Opened in September 2017, Hong Kong Airlines' Club Autus business class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport doesn't just welcome Hong Kong Airlines' own guests – Virgin Australia passengers bound for Melbourne are also invited to visit and relax.
With a cocktail bar, cooked-to-order dining options and plenty of bench space to work on a laptop, the 184-seat lounge is an oasis within an otherwise-bustling terminal.
Australian Business Traveller stopped by on a recent visit to Hong Kong to bring you this review.
Location & Impressions
After clearing security and passport control, make your way to the airport's Midfield Concourse, found by taking the 'people mover' train to the last stop.
Upon alighting, follow the signs upstairs to the terminal proper, and then wander ahead to the final upward escalator – this lounge is located one floor above the departure gates, to your right on level seven.
Open from 6am until the last Hong Kong Airlines flight of the day, the lounge is divided into zones, catering to shorter visits with chairs near the entrance...
... progressing through to working benches, and tables lining the balcony...
... and other seats which have more of a 'lounge' vibe:
Boarding calls aren't made here, which renders the lounge nice and peaceful, as travellers can monitor their flight via display screens throughout, or can approach any of the roving lounge staff who are equipped with tablets and access to up-to-the-minute flight information.
One of those staffers spotted us waiting for the flight information screen to tick over and reveal our departure details, and promptly offered to check on our flight via their tablet to save us some time, which was a nice touch.
- Business class passengers of Hong Kong Airlines, Virgin Australia, Air Explore (Palau Pacific Airways), Bangkok Airlines, Fiji Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines and S7 Airlines
- Fortune Wings Club Silver, Gold and Platinum members prior to Hong Kong Airlines flights
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club members prior to Virgin Australia operated flights only
- Fiji Airways Tabua Club members prior to Fiji Airways flights only
- Royal Skies Elite Gold cardholders prior to Royal Brunei Airlines flights only
- Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers (including Qantas Gold and Platinum) travelling with S7 Airlines only
- CCB Asia Hong Kong Airlines Fly Away credit card customers using one of their five yearly complimentary visits when departing on Hong Kong Airlines
- All other Hong Kong Airlines passengers may purchase a single visit for HKD$350 (A$59)
Note that Virgin Australia Velocity members don't yet receive access to this lounge when departing on flights operated by Hong Kong Airlines, such as to the Gold Coast: only when travelling with Virgin Australia.
Similarly, Fortune Wings Club members cannot access this lounge when travelling with Virgin Australia, such as to Melbourne – only when departing on Hong Kong Airlines.
We'd expect this anomaly to be ironed out in a further stage of the Virgin Australia + Hong Kong Airlines partnership, but for now, c'est la vie.
Our morning visit saw a pleasing array of local bites like siu mai, prawn dumplings, noodles, and more Western options like potatoes and hash browns, joined by machine-made espresso coffee...
... with plenty of spaces in which to enjoy the food, such as a nearby dining room...
... winding communal tables that also suit laptop work (but lack power points):
... and bench seats with ample space, that do indeed power points underneath.
On the other side of those bench seats: all the cutlery, chopsticks and condiments that your meal requires – but given its location in that you can't see it from the dining room nor when facing the buffet itself, staff had to point us in the right direction.
We returned to the lounge later the same week – in the evening this time, prior to Hong Kong Airlines' Gold Coast flight – and found fresh salad items at the buffet...
... plus Western-friendly options in the spaghetti bolognese, baked mash potato and rice with pumpkin and onion...
... and surprisingly tasty pizza, chicken nuggets and vegetable samosas, for a treat.
There's plenty of locally-inspired food here too, with options including bitter melon and sliced pork in black bean sauce, more of those prawn dumplings as are also offered in the mornings...
... and mixed mushroom and bean curd with oyster sauce, and deep-fried sole fillet with sweet and sour sauce.
Along with buffet fare, five cooked-to-order dishes are available as well between 11am and 1am the following morning: miso soup with udon, Laksa with rice noodles, mini kimchi noodles, mushroom soup with spinach noodles, and wonton rice noodles.
You place your order at the counter, receive a buzzer, and are summoned when your meal is cooked. We opted for the mini kimchi noodles, which were ready in about 10 minutes and had a nice spice to them.
Egg puffs can also be ordered from the same counter between 12pm and 6pm, but passengers on flights to Australia would need to arrive extra-early to enjoy them.
In the lounge's beverage corner, a selection of fresh juices, teas, water, soft drinks and espresso coffee...
... aside a bar offering beer, wine and spirits...
... along with house mixed drinks, where the signature Autus Delight comes in non-alcoholic form or can be upgraded to the Autus Delight Plus with a splash of alcohol...
... but our favourite from the menu was the Hong Kong Sky, blending vodka, pineapple juice, Blue Curacao liqueur and coconut milk, with desiccated coconut around the rim...
Also available is a tropical, rum-based Ms. Sunshine and the 'Special For You' cocktail served in a Champagne flute, mixing rum, fresh lemon juice, syrup and lemonade, with alcoholic drinks available between 11am and 1am the next day – so if you can order cooked-to-order lunch or dinner from the counter, you can get a drink to go with it.
Stuck working on a laptop before your flight? Set up camp at one of the many benches here...
... but for access to power, you'll need to sit towards the ends:
Computers and printing facilities are also available in the far corner of the lounge, with complimentary wireless Internet offered too.
We measured download speeds between 7Mbps and 33.6Mbps during our visit and upload speeds of 14.7Mbps to 52.6Mbps, with ping speeds in the 3-5ms range: fast enough for HD video streaming, sending and receiving large email attachments, and posting photos on social media.
That said, we'd love to see more power points here – particularly USB outlets – as they were few and far between, rather than ubiquitous as we'd expect in a modern-day lounge.
Nearby the business zone are plenty of comfy chairs with convenient cocktail tables for your drinks, and reading material at the ready...
... and if you venture into the depths of the lounge to the very back corner, you'll uncover a darker space that helps get you into a sleeping mood before those overnight flights home, with rainforest sounds at that.
Arrived super-early and want to get a head-start on that snooze? A sea of day beds are available here too...
... with more seating available nearby, albeit brighter-lit.
Another godsend before those evening flights are private shower suites. Like the cooked-to-order food, a buzzer advises when your shower is ready (10 minutes in our case), with the rooms serviced after each guest.
However, the showerhead was mounted quite low on the wall – not ideal for taller travellers – and the water temperature frequently fluctuated from boiling hot to freezing cold without touching the taps, which didn't make for the most relaxing rinse.
Speaking of temperature, when choosing a seat in the lounge proper, look to the ceiling above. The cut-out triangles have air conditioning vents hidden behind, so the seats directly underneath these are cooler than most others:
Overall, while there's no Champagne as in Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong lounges (Prosecco is available here instead), there's much to like about Hong Kong Airlines' new Club Autus lounge, which Virgin Australia passengers bound for Melbourne can also enjoy.
We'd love to see more power points though, and for the two airlines to iron out their reciprocal lounge agreements for frequent flyers – which might also result in Velocity Platinum members gaining access to the new and neighbouring VIP lounge, hidden behind an unmarked door at reception...
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Hong Kong Airlines.