The new all-premium plane touched down at London Gatwick March 8, adding a new type of service to a route already well-served by the likes of Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas and Air New Zealand.
While it’s a competitive field, Hong Kong Airlines clearly feels that it’s got a market for all-business-class travel, which requires far higher seat prices to support a plane with just 116 seats — 34 lie-flat, and 82 ‘Club Classic’ business seats.
Fares run at HK$16,640 (€1,610) for a ‘Club Classic’ seat, and HK$33,640 (€3,270) for ‘Club Premier’ lie-flat beds.
Less than five years ago, consumers had many more options when it came to all-business-class services than they do today, with the likes of eos, Silverjet and MaxJet shuttling well-off passengers between Europe and the US and Dubai.
All three came crashing down around 2008, leading many to question whether consumers would pay for all-business-class travel when almost all long-haul flights offer a separate business cabin.However, Hong Kong Airlines can point at a couple of examples of all-business class services that are still running.
Singapore Airlines converted some of its jets to all-business class in 2008 and still runs services between its hub at Changi and New York and LA in supreme comfort, which is a good thing — at 18.5 hours, Singapore Airlines Flight 21 between Newark and Changi is the longest scheduled non-stop flight in the world.
OpenSkies offers an all-business service between Paris Orly and Newark in New York and is a descendant of French carrier L’Avion, offering individual tablet computers and four-course meals to passengers.
In 2009, British Airways launched a similar service between London City Airport and New York, using the flight numbers BA001-BA004, which were once flown by Concorde, which was technically the world’s first all-business service.
Additional Content by Doron Levy
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