Hi! I am a teen from Hong Kong. I usually travel with my family from HKG. This report is my first-ever flight report. So if I need any improvement, feel free to tell me in the comments section!
Background This series covers my roundtrip on HK Express (UO) for vacation to Japan in April 2017 . The trip's (straightforward) routing is: 1. HKG-NRT [UO870, A320] on Economy Class - THIS REPORT 2. NRT-HKG [UO871, A320] on Economy Class - NO REPORT because of the lack of photos
Seat allocation and food ordering are done via the internet at a fee when booking. We did online check-in, so we only need to check our bag, let them check our documents and collect our boarding pass in the airport, speeding up the whole procedure!
We arrived at Terminal 2 of Hong Kong International Airport two hours before departure time. Hong Kong International Airport's main terminal is T1, while T2 has only check-in counters for a few (mostly small & low-cost) airlines, security and immigration control for departure passengers. There is no gates, shops airside, transit or arrival facilities. Passengers on departure needs to take the train back to T1 for gates, lounges and shops airside. It looks like a shopping mall more than an airport terminal if you are landside.
The UO check-in counters are located in Aisle P. Bag drop was quick and the staff was nice.
It took us a while to find the escalator for departure. Although HKG is our base, we seldom depart using Terminal 2.
Little people use Terminal 2 for departure security checks and immigration control. Both terminals' departure control leads you to the same airside area, so you can technically go to T2 for security and immigration after you check-in in T1 especially when the queues are insanely long in both the north and the south T1 deparure points (little people do that) (except when at some time in the night when T2 departure points close). We were airside quickly without any queues.
We had to take the trains from the T2 departure point back to the T1 airside for gates. Trains arrive every 2 minutes and was not crowded st that time.
We had plenty of time left until boarding (to be exact more than an hour), so we had breakfast in the food court back in airside area in T1 and did some shopping.
Our flight is preparing for boarding by 10:30. The gate allocated was 524, a bus gate.
A lot of people are waiting for boarding in the apron bus waiting room for gates 521-530 because another UO flight to another Japanese city was boarding nearby also by apron bus.
HK Express UO870 Aircraft: A320-232 (B-LCF delivered May 2015, first flight Aug 2013) Departure: 11:20 (Actual Time 11:49) Arrival: 16:25 (Actual Time 17:09) Flight time: 4:05 (Actual 4:20) Seat: 7A (Window Seat in Economy)
After a few minutes waiting (there are plenty of seats in the waiting area for bus gates), boarding started.
On the first apron bus towards my plane. Normally A320s need two apron buses to transfer all passengers. UO has a fleet of only A320 family planes.
Arriving at our plane, an A320-232, registered B-LCF. It's first flight was in August 2013 and was delivered to the airline in 2015.
Walking towards the plane from the apron bus.
Boarding using the staircase.
One of the advantages of boarding on the apron is that I could take photos of the plane freely in many angles.
The apron bus with the Midfield Concourse as background.
UO names many planes using food and names this plane "Tebasaki". Tebasaki is the specialty of Nagoya, and I wonder why UO didn't use this plane for the Nagoya flight departing at almost the same time.
The second apron bus arrived about ten minutes later, still about fifteen minutes prior to departure. All passengers were already seated and the pilot called for ground staff to leave the aircraft about five minutes before the departure time. I hoped for an early departure and arrival, however the pilot told us that our flight would be delayed. A few minutes later we were told that our flight had been grounded by the ATC.
A few days later I found out that at that time the new ATC system of the airport had a problem and the fallback system was put to use. As a result, departure flights had been delayed.
Eventually the plane took off on the south runway with more than a half hour delay. Soon after take off, the cabin crew went around giving out Japan Arrival Immigration Cards and selling tax-free items.
Let's look at the content of the seat-back pocket (although it is not a pocket). Safety instruction card with bad graphics!
There were neither personal TVs nor overhead monitors on board the aircraft (understandable on LCC), so I read books I brought and the magazines provided.
Lunch we ordered online was served before landing.
We landed at NRT late for more than half an hour, understandable because of the late departure. As UO flights prohibits use of mobile phones when taking off and landing, no photos of take off or landing can be provided.
Another flight from Hong Kong. A CX in new livery.
We had a five minute taxi towards our apron.
Ground staff waved us into the apron.
It was raining gently so a covered staircase moved in. Ground services of HK Express in Narita Airport is provided by ANA.
Our buses arrived with a few ground staff in yellow suit, waiting for us to exit the plane.
One last look at the cabin. The legroom was decent for a short flight about four hours.
On the apron bus, looking at the aircraft which brought us here to Tokyo. Bye, B-LCF!
Terminal 2 is full of JAL & Oneworld partners' planes.
We had a short ride back to the main building of Terminal 2 of NRT. The immigration line was long but moved fastly. We did not have to wait long for my bag.
Although NRT is far away from the city, access to the airport is straightfoward with the Narita Express Line linking NRT to Tokyo Stn & Shinjuku Stn.
So this concludes this flight review. Hope you enjoyed it! Don't hesitate to leave a comment if I am wrong somewhere or can imporve.
Hong Kong Express Airways
Hong Kong - HKG
Tokyo - NRT
This was my first flight with HK Express. Honestly speaking, it is a fairly good LCC. I get what I paid for. - The legroom is okay for a short flight provided that your seat reclines. The design of the cabin is acceptable. I'll rate a 7 for cabin, but 0.5 is added because that it is an LCC and I pay less fare than traditional airlines for the seat. - I didn't use a lot of cabin service, but I can see that the cabin crew are friendly and helpful. I'll give an 8.5 for them. - No personal TVs and overhead monitors, again understandable for LCC. There is a magazine with travel information for destinations (not including Tokyo!!!). I'll rate a 5. - I paid for my meal. Not expensive for LCC, but if it is sold on the street in HK, probably no one will buy it. I only eat it because the flight is during lunch time. 7.5.
For airports, I start at 8 for every part and add or deduct marks.
HKG: Great as always, except for the lack of tables at the food court. If you have lounge access, go to it. It is insanely crowded in the food court. I'll give add 1.5 mark for the efficiency because of the fast procedures to airside, but deduct 0.5 because the food court was too crowded. 1.5 added to access for the great Airport Express (except that I take the bus instead of AE because my home is nearer to an airport bus station than a AE station). 0.5 added to other parts.
NRT: Although the architecture and design is not too impressive (compared to HKG), staff were efficient. 0.5 added for efficiency. For access, the pros is that it is direct, but the cons is that the train ride is almost an hour to Tokyo Station, an hour and a half to Shinjuku Station. 0.5 deducted for access.
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