Fewer Asia Deals Ahead? Hong Kong Airlines Extends US Schedule Reduction

Jun 21, 2019

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Hong Kong Airlines launched service to the US in December 2017 as a relative unknown. Since then, it’s turned heads through the number of cheap flights it offered, including business class from Los Angeles to Shanghai for just $561 round-trip. And those cheap flights have driven down prices on other airlines, making Hong Kong a fairly consistently-cheap destination.

I utilized Hong Kong Airlines’ cheap one-way fares to position from the US to Hong Kong in November. Despite booking just 10 days before departure, the one-way fare was just $321. And the experience was surprisingly good: full service at a low-cost price. The airline also distinguished itself in business class.

Hong Kong Airlines A350 economy class (Photo by JT Genter/TPG)

However, the airline has had problems in the last few months. High-profile executives have left or been forced out of the company; a struggle for control of the boardroom and questions over ownership ensued. The issues have caused the airline’s auditor to resign. More recently, the airline has even suffered delays due to parts falling off aircraft.

With financial issues plaguing the airline, it’s reportedly looking to reduce its fleet by more than 25 percent to cut costs. So, it should be no surprise that Hong Kong Airlines has reduced its flight schedule. Unfortunately for US travelers, the airline’s routes to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) haven’t been spared.

Hong Kong Airlines initially operated the LAX flight daily, and SFO 4x weekly. But, as reported by RoutesOnline, LAX has been reduced to 4x weekly from August 26 and San Francisco to 3x weekly from August 31. Those reductions have just been extended into 2020.

What does this mean for airfares to Hong Kong? Well, you can currently find fares as low as $314 one-way on Hong Kong Airlines, and legacy carriers’ fares fell to compete.

And the competition has driven round-trip down to just $458:

However, on the dates that Hong Kong Airlines isn’t operating, the one-way fares are notably higher.

And round-trip fares are also significantly higher:

While this reduction in frequencies is understandable with what’s going on at Hong Kong Airlines, it’s bad news for US-based travelers looking for a great deal to Hong Kong and beyond. Still, there are some deals — on Hong Kong Airlines, American Airlines, United, Singapore and others — thanks to the intense competition.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG

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