Tips For Transiting Through Hong Kong Airport

When travelling from Australia to the UK (or vice versa) one of my favourite airports to transit through is Hong Kong. I know Singapore gets a lot of love in the industry but for me Hong Kong Airport has far better shops, lounges and phone charging capabilities! If you’re travelling long-haul via Hong Kong these are my tips and tricks for a smooth transit.

Having such a fun time in transit at Hong Kong Airport it requires a selfie!

Having such a fun time in transit at Hong Kong Airport it requires a selfie!

Arriving

When you arrive at HKIA you’ll need to pass through security to get to the departure gates. If you already have a boarding pass, follow the signs for ‘transfers’ and join the queue for security checks. You will need to throw away any unfinished bottles of water and get your electronic goods out of your bag. If you don’t already have a boarding pass for the onwards flight you’ll need to go to your airline’s transfer desk. Their locations are listed here.

Once through to departures head to the Information desk if you’re unsure about where to find any of the places I’m about to mention below. It’s a big airport but the staff speak perfect English so just ask for help.

Lounging

If you came in near Gate 30 or above you’ll handily already be near to the fantastic Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge and Hong Kong’s newest Plaza Premium Lounge. If you’re not flying business/don’t have an airline lounge pass you can pay to enter the Plaza Premium Lounge situated near Gate 40 in the West Hall. (Take the escalators, on your right if facing The Bridge, up to level 7.) Depending on how much time you have/what you are in need of, you can just pay for a shower suite. These recently updated rooms feature a powerful shower, sink, toilet and seat and come with all the toiletries and towels you could need – including toothpaste and shower cap. Entry costs $200 HKD (approx £16/ $33 AUD) for a Shower Package or $480 HKD (approx  £40/ $80 AUD) for 2 hours lounge use.

Find more information on fees and services here.

Entrance to Cathay Pacific's The Bridge Lounge

Entrance to Cathay Pacific’s The Bridge Lounge

Shopping

From the West Hall, to reach the best shops (and Starbucks) in the East Hall you could walk along several moving walkways in a row and enjoy the view, or you could cheat and take the Sky Train 1 level down. It’s signposted as a way to reach Gate’s 1 – 20 but is also an easy way to get up and down the terminal.

Shopping is great at HKIA

Shopping is great at HKIA

Take time to shop up a storm in Zara, Jimmy Choo, Mac and M&M’s World. There are many more designer stores but these are just my personal favourites. I also love browsing all the Asian magazines at Relay, but this could just be me!

Is it just me who loves browsing foreign magazines?

Is it just me who loves browsing foreign magazines?

Eating

When it comes to feeding time there are large food courts in both the East and West Hall serving Asian and Western cuisine. The East Hall, in particular, can get rather busy so if you are looking for somewhere to sit down head to Pizza Express (just opposite the food court), Cafe Deco (a few shops down from Pizza Express) or head for the few hidden seats by the window behind Starbucks on the Central Concourse. There is also a Pacific Coffee Company on the Central Concourse if you are in need of a coffee fix.

Seating on the Central Concourse gets snapped up quickly

Seating on the Central Concourse gets snapped up quickly

Charging

There are charge points all over Hong Kong airport for all sorts of sockets. Some have tables so you can use your laptop as it charges whilst others are designed just for phones (look for the sockets hidden in pillars).

Interneting

There is free and fast wifi all over Hong Kong airport (good enough for me to broadcast my transit live on Periscope!).

Browsing

There are a number of fun exhibitions dotted around HKIA. During my visit there was a “Childhood Memories” exhibition near Gate 31, which had a really interesting collection of retro toys from Hong Kong, and a selection of Bruce Lee memorabilia near Gate 62.

Childhood Memories exhibition at HKIA

Childhood Memories exhibition at HKIA

Smoking

Smoke (if you must) in the preassigned smoking lounges found near the toilets in the main terminal.

Plane-Spotting

Because the windows at Hong Kong airport are perfect for it. If you look really carefully you can even spot the cable car on Lantau Island that takes you to Big Buddha.

Are you travelling via Hong Kong any time soon?

20 Comments

  1. Reply

    Julie

    June 19, 2015

    I’ve spent some quality time in the Hong Kong airport. It’s so nice to get stuck in a well-equipped space (unlike some of the disgusting ‘airports’ I’ve also been stuck in over the years). It makes all the difference! I didn’t realize, however, that the price to get into the lounge was so reasonable. I’ll definitely do this next time (and probably use the same tip in other airports)!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      June 21, 2015

      It definitely is a fair price to pay for the opportunity to feel half-human again! I’ve done the same thing in KL, Singapore and Abu Dhabi when flying Sydney to London and it really helps break up the journey. The facilities at HK are among the best.

  2. Reply

    Kate

    June 19, 2015

    I’m going to Hong Kong at the end of the year – it’s my first stop on my flight over to travel around South East Asia from the UK, & my last stop before I go home. I’m really excited to get to HK & hit the ground running, but now also looking forward to spending a good amount of time in the airport on the way back home!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      June 21, 2015

      Haha it’s wonderful to know you won’t be stuck somewhere grotty whilst waiting to fly back home. Have a wonderful time in SE Asia. I’m very jealous!

  3. Reply

    jacqui

    June 27, 2016

    hi I only have about 1hr in transit do I need to worry

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      June 27, 2016

      Hi Jacqui, that should be fine. HK is much easier to transit through than say Singapore Changi which is so huge it takes a while to get inbetween terminals. Are you booked on a single ticket with the same airline? In that case they should be expecting you and will meet you at the gate to escort you if your first flight is running late.

  4. Reply

    Lois

    July 4, 2016

    Hi,

    I’m travelling through HK to NZ (from the UK), my inbound flight is with Virgin and I leave on an Air NZ plane (All booked as a single trip through Air NZ). I only have 1h 40m at Hong Kong, will this be long enough if I have to transfer my own luggage etc? The airlines have said I won’t be able to find this out until the day I travel D: I have really high anxiety and am only travelling as there’s literally no way around it. Anything you could tell me would be useful.

    Thank you

  5. Reply

    Jayne Gorman

    July 4, 2016

    Hi Lois, As your flights are all on one booking there is no need to transfer your luggage. Just confirm at check in in London that it’s checked through to NZ and then take all your essentials in your hand luggage. 1hr40 is not enough time to transfer your own luggage but with your bags checked through it’s more than enough time to grab a shower and/or something to eat instead!

  6. Reply

    Kevin Jones

    July 21, 2016

    I am transiting Hong Kong in Feb 2017 . A shower is a must .Flying from UK to Auckland .So seeing how cheap it is its a must. The food looks great too . I transited Guangzhu in may this year and arrived in Auckland looking and smelling like something your cat would drag in. Yes a shower is a must .

  7. Reply

    Jill Stanford

    November 2, 2016

    My husband and I are flying in to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (Business Class – love those frequent flyer miles) and transit to Singapore Airlines (Economy). What is the absolute minimum amount of time you would recommend for transit, if shopping, showering, and eating aren’t on the agenda? Thank you.

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      November 2, 2016

      How exciting – Cathay’s business class is amazing. If you’re changing airlines I think you will need to collect your bags and recheck them in/go through security, in which case I would leave a 3 hour buffer.

  8. Reply

    Jill Stanford

    November 3, 2016

    Thank you so much.

  9. Reply

    Alya

    November 6, 2016

    Hey
    I am travelling from Auckland to Abu Dhabi (transit in Hong Kong for 1 hour 5 minutes). First flight with hong kong airlines, second flight is code shared with Etihad airlines (it is a single ticket, i.e. one booking). Do I need to worry ?

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      November 13, 2016

      Hi Ayla, not at all. As you’re on a single ticket you will be able to check in for both flights at the start of your journey and your bags will get checked through too. The airlines will look after you if there are any delays 🙂

  10. Reply

    YP

    November 27, 2016

    I have a 17h layover at HKIA (get in 3pm and depart next day around noon). Was planning on staying at the Regal Airport for convenience.

    Any tips on getting into the city and some easy things to see/do at that time of the day? This would be my first visit to HK.

    Thanks!!

  11. Reply

    Thư

    December 10, 2016

    That’s shy to tell that This is the first time I take a flight. I’m that kind of worried too much about transit.
    I have only 80 mins to transit at Hongkong airport ( Vietnam to Osaka). Is it enough time to transit?

  12. Reply

    Chris

    February 1, 2017

    Thanks for this. I needed a guide to transit and this gave me so much more! Really great stuff.

  13. Reply

    Shilpa

    March 27, 2017

    Hi there,

    I’m travelling from Auckland to India. My flight is on 01st Apr and there is a 20 hrs stay at the Airport. Was just wondering, if someone can guide me with what I can do there. 🙁

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      March 27, 2017

      Is your stopover during the daytime? If so 20 hrs should give you enough time to visit Hong Kong briefly – the express train to central takes just 24 minutes. You could take the tram up The Peak, visit the markets in Kowloon and take the Star Ferry across the harbour. If it’s nighttime I would recommend a transit hotel. There’s a Marriott, Novotel and Regal Airport hotel all at International. http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/passenger/hotel-mice/regal-airport-hotel.html

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