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Flying time to Hong Kong is around 16 hours direct from Newark/New York, 13½ hours direct from Los Angeles, or 13 hours direct from San Francisco.
Airlines and Airports
Airline and Airport Links.com. Airline and Airport Links.com has links to many of the world's airlines and airports. www.airlineandairportlinks.com.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Agency (www.tsa.gov/public.)
The sleek, sophisticated Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is also commonly known as Chek Lap Kok, which is where it's located. At almost a mile long, the Y-shape passenger Terminal 1 is the world's second-largest terminal, while the new Terminal 2 is just as modern and well-equipped, but smaller. Terminal 2 handles departures for selected airlines; all flights arrive at Terminal 1.
Chek Lap Kok is one of the friendliest, cleanest, most efficient airports around. Walkways connect the check-in and arrival halls with nearby gates, while electric trains glide to gates at the end of the terminals. Restaurants, fast-food outlets, juice joints, and bars abound. Most eateries are open from 7 am to 11 pm or midnight; local chain Café de Coral and Ajisen Ramen (Japanese noodles) in the east departures hall are the only outlets open 24 hours.
There's free Wi-Fi access throughout the terminals, but data transfer is often slow. A telecom and business center, Connect Zone, is in the Level 6 Departures Hall near Gate 24. It provides Wi-Fi and Internet access on computers, free local phone calls, select TV programs, and other business support services. If you're going to be overnighting at Chek Lap Kok, consider buying a package from the Plaza Premium Traveler's Lounges, which has four locations at the airport. The 15,000-square-foot flagship lounge is in Terminal 1 Level 6 Departures Hall before Gate 1. Most of the lounges have rest areas, showers, massages, Internet access, newspapers, and a 24-hour buffet—an overnight package costs HK$780. Note that the airport has no other public showers or spa or massage facilities.
Check in at least two hours before departure. Most major airlines let you use the In-Town check-in service at the Hong Kong or Kowloon Airport Express stations. You can check your bags up to 24 hours before your flight—a boon if you're flying at night and don't want to return to your hotel to get your bags. The service is available until 1½ hours before your flight time.
Airport tax is normally included in your ticket price. If it's not, hold on to HK$120 for the airport tax, payable on departure from the country. It's only levied on those 12 years and older and is waived for all transit and transfer passengers who arrive and leave on the same day. When you go through immigration, have your Hong Kong entry slip (given to you on arrival) ready to show officials along with your passport.
Hong Kong International Airport (2181-8888. www.hongkongairport.com.)
Plaza Premium Lounge (2261-0888. www.plaza-network.com.)
The Airport Express train service is the quickest and most convenient way to and from the airport. Gleaming, high-speed trains whisk you to Kowloon in 19 minutes and Central in 24 minutes. Trains run every 12 minutes between 5:50 am and 1:15 am daily. There's plenty of luggage space, legroom, and comfortable seating with video screens on the backs of the passenger seats showing tourist information and the latest news. Although it's the most expensive public transport option, the speed and efficiency make it well worth the extra cost.
The Airport Express station is connected to the MTR's AsiaWord-Expo, Tsing Yi, Kowloon, and Hong Kong (Central) stations—however, the latter is via a long, underground walkway with no guarantee of a luggage cart. One-way or same-day return fare to or from Central is HK$100; from Kowloon, HK$90. Round-trip tickets valid for one month cost HK$180 for Central and HK$160 for Kowloon. The Airport Express also provides its customers with free shuttle buses every 12 or 20 minutes between major hotels and its Hong Kong and Kowloon stations—there are seven routes. To board, you must show your Airport Express ticket and airline ticket/boarding pass.
Citybus runs five buses ("A" precedes the bus number) from the airport to popular destinations. They have fewer stops than regular buses, which have an "E" before their number, so are more expensive. Two useful routes are the A11, serving Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay; and the A21, going to Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, and Mong Kok. There's plenty of space and onboard announcements in English, so you won't miss your stop.
Several small shuttle buses with an "S" before their number run to the nearby Tung Chung MTR station, where you can get the MTR to Central and Kowloon. The trains follow the airport express route, but make more stops, so are a little slower but a quarter of the cost.
Taxis from the airport are reliable and plentiful, and cost around HK$280 for Hong Kong Island destinations and HK$230 for Kowloon destinations, plus HK$5 per piece of luggage stored in the trunk. Trans-Island runs leather-seated coaches to 104 hotels every 30-60 minutes for HK$150 on Hong Kong Island, HK$130 in Kowloon. Parklane offers Mercedes Benz limousine transfers for HK$550-HK$850, depending on the destination and type of car.
Airport Express (2881-8888 for MTR hotline. www.mtr.com.hk.)
Citybus (2873-0818. www.nwstbus.com.hk.)
Parklane Limousine (2730-0662. www.hongkonglimo.com.)
Trans-Island Limousine Service (3193-9333. www.trans-island.com.hk.)
Cathay Pacific is Hong Kong's flagship carrier. It maintains high standards, with friendly service, good food, an extensive in-flight entertainment system, and an excellent track record for safety—while also offering the most competitive prices for direct flights. Cathay has nonstop flights from both Los Angeles and San Francisco on the west coast and from New York-JFK on the east coast, with connecting services to many other U.S. cities. The Taiwanese carrier China Airlines provides reasonably priced flights with a stopover in Taipei. Several other airlines offer service from the United States to Hong Kong, sometimes with connections in Asia.
If you're planning to travel to three or four Asian destinations, One World's Visit Asia Pass is an excellent deal. Cities are grouped into zones, and there's a flat rate for each zone. It doesn't include flights from the United States, however. Inquire through American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, or any other One World member.
Cathay Pacific Airways (800/233-2742 in U.S.; 800/268-6868 in Canada; 2747-1888 in Hong Kong. www.cathay-usa.com.)
China Airlines (800/227-5118 in U.S.; 2868-2299 in Hong Kong. www.china-airlines.com.)
Visit Asia Pass (www.oneworld.com.)
Air China (800/882-8122 in U.S. www.airchina.us.)
Singapore Airlines (800/742-3333 in U.S.; 800/663-3046 in Canada; 0208/961-6993 in U.K.; 13-10-11 in Australia; 2520-2233 in Hong Kong. www.singaporeair.com.)
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