Flight test: Dragonair business class

Route Hong Kong to Shanghai.

Aircraft Airbus A330-300.

Class Business, seat 16C.

Flight time 2hr 25min.

On-time performance Excellent. Quite a few passengers stow boutique shopping bags as well as carry-on luggage but boarding is efficiently overseen by the cabin crew.

Seat pitch and width Seat pitch of 45 inches, width of 20 inches and a recline of nine inches.

Seat configuration 2-2-2 for 44 seats in total in the business-class cabin.

Luggage allowance Business 30kg; economy 20kg. All passengers are allowed one cabin bag up to five kilograms as well as a small handbag, backpack, briefcase or laptop bag.

Aircraft condition Spotless, with plush, contemporary furnishings. Travellers from Hong Kong have many carriers to choose from (Dragonair flies to Beijing and major cities in China, as well as to cities in Korea, Japan, Vietnam and India) so every detail matters. I see no scuff marks, worn threads or shabby carpet.

Comfort Plenty of leg and elbow room and space to stash a bag under the seat in front.

Service Fast and pleasant. Drinks arrive in a blink; dinner is served in two blinks.

Food and beverages Water and orange juice is offered as soon as you're seated. What's unexpected is the depth of the inflight menu for a regional airline. Dragonair has partnered with top Hong Kong restaurants and international chefs, so there's a selection of contemporary Asian and Western dishes. I choose an entree of green salad with ham and a main course of roast duck breast and grilled vegetables. Delicious. The Haagen-Dazs ice-cream seems popular and black and green tea are served. There's a decent selection of wines and spirits. Dragonair was voted the world's best regional carrier in Skytrax's 2010 and 2011 awards. Food and beverage would have been key to winning.

Entertainment The flight is too brief for a feature-length film to be screened on bulkhead mounted screens. A just-released US sitcom is aired, followed by a Hong Kong Law Week "competition", in which actors perform scenarios that have civil and criminal implications, and a panel of young lawyers offer plain-speaking advice. The rule of law is still evolving in China.

Amenities English versions of mainland China and Hong Kong daily newspapers, international newspapers, magazines.

Flight frequency 15 flights daily between Shanghai Pudong airport and Hong Kong. Business-class return fares cost from $1035, including tax; economy-class return from $640, including tax.

Online See dragonair.com.

Lynne Whiley flew courtesy of Dragonair.