OASIS Hong Kong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how does BUSINESS Oasis compare to CX and others?
Yes, I am not kidding you and Carfield finally took his flight with the other Hong Kong airline, and what is my verdict?
November 15, 2007
O8 901 YVR-HKG Lv1630 Arr2215+1 Boeing 747-400 B-LFB
I paid $913 USD for this one-way ticket from Vancouver to Hong Kong including tax, and I think I got what I paid for. Of course, it is no Cathay Pacific Business or even Air CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Executive First class! But for this price, Business Oasis is not a bad experience. After saying that, there are definitely rooms for improvement, such as the main meal (first meal after takeoff) can still see improvement, and the entertainment system can use the game functions, as well as some Hong Kong local television programming and sitcom channels. The crew was great at most times and worked quite hard throughout the night in refilling beverages. They were actually more active than the Cathay Pacific F/As, who did their runs by averting eye contacts with passengers, even when you were awake. Oasis F/As are younger and more eager to please you. They always ask if you want something more to drink. That kind of attitude is the way to go.
Really nothing much to report, except I got the registration numbers for both CX 888 and CX838! Yes CX 888 is using the 747-400s with the new first and business class and (some with with new economy class), and B-HOT was used this morning, and CX 838 saw the familiar Airbus A340-300X B-HXF. LH used D-AIGB on its Frankfurt flight. An old colored Air Canada Boeing 767-300ER C-FCAF is heading to Kansai, and a brand new colored AC 767-300 C-FMWV is at gate D58 waiting to head to London later this afternoon. Vancouver is sort of quiet in the winter and at these late afternoon hours, but I have to say the expansion of the new International Concourse was nice, and I can truly say that Vancouver has the best international airport in the North American region, and now they need to work on the attitudes of their immigration officers to make people feel welcomed into Canada, and instead of feel like a suspect, who is trying to sneak into Canada.
Oasis Hong Kong website is very easy to use and I like the function that you can pay in the USD directly (without paying the expensive credit card currency exchange rate), and I bought my ticket fairly easily, but one thing I was not sure was why Oasis blocked off so many business class seats, and as I booked the ticket a few months ago, the only main deck seats opened were the last two rows before door two and some scattered upper deck seats (but the exit row was available). I can understand Oasis tries to block off the nose section as the configuration could change easily, but the rest of the main deck should be okay. It made me wonder if more seats would be offered to you if you buy a higher category of business class seat.
Oasis Hong Kong check-in counters were located next to the food court and the secured area entrance, which was extremely convenient. Business Oasis passengers could use the premium check-in on the other side of the check-in counters, next to the ticketing desks of various International airlines, Hudson News, and currency exchange booth. The counters opened at 12:45pm, and the staffs were quite friendly, except the girl who checked me in. She was not smiling much till she found out that I was a business passenger. My request for the bulkhead window seat, Row 18 on LFA and B, took a while to resolve and the supervisor had to unblock those seats. I was really early so I used the empty regular line, but am quite pleased to know that the premium check-in facility was also available for business passengers. Also you can use the fast track line at YVR, just made sure that the agent saw your business boarding passes.
Oasis Hong Kong uses the Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver, which is a fine facility, not as good as Cathay Pacific lounge or Air Canada Maples Leaf Lounge (except foodÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ AC MLL does not offer much warmed food at all). There are three main seating areas, including one hidden on the further corner of the room. There is free wifi, despite my MacBook have problems accessing many sites due to security setup. There are four nap rooms with reclining armchairs, and there were two internet-connected PCs. There is a major warmed food, salad, and non-alcoholic beverage station in the middle of the lounge, and unfortunately, due to the some previous occasions (not sure what it was), alcoholic beverages had to be served by the attendants Ã¢â‚¬â€œ still free but must got them from the staff. Food included some congee soup with yam and oden in the morning, and then two kinds of soup later in the afternoon Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Beef Barley and Cream of Mushroom soup, along with spring rolls and sausages, and stir fried vermicelli vegetarian and Taiwanese style, Korean cup noodles, sandwiches and a mini salad bar, as well as the usual chips and peanuts snacks. Newspapers of Korean language, Chinese and English and German were available, but for some reasons, they were all yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s papers, but it was already 2pm. The room could be crowded as it got closer to departure time, but the lounge was large enough.
Boarding began at 3:47pm and there were separate business and economy class line, but the whole process was a bit chaotic, despite having at least five to six staffs manning the boarding line. We used gate D64 this afternoon, which made it hard to take pictures of the plane itself, which is B-LFB this evening. OJ and water were offered, as well as a wet nap. Amenity basket was passed around, and headsets were already at each seat. Hot towels were also offered after everyone settled down in business class. Not really too much different from other airlinesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ business class pre-departure service!
I flew on the original ex-SQ Boeing 747-400 and now registered at B-LFB, and the nose section was very spacious with only three rows of seats. The cabin was very clean and well maintained, and you could not tell that this plane was older than ten years. I still like the nose section the best. Row 18-20 are the first three rows, and remember to ask for them at the airport, and Row 21 was not bad too. The seats were all ex-SQ Raffles Class seats with not so impressive recline. It was comfortable enough for a long flight, and it definitely could use some more recline. After saying about the tidy condition of the plane, one of the forward bathrooms was broken though. Anyway, the bathroom was same as the pre-SQ era. I recommend the main deck seating area.
Boarding began at 3:48pm and it was a bit chaotic as the agents did not point out where the business and economy class lines are. Despite of at least five to six staff, the boarding process seems a bit disorganized. Maybe if the agents can chat less and focus on organizing the boarding line, things will go more smoothly. Also the agent made the priority boarding announcement a bit too early, and the wheelchair passengers were not even clear, and they already asked for business passengers. The process is just a bit messy. Doors were closed at 4:27pm, and we pushed back at 4:31pm, and with very light traffic, we took off from R/W8R at 4:51pm.
Flying time was a short twelve hours and fifty-three minutes, and the routing first took us along the Alaskan coast at 32,000feet and after passing Anchorage, we climbed to 34,000feet and proceeded towards Bethel, and climbed further to 35,000feet and crossing the southern tip of Kamchatka and climbed again to 35,500feet as we passed through the Russian airspace. Then we entered Hokkaido and passed Sapporo at 38,000feet and then 40,000feet and cruised along the Northern coast of Japan and then Fukuoka, Sasebo, and then into Taipei, Hsinchu, and Makung.
Descent began at 9:25pm and we landed on R/W7L at 9:44pm and then parked at gate 16 five minutes later, and immigration is right there and bags came out reasonably quick.
Okay, Oasis meals are nothing fancy, and the dinner service began with a canapÃƒÂ© service, which consisted of a Cheddar and Cucumber on wheat bread, and a smoked salmon tartlet. Champagne was offered at that point (only once), and requests for other beverages were also noted. Then the F/As immediately jumped into the hot meal service. The whole dinner was really a bit too rush for a thirteen hours flight. Breads and wines were offered at the same time. After they finished serving everyone, they came around with Chinese tea, coffee and English tea, followed by bottled water service and more hot towels.
I think the first service was rush and will recommend the following:
Beverage and canapÃƒÂ© service as usual, but a pack of mixed nuts can add to the mixÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Do a beverage refill service thenÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and wait a bit before serving the main meal.
For the main meal, I know I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect a five course meal, but it will be nice if there is a separate appetizer service (basic tray setup with cheese, dessert, and bread plate with appetizer, of course a bit larger and I will appreciate more greens here), and entrÃƒÂ©e was served next then. Or separate out the dessert and do a separate dessert/hot drinks service. Make it a mini three-course meal!
I am under the impression that they tried to finish the business class meals as quick as possible, as some of the F/As may have to help out in the back.
Anyway, I saw the meals as an upgraded economy class meal, sort of like premium economy class meals by other airlines.
Snacks such as smoked almonds, cashews, Kit-Kats, Mars, and cup noodles (curry flavor and chicken), and more bottled waters were place in the central console, and the F/As were very good in doing their rounds and asking if you wanted more drinks at all times.
The second meal is okay, but definitely needs some work as well. I really think there are too many pre-packaged stuff there, especially Kit Kat and a packaged oatmeal raisin cookie. It makes sense to serve maybe freshly baked cookie or just a regular mousse and pudding type dessert or even a small cake here. The entrÃƒÂ©e size also went down a bit, but okay at that kind of awkward hours anyway, and there are enough snacks early on.
Dinner after takeoff
A selection of freshly baked breads
Sliced proscuitto ham served with grilled peppers and eggplant and an olive and balsamic dressing
Braised beef short-rib cooked in a honey BBQ sauce and served with sour cream mashed potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables
Steamed fillet of cod with a herbed tomato sauce, served with steamed garden vegetables and saffron rice
Five-spice chicken served with steamed rice and stir-fried Chinese vegetables
Double Chocolate Parfait served with an orange sauce
Cheese and Biscuits
Coffee, English or Chinese Tea
Refreshment Before Landing
A selection of freshly baked breads
Mixed Garden Salad
Sliced chicken breast topped with a mango habanero sauce on a bed of jambalaya rice, served with black beans and green pepper succotash
E-Fu Noodles with sliced beef served with shrimp dim sum and steamed Chinese vegetables
Coffee, English or Chinese Tea
In terms of beverages, everything was complimentary but I am under the impression that you have to request for the more tricky stuff such as hard liquors, and if you order a soda, it will be served in a plastic cup and the whole can will not be offered.
Newspapers are available prior to take off Ã¢â‚¬â€œ South China Morning Post, and Hong Kong Standard (both HK English papers), Ming Pao (local HK Chinese papers, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Globe and MailÃ¢â‚¬Â Canadian paper.
Videos are run in cycles and movie selection includes Next, Ocean Thirteen, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Miss Potter, Prestige, The Jungle Book (cartoon), Hercules (cartoon), Night at the Museum, Rob-B-Hood (HK), Heavenly Mission (HK), The Postmodern Life of my Aunt (Chinese), MTV, Destination video and Inspirational (religious/Christian) videos are shown on the flight to HK, as well as two additional movies for Business Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Fracture and Marie Antoinette.
There are also fourteen music channels.
It is offered, but you have to use the EmPort adapters.
Toothbrush kits, eyeshades, ear-plugs, and socks were provided prior to take off. I actually expect Oasis to make folks buy the amenity kits, but I guess passengers did not buy that concept too well.
OasisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ flight attendants are definitely younger and more eager to please. They are more attentive and efficient, and very good in doing rounds, refilling the snack baskets and maintaining the cleanliness of the bathrooms. Throughout the night, I was repeated asked if I wanted something to drink or to eat, and they never took away an empty glass without asking if you wanted a refill, and my diet coke was refilled throughout the evening, and there were abundant of bottled waters in the central console. When the F/A saw someone awake, they will walk towards him or her, and ask if they want something else. Even CX canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always maintain that kind of service in whatever class. My only minor complaint is the shaky English announcements at times, and CX F/As seem to have better English verbal skills, and after saying that, they speak better English than other Chinese and Korean airlines. For all business passengers, the purser for business class, Jacky, and the leading purser, Candice, both greeted each Business Oasis passengers individually, which was definitely appreciated, and CX also has failed to do sometimes.
So what is the verdict?
I will not hesitate to fly Oasis Hong Kong again in the future, especially if the price is right, but I doubt that I will go out of my way to fly it, such as detouring through Vancouver. Of course Oasis Hong Kong is not Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific, and if you keep the expectations reasonable, you will enjoy the Oasis Hong Kong experience. The price is very attractive for sure and this will provide a nice incentive for folks to fly Oasis more often. I think for $2000USD roundtrip, it is a good value. Of course, there are things that I will like to see, such as a slightly improved first meal service, on demand video and audio programs (or even slightly more television programming and reactivating the game functions), and nicer (hopefully real Oasis designed seats) seats, and of course, a frequent flyer program of sort will be appreciated too. But the number one priority for Oasis is to make up your mind with the seats and the configuration, and make everything the same, instead of second guessing if I will get ex-SQ or ex-NH Boeing 747s. The grace period is over now. Please work on that cabin reconfiguration ASAP! Nonetheless the attractive price and the really nice F/As have left me with a good impression.