, with the A350 only operating flights to and from Vancouver until January 31. Nevertheless, the aircraft offers an improved flying experience over the Airbus A330-200 that currently operates the route that undoubtedly will be welcomed by travellers.
Hong Kong Airlines has been taking delivery of its new A350 fleet over the past year as part of its efforts to expand its long-haul network to include destinations in North America. Vancouver became the carrier’s first destination in North America in June 2017, followed shortly after by Los Angeles and San Francisco. Hong Kong Airlines also has plans to launch flights to New York in the near future.
Unfortunately for passengers on the Vancouver route, the service launched just before the airline’s first A350 was delivered and since then has been the only one of Hong Kong Airlines’ North America services not operated by the new aircraft.
Back in September, however, the airline took delivery of its fifth A350, which was also its first to feature its new Super Diamond business class seat product. This aircraft is taking over from one of its previous A350s with the older business class seat on the airline’s Los Angeles service, thereby freeing up an A350 for other routes such as Vancouver.
As such, the A350 that will fly to and from Vancouver throughout January sadly won’t be one with the new business class seats. That being said, the older seats are still able to recline to a fully flat position and are laid out in a staggered forward-facing 1-2-1 configuration that provides direct aisle access to all passengers.
Business Traveller has previously reviewed the A350’s older business class product and service on the Los Angeles route.
The business class products on the A350 and the A330-200 are somewhat similar in design, though those on the former offer superior pitch and width.
The switch from the A330-200 to the A350 also notably increases the number of business class seats available on the flight from just 18 to 33.
Hong Kong Airlines is also looking to expand its long-haul network beyond just destinations in North America, having expressed a desire to launch non-stop flights to London in the foreseeable future.