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Topic: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:48:18 and read 32767 times.



I N T R O D U C T I O N
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair are natural partners. Cathay Pacific part-owned and managed Dragonair between 1990 and 1996 before its current ownership structure came into effect. Economic and aviation circumstances have since changed dramatically, particularly in Mainland China, and so too has the world in which Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, and Hong Kong must now compete in.

Hong Kong’s future prosperity hinges to a large extent on its development as a gateway to the Chinese Mainland and as a hub for the movement of people and goods around the globe. As Hong Kong’s home carrier, Cathay Pacific has a shared interest in and commitment to the welfare of Hong Kong and its people.

Yet neither Cathay Pacific nor Dragonair separately can serve all Hong Kong’s needs adequately. Dragonair lacks an international network. Cathay Pacific has a comprehensive international network hub is not yet able to offer the access consumers want to the Chinese Mainland, the world’s fastest growing economy and Hong Kong’s natural hinterland.

Given the urgency of competition Hong Kong faces from other regional hubs, there is not enough time for either carrier to evolve organically in order to fill these gaps. This agreement meets this pressing need.

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair are, in effect, like two separated halves of a whole: their networks and capabilities complement each other. Reunited, the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts...

Cathay Pacific Press Release – June 9th 2006


China is going to be huge

Tony Tyler – Airliner World December 2009




WELCOME TO MY 19th TRIP REPORT
This TR will cover the following flights on my trip to China:

  • A) Dubai – Hong Kong – Dubai on Cathay Pacific in Business Class
  • B) Hong Kong – Beijing – Hong Kong on Dragonair in Business Class


B A C K G R O U N D
This was an annual business trip that took place in Beijing this year.

Flight selection was purely based on my most favored ‘pick n choose’ methodology. There were several flight options that could transport me to Beijing. The most logical one was Etihad’s non-stop service. Choosing this option would have allowed me one extra day to do sightseeing at the end of the trip due to the lack of a daily frequency. A second option could have been Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

Then there was Cathay Pacific. If you know me well enough, you will guess that if this airline was even half of an option, then it would be my choice in a heartbeat.

So the moment I was asked to go on this trip, I immediately put in my request to fly Cathay Pacific (and subsequently Dragonair); a no-brainer indeed!

While a Cathay flight on the new highly-controversial herringbone Business Class was a first for me, I was also looking forward to my first flight on Dragonair. Being overshadowed by its bigger step-sister, Dragonair was definitely an airline that wasn’t on my radar. Apart from the big CX/KA merger in 2006, I ignored any current happenings relating to Dragonair for no reason. Now having the chance to try them, things have slightly changed.



O U T B O U N D
I arrived at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 at 10pm, where I proceeded straight to the departures area leading to the Cathay Pacific check-in counters. There was a short queue for the routine pre-check-in security check, but that progressed fairly quickly and within minutes I was already at the Cathay check-in counters. Judging by the lack of any queue, tonight’s flight was to be wide open.


Cathay Pacific Check-In Desks at DXB








Approaching the Filipina agent at the check-in counter who was dressed in the red version of Cathay’s uniform, I handed her my documents for check-in. Apart from one suitcase that had my personal belongings, I also had three big boxes and a second suitcase that I had to take with me for work purposes. All in all I was carrying approximately 43kg of extra weight that I had to be charged for.

Furthermore, one of the boxes weighed over 30kg, which exceeded the maximum limit per each checked baggage set by Dubai International Airport. So the agent along with the station manager, advised that I reshuffle the contents of my cargo in order to meet this requirement. Luckily I had a porter with me, who helped me rip open the box and take its contents out and pack them in the other luggage.

After all this was done, I returned to the agent, who immediately processed my way through the system, handed me my lounge cards for Dubai and for Hong Kong, and requested that I proceed to the excess baggage counter to pay the hefty fees and receive my boarding passes for the flights. By 10:30pm I received my boarding passes and was checked-in.


Boarding Pass to Hong Kong




Lounge Card Ex DXB




I proceeded through immigration and security, and was airside and eventually at the Duty Free area of the main terminal building at 11pm. I decided to skip the lounge altogether this time and instead walk around the terminal before heading to the gate.


Airside at DXB








At 11:30pm, I proceeded towards Gate 129, which isn’t a contact gate. Being the ‘flagship’ non-stop flight to Hong Kong out of all the Cathay flights at Dubai, I do not understand why this flight does not get an aerobridge. However for me, this is always an advantage, but I am obviously not the typical profile that the airlines seek to provide for.


Gate 129




Approaching the podium, my boarding pass was handed to the agent, who tore of the larger portion and handed me back the smaller stub. By the time I reached the holding area, I discovered that the flight was already boarding.

Proceeding towards the staircase leading downstairs to the bus, I saw the station manager who was assisting me with my excess baggage during check-in. He shook my hand and said “Good to see you again Mr. Hawi, have a good flight, and thank you for flying with us again”.


Inside the Bus at 11:40pm




As the bus drove towards the location of the aircraft, the beautiful A333 began to gradually appear in sight. This was the perfect opportunity to hunt for the registration number for the sake of this TR. Last year on this very same flight, I was lucky enough to be on B-LAC which was the latest bird of its type in the fleet at the time. Which one out of the 30 or so 330’s will I get tonight? I kept asking as I continued my rego-hunt during the very short time envelope I had. Driving past the tail of the aircraft, I spot B-LAC again, and for some reason I felt so utterly disappointed. I normally like to ride the same aircraft more than once, but this time I could feel Mr. PlaneHunter’s agony of getting the same registration twice!


Same Airline, Same Flight Number, Same Remote Stand, Same Aircraft, Same Registration




As the bus stopped by the aircraft, the doors opened and we were released. I walked up the steps leading to door 1L where Irene, tonight’s Inflight Services Manager was standing to welcome all premium passengers on board.


“Welcome on board Mr. Hawi, please proceed past the galley and turn right to your seat”


By 11:45pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:50:24 and read 32767 times.

Flight Information

Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight No.: CX738
Routing: Dubai – Hong Kong
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:05am
Actual Departure Time 11:55 PM (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:10 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 11:40 AM (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A330-343X
Registration: B-LAC


My Seat




The moment I settled into my seat, the signature Cathay service sprung into action. Newspapers were offered first, in which I declined, and this was followed by a hot towel.


Newspaper Trolley




Hot Towels




As this was my first experience on this new Business Class seat, I have mixed feelings about it so far. It is definitely not the best in industry, but it is also not as narrow, horrible, unlike the other competition, crap, never-gonna-fly-cathay pathetic-again-because-of-it, as many make it out to be; at least for me.

As some have pointed out before, the seat is definitely not that narrow as I can easily compare its width to Etihad’s Pearl Business seat. However, the dividers between the seats are what makes the experience so very claustrophobic. I do admit that several times during the flight I did have an urge to forcefully push those dividers apart with my elbows to get some space. But to say that I wouldn’t fly CX long-haul in business class again is just silly.

Other than that, the screen is quite large, and not too far from you and the space in front of you is also quite airy as it leads directly to the aisle, so perhaps this can balance out the claustrophobic feeling. A major negative point is definitely the lack of easy access to a window, which definitely makes any herringbone design to be my least favorite. So far, nothing beats the layout of Etihad’s Pearl Business Class, and also Emirates Business Class on the A380.


Support Services



Leg Space




As I was immersed in my seat-critique brainstorming and note-taking, a lovely cabin crew from Hong Kong that goes by the name Kylie approached my seat with a tray of welcome drinks.

“Welcome on board Mr. Hawi, may I offer you something to drink?”
“I’ll take a glass of champagne please”


My Glass of Champagne




Amenity Kits Were Then Distributed




Followed By Evian Water Bottles




At 11:50pm, our Australian captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing to Hong Kong, asked us to prepare for takeoff, and informed us that our flight time tonight was to be 7 hours and 49 minutes.

The cabin crew collected all empty glasses, and final preparations were made for takeoff. At 11:55pm, the doors were closed, pushback occurred immediately afterwards, and was followed by a cabin crew announcement and the safety demonstration.


Safety Demonstration




Cabin Shot During Taxi




After our quick taxi, we lined up at the runway and B-LAC immediately screamed her way and after a quick run, we took to the skies at 12:10am and began our journey to Hong Kong.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew was released to prepare for the service.


Cabin Shots After Takeoff








The service commenced with the distribution of the menus.

Menu












Wine List










“Mr. Hawi, my name is Clara, very nice to meet you”
“Hi Clara, nice to meet you too”
“Is everything alright so far?”
“Everything is great thank you”
“Mr. Hawi, this is the menu for tonight’s flight, would you care to see the wine list?”
“Yes please”
“Please let us know if you need anything”


Shortly afterwards the crew rolled out the beverage trolley to offer drinks to everyone.


Beverage Trolley






“Mr. Hawi, may I offer you something to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”

The Bloody Mary was excellent! It was made with Bloody Mary Mix and not with plain tomato juice. It was perfectly spiced and balanced between Vodka and the Mix and did not taste too alcoholic, yet it still provided the desired effects associated with alcohol.


No Flight is a Flight Without My Bloody Mary!




Clara promptly offered seconds on the warm nuts and on the Bloody Mary as soon as I ran out. The moment I was finished with my drink, the meal-tray service choreography commenced.

Clara set the linen on my tray table, and the instant that was completed a second cabin crew appeared from the galley with my meal tray. Once the tray was placed on my table, Kylie then magically appeared by my seat with the bread basket. Thirds were offered on my drink, and there you have it, a meal served within minutes.


Meal Tray With Starter Plate







I’m not a huge seafood fan, and especially if it is salmon so I skipped on the starter. Once the starter plates were cleared, the crew passed around with a trolley of the available main course meals.

“Mr. Hawi, what can I offer you for your main course? I have chicken breast with mashed potatoes, and Chinese-style beef with rice and vegetables.


My Chinese-Style Beef Main Course






The beef was amazing. It was very tender, bursting with flavor, and quite lean.


Cheesecake For Dessert




The cheesecake wasn’t anything special as it did not seem much like proper cheesecake. The filling was more of a creamy one rather than the expected harder cream cheese filling. Once I was finished, Clara promptly cleared my table.

“How was everything Mr. Hawi?”
“Great thank you”
“Can I get you any coffee or tea?”
“No thank you”
“Would you like us to wake you up for breakfast?”
“Yes please”


Cabin Right After The Meal Service




A Customary Visit To The Lavatory Followed




Cabin Lights Switched Off





After I returned to my seat, I pulled out the headsets from the side panel in hopes that they were sterilized, and powered on the IFE for something to watch until I fell asleep.


Headsets




My Little Mini Suite!




IFE Screen




I then reclined my seat to its fully flat position, when I discovered that once it’s in lie-flat mode there is some additional space which is definitely very welcomed!


Additional Space When Seat Is Fully Flat




I slept all the way until 1 hour before landing, when the mood-lighting was activated and the cabin crew were about to commence the breakfast service.


Mood-Lighting On Again




“Good morning Mr. Hawi, did you sleep well?”
“Yes I did thank you”
“Can I get you some breakfast?”
“Yes please”
“Would you like coffee or tea?”
“Coffee please”
“Would you like any juice?”
“I’ll have orange juice please”


Breakfast Tray With Fruit Plate










Once finished with my fruit plate Clara cleared my plate and offered some breakfast cereal.

“Would you like some cereal Mr. Hawi?”
“Yes please”
“I have Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Muesli”
“I’ll have some Muesli please”


My Muesli




The breakfast was quite energizing, and just what I needed to kick-start my day.

At 11:05am Hong Kong local time, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards HKG, and that we were expected to arrive approximately 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

Shortly afterwards I was through with my breakfast, and my table was cleared. By then, I had just about enough time for a quick cabin investigation.


More Business Class Cabin Shots








Economy Class Cabin








The seatbelt sign was switched on at 11:20am, where we all returned to our seats and fastened our seatbelts. The crew made their final preparations, cleared the cabins, stowed everything in the galleys, and were asked to take their seats as we were on final approach towards Hong Kong.

At 11:40am B-LAC made her first appearance for the day at Hong Kong International Airport, bringing this flight to an end.

After a quick taxi to the gate, we docked next to an aerobridge and the engines powered out and the seatbelt sign was switched off. Everyone got up to gather their belongings in preparation to disembark.

Before exiting the aircraft I thanked the crew for their outstanding efforts and was released from the aircraft.

“Thank you for flying with us Mr. Hawi, hope to see you again soon”


I proceeded out of the aerobridge and into the terminal building, for a few hours of transit before my Dragonair flight to Beijing.



CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:51:50 and read 32767 times.

Boarding Pass To Beijing




Lounge Card Ex HKG




Oneworld Livery B-HLU Parked Next To Our Aircraft At HKG




All transit passengers at HKG have to clear security again after arrival at the airport before going up one level to the main airside departures area. I stood in a short queue for security, and eventually showed the agent my boarding pass for the connecting flight, and was allowed to go through for security screening.


FIDS Displaying My Flight CX6890




Once at the departures area, I had some time to kill and being at HKG, it was time to spot some celebrity sightings.


SQ B77W (9V-SWF)




The Beautiful South African Airways A340-313E (ZS-SXB)




Philippine Airlines A320-214 (RP-C8614)




Asiana B747-48E (HL7428)




JAL B767-346ER (JA616J) – Given A Warm Oneworld Welcome By Cathay




So Much To Say When I see This!: TG A330-321 (HS-TEF)




Air Canada Boeing 777-200LR (C-FNNH)




Air China B737-8Q8 (B-5311)





After the terminal walk-around, I reached Gate 47 at1:15pm, and found the aircraft already at the gate.


My Aircraft That Will Take Me To PEK (B-HWF)




Gate Area






At 1:40pm a boarding announcement was made inviting premium passengers (in addition to those needing assistance, and also elite frequent fliers) to board the aircraft first. I proceeded towards the gate, handed my boarding pass to the agent, who tore it off and returned the small stub back to me.


Towards The Aerobridge




Through The Aerobridge




Arriving at Door 1L of the aircraft, I was greeted by two young Dragonair ladies.

“Welcome on board, your seat is straight ahead”
“Thank You”
“Most welcome, enjoy your flight”


By 1:45pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:53:38 and read 32767 times.

Flight Information

Airline: Dragonair
Flight No.: KA992
Routing: Hong Kong - Beijing
Scheduled Departure Time: 02:00 PM
Actual Departure Time 02:00 PM (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 05:15 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 05:10 PM (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A330-343X
Registration: B-HWF
Remarks:: Sold as CX6890


The Seat




The Business Class cabin was mostly filled with Chinese businessmen shifting away at pages of their newspapers while seated in their seats. As I walked towards my seat, the crackling of newspapers was all I could hear.

I am not familiar with the different interior configurations that Dragonair may or may not have on their aircraft, but this one had semi-older generation regional seats that still offered excellent levels of comfort, seat pitch and IFE. As I sat into my seat, I felt right at home!


Leg Space




The Cabin






After everyone was settling in between stowing their luggage in the hat racks, and making themselves comfortable in their seats, a cabin crew was making her way carefully through and in between the boarding bustle with a tray of welcome drinks, while another was distributing moist towelette packets.

“Welcome on board sir, would you like anything to drink before takeoff? I have water, orange juice, and a cocktail”
“I’ll have the cocktail please”


Guava Juice & Mint Cocktail




Towelette




At 1:55pm, our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also briefed us on the usual routine which included our routing to Beijing, and that our flight time for today’s flight was to be 2 hours and 45 minutes. This was followed by an announcement by our Hong Kong-Chinese purser who had an amazing British-infused accent.

Shortly afterwards the doors closed, and the safety demonstration was played on the overhead screens. We pushed back at exactly 2pm, and as the aircraft’s engines powered on, the cabin crew were making their final preparations for takeoff.


The Calm Before The Roar!




We had a fairly quick taxi to the runway however, we held short for quite a long time. Finally at around 2:20pm, it was B-HWF’s turn to speed, scream, and gleam before lifting off the runway and beginning its journey to Mainland China; I was getting very excited by then!

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off. The cabin crew immediately got up to prepare for the service, which commenced with the distribution of menus, landing, and health declaration cards. As this was happening, the lovely British-HK Chinese accent came through the PA for a brief service announcement.


Jaqueline With The Menu, Landing & Health Declaration Card Distribution




“Mr. Hawi, this is the menu for today’s flight”
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”


Menu
















The Menu idea on Dragonair was one of the best I have seen. In addition to the usual selection that is particular to the flight, there were daily special options on offer as well, where each day of the week a different special dish was on offer; something very similar to a restaurant.

After drink orders were taken, another cabin crew, Ming, rolled out the beverage trolley.


Beverage Service






Sorry! I Try To Change But I Can’t!




Again, the Bloody Mary was just as good as the one served on my previous Cathay Flight. Seconds on the drink and the nuts were immediately offered when I was finished, however I declined.

The meal carts were then rolled out across both aisles, and were manned by a total of four cabin crew, two on each aisle. On my side of the aisle, were Jaqueline and Ming.


Meal Service








Ming approached my seat to set the linen on my tray table, and noticed my camera.

“Is this new model?”
“Not really no”
“I have 450D”
“Are you into photography?”
“Just try”


Jaqueline placed my meal tray on my table, and then offered some bread from the bread basket.

“Mr. Hawi, would you like some wine with your meal?”
“No thank you, just water please”


Meal Tray With Starter Plate






I ate some of the cold cuts, which weren’t so bad, and I left behind the fatty looking ones. Soon enough, Jaqueline appeared in the aisle with a trolley containing the available selection of main dishes.


Main Course Service








“Mr. Hawi, may I clear your plate?”
“Yes please”
“What would you like to have? I have pork belly with rice, chicken with potato, and today’s special, which is Thai fish cake with pineapple rice”
“It’s quite spicy, is that alright?”
“That’s just fine, thank you”

I decided to be a little daring and go for the Thai fish cake, keeping in mind that I am not so big on seafood.


My Main Course






To my surprise, the fish was great, and just as spicy as I like it to be. The rice was very fragrant, and the pineapple really added a typically-Thai zest to it.


Coffee / Tea & Dessert Followed








“Mr. Hawi, would you like some coffee or tea?”
“Chinese tea please”
“Would you like to have some ice cream?”
“No thank you”


Chinese Tea




After I was done and my table was cleared, it was time for the usual lavatory visit and cabin investigation.


Dragonair’s Lavatories Come With A View!






Business Class In Flight






Lavatory




Economy Class








At 4:25pm Beijing local time, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had began our initial descent towards Beijing Capital International Airport. After the announcement, the seatbelt sign was switched on, when the sounds of seatbelts snapping from every direction were heard from every direction.

The cabin crew made their final preparations and checks before retiring to their assigned door locations for landing. At 5:10pm, we touched doing on Mainland Chinese proper, bringing this flight to an end.

Docking at the gate several minutes afterwards, the seatbelt sign was switched off and everyone got up and gathered their belongings in preparation to disembark.

I made my way through the aisle, thanked the crew for a wonderful flight and proceeded to the terminal. Through immigration, collecting my cargo, and clearing customs, I was landside and eventually on my way to the hotel within 45 minutes.


The next portion of this trip report includes a brief documentation of my stay in Beijing.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:54:51 and read 32767 times.

B E I J I N G
I had very little time for sightseeing in Beijing. As such, the great must-see sights such as the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and the likes were so far from my reach. Planning out my three-quarters of a day of sightseeing, I decided to aimlessly walk around, and to also shop for some interesting imitation items.

I was told that Beijing was dirty, its people were rude, and there was a foul smell spanning the entire city. However, in my eyes and from the few areas I visited, I found it to be the complete opposite.

Like a true capital city, Beijing offers large-scale grand-esque buildings that make a huge statement, streets offering no less than 5 spotless and litter-free lanes, and a crowd, while not very fluent in English, were not as rude as everyone made them out to be; in fact, I had absolutely no problems with anyone.

I am sure that there is tons more to see in this city, but I can only present the following select pictures that portray a simple Beijing!


The Grand Hyatt Beijing: Where I Stayed




Random Pictures From Everyday Beijing




















The next portion of this trip report will be on my return flights.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:56:43 and read 32767 times.

I N B O U N D
I had to leave straight from the conference venue to the airport, and as such I had no choice but to travel wearing my suit. So at around 3:20pm I left for the airport, and arrived at Beijing Captial at 4pm.

By that time I had received an SMS on my mobile phone notifying me of a 45 minute delay on my flight’s departure time from Beijing. I figured there were Air Traffic issues at HKG causing delays due to a typhoon that hit the area only a day or so before.


Beijing Capital Curbside




Dragonair Checks-in Here




Departures Area




Dragonair uses the ‘C’ check-in counters, and in particular C25-32. Since I had checked in online the previous day, I proceeded to the self check-in baggage drop desks.


Dragonair Self Check-In Baggage Drop Counter




There was a long wait till it was my turn as there seemed to be a minor issue with a group of passengers that were in queue before me. At my turn, the Air China agent moved a little faster and soon enough I was handed all my boarding passes and lounge cards. By 4:25pm my bags and I had parted ways, and I was checked in and ready to go. Before proceeding airside, I did a quick walk-around to inspect my surroundings.


Boarding Pass to HKG




Lounge Card Ex Beijing




The Beautiful Beijing Capital Airport!




FIDS












To The Train




Waiting For The Next Train To Terminal 3E




Inside The Train




Arriving at the Terminal 3E Concourse, I had to immediately clear immigration after stepping off the train. It seemed that immigration at PEK is not centralized at all, and separate immigration desks are located in each concourse. One advantage of this is that it can create less congestion however, the major disadvantage is the lack of efficiency and the waste of unnecessary space in this concept.


By 5:30pm I was airside and decided to do another walk-around before proceeding to the lounge.


Emirates is Really Everywhere!!!




United Airlines B777-222ER (N784UA)




Ample Seating Area




Shopping




Culture




Qatar Airways A330-203 (A7-ACH)




Lots of Space




Arriving At The Lounge At 5:45pm




I handed the lounge card to the agent and she welcomed me inside. The lounge was very tasteful, simple, and very quiet; something quite expected from a Swire brand.


The Cathay Pacific & Dragonair Lounge at PEK














The lounge did not offer so much in terms of food, but it was adequate enough given that the major purpose for it was to serve Dragonair’s regional flights.

One of the lounge attendants saw me taking pictures of everything, walked towards me and stood right next to me. By that time I was looking for some food, and as I moved along the counter, she kept following me in complete silence. I then thought to break the ice by saying “Can I help you?” when she innocently smiled and shyly requested that I not take pictures inside the lounge.

She asked very nicely, so I listened, but why is it such an issue?


My Food




I left the lounge at 6pm, and headed towards Gate E26. When I reached the gate area, the aircraft was just pulling in after its arrival from Hong Kong.


She Will Take Me To Hong Kong






Gate E26




Empty Gate Area




Continental Airlines B777-224ER (N77019)




Boarding was called at 6:45pm in a very orderly fashion. There were separate areas to form queues at the gate, for premium and for Economy Class passengers. There was no pushing or shoving, and I stood in line as everyone patiently waited for the agents to let us through. Sometimes for a boarding process to be humane, it really helps when the passengers are obedient instead of acting like starved animals!


Boarding Queue




At my turn, the friendly agent scanned my boarding pass and tore it off. She returned the small stub back to me and wished me a pleasant flight; and off I went inside the aerobridge.


Inside The Aerobridge




Arriving at Door 1L of the aircraft, I was greeted by lovely leading stewardess in charge of this evening’s flight.

“Welcome on board Mr. Hawi, right this way to your seat”


By 6:50pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:58:12 and read 32767 times.

Flight Information

Airline: Dragonair
Flight No.: KA993
Routing: Beijing – Hong Kong
Scheduled Departure Time: 06:30 PM (Re-timed to 07:15 PM)
Actual Departure Time 07:10 PM (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 09:30 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 10:10 PM (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A330-343X
Registration: B-HWH
Remarks:: Sold as CX6891


The Seat




This aircraft featured a newer seat configuration, similar to that of Cathay’s older ‘New Business Class’. Simply put, Dragonair can offer you angled lie-flat seats on a 3 hour flight. Once I settled into my seat, I found it to be more comfortable than the one on the outbound flight. Furthermore, these seats gave the cabin a less cramped feeling as well.


Leg Space




Welcome drinks were immediately offered, and there was a selection of Orange juice and Guava & Mint cocktail.


My Orange Juice




The Cabin










At 7pm, our British captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing to Beijing and that our flight time for tonight was to be approximately 3 hours. On behalf of the airline, he also apologized for the delay which was due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Usually it stops at this generic response, but he proceeded to explain that the plane was delayed at Hong Kong due to bad weather conditions.


Doors were closed at 7:05pm and we pushed back five minutes later. As we taxied to the runway, the safety demonstration was played, followed by a final check by the crew before taking their seats.


As We Taxied




We took off at 7:40pm and began our trek to Hong Kong.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew were released to prepare for the service. This commenced with the distribution of menus and landing cards.


Menus & Landing Cards




Menu
















“Good evening Mr. Hawi, my name is Cathy. This is your menu”
“Thank you”


Humble & Beautiful




Cathy passed around my side of the aisle to take drink orders.

“Excuse me Mr. Hawi, would you like some drinks?”
“A Bloody Mary please”

After she went back to the galley, another crew who was working on the left aisle approached me.

“Excuse me sir, did you have the order already?”
“Yes I did thank you”


Similar to the outbound flight, the ‘pre-ordered’ drinks were served with bags of peanuts from a trolley.


My Bloody Mary




Once through with my drink, my empty glass was promptly collected, and the meal service began. Cathy was once again working on my side, and at my turn she placed the linen on my table followed by my meal tray.

“Mr. Hawi, your dinner”
“Thank you”
“Would you like any wine with your meal? Or water?”
“Water please”
“Any bread? I have garlic bread and some rolls”


My Meal Tray






The duck starter was quite tasty and I finished it all very quickly. My plate was cleared eventually, and the available main course options were brought out on a trolley by another cabin crew, Cynthia.

“Mr. Hawi would you like to try our daily special which is chicken teriyaki, or we have beef brisket, or sea bass?”
“I’ll take the chicken teriyaki please”


Excellent Chicken Teryaki Meal!!






Service Concluded With Tea & Ice Cream




After The Meal Service




After the meal service, I turned my seat into its angled lie-flat position and slept for the remainder of the flight.

I woke up at 10:10pm Hong Kong local time, and found that we had already begun our descent towards HKG. The cabin crew were making their final preparations for landing before taking their seats.

B-HWH made her grand touchdown at Hong Kong International Airport at 10:10pm, bringing this quick flight to an end. After a short taxi, we docked at the gate and the engines powered out. Everyone got up from their seats when the seatbelt sign was switched off.

Making my way to exit the aircraft, I thanked the Dragonair ladies for a memorable experience, and was soon off to the terminal for my quick transit.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 13:59:17 and read 32767 times.

Boarding Pass to Dubai




Lounge Card Ex HKG




After exiting the aircraft, I followed the same procedures as the outbound journey. I proceeded through security before going one level up and back into the airside departures area. I went straight to Gate 31 for a quick check on the goings-on over there, and to check on the aircraft, in hopes that the A340 is still operating the flight.


Airside Departures Area At HKG




FIDS




Gate 31








YES! This A340 Is Taking Me To DXB!




90% of the passengers traveling to Dubai that night were from the Philippines; something very typical of a Dubai-bound Cathay flight.

At 11:15, passengers had already lined up in queues by the gate in preparation for boarding. There were two separate queues, one for Premium, and the other for Economy Class passengers.


In Line For Boarding




Full Flight In Economy!




Boarding was called, and the ground staff opened the doors and let everyone in. At my turn, I handed my boarding pass to the ground staff while she tore it off and returned my stub back. I was then on my way to the aerobridge.


Inside The Aerobridge




As I was walking towards the door of the aircraft, I noticed the Inflight Services Manager standing at the door from a distance. I instantly guessed she was from the Philippines, and that alone set the tone for the flight.

As mentioned in previous reports, the senior crew on Cathay are in a league of their own, and they are guaranteed to provide the passenger with an unforgettable experience that countless other airlines simply fail to do. However, senior crew from the Philippines on Cathay can even take it one step higher and provide the passenger with a mind-blowing experience.

Arriving at Door 1L of the A340, Larcie instantly smiled as I handed her my boarding pass.

“Good evening Mr. Hawi, so nice to see you again, your seat is straight ahead”
“Thank you”
“Most welcome, enjoy your flight”


By 11:30pm I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-11 14:01:19 and read 32767 times.

Flight Information

Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight No.: CX745
Routing: Hong Kong - Dubai
Scheduled Departure Time: 11:55 PM
Actual Departure Time 12:00 AM +1 (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 04:20 AM +1
Actual Arrival Time: 03:55 AM +1 (Touchdown)
Equipment: Airbus A340-343X
Registration: B-HXB


The Seat




This aircraft was not equipped with the new Business Class seat, which is exactly what I was informed on Cathay Pacific’s website prior to traveling. The aircraft was spotless clean however it was definitely showing its age with all the wear and tear on the seats. Although this plane is about 13 years old, it’s still an A340, and a great plane to ride.


Leg Space




The Cabin










Hot towels were served the moment I settled into my seat. This was followed by welcome drinks.

“Good evening Mr. Hawi, would you like something to drink before takeoff?”
“I have water, orange juice, apple juice, champagne, and Oriental Breeze”
“Oriental Breeze please”


My Oriental Breeze




Amenity Kits Were Then Handed Out




At 11:50pm, our Australian captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also informed us of our routing to Dubai, and that our flight time tonight was to be 7 hours and 40 minutes.

The doors were closed five minutes later when the Inflight Services Manager (ISM) made a departure announcement to welcome us on board. At 12am, we pushed back and each of the four tiny blow-dryer engines spooled into a humble roar.

As we taxied, Rita from India, passed around the cabin to introduce herself and distribute the menu.


Menu












Wine List










“Mr. Hawi, I just wanted to give you your menu for tonight’s flight and personally introduce myself”
“My name is Rita and I will be looking after you today”
“Thanks Rita”
“It is a pleasure welcoming you on board, please let me know if you need anything”


We were 2nd in line for the runway, right before a South African A340-600. Takeoff finally occurred at 12:20am, when this lazy bird stubbornly continued to hug at the ground all the way to very end, but then she had no choice but to lift her head up high into the dark skies and begin her journey to Dubai.

As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was eventually switched off, and the crew got up to prepare for the service.


Drink Orders Were Taken First




My Tomato Juice & Warm Nuts




Cabin Shots After Takeoff






As I was enjoying my Tomato Juice, Larcie popped by for a quick chat.

“Mr. Hawi, welcome on board. My name is Larcie. How are you today?”
“I am fine thank you”
“So how long will you stay in Dubai?”
“I live there, and I was away on business in Beijing”
“Was it your first time in Beijing?”
“Yes it was. Had a great time too”
“That is good to know”
“I hope you enjoy your flight with us today, and please let us know if you need anything”
“Thank you very much”
“I’ll let you enjoy your drink now”


Table linens were then set up, followed by the distribution of meal trays. Rita appeared by my seat with my meal tray, followed by Rebecca, from Hong Kong, with the bread basket.

After all the meal trays were quickly distributed, Rita reappeared in the aisle with the main course trolley.

“Mr. Hawi, what would you like to have today? I have seafood curry, lamb shank with potato, and Chinese style chicken with rice and vegetables”
“I’ll take the chicken please”
“Certainly, and can I get you anything to drink with that?”
“Water please”


My Meal Tray With Excellent Chicken Entrée








I savored every bite from the main course, as it was screaming with flavor. As soon as I was through with my meal, my tray was promptly cleared.

“How was everything Mr. Hawi?”
“Excellent, thank you”
“I hope that you will have some dessert”
“Yes I will”
“Great. We will be bringing it out shortly”


Shortly afterwards, Rebecca reappeared in the aisle with the dessert trolley.

“Mr. Hawi, Would you like to have some cheese, fresh fruit, or fruit cake?”
“I’ll have the cake please”
“Can I get you some coffee or tea with that?”
“No thank you”

She placed a plate with a small slice of cake on my table, smiled and said “Now you can take photo.”


Very Tasty Dessert




Pralines were offered to conclude the service, when my table was cleared after I finished. I was very sleepy after supper so I turned my seat into its angled lie-flat position and fell asleep for the remainder of the flight.

When in bed mode, I found the new Business Class seat to be more comfortable, as I was able to toss and turn as I wished. However, the only comfortable position to sleep on the older seat was for me to be on my side. While seated upright, the older seat offered greater comfort mainly due to the lack of the claustrophobic feel.

I woke up at 3am Dubai local time, and realized that we were 45 minutes away from landing. By that time, Rita appeared by my seat to offer me some juice.

“Good morning Mr. Hawi, I hope you slept well”
“Yes I did thank you”
“Can I get you some juice?”
“I’ll have some orange juice please”


Orange Juice & Hot Towel




Table linens were then set, Rebecca brought out my meal tray, and Rita had the pastry basket.


Meal Tray








After the simple and energizing breakfast, my table was cleared, and I was released for my customary visit to the lavatory.


Lavatory






After I got out of the lavatory, I found Larcie and the girls in the galley, so I stuck around a little for a quick chat.

“Mr. Hawi, you look like you got some good rest”
“Yes I did thank you”
“So do you go straight to work in the morning?”
“Yes I do unfortunately, but good thing I slept”
“That is a nice camera you have there, are you a photographer?”
“Not really, but just a simple hobby. May I take a group picture?”
“Sure. Would be nice if you could join in the picture”
“It’s okay, I look groggy”
“You look great, don’t worry”


Larcie & The Girls!




”Hold On, let’s do another pose for you”




At 3:25am our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards Dubai International, and that we were expected to land at 3:55am, some 25 minutes ahead of schedule.


During Initial Descent




The seatbelt sign was switched on at 3:40am. As everyone returned to their seats, the cabin crew made their final preparations for landing.


Cabin Lights Out




On Final Approach






At 3:55am, we touched down at Dubai International Airport, bringing this flight to an end. We had to taxi all the way around Emirates’ Terminal 3 until we got to our gate at Terminal 1.


Emirates A332 with the EK Headquarters Building in the Background




It has become customary to look for the A380 when traveling through DXB, and for me it was no different. It was a lucky night for me as I found two in sight. Doing a quick aero-geek calculation in my head, I concluded that one had arrived from LHR as EK002, while the other from BKK as EK373. A third aircraft was to arrive in an hour from SYD as EK413, while a fourth one which had arrived from YYZ earlier in the evening as EK242 was parked at a remote stand visible from the Sharjah-Dubai highway. Finally, the 5th A380 was on its way from SYD to AKL as EK412, and this accounted for all 5 of the Emirates A380, 4 of which were scheduled to depart to LHR, BKK, YYZ, and SYD in a few hours.

This has almost become a customary prayer that I recite to myself or anyone around me whenever I spot an EK A380!


Two EK A380’s




We finally docked at the gate, powered out, and the seatbelt sign was switched off. Everyone got up to gather their belongings in preparation to disembark. When the doors were finally open, I proceeded to exit the aircraft and found Larcie at the door addressing each and every Business Class passenger by name, and wishing them farewell.

“Bye Mr. A”
“Bye Mr. B, thank you for flying with us”
“You’re most welcome Mr. C, hope to see you again soon”
“Bye Mr. D”

At my turn, she shook my hand and said “Thank you for flying with us again Mr. Hawi, come back and see us soon ok?”





C O N C L U S I O N
Everyone knows my stubborn opinion on Cathay Pacific, so what was presented in the Trip Report simply reiterates this. They offer an exceptional premium product that is specifically tailored to the business traveler.

As for their new Business Class seat, I believe it had its positive points and also its negative ones, but I cannot say that I am a huge fan, as overall I would still prefer the older generation seat that is still on offer in some of their aircraft. This however does not mean that I will not fly them in Business Class again, as it is still an excellent product overall that is tiers above other airline offerings.

Inflight service on the other hand seemed to have substantially improved since the last time I flew Business Class with CX. I am not sure if this has anything to do with my FFP status or not, as I do know for a fact that they carefully monitor each and every one of their frequent flier’s activities.

Cathay Pacific remains to be my favorite airline.

What was more interesting for this trip, was my surprising experience on Dragonair. I am happy to call them a mini-Cathay, as they too, have offered an excellent long-haul product for a regional type of flight. Their crew were young, attentive, always smiling, and very friendly. Furthermore, the inflight service, and hardware offering were superb for such a short flight. The best thing however, was their menu, and the ‘Daily Special’ offering which I found to be so unique.

I would highly recommend Dragonair, and now I can definitely see why they are right at home with Cathay in the Swire family.


This concludes my Trip Report. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed it. Your comments are always welcome and greatly appreciated.


Regards,
Roni



E Q U I P M E N T
Camera:
Canon 50D

Lenses:
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye
- Canon 17-85mm


PREVIOUS WORK
OpenSkies From British Airways: A New Era's End? (by Ronerone Oct 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class (by Ronerone Sep 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)


F L I C K R
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jy-rwh79/collections/72157622759952333/


F A C E B O O K
R. Wadei Hawi
Please mention who you are when (and if) you want to add me as a friend



THE END

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: SOBHI51
Posted 2009-12-11 14:13:42 and read 32767 times.

Again a great report.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
A second option could have been Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

Flew with Qatar airways DOH-IAD-DOH in J it was great, you really should give them a try.

Ah you are not wearing those red shoes anymore?

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Airbuseric
Posted 2009-12-11 15:13:56 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

I must give you my compliments for this supurb tripreport. It's perfectly written, and not to forget an enormous amount of high quality pictures. I would say; this is more then just a hobby photographer  Wink
To be honest, I would not spend my money so quick on CX new style Business Class. The whole cabin layout and seating doesn't attract on me. So if I had the choice, I would stay away from this product. But, I actually like their new Y-class. I think these are the slider-seats. It looks very comfortable in the back! The older generation C-class looks better to me and would give me an better overall feeling when in a flight, but I can imagine that sleeping might be a problem on the old generation seats, as you mentioned already.

On all your flights you got enough and good choice of meals. I would feel very happy with it, the menu's all showed items of my taste  Silly Also Dragonair is top level with an interesting menu, I like that idea for the daily offerings.

btw, Both BJS and HKG airport look great. So much open space, gives it an airy feeling, as far as I can judge from your images.

Regards,
Eric

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Akhmad
Posted 2009-12-11 15:25:24 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

How wonderful to read something of your trip again! Very well detailed and surrounded with beautiful pictures!

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 9):
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
A second option could have been Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

Flew with Qatar airways DOH-IAD-DOH in J it was great, you really should give them a try.

May I be excused for asking why you are still not prepared for traveling with QR? But reading your great in flight experience with CX, I can imagine that you will not switch to another airline easily. Oh, by the way, I have just booked QR today.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
"A Bloody Mary please"



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2):
Sorry! I Try To Change But I Can't!

Cheers, Roni!  wink 

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 4):
I am sure that there is tons more to see in this city, but I can only present the following select pictures that portray a simple Beijing!

Still you have managed to capture the city highlights. Awesome!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 5):
but why is it such an issue?

I can not figure it out either. At least she made it a clear the friendly way.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
This aircraft was not equipped with the new Business Class seat, which is exactly what I was informed on Cathay Pacific's website prior to traveling.

I do prefer this J interior than the herringbone one.

I really enjoyed your report, Roni! Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: FlyKev
Posted 2009-12-11 16:31:01 and read 32767 times.

I really enjoyed reading your report, and your pictures really help illustrate your trip. Cathay Pacific look like they offer an exceptional premium product, but even the new Y product looks comfortable from your photos.

Thanks for sharing.

Kev.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: CXB77L
Posted 2009-12-11 16:47:05 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

Thanks for a fantastic report, I enjoyed it.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
So far, nothing beats the layout of Etihad’s Pearl Business Class, and also Emirates Business Class on the A380.

I may never have flown Business Class, but from the pictures I see here on A.net, I absolutely agree. The density of 8-abreast seating, direct aisle access in every seat and fully flat beds make this the most logical choice to me.

I also enjoyed the numerous pictures that you've taken. Most of your pictures are absolutely fantastic, although I have a personal distaste for wide-angle lens view. One mistake I noticed: the picture that you captioned as the lavatory in your KA HKG-PEK leg looked a lot like a galley to me  Smile

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2009-12-11 17:02:00 and read 32767 times.

Ahhh... Loni...

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I normally like to ride the same aircraft more than once, but this time I could feel Mr. PlaneHunter’s agony of getting the same registration twice!

Such torture we go through as a.nutters!  Smile


Wow... The hot towels are really steaming! Wasn't this trip during the Dubai summer? And they gave HOT towels? Like as if you aren't hot enough? Hmm... I realise how the last sentence turned out. Hahahahaha...

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I’m not a huge seafood fan, and especially if it is salmon so I skipped on the starter.

Damn it... Once again, I wasn't next to you for this one.


Boy they SURE LOVE their newspaper.


I have always loved KA's inflight unfiform. There is this funky, swinging 60s-Twiggy-Brit invasion quality to it.


Someone in CX/KA's catering totally forgot about tumeric. That is not how Thai pineapple fried rice looks like. Hehehehe...


Somehow, this looks far more spacious than the herringbone.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Gardermoen
Posted 2009-12-11 17:08:32 and read 32767 times.

Excellent report, Ronerone. Then again, I have enjoyed all the trip reports you post.
Great camera btw.
I don't understand the different pre-check in security baggage screening procedures at DXB. Terminal 3 doesn't have it, yet Terminal 1 (and I presume Terminal 2) does.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Caleb1
Posted 2009-12-11 17:09:37 and read 32767 times.

Roni, you are truly THE master of TRs! Yours is the standard by which I judge all others. After reading one of your TRs, it is very difficult to read most of the others. Kudos to you and please keep these thoughtful and superbly written submissions coming. They are consistently excellent and always worth the wait.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB
Username: Airpearl
Posted 2009-12-11 17:29:48 and read 32767 times.

"Mr Hawi, we have two delicious main courses for you to choose from tonight, would you like the CX or the KA?"

Hehehe... congratulations Roni on your latest trip report and fitting tribute (oops, I was almost going to say "shrine" there)  Wink to your favorite airline -- or perhaps now it's airline group! Glad to see you having another great CX flight, while the Dragonair insights are particularly rare on A.net. As an airline, it's certainly holding its own - and in terms of catering, I think it surpasses CX. Your photos too are just excellent, with a nice combination of fish-eye and regular. Love it all!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
“Mr. Hawi, may I offer you something to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”



Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Sorry! I Try To Change But I Can’t!

 biggrin 

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
After I returned to my seat, I pulled out the headsets from the side panel in hopes that they were sterilized,

Maybe it's just the way the headphones in CX F & J are just 'found' lying in the side compartment does make me wonder too how many other people had used it before me without sterilization...

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Lots of Space

The insight into the new PEK terminal is interesting. It does look a lot like HKG in some of your photos... then there are bits looking like KUL and ICN... perhaps it's just that newer airports in Asia all looking the same these days.

Thanks again for the excellent report.

Regards,
airpearl

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Slimcarner
Posted 2009-12-11 17:40:43 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni......Brilliant TR....What camera do u use? Do passengers get annoyed when taking their pics inflight?(speaking from experience)
Thanks for showcasing PEK ..i've always wanted to see a TR on the world's biggest airport.
Seems like with an architecture of that calibre....the chinese intend on bringing big businesses to their shores....sadly for us Irish who are at a competitive disadvantage.!!
You have captured it wonderfully.

What about the pollution & smog in beijing?

Thanks a lot for your efforts,

Cheers,

Justin

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Flightsimboy
Posted 2009-12-11 17:42:46 and read 32767 times.

Hello Roni,

It's so nice to finally be able to reply to a live report of yours!  Wink As usual great report, excellent layout and no detail spared. I noticed the laces are less funkier now. I cannot believe you have not flown Qatar as yet. Are you as they say "saving the best for last?"  eyebrow  Thanks again for the great report.  bigthumbsup 

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ca228
Posted 2009-12-11 20:29:11 and read 32767 times.

Hello Roni,

Thanks for this report - do you know if the CX A340 in your return flight to DXB has the new economy class seating, or are they still the old seats?

Mike

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ojas
Posted 2009-12-11 22:27:42 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

A Stellar report yet again, just keeps getting better!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
A second option could have been Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

Why is that?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Then there was Cathay Pacific. If you know me well enough, you will guess that if this airline was even half of an option, then it would be my choice in a heartbeat.



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
but it is also not as narrow, horrible, unlike the other competition, crap, never-gonna-fly-cathay pathetic-again-because-of-it, as many make it out to be; at least for me.



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
As some have pointed out before, the seat is definitely not that narrow as I can easily compare its width to Etihad’s Pearl Business seat. However, the dividers between the seats are what makes the experience so very claustrophobic. I do admit that several times during the flight I did have an urge to forcefully push those dividers apart with my elbows to get some space. But to say that I wouldn’t fly CX long-haul in business class again is just silly.

----------->

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 7):
Everyone knows my stubborn opinion on Cathay Pacific, so what was presented in the Trip Report simply reiterates this.

Sums it all up :P

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
but this time I could feel Mr. PlaneHunter’s agony of getting the same registration twice!

Tell me about it ... I flew the QR B77W A7 - BAB 3 times in 5 months DOH - IAD; IAD - DOH; and DOH - JFK.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
I’m not a huge seafood fan



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 3):
I decided to be a little daring and go for the Thai fish cake, keeping in mind that I am not so big on seafood.

You serious? I think the hamour fish, that you get in the middle east, is one the best! I can swear on it.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 3):
I am not familiar with the different interior configurations that Dragonair may or may not have on their aircraft, but this one had semi-older generation regional seats that still offered excellent levels of comfort, seat pitch and IFE.

I had always been curious as to what KA offers ont heir HKG - BLR route ... nice to know it is at par with CX.

Thanks for sharing.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Asiaflyer
Posted 2009-12-11 22:35:29 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

You are spoling us with those brilliant TR's.
This one was not an exception. Simply just excellent.  thumbsup 

I was on the KA 330 from HKG to PEK in Oct and was a bit disappointed as that plane had the old seats without AVOD.
The newer interior looks much better though. I hope they will refurbish all their A330's.

Looking forward to your next TR.  Smile

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: The777Man
Posted 2009-12-12 02:27:52 and read 32767 times.

Absolutely brilliant trip report!

Cathay is one of my favorite carriers to fly as well although I have mostly flown in Y.....

Looking forward to your next trip!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Henkybaby
Posted 2009-12-12 03:28:06 and read 32767 times.

Great TR with attention for the right things and nice pictures.

From your pictures I infer you are not a tall guy, but let me tell that for us tallies CX herringbone is just bloody awful. I will avoid them at all cost. It gives me the creeps.

I like the dragonair product. Looks good.

One tip: if you insist on using a fisheye, also consider buying software that corrects the distortions. It will leave you with the ultra wide angle, but without the typical effect that should be used only when it really adds to the composition of the picture. Capture NX will do a nice job if you are using Nikon lenses.

I'll keep following your TR's. Enjoyable read!

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-12-12 06:42:17 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

wonderful report with excellent pictures - it was a real pleasure to read. Both CX's and KA's products look very good, the catering seems to be great.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
A second option could have been Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

Why?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Last year on this very same flight, I was lucky enough to be on B-LAC which was the latest bird of its type in the fleet at the time. Which one out of the 30 or so 330’s will I get tonight? I kept asking as I continued my rego-hunt during the very short time envelope I had. Driving past the tail of the aircraft, I spot B-LAC again, and for some reason I felt so utterly disappointed. I normally like to ride the same aircraft more than once, but this time I could feel Mr. PlaneHunter’s agony of getting the same registration twice!

What a bad luck you had - I can really imagine how you felt.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
My Aircraft That Will Take Me To PEK (B-HWF)

Wow, what a dirty bird!  Wink

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
After drink orders were taken, another cabin crew, Ming, rolled out the beverage trolley.

I'm not sure whether I overlooked anything - but why did she wear a mask?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
YES! This A340 Is Taking Me To DXB!

Was an A340 scheduled to operate the flight?


What can we expect next time, Roni?


PH

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Directorguy
Posted 2009-12-12 07:34:47 and read 32767 times.



Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Sorry! I Try To Change But I Can’t!

Haha, I know what you mean-I discovered Bloody Marys myself last summer and I can't get enough of them. The razor-sharp tanginess just makes me come alive, ye know..?


Interesting that DXB-HKG was relatively empty....I find it interesting that CX is one of the few 'reciprocating' airlines to DXB that actually exceeds EK in terms of offering/capacity.

Thanks for yet another wonderful TR. Pictures are yet again spectacular. I know I'll be leaving this TR open for a few days, since I can never get enough of yours  Smile
Best regards

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2009-12-12 11:56:01 and read 32767 times.

Hi Roni,

What a fantastic read, really enjoyed the trip and pictures, almost felt I was there with you!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Qatar Airways; but they are an airline I am not ready to try yet, if I did not have to.

- Any reason? - I'm using them in J to BKK & back from LHR next year.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I spot B-LAC again, and for some reason I felt so utterly disappointed

- Don't worry, I'd feel that way too.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
this was my first experience on this new Business Class seat, I have mixed feelings about it so far. It is definitely not the best in industry, but it is also not as narrow, horrible, unlike the other competition, crap, never-gonna-fly-cathay pathetic-again-because-of-it, as many make it out to be; at least for me

- I'vre gootta say I'm not at all keen on these types of layouts, however the new US Airways one seems quite good.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
“Mr. Hawi, may I offer you something to drink?”
“A Bloody Mary please”

- Like you'd drink anything else!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I’m not a huge seafood fan

- The salmon looks nice, tuna a bit too rare for me.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I decided to be a little daring and go for the Thai fish cake, keeping in mind that I am not so big on seafood.

- Brave choce!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
she innocently smiled and shyly requested that I not take pictures inside the lounge

- Odd, not seen that before!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
This aircraft featured a newer seat configuration

- So much nice than the old seats.

Great stuff as always Roni, a real pleasure to read, so looking forward to getting on a flight with you again.

Best Wishes

Mark

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-12 12:56:34 and read 32767 times.

Dear All,

Thank you for the wonderful comments!  Smile Smile

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 9):
Flew with Qatar airways DOH-IAD-DOH in J it was great, you really should give them a try.



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 11):
May I be excused for asking why you are still not prepared for traveling with QR?



Quoting Flightsimboy (Reply 19):
I cannot believe you have not flown Qatar as yet.



Quoting Ojas (Reply 21):
Why is that?



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Why?

Not sure yet. I already have EK and EY, and another Gulf carrier may just be overkill!
I've heard stellar things about QR .. one day i will definitely fly them  Smile

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 10):
The older generation C-class looks better to me and would give me an better overall feeling when in a flight,



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 11):
I do prefer this J interior than the herringbone one.



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
Somehow, this looks far more spacious than the herringbone.

 checkmark 


SOBHI51:

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 9):
Ah you are not wearing those red shoes anymore?

I wore them today  Smile lol

They should be featured in future TR's too!


Airbuseric:

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 10):
But, I actually like their new Y-class. I think these are the slider-seats. It looks very comfortable in the back!

Apart from Cathay's regional product, the new Y-class is one more thing i have yet to try.


Akhmad:

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 11):
How wonderful to read something of your trip again! Very well detailed and surrounded with beautiful pictures!

Thank you for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed!

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 11):
Oh, by the way, I have just booked QR today.

Where will you be flyign QR to if you dont mind me asking?
Looking forward to another one of your brilliant TRs!  Smile


FlyKev:

Quoting FlyKev (Reply 12):
I really enjoyed reading your report, and your pictures really help illustrate your trip. Cathay Pacific look like they offer an exceptional premium product,

Thank You.

In my eyes, CX knows their premium market very very well, and that is regardless of the new herrigbone design.


CXB77L:

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 13):
Thanks for a fantastic report, I enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 13):
One mistake I noticed: the picture that you captioned as the lavatory in your KA HKG-PEK leg looked a lot like a galley to me

My bad! Well spotted  Smile


Lionel!!!:

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
Wow... The hot towels are really steaming! Wasn't this trip during the Dubai summer?

It wasn't as hot as usual, but yes it was quite humid.

I don't think CX serve cold towels though.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
Damn it... Once again, I wasn't next to you for this one.

What would happen if we flew on the same plane?
I think we will be banned by law from flying that poor and unlucky airline again!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
Someone in CX/KA's catering totally forgot about tumeric. That is not how Thai pineapple fried rice looks like.

Sounds yum with turmeric! ... But was yum without it too  Smile


Gardermoen:

Quoting Gardermoen (Reply 15):
I don't understand the different pre-check in security baggage screening procedures at DXB. Terminal 3 doesn't have it, yet Terminal 1 (and I presume Terminal 2) does.

Even Abu Dhabi's Terminal 3 doesn't have pre-check in security, while T1/T2 do.

The new trend in the Middle East seems to be slowly moving towards doing away with pre-check in screening, albeit at a slow pace.


Caleb1:

Quoting Caleb1 (Reply 16):
Roni, you are truly THE master of TRs! Yours is the standard by which I judge all others. After reading one of your TRs, it is very difficult to read most of the others. Kudos to you and please keep these thoughtful and superbly written submissions coming. They are consistently excellent and always worth the wait.

Thank you for your kind words! Much appreciated!

Airpearl:

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 17):
Hehehe... congratulations Roni on your latest trip report and fitting tribute (oops, I was almost going to say "shrine" there) to your favorite airline -- or perhaps now it's airline group!

Thank you! You are well aware of the behind-the-scenes torture invloved in finding time to complete it  Smile

What about you? Any TR's? You simply cannot not be flying  Smile

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 17):
and in terms of catering, I think it surpasses CX.

Totally agree!

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 17):
Maybe it's just the way the headphones in CX F & J are just 'found' lying in the side compartment does make me wonder too how many other people had used it before me without sterilization...

Actually, i think that is my major gripe with CX. Forget the new herringbone, i think i would prefer to have my headset sealed in plastic.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 17):
The insight into the new PEK terminal is interesting. It does look a lot like HKG in some of your photos... then there are bits looking like KUL and ICN... perhaps it's just that newer airports in Asia all looking the same these days.

You are right! I did find certain parts of PEK similar to KUL!


Slimcarner:

Quoting Slimcarner (Reply 18):
Hi Roni......Brilliant TR....What camera do u use?

Thanks!

I use a Canon 50D.

Quoting Slimcarner (Reply 18):
Do passengers get annoyed when taking their pics inflight?(speaking from experience)

Lots do.
Sometimes i feel like annoying them more by taking a picture of them with flash.

I try to be as discreet as possible, but with a big camera it can be quite challenging.

Quoting Slimcarner (Reply 18):
What about the pollution & smog in beijing?

I was also told that Beijing is heavily polluted.

As you could see from the pictures, the skies were clear blue. Maybe it was a good day?
I also hear that Beijing has significantly improved after the Olympics. So i am not sure if that had anything to do with it.


Flightsimboy:

Quoting Flightsimboy (Reply 19):
It's so nice to finally be able to reply to a live report of yours! As usual great report, excellent layout and no detail spared.

Thank you!

Judging from your flickr pictures, and your recent subscription to a.net, you are an upcoming star T. Reporter!  Smile

Quoting Flightsimboy (Reply 19):
Thanks for this report - do you know if the CX A340 in your return flight to DXB has the new economy class seating, or are they still the old seats?

They were still the older seats.


Ojas:

Quoting Ojas (Reply 21):
A Stellar report yet again, just keeps getting better!

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!

Quoting Ojas (Reply 21):
Tell me about it ... I flew the QR B77W A7 - BAB 3 times in 5 months DOH - IAD; IAD - DOH; and DOH - JFK.

Ive always loved riding the same plane twice. But just this time around, i was expecting something new.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 21):
You serious? I think the hamour fish, that you get in the middle east, is one the best! I can swear on it.

Yes indeed. I get harrassed for not liking hamour all the time  Smile


Asiaflyer:

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 22):
You are spoling us with those brilliant TR's.
This one was not an exception. Simply just excellent.

Thanks for reading!  Smile

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 22):
I was on the KA 330 from HKG to PEK in Oct and was a bit disappointed as that plane had the old seats without AVOD.

I did not pay much attention to the IFE this time around, but i think my outbound flight to PEK was non-AVOD?


The777Man:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 23):
Absolutely brilliant trip report!

Cathay is one of my favorite carriers to fly as well although I have mostly flown in Y.....

Thanks!  Smile

Quoting The777Man (Reply 23):
Looking forward to your next trip!

Working on the TR now! Should be coming soon.


Henkybaby:

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 24):
From your pictures I infer you are not a tall guy,

Im about 180cm. So tall-ish i would say.

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 24):
One tip: if you insist on using a fisheye, also consider buying software that corrects the distortions. It will leave you with the ultra wide angle, but without the typical effect that should be used only when it really adds to the composition of the picture. Capture NX will do a nice job if you are using Nikon lenses.

But isn't the distortion the main point of using, or having a fisheye?
I do like wide angles, and will probably get one in the future.

PlaneHunter:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
What a bad luck you had - I can really imagine how you felt.

LOL. When you first mentioned it a while back, i was wondering why!

Now i know!  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Wow, what a dirty bird!

Indeed. Air France-style too!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
I'm not sure whether I overlooked anything - but why did she wear a mask?

That is a very good question.

If she was sick for example, then she would not be on duty, but if she was being careful, then why weren't the rest of the crew?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Was an A340 scheduled to operate the flight?

At the time, CX745 was operating a terminator flight to DXB that parked at DXB for 14 hours until it turned back around to HKG. That flight was operating using a mixture of old/new A330's and A340's

Recently, CX745 now continues from DXB to JED and it is operated predominantly using A330's (but with a mix of old and new styles).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
What can we expect next time, Roni?

I'm tempted to say, but i will keep quiet  Smile
Working on it now though!

Directorguy:

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 26):
Haha, I know what you mean-I discovered Bloody Marys myself last summer and I can't get enough of them. The razor-sharp tanginess just makes me come alive, ye know..?

Exactly! You nailed it!

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 26):
Interesting that DXB-HKG was relatively empty....I find it interesting that CX is one of the few 'reciprocating' airlines to DXB that actually exceeds EK in terms of offering/capacity.

It was during Ramadan, so not much traveling happens.

regards,
Roni

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: LH4116
Posted 2009-12-12 13:17:21 and read 32688 times.

Hello there Roni, excellent report as always! It was a quite long report this time, your longest perhaps?  Wink

CX seem to offer a great product, both the old and the new seats looked great.

The food looked great, especially the starters. I mean, how could someone not like salmon, it's GREAT! Big grin
Though the idea of serving the main courses in those little "bowls" instead of plates, looked like a minus to me.

The crew seemed great, and the service was very personal I guess. In fact, it seemed more personal than on your other reports, such as EK, etc. Or maybe it's just me...

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
The Bloody Mary was excellent! It was made with Bloody Mary Mix and not with plain tomato juice. It was perfectly spiced and balanced between Vodka and the Mix and did not taste too alcoholic, yet it still provided the desired effects associated with alcohol.

All those years of Bloody Mary drinking, have made you sound like real Connoisseur. Which I assume you are, by now  Wink

Thanks for sharing!

//Casablancas

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Akhmad
Posted 2009-12-12 13:17:39 and read 32689 times.



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 28):
Where will you be flyign QR to if you dont mind me asking?

My partner and I will be flying QR to Indonesia next summer.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB
Username: Henkybaby
Posted 2009-12-13 01:51:38 and read 32032 times.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 27):
But isn't the distortion the main point of using, or having a fisheye?
I do like wide angles, and will probably get one in the future.

I realized that you asked that question as well in your report on Royal Brunei (I believe) and I failed to answer it. It is of course a matter of taste, but a fish eye has such a pronounced distortion that it should be used wisely and sparsely imho. It is almost like an effect you add to a picture. It needs to add to the composition. If 80% of the pics (RB) or 40% are fisheye'd than it loses meaning.

If you use it to make pictures possible that are otherwise impossible you can limit the distortion using software. I used to do this because not even an 11 mm wide angle comes close to a fisheye in field angle.

I do not use my fisheye as much anymore but switched to my Tokina 11-16. Mostly because it gives a more realistic rendition that I feel is better suited for a TR. I sometimes correct the distortion from that lens too by the way. The occasional fisheye may still sneak in though...  

Great pictures though. What equipment are you using?

[Edited 2009-12-13 01:53:17 by henkybaby]

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: NZ107
Posted 2009-12-13 02:32:10 and read 31976 times.

Hi Roni,

Yet another superb Trip Report, I thank you so much for sharing it with us! Good things take time and it's good to see you can still fit in writing and including the pictures into what seems like a busy schedule you have. Brilliant photos as well to accompany such a thorough report.

It's good that you've managed to get both CX and KA into one trip report. I don't think I've seen one on here before, especially after KA was bought out by CX.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Same Airline, Same Flight Number, Same Remote Stand, Same Aircraft, Same Registration

Coincidence?  Wink

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
As this was my first experience on this new Business Class seat, I have mixed feelings about it so far. It is definitely not the best in industry, but it is also not as narrow, horrible, unlike the other competition, crap, never-gonna-fly-cathay pathetic-again-because-of-it, as many make it out to be; at least for me.

As some have pointed out before, the seat is definitely not that narrow as I can easily compare its width to Etihad’s Pearl Business seat. However, the dividers between the seats are what makes the experience so very claustrophobic. I do admit that several times during the flight I did have an urge to forcefully push those dividers apart with my elbows to get some space. But to say that I wouldn’t fly CX long-haul in business class again is just silly.

Other than that, the screen is quite large, and not too far from you and the space in front of you is also quite airy as it leads directly to the aisle, so perhaps this can balance out the claustrophobic feeling. A major negative point is definitely the lack of easy access to a window, which definitely makes any herringbone design to be my least favorite. So far, nothing beats the layout of Etihad’s Pearl Business Class, and also Emirates Business Class on the A380.

Interesting remarks. I hope I get to try it out someday.. But the window is a major downside to these herringbone seats, one that I'd seem to want to avoid.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
No Flight is a Flight Without My Bloody Mary!

Well that shows why you can't really have anything else onboard  Silly
Good to see that KA is consistent with CX in regards to Bloody Marys too!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
Cabin Lights Switched Off

Wow, the light spill from someone having the light on in J spills over a lot or so it seems. I guess that's what the eyeshades are ultimately for but surely someone could design smarter reading lights to direct light into the one seat..

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 3):
The Calm Before The Roar!

You mean rustle before the roar?  Wink


KA seats look really comfortable, especially for such a short trip. And interesting style of serving the food! Are the newer style KA J seats lie flat, ie similar to CX's old J product?

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):

A great sense of nostalgia to this A343 J cabin! My first and only J class flight was in CX's A343. Doesn't seem to have changed much! Even the bulkhead decorations are the same (I had 11A and B to myself from AKL-HKG).

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
When in bed mode, I found the new Business Class seat to be more comfortable, as I was able to toss and turn as I wished. However, the only comfortable position to sleep on the older seat was for me to be on my side. While seated upright, the older seat offered greater comfort mainly due to the lack of the claustrophobic feel.

I kept sliding down the old style J seat so anything over that is a bonus!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
It has become customary to look for the A380 when traveling through DXB, and for me it was no different. It was a lucky night for me as I found two in sight. Doing a quick aero-geek calculation in my head, I concluded that one had arrived from LHR as EK002, while the other from BKK as EK373. A third aircraft was to arrive in an hour from SYD as EK413, while a fourth one which had arrived from YYZ earlier in the evening as EK242 was parked at a remote stand visible from the Sharjah-Dubai highway. Finally, the 5th A380 was on its way from SYD to AKL as EK412, and this accounted for all 5 of the Emirates A380, 4 of which were scheduled to depart to LHR, BKK, YYZ, and SYD in a few hours.

Keep this up, I'd love to hear about your EK A380 spotting in a few years time when they have, say, 40 in their fleet!!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
C O N C L U S I O N
Everyone knows my stubborn opinion on Cathay Pacific, so what was presented in the Trip Report simply reiterates this. They offer an exceptional premium product that is specifically tailored to the business traveler.

As for their new Business Class seat, I believe it had its positive points and also its negative ones, but I cannot say that I am a huge fan, as overall I would still prefer the older generation seat that is still on offer in some of their aircraft. This however does not mean that I will not fly them in Business Class again, as it is still an excellent product overall that is tiers above other airline offerings.

Inflight service on the other hand seemed to have substantially improved since the last time I flew Business Class with CX. I am not sure if this has anything to do with my FFP status or not, as I do know for a fact that they carefully monitor each and every one of their frequent flier’s activities.

Cathay Pacific remains to be my favorite airline.

What was more interesting for this trip, was my surprising experience on Dragonair. I am happy to call them a mini-Cathay, as they too, have offered an excellent long-haul product for a regional type of flight. Their crew were young, attentive, always smiling, and very friendly. Furthermore, the inflight service, and hardware offering were superb for such a short flight. The best thing however, was their menu, and the ‘Daily Special’ offering which I found to be so unique.

I would highly recommend Dragonair, and now I can definitely see why they are right at home with Cathay in the Swire family.

Sums it up brilliantly. Cathay Pacific is a great airline and I wish I could have more opportunities to fly with them. Unfortunately, Hong Kong is such a long way away from Auckland and my trips to HKG have been few and far between. It shouldn't matter about your FF status, should it? I got great service, probably because my grandfather is an invitation member - one thing I'd like to have of his!  Wink

I'm pleased to know that Dragonair is very good as well. I guess their website sums up just how aligned with CX they really are. Food looked great. But I'm still captivated by the stunning photos you took.

Better get onto writing my few TRs myself!

Kind regards,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: SOBHI51
Posted 2009-12-13 06:39:08 and read 31727 times.



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 28):
They should be featured in future TR's too

No problem i have my sunglasses ready  Cool

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Borax
Posted 2009-12-13 11:13:49 and read 31328 times.

Roni,

Fantastic! Been reading your reports for months and this one finally prompted me to join airliners to write a reply!

Good work mate.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: HOOB747
Posted 2009-12-13 13:38:28 and read 31191 times.



Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
She asked very nicely, so I listened, but why is it such an issue?

It seems that most are so uptight and paranoid about taking photos. So few people today have any imagination, other than negative connotations.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I have always loved KA's inflight unfiform. There is this funky, swinging 60s-Twiggy-Brit invasion quality to it.

You made me laugh, because you are right on the money! I like it too.

Thanks Ronerone for a fantastic, detailed and personal trip report. Just amazing. I have one TR under my belt, and I can only imagine the work and dedication that go into so many stellar TR's. Well done, thanks for the effort, and I hope you can enlighten us in the future.

One question: Could an American navigate Beijing easily speaking only English? Or would I struggle with the language barrier. I traveled to Shanghai this year, and had little trouble speaking English with the locals. They were wonderful. Thank you.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: IliriBDL
Posted 2009-12-13 17:32:20 and read 31006 times.

5 stars for the trip report Roni.  Smile

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: SQ772
Posted 2009-12-13 18:16:45 and read 30948 times.

Hmm... it looks like we were in the same place at the same time...!!!

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 31):
If 80% of the pics (RB) or 40% are fisheye'd than it loses meaning.

If you use it to make pictures possible that are otherwise impossible you can limit the distortion using software.

I do not use my fisheye as much anymore but switched to my Tokina 11-16. Mostly because it gives a more realistic rendition that I feel is better suited for a TR. I sometimes correct the distortion from that lens too by the way. The occasional fisheye may still sneak in though...

Thanks for the great tip.

I think the pictures in this TR are a great improvement over the previous one where every pic was taken using a fish-eye lens. It left me feeling groggy after a while... Wink

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Planedudea380
Posted 2009-12-13 20:15:20 and read 30824 times.

Fantastic trip report!. It honestly makes me wanna have a nice Business Class flight with CX  Wink

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Flynlr
Posted 2009-12-14 01:11:34 and read 30622 times.

outstanding report.. I read it while hungry , off to the Kitchen to solve that problem now.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Abyssin75
Posted 2009-12-14 02:24:14 and read 30561 times.

Hi Roni,
Thanks for this wonderful report, it's makes me more in a hurry to experiment CX ( next week).
I notice that I should try the Bloody Mary !
Kind regards  Smile

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Bedo
Posted 2009-12-14 03:17:41 and read 30514 times.

Hi Roni!!

I have to say taht you have a fan!!

Months ago i read a trip report of your trip to SYD and SIN, that was my first trip report read in a.net, since that i'm a aero-freak!!

This was another great experience reading you again, thank you for sharing!!

I'm going to try looking for you on facebook.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-14 08:45:15 and read 30282 times.

Dear All,

Thanks for your great comments!


Mr. Casablancas:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 29):
Hello there Roni, excellent report as always! It was a quite long report this time, your longest perhaps?

Thanks! ..

I think i've done longer  Smile haha

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 29):
how could someone not like salmon, it's GREAT!

Ick!

Salmon, Tuna, and Sardines are a big no no for me! (Recently i started liking dried anchovies though)

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 29):
In fact, it seemed more personal than on your other reports, such as EK, etc. Or maybe it's just me...

Definitely!


Akhmad:

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 30):
My partner and I will be flying QR to Indonesia next summer.

Hope you enjoy your flight! .. Maybe i will be convinced to fly them after your TR  Smile


Henkybaby:

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 31):
If you use it to make pictures possible that are otherwise impossible you can limit the distortion using software. I used to do this because not even an 11 mm wide angle comes close to a fisheye in field angle.

Now that definitely gets my attention  Smile

You mentioned this correction software but for Nikon. What about Canon?

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 31):
I do not use my fisheye as much anymore but switched to my Tokina 11-16.

I tried the Tokina a few months ago, and was impressed with the zoom functionality of it, but not too much the quality.

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 31):
Great pictures though. What equipment are you using?

Canon 50D


Nicholas:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
Yet another superb Trip Report, I thank you so much for sharing it with us! Good things take time and it's good to see you can still fit in writing and including the pictures into what seems like a busy schedule you have. Brilliant photos as well to accompany such a thorough report.

Good to hear from you!

Thanks for your kind words!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
But the window is a major downside to these herringbone seats, one that I'd seem to want to avoid.

Agree!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
Good to see that KA is consistent with CX in regards to Bloody Marys too!

LOL .. yes, a definite must for me!  Smile

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
You mean rustle before the roar?

Hahah .. so true actually, considering it was an Airbus!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
Are the newer style KA J seats lie flat, ie similar to CX's old J product?

Yes, they are almost identical.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
Keep this up, I'd love to hear about your EK A380 spotting in a few years time when they have, say, 40 in their fleet!!

LOL .. if i really put my head into it, i think i can work out all 58  Smile

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
I guess their website sums up just how aligned with CX they really are.

Very true! .. They are identical too!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 32):
Better get onto writing my few TRs myself!

Yes please!  Smile


SOBHI51:

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 33):
No problem i have my sunglasses ready

LOL  Smile


Borax:

Quoting Borax (Reply 34):
Roni,

Fantastic! Been reading your reports for months and this one finally prompted me to join airliners to write a reply!

Good work mate.

Thanks! .. Welcome to a.net!


HOOB747:

Quoting HOOB747 (Reply 35):
Thanks Ronerone for a fantastic, detailed and personal trip report. Just amazing. I have one TR under my belt, and I can only imagine the work and dedication that go into so many stellar TR's. Well done, thanks for the effort, and I hope you can enlighten us in the future.

Glad you enjoyed!

Looking forward to your TR!

Quoting HOOB747 (Reply 35):
One question: Could an American navigate Beijing easily speaking only English? Or would I struggle with the language barrier. I traveled to Shanghai this year, and had little trouble speaking English with the locals. They were wonderful. Thank you.

Yes. English-only speakers can get around without much trouble in Beijing.

Not many speak English, but a lot do. However, non of the taxi drivers speak a single word of English, so best thing is to ask the hotel staff to write down where you want to go in Chinese so you can show the taxi driver. Also, always remember to keep the hotel address written in Chinese with you, so when you want to go back, you can show it to the taxi driver.


IliriBDL:

Quoting IliriBDL (Reply 36):
5 stars for the trip report Roni.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!


SQ772:

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 37):
Hmm... it looks like we were in the same place at the same time...!!!

Same city? or same city & venue?

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 37):
I think the pictures in this TR are a great improvement over the previous one where every pic was taken using a fish-eye lens. It left me feeling groggy after a while...

Thanks! I think so too. I think i will stick with this combo!


Planedudea380:

Quoting Planedudea380 (Reply 38):
Fantastic trip report!. It honestly makes me wanna have a nice Business Class flight with CX

Haha .. glad you enjoyed!


Flynlr:

Quoting Flynlr (Reply 39):
outstanding report.. I read it while hungry , off to the Kitchen to solve that problem now.

LOL .. Thanks for reading  Smile


Abyssin75:

Quoting Abyssin75 (Reply 40):
Hi Roni,
Thanks for this wonderful report, it's makes me more in a hurry to experiment CX ( next week).
I notice that I should try the Bloody Mary !
Kind regards

I trust that CX will take good care of you for sure  Smile .. Hope you have a good experience with them.


Bedo:

Quoting Bedo (Reply 41):
Months ago i read a trip report of your trip to SYD and SIN, that was my first trip report read in a.net, since that i'm a aero-freak!!

WoW! ... Welcome to our world  Smile haha

Quoting Bedo (Reply 41):
I'm going to try looking for you on facebook.

Thanks for the add!  Smile


Regards,
Roni

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: OA260
Posted 2009-12-14 12:31:31 and read 30111 times.

Hey Roni,
Fantastic quality to read and to view. Nothing less expected from you. Really enjoyed from start to finish. This must have taken alot of work and your time is much appreciated. Really nice to see such detail and information.

Regards

Philip

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-15 06:17:08 and read 29684 times.

Phil:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 43):
Hey Roni,
Fantastic quality to read and to view. Nothing less expected from you. Really enjoyed from start to finish. This must have taken alot of work and your time is much appreciated. Really nice to see such detail and information.

Regards

Philip

Welcome back!

Thanks a lot for your support! Hope all is well  Smile


Regards,
Roni

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB
Username: SR 103
Posted 2009-12-24 15:00:32 and read 28626 times.

Simply amazing report Roni, then again I have come to expect nothing less.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
He shook my hand and said "Good to see you again Mr. Hawi, have a good flight, and thank you for flying with us again"

The small touches that have always made Cathay Pacific the distinctive airline that it is.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
So far, nothing beats the layout of Etihad's Pearl Business Class, and also Emirates Business Class on the A380.

I am actually going to have to disagree with you. I found a certain (red) airline to have a far better business class seat. To be honest, its one of the best seats I have tried, in either business or first!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
Menu

Now you know I adore CX, but I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in the menu offerings. I realize it is a late departure but a bit more could easily be done.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
I'm not a huge seafood fan, and especially if it is salmon so I skipped on the starter.

WHAT?!? You wasted all that! Next time we fly together, you better give me your salmon! I guess I know why I am not as skinny as I used to be!  Sad

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 3):
To my surprise, the fish was great, and just as spicy as I like it to be. The rice was very fragrant, and the pineapple really added a typically-Thai zest to it.

Good to see you tried to be adventurous.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 5):
Emirates is Really Everywhere!!!

The fact that I can fly almost anywhere in the world with one stop on Emirates from my home airport in the US is quite an achievement in itself.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 5):
Lots of Space

The seat looks really nice. I believe once upon a time Dragonair was setting up plans to fly against/along side CX on routes to Australia and Japan. I believe they had some aircraft delivered equipped with long haul seats. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like you may have got one of those planes.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 7):
However, senior crew from the Philippines on Cathay can even take it one step higher and provide the passenger with a mind-blowing experience.

I could not agree with you more. Though I do think the senior Indian crew are right on par with the senior Filipino crew. Some of the best the airline has. I still remember very fondly my LAX-HKG in First where I had one of each. First Class does not get any better than that.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
Although this plane is about 13 years old, it's still an A340, and a great plane to ride.

That looks so familiar. I remember when they had just rolled out the cabin in 2001 and I spent 15 hours and 45 across the Pacific in amazement at the product. How things have (not) changed.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
Cathay Pacific remains to be my favorite airline.

Great to hear they have maintained their award winning high level of service despite all the negative comments on this board recently. Then again you are far more refined and balanced in your reporting than some overzealous teenager that has some sort of self entitlement complex.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 8):
I would highly recommend Dragonair, and now I can definitely see why they are right at home with Cathay in the Swire family.

I have often wondered about this "forgotten" airline and its good to see they have the same exact charm as their partner Cathay Pacific.

Please keep these Cathay Pacific repots coming. Since I no longer get to fly them (damn you oneworld!) its great to see how they are evolving as an airline with your detailed reports. Maybe one day I'll break the shackles off my Star and Skyteam accounts so I can step onboard Cathay Pacific once again. Wanna help me out and join me for the adventure?  Smile

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-25 11:22:23 and read 28372 times.

Mr. Tamboowala!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
Simply amazing report Roni, then again I have come to expect nothing less.

Thanks a lot for your nice comments, as always!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
I am actually going to have to disagree with you. I found a certain (red) airline to have a far better business class seat. To be honest, its one of the best seats I have tried, in either business or first!

If there is anything better than a staggered layout, where each seat has direct access to the aisle, then i have yet to see it.

As for the comfort of the seat itself, that's a different story, and i can't compare with that really red seat as i have yet to try it  Wink

Speaking of red, when are we going to see that Arik Air TR of yours? It is Arik isnt it? They have red seats  Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
Now you know I adore CX, but I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in the menu offerings. I realize it is a late departure but a bit more could easily be done.

I had no issues with the meals, but if they needed to improve something, i would suggest turning the continental breakfast into a full hot breakfast. I thought the supper after takeoff was fine, but perhaps a little more option would be good for the second meal, to properly start your day in Hong Kong after arrival, or to prep you up for your transit.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
WHAT?!? You wasted all that! Next time we fly together, you better give me your salmon! I guess I know why I am not as skinny as I used to be!

Haha .. yes! .. PLEASE take the salmon!  Smile .. But you give me the Indian options in return!  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
The fact that I can fly almost anywhere in the world with one stop on Emirates from my home airport in the US is quite an achievement in itself.

That is amazing indeed! .. Wherever you go, you are bound to find EK on the ramp, at the check-in counters, or at least on the FIDS. And to top it off, we will soon find all of that in AMS! An airport that was sterile from any EK invasion!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
I could not agree with you more. Though I do think the senior Indian crew are right on par with the senior Filipino crew. Some of the best the airline has. I still remember very fondly my LAX-HKG in First where I had one of each. First Class does not get any better than that.

Definitely! Rita, who was on my return flight was outstanding! .. I can also remember the great GREAT Indian crew on my milk-run last year in F.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
Great to hear they have maintained their award winning high level of service despite all the negative comments on this board recently. Then again you are far more refined and balanced in your reporting than some overzealous teenager that has some sort of self entitlement complex.

I have an upcoming trip on CX in Y .. regional Y seats with a possibility of one sector being on the new Y (provided no last minute equipment changes).

CX has won my heart when it comes to premium travel, but let's see how they measure up in Y.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
I have often wondered about this "forgotten" airline and its good to see they have the same exact charm as their partner Cathay Pacific.

Not so many merged airlines can be so aligned the way Cathay and Dragonair are. I have not seen it in KLM/AF, LH/LX,OS, etc, and probably will not see it with BA/IB.

I can say that back in the day, EK and UL were quite aligned, mostly in their hardware, but even their aligned software did not come close to CX/KA!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
Maybe one day I'll break the shackles off my Star and Skyteam accounts so I can step onboard Cathay Pacific once again. Wanna help me out and join me for the adventure?

Just say when  Smile haha


Thanks again for your comments! Hope to see some new TRs from you soon!

Regards,
Roni

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Vivekman2006
Posted 2009-12-26 05:45:48 and read 28121 times.

What a brilliant trip report, Roni!

You got to experience different flavours of the CX Business Class product. KA looks pretty decent for a regional run as well.

When is the next TR coming up?  Wink

- Vivek

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: MIAspotter
Posted 2009-12-26 07:10:41 and read 28075 times.

Excellent TR Roni, I read the whole thing in one sitting and felt as if I was there along for the trip.

CX is a top airline in my books (although I've never flown them) and I would love to someday travel with them.

Not a real fan of the herringbone configuration, I love looking out of the window whilst I fly and by looking at the pictures I think I will need a massage on my neck after stepping out of the a/c.

Still, Business class is Business class and I would not complaint LOL, better than being en Coach.

Looking forward to the next one.

MIAspotter.

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ojas
Posted 2009-12-26 15:47:09 and read 27945 times.



Quoting SR 103 (Reply 45):
Then again you are far more refined and balanced in your reporting than some overzealous teenager that has some sort of self entitlement complex.

LOL, I liked that!

Topic: RE: Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2009-12-27 19:22:04 and read 27654 times.

Hi Vivek:

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 47):
You got to experience different flavours of the CX Business Class product. KA looks pretty decent for a regional run as well.

Yes indeed! .. A couple more CX flavors and that should just about sum it up for my CX reporting  Smile haha

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 47):
When is the next TR coming up?

Very soon!


Hi MIAspotter:

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 48):
Excellent TR Roni, I read the whole thing in one sitting and felt as if I was there along for the trip.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the FB add!


Regards,
Roni


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