Caught (up) in traffic

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Hong Kong International Airport

May 2012
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I’ve been to HKIA only twice and both have been in transit to another country rather than me visiting Hong Kong for business or its attractions. As such, I would say that the photos I was able to take do not do justice to the terminal, which is probably the caveat for this article.

Hong Kong would be in the Top 3 airports in Asia and perhaps in the world. In terms of efficiency, I would still say Singapore’s Changi would still be the best but HKIA will be a very close second. Incheon will probably come in as 3rd but not really that close to the first two.

Moving walkways – these facilities are a necessity even for those who at first assume they don’t need to use them. The airport terminal is huge and it would take time for one to walk or run to catch a flight, especially a connecting one.

Information technology – the information systems at the airport are top of the line and allows travelers, like our group in the photo, to easily navigate the airport and know the status of our flight.

Shops and restaurants – HKIA is a microcosm of Hong Kong itself as one may go shopping or dining at the airport. We saw a lot of popular booths where travelers can grab quick meals or drinks while waiting to board their flights. The retail shops are a mix of the affordable to the more expensive goods including souvenirs even if you just happen to be in transit at HKIA. There’s even a large Disney Store at the airport.

Cavernous – the architecture of the terminal gives travelers a sense of immensity with the very high ceiling and tremendous space for going around. This is just appropriate for a terminal handling millions of passengers.

Hub – HKIA is the hub of the island’s major carrier, Cathay Pacific. CX, as the airline is designated, flies to so many destinations from HKIA making it a major player among international carriers. I think Cathay Pacific is easily among the top 3 or 5 airlines in the world where all in my list being Asian (e.g., Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways).

View from afar – airport access may be via road or rail transport and one could see the Hong Kong cityscape from the airport. In the photo, the tall buildings before the mountains are probably high-rise apartments where many reside. HK is a very dense city, which necessitates such residential developments instead of the single-detached and even walk-up types to account for space limitations.

Ground handling – a view of the tarmac where a lot of activities happen. I remember a video going around in You Tube about the baggage of a Philippine carrier being mishandled by HKIA ground staff. I guess such things happen everywhere, even in what are already considered as top airports.

Boarding – passengers queued before Gate 4 at HKIA

Best seats in the house – the layout of seats at the departure area allow people to have some personal space in a very public place. The windows afford a view of the surrounding area including airport operations for people interested in transport like our group just coming from an academic conference on transportation.

Window seat – the large windows and high ceilings make every seat practically a window seat

Not crowded at all – we were to board an Airbus A340 for our flight back to Manila. Minutes before the flight, most passengers seem to be anywhere but near the our boarding gate.

Boarding time – I was able to take a photo of a friend taking a photo as well as two queues before a couple of boarding gates at the airport. The queues were generally orderly with airport staff checking the boarding passes of people in line to facilitate the boarding procedure.

Line-up – this line here is actually for our flight. As there were no boarding sequence for those riding in coach, we decided to board later as the line was quite long.

Another look at our fellow passengers lined up to board our aircraft.

Boarding gate – we boarded our aircraft through the same gate where I took a photo of earlier

I’m not sure when I will be using the HKIA again but I’m sure I’ll be trying to take a lot more photos particularly the restaurants and shops in the terminal. Perhaps, too, I could be going around HK itself (I haven’t gone anywhere here except the airport terminal.). I am curious about the streets, the delicious food and, of course, the transportation system.


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