Earlier than being buffeted by each the 2019 pro-democracy protests and this 12 months’s journey downturn, Hong Kong Worldwide Airport was a significant Asian aviation hub. A whole bunch of flights arrived and departed every day. The airport had a well-deserved popularity for quick and easy accessibility into China and round Asia.
A decline in passenger and plane numbers means connections in Hong Kong are swift. Photograph: Cathay Pacific Information RoomThings are a bit of bit quieter at Hong Kong Worldwide Airport lately. However the airport remains to be open, and lots of airways proceed to fly in. Because the starting of June, transit passengers have as soon as once more begun to maneuver by the airport. It’s a rigorously managed course of, and noodle fuelled lounge hopping is not on. If you’re quickly to make a connection at Hong Kong Worldwide Airport, right here’s what it’s essential to know.
Some passengers will want a letter certifying their COVID-19 standing
Firstly, passengers on Hong Kong-bound flights from sure international locations will want a letter or certificates from a laboratory or healthcare establishment indicating the passenger is COVID-19 detrimental. That check must be inside 72 hours of flying. The rule applies to passengers coming in from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Kazakhstan, and the US.
Secondly, whereas within the terminal at Hong Kong, you have to to put on a face masks. Passengers ought to deliver their very own.
A well-designed airport makes connections straightforward
Hong Kong Worldwide Airport has two terminals, terminal one and terminal two. Most flights arrive and depart from terminal one. Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Traces, United Airways, Air Canada, and British Airways all use terminal one.
Both approach, it’s not a giant deal. There’s a handy central entry approach and lined walkways at every finish between Terminal one and Terminal two. It’s only a few minutes stroll.
Connecting passengers will fall into one in every of two teams. You’ll both have an onward flight boarding cross otherwise you gained’t.
Hong Kong Airport’s terminal one and two. Photograph: Hong Kong Airport.Usually, in case you have an onward flight boarding cross, you merely observe the signage to the departures degree for boarding gates, outlets, lounges, and bars.
Sometimes, in case you have just a few hours to kill, Hong Kong Worldwide Airport is likely one of the world’s higher airports to waste a while in.
COVID-19 sees a brand new regime for connecting passengers at Hong Kong
However when the airport started permitting connecting visitors once more in June, the connection good occasions have been quickly halted. As beforehand reported in Easy Flying, the next guidelines now apply;
Connecting passengers should go on to the boarding gates for his or her connecting flights instantly;
Connecting passengers will obtain stickers at switch factors for identification functions;
Passengers must preserve a protected bodily distance of no less than 1.5m from one another when standing in queues;
Alcohol-based hand rub dispensers and sanitizing flooring mats can be found at every arrival gate and all through the whole terminal;
There are protecting screens put in place at service counters, together with airline check-in counters and Buyer Providers Centres; and
Connecting passengers may dine at designated areas.
Clear signage helps make connecting in Hong Kong swift and painless. Photograph: Wpcey through Wikimedia CommonsIf you don’t have an onward flight boarding cross, you’ll must see airline workers within the designated connection space to select your new boarding cross up.
How lengthy will it’s essential to permit for a connection in Hong Kong? Lately, with issues so quiet, you might in all probability safely do it in a single hour. The cautious traveler may desire to consider 90 minutes.
COVID-19 has seen connecting in Hong Kong develop into a fairly austere expertise. Passengers within the designation connection zone can have entry to a restricted variety of meals and beverage choices, free WiFi, bathrooms, and airline workers. However it’s not the sort of place you’d fortunately make a prolonged connection in. Even in case you are lounge eligible, transit passengers can not entry them. Most are closed anyway.
Longer connection occasions however extra to do within the pre-COVID period
In higher occasions, when Hong Kong Worldwide Airport was heaving, you might nonetheless make a comparatively quick connection. However issues can gradual you down – queues, youngsters, baggage, flight delays. They’re all a part of the standard hourly burly of flying skilled vacationers consider.
Beforehand, it was no actual ache to spend a while on the airport in Hong Kong. There are over 50 outlets on the airport, 60 eating places, and a number of bars.
However the perfect a part of connecting in Hong Kong was the lounges. The airport has quite a lot of wonderful lounges. Proper now, most of them are closed. Cathay Pacific has quickly closed 4 of its 5 Hong Kong lounges. Solely The Wing in terminal one close to gate one is open.
The times of lounge hopping in Hong Kong are halted. Photograph: Qantas Information RoomThere have been another superb lounges in Hong Kong. The Qantas lounge outpost was wonderful. The Singapore Airways lounge was good. American Specific had a Centurion Lounge close to Gate 60. There have been a number of choices, one thing like 16 lounges when the airport was in full swing.
Even when you have been flying in on an airline you didn’t have standing on, or we’re seated up the again, Hong Kong supplied quite a lot of pay-to-use lounge choices. Alternatively, you might escape your Precedence Move or DragonPass membership card.
Apart from The Wing and the Plaza Premium East Lounge, all of the lounges at the moment are quickly closed.
Quiet occasions at Hong Kong Airport
Whereas Hong Kong Worldwide Airport stays open for enterprise, it’s a shadow of its former self. A part of the pleasure of connecting there was the vitality and momentum of the crowds round you, the selection of issues to do, and the way in which all the pieces labored.
Issues are quiet at Hong Kong Worldwide Airport lately. Photograph: Hong Kong Airport Information RoomA quieter airport makes for simpler connections. That’s good in a technique. However with the vibe gone, most issues closed, and connecting passengers corralled into transit areas, it’s develop into a joyless affair.
How lengthy it’s till Hong Kong and its airport will get again to enterprise, and the excitement returns is anybody’s guess.