25 March 2018. The Mayor of San Francisco proclaimed this date Hong Kong Airlines Day because the airline launched direct flights between San Francisco, California and Hong Kong on this day. The full-service airline celebrated its inaugural flight HX 61 which was operated with an Airbus A350-941 and departed San Francisco Airport slightly past noon.
A queue had formed at the Economy Class check-in counter even before they were open. Asian staff manned the check-in counters then. Economy class was pretty full while there Business Class was about half full.
The aircraft with registration number B-LGC was delivered on 29 November 2017. It was the aircraft that flew me back to Hong Kong. It was parked next to a Qantas B747 aircraft bound for Sydney on the bright sunny day. While guests were busy snapping away photos of the aircraft with their smartphones, the departure lounge was filling up with passengers waiting to board.
A small celebration was held at the departure gate prior to the inaugural flight taking off. Passengers bound for Hong Kong were invited to join in. Fortune Cookies brought smiles and happiness to everyone after all the speeches. Check out photos above. From left, Mr Doug Yakel, Public Information Officer, San Francisco International Airport, Mr George Liu, Chief Marketing Officer, Hong Kong Airlines and Mr Mark Chandler, Director of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce were seen amused with larger than normal Fortune Cookies in their hands. They broke open their fortune cookies and each had a slip that read Hong Kong Airlines loves San Francisco when pieced together.
Celebrity Chef and television personality Chris Cosentino also flew on the inaugural flight to Hong Kong to promote the in-flight dining collaboration with the airline. Chef Cosentino is known for his San Francisco restaurant Cockscomb where he reinterprets classic San Francisco dishes by adding his own unique twist. He has designed a comprehensive menu of 12 dishes consisting of a series of appetisers, main courses and desserts that will be rotated for business class. The menu will also be introduced on Hong Kong Airline’s Los Angeles – Hong Kong route in the months ahead.
There was a presentation of in-flight meals in new tableware by Hong Kong designers JIA at the departure lounge.
Passengers of the inaugural flight were presented with a certificate signed off by the pilot.
The four-time weekly flights from SFO – HKG take 14 hours 5 minutes.