Airline Review – Dragonair Hong Kong – Chengdu

Dominating the regional China market Dragonair’s consistently world-class service and cutting-edge regional business class product ensure happy travels to China’s Western Gateway, discovers Nick Walton.

Note: the author travelled on a fully-paid business class ticket without the airline’s knowledge.


We checked in for our flight on, and with a digital boarding pass were able to skip the check-in counters and make directly for Dragonair and Cathay Pacific’s The Pier lounge, located near our designated gate 61, within ten minutes of arriving at the airport.

The Lounge

Although The Pier lacks some of Cathay Pacific’s signature lounge elements, including the Solus chairs, it remains one of my favourite lounges at HKIA; intimate and serene, it seems to be a little off the beaten path compared to some of the other lounges, ensuring plenty of peace and quiet but with the same CX service. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a communications breakdown and despite calls for flights to the four corners of the world, there was no announcement about a gate change. Fortunately, we left the lounge with time to spare, only to have to travel the length of the airport to gate 513 to board a bus out to our waiting A330-300 aircraft.


We were welcomed into the business class cabin by Dragonair’s usual smiling and youthful crew, who directed us to our seats and helped us stow our carry on luggage. The cabin features 40 of the airlines’ relatively new regional business class seat; a slim, sleek, but very comfortable product ideally suited for Dragonair’s short-haul routes. The 21-inch wide seat features an extended leg rest, an innovative cradle recline, and a six-way headrest, as well as a spacious tray table that opens from the seat in front. Before we departed, crew offered chilled glasses of Piper-Heidsieck and menus, and advised of a flight time of two hours and twenty minutes.


For our late morning flight, the crew offered a light breakfast option of fruit and yoghurt, followed by a choice of a scrambled egg and bacon crepe with potatoes and cherry tomatoes; or stir-fried udon noodles with prawn and fish cakes and steamed Chinese dim sum. The crepe was perfectly cooked and suitably light, especially when matched with fresh grapefruit juice and a steaming mug of Fujian’s first class oolong tea.


Passengers in Dragonair’s new business class can access the airline’s new StudioKA inflight entertainment system via a 12.1-inch monitor, or connect their own devices through iPod and USB connections. I prefer to use my own Bose noise-reduction headphones, which can be plugged into the seat without the need for an adapter. There are no movies on offer, which is probably for the best as flight time is too short to see most through, but the television and music offering is great and includes favourite classics like Midsomer Murders.


Dragonair continue to show the world how regional full-service airlines can excel; well-trained and enthusiastic staff make a massive difference and complement innovative hardware to ensure the carrier stays at the forefront of travel in Asia.

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