Flying into the old Kai Tak Airport, you could see families eating dinner, the planes flew so close to the apartment buildings in Kowloon. In 1998, Terminal 1 at the newly opened airport on an island in the South China Sea, was the largest in the world. It’s vast, but now apparently Dubai and Beijing are bigger.
With around 70 million passenger movements a year and a sprawling, slightly dated terminal, a few hours transit in Hong Kong Airport could be stressful – but isn’t.
Rapid, driverless trains take passengers between check-in and gates. Travellators and escalators move large numbers of people effortlessly.
A little confused, I paused by a map of terminals and gates. A friendly ‘helper’ appeared and showed me where and how to find the places I needed. I didn’t look for help; it found me – very impressive in a massive terminal building that could feel daunting.
Food and Drink
Water stations are clearly displayed and plentiful.
Travelling often for business, I get to use one of the many ‘lounges’ which serve delicious, freshly cooked food and good tea and coffee.
The choice and standard of food in the main terminal are excellent – in 2017 Skytrax voted Hong Kong International as the best airport for dining.
There are a few ‘Western’ food franchises, like Pizza Express and Subway and a vast choice of tasty Asian cuisines.
Comfort and Cleanliness
The grey stone floors with metal and glass walls give a sleek, sharp atmosphere compared with the colours and plants in Singapore’s Changi Airport. There is plenty of seating and carpeted resting lounges with reclined chairs. Teams of cleaners keep the washrooms and terminal spotless, 24 hours a day.
The washrooms are a little dated but cleanliness is more important, and the standard is excellent. A great amenity after a long flight is the complimentary shower facilities.
Passing the Time
After one long flight and before starting the next, and sometimes just to stay awake, I like to walk. The large, long terminal is an excellent place to get the leg muscles working and the blood circulating. However there are fancier ways to pass the time, Hong Kong International has an IMAX theatre. There are kids’ play areas and themed kids’ activity centres – and even virtual golf for the bigger kids amongst us.
Useful amenities for any long haul business traveller are the Wellness Spa and Salons. Here you can enjoy a shoulder and back or foot massage, manicure, pedicures and even get your hair cut and blow dried!
Hong Kong International is the main hub for five local airlines, including Cathay Pacific and is used by over 100 airlines. Plans are afoot for further expansion, but even in its current form, for long haul business travel, it’s a pleasant place to spend time.
© 2019 Executive Travel Vitality