Swiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2 Posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9651 times:
First report, so don't flame me...
I booked to travel on VS250 LHR to PVG to see my family on June 14th. Originally I intended to fly to PVG alone, and have it as my final destination. Following a meeting that my Dad had to attend in Berlin the week of travel, he decided to hang around an extra day fly TXL-LHR-PVG with me; his Berlin leg on a BA 319.
To complete things further, as they are in the middle of a move to HKG from Shanghai, it came about that we needed to be in Hong Kong on the 16th. It worked out cheaper for us to purchase separate tickets on Cathay Pacific PVG-HKG-PVG, which made sense so my mother and brother could join us too.
VS250 was due to depart at 1430 from LHR, so my Dad and I met at the Upper Class check-in at 1200 (he is a Flying Club Gold member). I was booked to fly in Economy (Q) and my Dad, because he was on Business, in Premium Economy. We didn't want to sit alone, and I found out from a member on here that the loads for the flight in PE were fairly light, so my Dad kindly paid the upgrade fee for us to sit together. I think we were both secretly hoping, that as a Silver member, and him a Gold, with light loads, they might have helped us out, but it wasn't to be.
The Upper Class checkin had a couple of families in line, so we actually checked in at the Premium Economy counter, which was queue free. Stangely, we were both at 26kg, which was fine.
The FastTrack security line was reasonably short, we picked up a couple of bottles of champagne for my Mum, and headed to the lounge. VS900 was Closing, so there were loads of people running past us to the gate.
Inside the lounge, I felt a little out of place, as I was in shorts, however a quick look around revealed that many others were too, so I was put at ease!
I asked for a couple of Cokes and a sandwich, and chilled out for a bit. Was tempted by a game of pool but just before we were called for boarding, I decided to check out the garden overlooking the gates/runway. It was fantastic standing up there, and I wished I had my camera.
The flight was called at 1315, 1 hour 15 mins before departure. In the lounge we were called 25 minutes before, at 1405, which was a lovely new experience for me.
At the gate, the numbskull security employee told me I didn't have a valid Visa for travel, and that I couldn't board. He was looking at an old Visa, but would NOT let me take the passport to show him the correct page; he insisted on doing this himself. This was slightly embarassing, but once he found it all was well.
VS250 was operated by G-VRED which had arrived in from JFK (VS10).
Boarding was fast and efficient, and I enjoyed a nice cold orange juice before departure.
I sat in 18A, my Dad in 18C (Bulkhead seats).
The lifejacket from under my seat was dangling down, knocking against my calf, which was mildly annoying, and I was unable to fit it myself. I left it. There were also a few sweet wrappers down the side of my seat.
Because PE was only half full, there was loads of space up top for my bag, and I noticed two small childred (under 3) in row 23ish, so pulled the Bose QC3's out, right from the start.
Takeoff was great; when I fly Economy on VS346's I sit as far to the back as possible, on the left window, so am used to being the last to feel the lift after rotation. This time it was very smooth.
At this point; I have no idea how I'm doing, so please advise. I don't want to waste too much time typing away, if this is rubbish. If this is any good, I will continue. Be honest!
Swiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8119 times:
Cool... back by popular demand, as they say...
Carrying on from:
"Takeoff was great; when I fly Economy on VS346's I sit as far to the back as possible, on the left window, so am used to being the last to feel the lift after rotation. This time it was very smooth..."
Interestingly, the food in Premium Economy is the same as in Economy, only they give you a printed menu beforehand, which makes you feel slightly more special. We both chose Chicken Breast with Pasta. One difference in PE is the metal cutlery and glass ... glasses. Economy gets a glass wine glass, PE got glass for water too. Lemon yogurt "FRU" desert thing was rubbish; but that's my taste though, not their fault. Each other time they've served me, I've had the (I think) Raspberry, which is far better!
My Dad travels loads on CX via HKG since he lives in Asia, so I gave him the Bose 'phones for him to try out, in the hope that he'd love them and invest in a pair himself, thus making his life easier!! He kept them on for a couple of hours, and I watched "Best of Top Gear" on V:PORT, then played Football Manager on the Mac, which is (if you are a football fan) very addictive, and a fantastic way to combat boredom.
About 4 and a half hours in, I decided to get some shut eye, so down went the shutters, back went the seat, and on went the blanket.
I set my watch to local time in PVG as soon as we took off, and it was somewhere around about 0230 when I was woken and offered some fresh fruit. AFAIK, Crew are not meant to wake people during "lights out" but I wasn't fussed, I was only in a light nap and the Apple was very welcome!!
I fired up the laptop again for a couple of hours, till about 05:00, using the in seat power, and my adapter. During this time the F/O was stood eating for about 20 minutes in the Galley, talking to a couple of pax at the Bar, it appeared.
Lights went on at about 0530 ready for breakfast. I went to the toilet at this time and was a little annoyed that an Economy passenger opened the curtain to the PE section and nipped in in front of me. A bit snobbish of me, I admit, however I only took offence because I would NEVER do the same thing if I was in Economy, needing the loo.
I couldn't be bothered to say anything though, so I waited.
I ate both of our Breakfasts, as my Dad wasn't hungry; same as usual, which is a good thing; Sausage, Egg, Potato, and Breakfast Yogurt.
As a Frequent Traveller I can sympathise with Crew's clearing up, having seen some horrible, horrible pax leave planes a mess, so as soon as Breakfast was cleared, and Landing Cards completed, I took both of our bags, and our leather footrests, and placed them in the overhead lockers, then proceeded to sort out wrappers/bottles from our area, and took them to the bin in the galley. This preempted the Captains "descent" announcement by about 25 minutes.
Once the announcement came, I went to clean by teeth, and again found 2 Economy pax queuing for the loo; a Chinese couple, it appeared. I wasn't feeling confrontational, just tired, so waited again.
Approach was fairly bumpy; weather was very hot and humid, but overcast. Landing was firm, but smooth, not particularly hard reverse before a long taxi around the airport.
We saw the expected China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines narrowbodies, in their (seemingly) hundreds! A few China Southern too, plus a nice KLM Combi (PH-BFK - "Karachi"), some Dragoair and Cathay Pacific widebodies (330 and 777) and a nice new livery United 744.
After the sign went off, we prompty stood and got ready to head off. The guy in 23D barged past my Dad, clearly in a hurry. That annoyed me a little (read on).
"Deplaning" (I hate that word) was quick and efficient, and Dad and I, frequent visitors to PVG (my Dad has SEVENTY-TWO stamps from there) walked briskly to Quarantine, Immigration, and Baggage Hall. It turns out that this was the same reason the guy had hurried past us, but he took the moving walkway, and we strode past him, me with a childish smirk on my face.
Couple of stamps each later, and we reclaimed our bags, which we were reminded to do, by tannoy. Nice.
Our CX flight was on a separate ticket, so we headed for CX check in area. As we entered the arrivals hall it was clear there was some sort of Chines Celebrity due in, due to the mass of screaming girls, posters and media, so we hurried by, and up the escalators.
My Mum and Brother were at the CX area already (F, IIRC) ready to check in for out 11:30. We asked about getting on the 0945, however by now it was 0905 and they politely declined.
We used the Marco Polo line, and check in was easy. 4 pax, 3 bags at 26, 26 and 24kg. We got two window seats and two aisles, behind one another. The flight was being operated by DragonAir, as all daily flights (16) other than the 12:25 are. At 12:25 Cathay fly their own 777 as well as DragonAir's 330.
There are two types of Economy on Dragonair, one with IFE, one without. We got the one without. It reminded me of VS Economy, ironically, with its bright, multi-colour seating. Economy seats have built in headrests, which were super comfy. The Economy section was absoultely rammed, and my Dad told me it is "always" that way; it must be a lucrative route for CX/KA with high load factors and not by any means cheap fares, even in coach.
A few minutes take off delay, the Australian Captain informed us this was due to ATC. Bumpy take off and first 30 seconds, but smooth for the next hour or so.
Cabin Crew looked very smart in their dark blue and red pinstripre dresses. We were informed by an annoucement that food would commence after about 30 minutes, and were handed Landing Cards and nice, printed menus. We all picked spaghetti and meat, with salad, which was dry. Desert was Haagen Dazs mini tubs, Vanilla, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate; 1 each. My brother is only 13, and did an "Oliver" by asking for more, and got it! Food was clearev very efficiently afterwards. and as I was tired, decided to take 40 winks, for about 40 mins, so as to catch the approach and landing at HKG. Unfortunately the guy behind be opjected to me reclining my seat; he spoke no English but as I reclined, he started pushing two hands on my seat, speaking Mandarin to me. Again, tired, I couldn't be bothered, so napped with the seat up.
My brother woke me with a few minutes to go, and the approach was indeed spectacular, over the water:
Taxi was short, and we saw a few firsts, including a 767 from Qantas, and of course loads of JAL, Cathay, Thai widebodies, plus some nice Dragonair Cargo 744's.
Near the back of Economy, it took us a while to get off, and we were a long way from Passport Control, however the upside of that was that by the time we were done, our luggage was already on the belt.
At Passport Control the HK official took a long hard look at my PRC Visa, for some reason, then stamped me in for "180 days", which was 178 more than I needed, on this trip.
Verdict; VS excelled as always; I'm proud to be a FF with them, despite the odd quirk. Dragonair very impressive service, good food, can't complain there either.
Return report to follow, I hope... [Excuse any errors; no time to proof!]