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Review Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines operated from 2006 to April 2008, when the airline went into liquidation. I wrote this review after flying with them to Hong Kong in December 2007. I am very disappointed to hear this news, as I was impressed with their service and fares and had planned to use them again. Read my review below.

For more information go to www.oasishongkong.com.

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines was founded by the Rev. Dr Raymond C. Lee and Priscilla H. Lee, and has set itself high ideals. As stated on the 'About us' page on the website, the airline is committed to the pursuit of excellence and operates on biblical principles. All races religions and creeds, as well as all customers, employees and business partners are to be treated with care and respect.

I was interested to see how these principles would translate into levels of in-flight service and efficiency. Any low cost airline needs to dispel the tendency of people to assume that cheap fares mean poor quality service. In my opinion, that cliche just doesn't apply in the case of Oasis Hong Kong.

It's certainly not evident from the website, which will be peoples first point of contact with the airline. It's very professional, well organised and easy to use. It proclaims the airline's striking branding, and provides background information.

From here you can book your flights in a similar way to other airline websites. I booked mine at the beginning of November and found plenty of 99 pound flights available. The process was easy and the were no problems using the credit card to pay. My flight details were e-mailed to me and I printed them out. Oasis is a ticketless airline.

My next contact with the airline was sooner than expected. Just three days before my outward flight was due to depart I received a text message to say my return flight had been cancelled. I immediately phoned the airline, and didn't have to wait long before I spoke to an assistant .

She told me my original flight had been an extra flight on that evening and was cancelled due to changes in maintenance schedules. She was able to book me onto an alternative flight departing just 10 minutes earlier. The service over the phone was efficient and friendly. I found the text message a very good way to be alerted about timetable changes.

Reassuring

And so at around 4.30pm on Monday 3 December I arrived at London Gatwick for Airport for the 8.10pm departure for Hong Kong. Check in was already open and the staff were courteous.

I had carefully packed my case to stay within the maximum 20 kilogram (44 pound) limit. This reduced baggage allowance might be restrictive for some travellers - particularly Filipinos! But there was enough for family gifts with a little left for my own things.

Please note, as with all airlines these days, only one check-in bag and one carry-on bag are allowed per passenger.

I continued through passport control and security to the crowded departures area. Then it was a fairly long walk to the gate, made easier by moving walkways.

The time soon passed and it was time for boarding. I notice the Oasis Hong Kong colour scheme is repeated on the ground staff uniforms, with red, two shades of orange and yellow. It makes a striking statement and the fiery red is quintessentially Chinese.

Also reassuring is the airline code consisting of O for Oasis and the Chinese lucky number 8. The flight number is 707, recalling a great Boeing airliner of the past.

Our aircraft was a Boeing 747. Details of the Oasis fleet are available on the website and you can check the history of all passenger aircraft online (see web link below).

I am not an aviation expert, but I am aware that all airliners, especially those in service on transcontinental routes, are subject to unprecedented safety requirements. No matter what airline you travel on between Europe and Asia, and no matter what fare you pay, you are safer in the air than, say driving a car or walking across the street.

Inside I found our aircraft to be welcoming and well-appointed. I had been expecting the interior to be the blazing orange and red of the Oasis colour scheme, but it is a more muted and placid purple.

Oasis Hong Kong seating and interior - image courtesy of the airline

Now installed in my seat in economy class, there seemed to extra room than on some long-haul flights I've been on. The in flight entertainment system was what you would expect from a plane of this type, with screens in every seat back, and a good selection of films and audio channels. Due to a technical malfunction, one film was not available.

I am not always satisfied with the quality of the seat back screens - they are often too light, or too dark and lack definition. But that didn't bother me in the case of my chosen film, 'Miss Potter', which I thoroughly enjoyed. Seeing a good film can really make a flight enjoyable, but that depends on individual taste. On this flight, I got lucky.

Good but not gourmet

If value for money is your goal, then the comprehensiveness of the in-flight entertainment system should not be your top priority.

And if your sense of pride would feel dented if you were not offered an exquisite menu of exotic food prepared by a gourmet chef, then you are going to have to look elsewhere, and pay for the privilege.

On Oasis, I found the food to be of good but not gourmet quality. I chose the rice with sweet and sour fish. It came with fruit salad, a bread roll, margarine and coffee.

One notable absence in the free menu is alcoholic beverages, though (I assume) they are available for sale, and free in business class.

As everyone should know, it is better to avoid alcohol when flying as it dehydrates you. These days I'm quite happy to stick to apple juice and coffee. I no longer feel I'm missing out if not plied with wine and spirits every five minutes.

The breakfast was tasty and good: I chose the omelette with sausage and a tiny dollop of spinach. The coffee was excellent.

And just to make it clear, the in-flight food and (non-alcoholic) drink is included in the fare, you don't have to pay for it, as on a short-haul low-cost flight.

The attendants were eager to please, though perhaps not as slick and well-rehearsed as on other airlines. I certainly found them to be more attentive and friendlier than on certain business class flights I've been on.

I soon slept. Luckily I had a bit more space as the passenger next to me had moved to sit with her husband.

Plain sailing

Before long I woke up to find it was daylight and we were flying over southern China and soon to arrive in Hong Kong. I couldn't believe how quickly the hours had passed.

And then the fasten seat belt signs came on, the crew did their pre-landing checks and we descended through the clouds, first heading out to sea - this I think was a holding pattern - then back up the estuary west of Hong Kong and onto the final approach path.

Like a giant on tiptoes, the huge 747 touched down on the north runway of Chek Lap Kok Airport, built in the shadow of the mountainous Lantau Island, and we had arrived, and were soon at the terminal.

I continued through immigration, went to carousel number one and my bag appeared almost immediately.

It all seemed so easy, plain sailing from start to finish. And the whole 8990 mile journey from London Gatwick to Hong Kong Airport cost me a total of 316 pounds and 53 pence - that's about 3 1/2 pence per mile!

Now of course if your sense of vanity demands the last word in exotic cuisine, the most high-tech in-flight entertainment system, with the slickest attendants plying you with the most exclusive cocktails, then you may prefer to consider other options, though there is Oasis Business Class, also competitively priced, but offering much higher levels of service - now that would be interesting to review!

But as far as I'm concerned, travelling is about bringing people together whether friends, families or business contacts and reaching out to experience other parts of the globe. In my opinion, in-flight frills are secondary to the object of getting there, in comfort and safety.

And what of the biblical principles, and do they achieve them?

Well, I am not an expert on biblical principles, but I suppose that by providing a good quality, affordable service that promotes temperance and doesn't pander to peoples sense of pride and vanity, I think they probably do.

My only major criticism is that there is no service from Manchester Airport. Hopefully that problem will be addressed before long.

This is an independent review written and presented by Aidan O'Rourke for the benefit of the internet community. Please note I have no connection to Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, other than as a regular fare-paying passenger.

For all questions relating to Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, please contact them directly by going to their website www.oasishongkong.com which has full contact details including phone numbers.

Read my mini-review of Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

To check the details of passenger aircraft go to www.airfleets.net.

Visit the BBC News website to find out what happened to Oasis Airlines in April 2008.

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2007-12-06

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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