Hong Kong Express Airways Limited, well known as Hong Kong Express, is an airline based in Hong Kong operating on a low-cost model, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways. If offers affordable fares for flying to 27 destinations in Asia.
The countries served by Hong Kong Express are China, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Northern Mariana Islands, etc. Highlighting its brand image, Hong Kong Express has come with the slogan “Your Move.” The new tagline serves as a call-to-action with a view to welcome customers to their comfortable flights to Asian destinations and fortifies the airline’s spirit of adventure. HK Express has paved its own path as Hong Kong’s only low-cost carrier, and it operates its air services to the off-the-beaten destinations for passengers to explore the hidden treasure in Asian countries. The airline calls for its customers to escape the hassles of daily monotonous grind and set out with an adventurous spirit of Hong Kong Express.
Just as Hong Kong is pumped by an invisible yet omnipresent giant heart and always on the move with its rapid pulse rate, the airline also seeks to be on a competitive move.
The question ‘Is Hong Kong Express a good airline?’ is answered by its customer facilities and services equally with its flight performance.
The airline has refreshed its visual identity through its designed icons, inducing communication with the customers. It showcases the landscapes, candid moments while revealing its brand image with bespoke examples in deep purple and cherry red shades. Similarly, its website has evolved with a fresh look with the addition of the new ‘Swift Bar,’ where passengers can search resources or interact with the airline. This search interface has innumerable features like call-to-action, content bar, etc.
Hong Kong Express stepped into the world of the aviation industry in 2004. Till now, it has flown more than 18 million passengers, demonstrating its popularity. The airline is committed to the utmost satisfaction and operational safety to its customers with best-in-class on-time performance. In a short period, HK Express is able to lead the Hong Kong aviation sector with its low-cost, high-value product that is attested to the popularity of this airline. So, it can be considered as a good airline by looking at its annual passenger flow and technological upgrades.
The headquarter of this Asian airline is in Hong Kong International Airport. It owns a fleet size of 28 aircraft, all being Airbus products, including 8 Airbus A320-200, 9 Airbus A320 neo, 11 Airbus A321-200. The fast-growing fleet of HK Express asked for the delivery of 16 A321 neo in 2022. It will allow the airline to fly to an enticing number of destinations in Asia.
The airline shifted its business model to low cost in 2013. In 2019, it was acquired by Cathay Pacific. Cathay completed the acquisition of Hong Kong Express to enter the budget airline market. The no-frill carrier, jumping into low- cost travel market, became the wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. Hong Kong Express is a stand-alone airline operating on the low-cost business model, separated from the existing full-service operation of Cathay Pacific, although a low-cost airline offers loyalty programs to its customers, meant to encourage them to fly again, making them eligible to earn points based on the number of miles flown. Asia Miles is the loyalty program.
The airline has a solid performance in-flight safety. The airline is registered on IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and complies with IOSA standards. HK Express got a 7-star safety ranking which is the highest safety ranking. It was recognized as one of the world’s ten safest budget airlines by airlineratings.com.
The airline is a partner member of reward-U and U-Fly Holidays.
Now let’s discuss this airline’s values, which make it a good airline. With an adventurous and entrepreneurial personality, the airline takes pride in its values.
- Collaborative- Believes in teamwork to ignite the dream of reaching new heights in the aviation field.
- Entrepreneurial- Encourages innovation in aviation.
- Efficiency- Minimizing the airfare without cutting global corners
- Reliability- Customers can count on them for flight safety and quality service.
- Vibrant- Capture the energy and optimism while venturing towards new adventurous destinations.
From the staff perspective, the airline offers flexible workplaces, medical insurance, flexible working hours, staff travel benefits in Cathay Pacific, and the interline airline.
Airline services towards customers
Now to know if Hong Kong Express is a good airline, we need to take a look at its customer-oriented facilities and services.
The airline avails the flight booking services via its official website, mobile application up to hours prior to flight departure time, travel agencies, third-party websites.
HK Express offers two types of airfares to its customers, each with a distinct benefit. Fun Fare allows the customer to carry free hand luggage weight up to 7 kgs. Next is Funflex fares, where customers can carry up to 7 kg hand luggage freely, get priority check-in, boarding, priority baggage, and flexibility to change the flight date and time up to 3 hours prior to flight time freely (although fare differences apply).
There’s a facility for online check-in to save customers time and avoid the hectic queue at check-in counters. The customer can self-check-in and get printed, or mobile boarding passes. At the boarding process, it may seem disorderly, with every passenger lining up in one long queue for boarding. But it completes rather quickly.
Carry-on bags maximum 7 kg and one additional personal item (briefcase, wallet of laptop bags) is allowed. The musical instrument is also permitted to be brought as a part of carry-on luggage allowance, provided they are underweight and size limit.
There are three seat options: Standard, Upfront, and Sweet seats. The seats can be purchased the time you book the flight.
Customers can pre-book their meals and drinks on board. A wide range of food and drinks are offered, but they are subject to availability.
HK Express provides special handling services to differently-able passengers like wheelchair passengers, infants, and children, pregnant passengers, customers with reduced mobility, and others. Travel guidelines are offered to such people so that they can have a smooth airline and airport experience.
Corporate Social Responsibility of Hong Kong Express (HK Express)
Although being a budget airline, HK assisted the PCCN nonprofit organization of Hong Kong in fighting against the virus by supplying 1700 kg air cargo to transport sanitizers and masks. It also runs several programs like Christmas celebrations with senior citizens, summer English classes. The airline is active in community support, committed to serving the community, which signifies the airline’s humanitarian nature.
Regarding cancellation and refunds, all of the products and services offered by HK Express are non-refundable. Reimbursement may be provided only under special conditions (like a severe injury, duplicate booking).
Looking at ratings, HK Express is certified as 3-star low-cost airline by SkyTrax. The rating is based on the evaluation of onboard services, airport quality, and staff services standards. HK Express delivers good quality flight services, the staff service standard is fair. The cabin comfort and cleanliness are also fair. It implies it is indeed a good airline.
However, there are no inflight entertainment services. There is no Wi-Fi or cabin service, no seat-back screen. The airline lags behind on inflight experience and in-flight entertainment plans. The service standard is decent but lacks seat comfort. The seats are a little obsolete.
Many travelers choose Hong Kong Express for intra-Asia flights. HK Express is a safe airline, with good performance in check-in and boarding service, overall customer service, and cabin cleanliness. The Chinese low-cost airline believes in paramount safety; it has won a 7-star safety rating five times in a row. In 2019, it had an on-time performance (OTP) of 85.7% and an annual load factor of 90%.
It is still complicated to compare budget carriers with full-service network carriers because you receive what you paid money for. The promotion prices of HK Express are attractive to many customers. There are campaign offers on every milestone it celebrates where customers can enjoy discounts on flights to/from Hong Kong. The airfare doesn’t include checked baggage, preferential seat assignments, onboard meals, or any other add ons. If you want the flexibility of reserving one-way tickets or open-jaw tickets for flying to Cambodia, China, Japan, and Korea, HK Express is the right choice.
How we attribute airlines to be good, bad, or the best depends on personal choice. What one considers the best might be average for others. Skyrating has given three stars to this airline, which is an average rating for a low-cost airline like Hong Kong Express. With regards to safety, it is IOSA certified. You have to pay for extra amenities except for air transport and a carry-on bag in relation to service. In comparison to others, it is considered to be an excellent low-cost airline. But it still has some rooms left to be improved like inflight meals and onboard entertainment services. In order to take its customers to the land of adventures, HK Express needs to keep customers entertained and energetic.