Cloe Willetts flies Auckland to Hong Kong aboard Hong Kong Airlines HX022.

The plane:

An Airbus A330-200, with a seating capacity of 241.

Class: The elegant and generously spaced Business Class, which seats 24 and is set with tones of red and purple, and brimming with cushions, refreshments and window views.

Price: You can get an Economy Class flight for around $750. Pay extra for Business and you'll get a dramatic jump in leg space, plus better quality cuisine, as well as comfort levels. The entertainment is the same as in Economy, as is staff professionalism.


Flight time: 11 hours 20 minutes.

My seat: Originally at the back with a row to myself, I shifted to the front to sit beside a Hong Kong Travel Board host at the request of an air hostess, who worried I'd be lonely. My seat offered plenty of leg room and space, with a 155-degree reclining chair that didn't find itself in the lap of a fellow traveller.

Fellow passengers: Apart from six of us trialling the new Auckland to Hong Kong route, there were two other pairs in Business. Those closest to me, a male duo, made the most of complimentary beer and bourbon and coke for the first hour or so, before one of them spent the following couple of hours emitting a less than pleasant smell.

How full: Business had a few rows full while economy was wall-to-wall.

Entertainment: There was a selection of TV shows and movies, with plenty of children's films to keep families entertained. Although there were a couple of goodies that helped the time vanish, it'd be nice to have seen a wider selection of new releases.

The service: Staff were friendly and accommodating with immaculate presentation and unwavering smiles. Business guests were given accessories including slippers, socks, eye masks and fleecy blankets, as well as shiny purple headphones with built-in noise control. A Clarins skincare amenity kit was also a hit.

Food and drink: Although they offer a range of special request meals, my vegetarian request somehow went amiss and when it was my time to order, the only vegetarian option had run out. I was given an economy-class meal, which was pleasant. The staff's dedication to fixing the problem was admirable and I was given my second vegetarian meal first.

The toilets: Clean and brightly lit.

Luggage: I checked in 20kg but was allowed up to 40kg in Business. I had a laptop and large handbag as carry-on, for which there was plenty of space.

The airport experience: In Auckland, we enjoyed priority check-in and boarding and access to the relaxing VIP lounge. When I arrived at Hong Kong Airport, I was astounded by how hassle-free it was getting through customs.

Would I fly this again? Most definitely.