Bill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8499 posts, RR: 8 Posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7397 times:
Some friends and I decided it would be a good idea to go to Phuket for a short break. My friends had to go to Laos first, so I agreed to meet up with them in Phuket.
After shopping around, I found that Cathay Pacific offered the best price and times to suit my schedule. My original routing would have involved a Qantas flight from CBR to MEL then Cathay to HKG then Dragonair to HKT, returning via the same routing. For me, it involved two new airlines, two new airports and two new aircraft types, in the A330 and A320
About two weeks before my departure I noticed that the schedule had been changed on the out bound flight from Phuket meaning I would probably miss my Melbourne connection in Hong Kong. After ringing Cathay Pacific multiple times, I was eventually put on a return routing of HKT-BKK-HKG-ADL-MEL-CBR. Five flights in 24 hours. For what, to me, seemed to be a straight forward changes, things couldn't have been more complex. For me, it was a sour spot on the CX experience.
14 Nov 2007
Aircraft: Boeing 737-400
After counting down the weeks departure day came and I headed off for Canberra airport one warm November Wednesday. I checked in for my Qantas flight to Melbourne using the quickcheck kiosk and completely stuffed it up. I, by mistake, hit the yes button for dangerous goods. Luckily there was no line, and was processed manually at the counter and was informed that there was a 15 minute delay. Ok no worries, these things happen right? So I said my goodbyes, passed security and headed upto departures and waited for boarding. Soon before boarding, we were informed of another delay. So after waiting a bit more, our delay eventually involved a new aircraft and a total of a 1-hour delay.
I boarded this 734, which I'm told is the oldest in the Qantas fleet and took my seat. The load for the flight was close to 100% full of day trippers headed back to Melbourne. Boarding, was quick, taxi out was quick (as always is in CBR) and the flight time was rather short, only 45 minutes compared to an hour normally.
The flight was fairly uneventful and as I didn't have my camera no pictures. The snack was some BBQ roasted peas and pretzels with a drink. Not really much, but that's all you get on QF at that time of night on a short flight.
After arriving in Melbourne, I collected my bags and noticed there was a priority tag attached to it. Not that it meant anything, but I'm perplexed as to why mine had it when I'm only a bronze QF Frequent Flyer and some other people didn't have one at all? perhaps I winked at the girl at check in the right way.
15 Nov 2007
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
I had online checked in for my CX flight before leaving CBR as I need to visit the CX service counter prior to checking in. Just as well I did online check in as the line was huge! When I got to the CX counter, I explained my story and I told them I was here to collect my voucher for a Thai Airways flight from Phuket to Bangkok, I was told I this was Cathay Pacific and that Thai Airways was the counter. After again, explaining my story and emphasising I had bought a Cathay Pacific ticket, to little surprise, I was told they knew nothing about it.
After checking their system, they realise it should have been there and printed off the coupon and then directed me to the online check in que. After waiting for a couple of minutes I was served and told the agent that I had only checked in for the MEL- HKG sector as that's all I could do online, but I was continuing through to HKT on Dragonair. After a quick look through the booking system, boarding passes were printed for both MEL-HKG and HKG-HKT with my bag tagged the whole way through.
Even after my delay in Canberra, it was still before midnight by the time I was finished all the formalities, with only passport control and security left. After a brief walk around the landside terminal I decided to go through passport control and security. This was the first time I had flown international since the security measures regarding liquids had come in. Having discarded my water bottle before entering the security area, I quickly cleared customs and security. The agents were yelling at people to get through as it was a little bit busy, with at least 4 flights departing in the period of 0030 - 0200. Things should be a bit better when the changes to Melbourne occur, putting security before passport control making the flow of people much easier to manage.
After passing through security, you literally have to walk through a duty free store, then past a long line of stores to get down to the gate area. While I was waiting, I got a sandwich and a drink, changed some money and listened to my iPod. While waiting, I managed to capture a bad photo of the aircraft
At around 0100, perhaps a bit earlier, boarding began. I stowed my baggage and took my centre aisle seat, to find that it was broken. With a near full flight, changing seats was impossible. On the seat was a pillow, blanket and amenity kit. Boarding thankfully, didn't take to long and the taxi out was short. Take off was long, and as we accelerated down the runway, my broken chair pushed back into the recline position. It wasn't until after take off when I played with the recline button, I realised I could make it stop reclining when I pressed against it. Although as the flight went on, things didn't get better.
Once in the air, the entertainment system was turned on and I found Oceans Thirteen and watched that. Menus and immigration cards were handed out. The first meal was served not long after. The menu is as follows
Nicoise Salad with Vinaigrette dressing
Braise chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and olives with mashed potatoes, carrots and zucchini.
Chu hou beef brisket with steamed rice and mixed vegetables
Penne pasta with roast red peppers, spinach ricotta sauce
Chocolate mud cake
Tea and coffee
My selection was the pasta along with a can of San Miguel.
The pasta was fresh and tasty and the roll was warm, tho as the grub I am, I managed to spill some of the pasta on me. Meaning I had a red mark on my shirt and jeans until I arrived in HKT! Overall the quality and options of the food was excellent. Service was fast and efficient and not long after finishing, the trays were collected and the lights turned off so passengers could get some sleep. I managed to watch a bit more of Oceans 13 before dozing off. During the flight, a supervisor came to me, addressed me by name and requested I fill out a survey form. This resulted in me getting a Cathay Pacific pen.
I slept on and off during the night, going for walks around the plane occasionally and the obligatory visit to the lav.
A few hours prior to landing breakfast was served and the menu follows:
Mixed seasonal fruit
Spinach and Zuchini Fritata with Back Bacon, Fried Potatoes and Onions
Fried Rice with Shrimps and Port
Bread Roll and Butter
Tea and Coffee
Like the first meal, this one was very good. But with my inability to read, when I was asked what meal I would like, I kept saying "Frita"Ã‚Â instead of "Frittata" as was listed on the menu. A glass of Orange Joos, according to the carton, is what I had.
Not long after finishing breakfast the trays were collected and it was at this time I requested a pack of playing cards. It took a long time for my cards to come, as I began to think the FA had forgotten my request. We soon began our decent into Hong Kong. Here are a few random shots from inside the cabin.
After landing at Hong Kong our taxi to the gate was around 5-10 minutes. I had to make my way from gate 60 something to gate 20 for my next flight, which meant passing security at the transfer point and heading up stairs. Once this was done, I had around an hour to spare that allowed me enough time to visit the toilet, buy some water and take a few photos of HKIA.
HKIA is a spectacular airport with surrounding mountains, which can only be described as surreal. Truly a fantastic place and I only wish I had more time to experience it.
15 Nov 2007
This was to be my first flight on an A320. Boarding started on time and as I walked down the bridge I collected a copy of the International Herald Tribune on the paper tray next to the door. Boarding was done relatively quick. I was seated next to a couple who offered to move to a row down the back after the door had closed. This worked out well for me as it enabled to have the window seat. Flying time to Phuket would be around 3 hours.
We taxied out to the same runway we landed on, whatever that was, and had a short wait while a few planes ahead of us took off and some landed. Then, we hurtled down the runway and off into the air. It was here that some great views of Hong Kong and the surrounding region were to be had.
The haze makes these pictures look bad.
About an hour after take off, breakfast was served, although no menus were handed out, the options were Chinese Dim Sum or Scrambled Eggs and Sausages. Now, I typically go for scrambled eggs, but this time I was brave and went for the Dim Sum.
It tasted quite good. Tho, for the rest of the flight every time I burped all I could taste was dim sum! It was served with sticky rice, which I can't say I am a fan of.
Overall the meal was very nice and the service was done in a fast efficient manner.
As KA's A320s have no IFE what so ever, I spent the rest of the flight looking out the window, sleeping, and reading the newspaper. I dozed rather then slept and, sometimes I would wake in panic like state and in a few seconds I knew where I was. I'm sure it freaked a few people out, but no one complained, if they noticed at all. During one of my staring sessions out the window, I noticed a TG aircraft hurtle past in the opposite direction. I guess it was a 744, as it had 4 engines and was in the old livery.
I again asked for a pack of playing cards while I was waiting to use the lav, but unfortunately they had none onboard.
The crew would come around offering drinks occasionally. Before I knew it, we had begun our decent in to Phuket.
After landing in HKT we taxied to the gate and deplaning was fast and without a fuss. From here it was a short walk to immigration which moved reasonably fast. I collected my bags and headed out to be harassed by people offering a taxi. It was her I knew I was back in Thailand.
Overall, the in-flight experience on CX redeemed them from all the lack of help I got from their call centre. KA, despite offering no IFE at all were faultless and I would fly them again.
Coming soon the marathon return HKT-BKK-HKG-ADL-MEL-CBR