Flying in or out of Hong Kong and looking for flights? Well, which airline and which airport depend on where you are looking to go. Today we’ll share some tips and tricks on finding good flights to and from Hong Kong International Airport, (HKIA), also known as HKG for the airport codes.
Also, if you are spending some extra time at the HK airport, check out our Guide to getting around the airport.
Hong Kong Airport Is a Hub For Asia + International Flights
There is no question when you’re doing your flight searches to different parts of Asia you will see Hong Kong as a common connection point. It is a hub. So many flights coming in and out, that the prices are much lower than many other destinations in Asia.
Great For Going Into Southeast Asia
You can go down to Philippines or Thailand at a reasonable price from Hong Kong. I go often for conferences and business, and yes, the occasional vacation (though it is always a mix of business along with pleasure), and Hong Kong is the place I’d recommend getting flights to and from.
The airline of choice is AirAsia. It’s a discount airline, so you need to be flexible and travel light. Seems like all the airlines are trying to improve their bottom line with extra charges on meals and luggage. It’s such a quick flight that you can eat beforehand anyway. And luggage, come on this is like the hottest place in the world – just pack a few sets of shorts and t-shirts and you are good to go!
Regular Flights Around the Globe, Recommend SFO + LAX
Many of my friends want to visit me in Mainland China and look up flights directly to Shenzhen or other Chinese cities. Nope, always tell them to go to Hong Kong for their international flight.
Just so many more options, so many more direct flights, and the prices are cheaper across the board.
If you want to look for really cheap flights, you can normally get great deals from HKG to SFO or LAX. Direct flights at the lowest prices I have seen. United Airlines has so many flights, as it is such a regular route. I’d recommend keeping a close eye on it.
So what I do when I go back to USA is fly to the West Coast, it is way cheaper and more flight options. Then once back, I take domestic flights around to other American cities like my parents in Florida. Though now that I have kids this may change as all the connections and changes is quite exhausting.
But if you are looking for good prices and lots of choices, go from Hong Kong to West Coast America!
Why Is Hong Kong Airport Cheaper Than From China?
So you may be wondering why I tell people to go to Hong Kong instead of China to save on airline tickets. Well it is a bit counterintuitive and I need to keep repeating myself to friends, family, and clients on why that is.
The quick reason is taxes. The taxes are lower in Hong Kong on travel, so this tax savings is then passed on to the end user. There is the popular word “fapiao” in China, and this is like a VAT tax is pushed down to the end user. Sales tax in a way for the American readers.
Hong Kong is a low tax area for consumers as well as business. So this low tax policy from the Government helps you keep some extra money in your pocket.
But – Flying Into China? Go To Shenzhen Airport
Now, time to turn the tables a bit. Want to get into Shanghai or Beijing or other Chinese cities? Now this is when it will be to your advantage that you cross the Hong Kong and China border to get to the Shenzhen airport.
A know a lot of readers cross this famous border for the same reason. There is even bus tickets you can buy at the Hong Kong airport that take you right to the Shenzhen airport.
So the common method is – fly to Hong Kong internationally, then get to Shenzhen airport to get to your final Chinese city destination.
Why is this? There are more choices, and it is cheaper. Why is it cheaper? Probably some kind of tax reason, or that the cross border exchange rate and tax rate for travel agencies and booking companies makes it more expensive to offer it outside of China.
You’ll probably buy the ticket off Ctrip.com and it will be on an airline like Shenzhen Air, Beijing Airlines, or other domestic carriers.
Shenzhen airport isn’t so bad! It just had a big upgrade in 2014 time frame and is contending with other global airports to be the biggest and best.
So There You Have It – Hong Kong For International, Shenzhen For China
Again, the life of a cross border business executive. I guess it’s like the saying goes – if it was easy everyone would do it.
But here is the main takeaway, flying internationally use Hong Kong International Airport, and if you are flying to Chinese cities, cross the border and use the Shenzhen Airport.
Yet maybe Shenzhen will compete more directly with HK airport soon and somehow get cheaper fares. Maybe the Chinese government will test tax rebates and other incentives to try to get more international visitors and traffic.
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