LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 16191 times:
Some time towards the beginning of the year, I decided that a trip to Asia was finally in order. I did a bit of research and thought Hong Kong seemed like a good option, and that the weather in November would be a good time to go. So, I found a hotel and looked into flights. Obviously lots of options to choose from the LON area, and it was looking like it'd be BA for around GBP450 return or so. Then I received details of a good value staff travel deal, business class with Oasis for GBP600 return, including tax. Decision made, flights booked! As soon as I received my booking confirmation, I went onto the Oasis website and chose upper deck seats 13A and 13C for my friend and I, and 23H and 23K for the return.
Departure Airport: London Gatwick (LGW) Destination Airport: Hong Kong (HKG) Airline & Flight Number: Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, O8 707 Aircraft Type: Boeing B747-400 Registration: B-LFA Class: businessOasis Date: 12 November 2007
Check In, the lounge and boarding
We got to Gatwick by train and headed straight to the South Terminal, where we checked in at one of the Oasis business class desks. Check-in was handled by Swissport, and was very quick and efficient. Bags were Priority tagged, we were given complimentary passes to the Servisair lounge as well as the landing card required for Hong Kong. Seats were as expected, 13A and 13C, on the upper deck and just in front of the emergency exit.
After clearing security (we were taken away from the main queue and upstairs to what looked like a new, incomplete screening area), we headed straight to the Servisair lounge, which can only be summed up in one word: disappointing! There was one member of staff working, who clearly had her hands full. The lounge was crowded, the furniture was stained and all tables were covered in empty glasses and wrappers, as there seemed to be no bins. After a quick drink and some crisps, we left and went for a walk around the departure lounge.
Eventually our gate appeared on the screen, which was going to be 32. We walked down to the gate, to see B-LFA waiting for us outside. There were quite a few passengers stood waiting, and eventually we were called to board. The boarding process seemed smooth, and was conducted by seat rows, with a separate line for businessOasis passengers. Those who joined the business queue 'in error' were promptly sent to the correct queue.
All passengers boarding through door 2, and we were greeted by several friendly crew members who directed us upstairs. Once we were in our seats, the crew offered to take our jackets and handed out amenity items such as socks, toothbrush, eye shade and earplugs. Orange juice and water were brought around to all passengers, followed by hot towels. Menus were also handed out with the dinner and breakfast options. The crew all seemed to be very attentive and eager to please passengers, and boarding did not take too long to complete. The English Captain introduced himself and his three colleagues, all Senior First Officers, and told us we were expecting a generally smooth flight, with some possible slight turbulence around three hours into the flight. I stowed my hand baggage in the useful side bins beside my seat, much more convenient than the overhead locker in flight!
Seats 13A and C on the upper deck, taken on arrival in HKG
Showing the storage lockers viewed from seat 13A
After the cabin crew had collected in the glasses, the safety video was shown on an old-fashioned screen pulled out of the ceiling at the front of the cabin, and we soon pushed back on time to begin our taxi to the active runway. Taxi time was in the region of 10-15 minutes, and we were soon airborne. Shortly after take off, the IFE was started, which in business class on this aircraft took the form of screens which were stored in the arm rest. A total of 19 video channels were available. Almost all were movies, except for a destination channel, and the ever important moving map. I don't remember what the movie offerings all were, but the selection was quite mixed, with more recent films, as well as Disney classics such as 'The Jungle Book'. I started watching something or other, but soon opted to follow our progress on the moving map instead. Champagne and canapes were served by the crew, or a non-alcoholic option for those who declined the bubbly. The two canapes were salmon and beef with sesame seeds.
Around an hour or so into the flight, dinner was served. I opted for the chicken with wholegrain mustard. The meal was served all together on a tray, much as I expect was done in economy class. However, all the containers (which were made of china) had their lids removed, there was a small tablecloth on the tray, as well as cloth napkins. The food didn't taste bad at all really, although the dessert (chocolate marble cake) was rather dry and uninspiring.
Once the dinner trays had been collected, I decided to try and make myself comfortable. The seats are, I believe, the old Singapore Airlines Raffles class seats, and despite its age, I found my seat to be very comfortable. They are electronically operated and, although they do not recline fully, they are very comfortable - definitely more comfortable than the seats back in economy! I watched our progress on the map, and we passed Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Helsinki before heading towards St Petersburg. Water bottles were handed out, the cabin lights were dimmed and people got themselves ready for the night. I continued to watch progress on the map, listening to my iPod. Although most people were asleep, around 3-4 hours into the flight the cabin crew came around and, seeing that I wasn't asleep, offered me some goodies from a basket of snacks. Very attentive, I thought, seeing that everybody else that I could see around me was fast asleep! Eventually I dozed off for a few hours, initially quite confused as to where I was when I woke up.
We were still somewhere over Russia when I woke up, and continued to listen to my iPod and read a little. As we passed over northern China, there were some impressive mountain views to be seen far down below us. I am always fascinated seeing these sparse landscapes from above.
Somewhere over northern China
Showing our progress
Around 2.5 hours before arrival, people began to wake up and the cabin lights were switched back on. Hot towels were offered, along with orange juice and not long after, breakfast was served. I opted for the western breakfast option, which tasted pretty good.
Breakfast is served
Once breakfast had been cleared away, I took a look out of the windows towards the back of the aircraft, and was quite surprised to see the wing and engines 1 and 2 - not surprised that they were there (always a good thing when they are...), but because this was my first upper deck experience!
As we began to near Hong Kong, I saw a Lufthansa A340-600 pretty much going parallel to us, presumably heading to the same destination as us.
One of the Senior First Officers spoke to us and told us about the approach we would be taking into HKG. Unfortunately, I can't remember too much about what he said, but he did give us quite a bit of detailed information, and apologised for our late arrival, but said that the headwinds we had experienced were particularly strong. We began our descent and various coastlines and islands could be seen which, not being familiar with the area, I was not able to identify - maybe somebody else can!
Not that long before landing
After quite some time in the air, the buildings gradually got larger and larger, and we made a smooth landing at HKG after 12 hours 54 minutes in the air. Taxi time was around 10 minutes, and we passed sister ship B-LFB parked on a remote stand on the way, with all its doors open, presumably getting a bit of air in. We left the aircraft via door 2 and thanked the cabin crew. An rep was on hand outside the aircraft, telling passengers bags would be on belt 2 - imagine being given that sort of information at LHR! Immigration was quick, friendly and painless, and the bags were soon off. First impressions of Chek Lap Kok were very good, a nice light, airy and modern airport that we would hopefully explore a little on our return.
B-LFA viewed from the terminal
So in conclusion...
As somebody who normally travels in economy, I was very impressed with my businessOasis experience - particularly considering I paid very little more than for a discounted economy ticket. Oasis crew really are very attentive and interested in their passengers. They seemed like they enjoyed their work immensely, and came across as very professional - so full marks to them. The cabin and seats were obviously not the most modern, but everything was clean and functional, and made for a comfortable flight. The cabin and amenities probably don't compare that well to carriers such as BA and Virgin, but ultimately it is possible to still have a very comfortable flight for the price of a premium economy ticket on more traditional airlines.
Return trip report to follow at some stage soon...
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 15503 times:
Nice trip report. I have heard good things about Oasis Hong Kong. Basically, they are a low cost carrier, but it seems you got a good deal with them and good service. There is an excellent DVD which Just Planes puts out. It is one of their World Air Routes DVD's and it is on an Oasis Hong Kong flight from HKG-LGW-HKG. Most of the focus is in the cockpit (their pilots are pretty senior and come from LH, CX, VS and BA). There is also a part on ground operations and the inflight service. Get it, it's a good DVD
LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 14483 times:
After an enjoyable warm and sunny week of sightseeing in Hong Kong, along with a day trip to Macau, the time came to return to London. The Oasis flight to Gatwick departs at 00:50, which meant we had a full last day to spend in Hong Kong. After heading back to our hotel (Langham Place Hotel) to collect our baggage, we took the MTR and 'Airport Express' to the airport, arriving around 21:30.
Departure Airport: Hong Kong (HKG) Destination Airport: London Gatwick (LGW) Airline & Flight Number: Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, O8 700 Aircraft Type: Boeing B747-400 Registration: B-LFC Class: businessOasis Date: 21 November 2007
Check in, the lounge & boarding
Once we got to the terminal 2 check in area, I was not disappointed: light, airy, modern with high ceilings and, due to the time of day, very quiet. So very different to most of my Heathrow experiences! Since we arrived at the airport more than three hours before departure, only two check in desks were open - one for business, one for economy. The business queue wasn't too long, with maybe four couples queuing. The economy line, however, was considerably longer.
T2 check in area
We joined the businessOasis queue which didn't move particularly quickly due to a stupid English couple who were (quite rudely) complaining about their allocated seats. I had hoped it would be possible to change our seats either for some further forward, or the upper deck, but didn't expect it would be possible, since the previous (stupid!) couple had not been able to change their seats to our satisfaction. However, when our turn eventually came around, I asked if there were any seats further forward available, and we were able to change our pre-allocated seats (23H and K, row 6 of business) for 20H and K, the third row of business in the nose. I guess this just shows that you get more by being polite than being rude and demanding! Our bags were Priority tagged, and we were given lounge passes for the 'CNAC VIP' lounge.
After checking in, we went to the upper level in terminal 2 where we found an impressive looking 'Aviation Discovery Centre'. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was 22:00 and it was closing, but what we did see looked very interesting. What a shame that my 'home' airport Heathrow doesn't think it is worthwhile making such investments!
Immigration and security was an absolute breeze, with only so few flights departing so late. Interesting how the need to remove shoes and belts doesn't exist at most airports outside the UK! One through security, we took the driverless train to the departure gates. The check in agent had advised us that the CNAC VIP Lounge was located adjacent to gate 16, so that's where we went first. This lounge was very different to the Servisair one at Gatwick. It was clean and comfortable, with a better selection of foods and snacks, including chicken soup, pasta, fruit, jelly, Haagen Dazs ice cream as well as crisps, nuts, etc. There was also a good selection of newspapers, several PCs with complimentary internet access, telephones and rest areas available. We sat and comfortably waited in the lounge for a while, and eventually the screens showed that our flight would be boarding at gate 16. Soon enough, the aircraft was towed onto the stand, and I was very pleased to see it was B-LFC, a former ANA aircraft with a different interior from the ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft we had arrived on.
We decided to stretch our legs a little before the long flight, and walked right to the other end of the departure concourse, checking out some of the duty free shops on the way, before returning to the gate at around 23:55, ready for boarding at 00:10 - or so we thought! We eventually started boarding at around 00:45, so five minutes before our scheduled departure time. No reason was given by the ground staff for the delay. Our boarding passes were checked and we walked down the airbridge to door 1, another first for me as a passenger.
We were warmly welcomed various young crew members on boarding, who showed us to our seats. My friend quickly realised why I had been so keen to get 'Fox Charlie' for the flight back. The seats looked a lot more substantial than those on our outbound flight, and we had loads of room. Our seats were just in front of door 1, and were the last ones in the intimate nose cabin. The seats are the old ANA first class seats, and we had roughly four windows for our row.
Seats 20H and K, third row in the nose
The 15-seat cabin in the nose
Once seated, we were once again offered hot towels and orange juice by the very friendly crew members, as well as menus and amenity items (toothbrush, socks, eyeshade and ear plugs). The Captain addressed us over the PA system and explained the reason for our delay boarding. He told us we were expecting a flight time of only 12 hours and 5 minutes which, if we had left on time, would have brought us into Gatwick before 06:00, which was the earliest we would be able to land. He informed us that we would take off in approximately 45 minutes, and gave us some more details about the flight. The safety video was this time shown on more modern LCD displays in the cabin, and shortly after this was complete, the forward-facing nose wheel camera was activated. This was something I had not experienced on previous flights, and it was interesting to see our pushback and journey to the runway from a slightly different perspective. We were airborne at 01:49 Hong Kong time, or 16:49 zulu.
View from my seat
Screens and space
Shortly after take off, the IFE was activated and I decided to watch 'Evan Almighty'. Again, the screens folded out of the armrest. There was a champagne (or orange juice) round, after which the Purser introduced herself personally to all business class passengers, and offered any assistance if required. Dinner was served, and I had a tough time deciding between the three available options.
I opted for the beef, which was very good. The food tasted better than that served on the outbound flight, and we also had metal cutlery, whereas it had been plastic on the way out. The dessert was a chocolate brownie, replacing the option which had been crossed out on the menu.
After dinner, the cabin lights were dimmed and bottles of water were handed out. I decided to get comfortable and get some rest once the movie was over. I had found the outbound seats to be comfortable, but these were definitely better! They went what I would describe as near flat, with a 'privacy canopy' which you could raise to shield your dribbling face from the eyes of other passengers. After I think I managed to get a couple of hours sleep or so, and also read and listened to my iPod.
Decent legroom, even when you have long legs!
Eventually I got up and went for a wander around. I was quite surprised that the tap in the toilet had a sensor to activate it, and the toilets were (thankfully!) clean throughout the flight. I went further back in business class, where there were more traditional business class seats with less recline and less legroom compared to where we were sat in the nose. There was also a bar area, with a few bar stools, but there were no passengers seated here. Later on in the flight, I saw the Purser sat here completing her paperwork. On the way back to my seat, I helped myself to another bottle of water from one of the baskets of snacks which were left out, containing chocolate bars, etc. I went back to my comfortable seat and rested for a while longer. I was impressed that even when I had my aisle seat reclined and the seats in front were also reclined, my friend was able to get out from his window seat without any great difficulties or disturbing me.
Our return routing was identical to the outbound, and breakfast was served as we approached Copenhagen. I again opted for the western option which tasted very good - probably better than it looks in the picture! A choice of pastries was available with breakfast.
Getting closer to home
As we approached Gatwick, the First Officer gave us some updated information on our arrival. He informed us of the weather, that we would be landing on runway 08R at 06:00 or just after, and that we would then be heading straight to stand 32, where we should be leaving the aircraft around 06:15. However, shortly after, he came back to us and informed us that ATC had changed the runway, that we would now be landing on 26L and that this would necessitate some holding over Brighton for five minutes or so. He thanked us for flying Oasis, and said he hoped we had enjoyed their service and highly competitive fares. At this stage, the forward facing camera was re-activated and quite a few lights could be seen - both on the screens and out of the window.
Following 12 hours 16 minutes in the air, we landed at 06:05 on a rather drab Gatwick morning. Taxi time to the terminal was quite short, and soon we were back at gate 32, where the trip had started nine days before. We thanked the cabin crew on leaving the airport, and headed to immigration where, despite short queues, I used the IRIS booth. Bags came off quite quickly, with the Priority bags appearing on the belt first. Off onto a crowded train back home and, sadly, the trip was over.
Goodbye, Fox Charlie!
So in conclusion
I was very impressed with my return businessOasis trip. The crew were great, friendly and attentive, and the seats we had were excellent. However, I would imagine having such different seats all sold as a business class product could cause problems with passengers seated further back being unhappy that others further forward have more recline and space. Having said that, the seats further back did also look comfortable, and comparable in terms of space to those on my outbound flight. One niggling problem throughout the flight was that despite all lights being off, there was a light at the very front of the cabin on the left that would intermittently switch on and off - even when we were on approach into Gatwick. I guess this is not a normal occurrence though and the passengers seated nearby seemed happy with their eyeshades on.
I would definitely recommend the businessOasis business class product. Their fares seem to be more comparable with BA and Virgin's premium economy fares, and although I have never tried either of their products, I expect the level of comfort businessOasis provides is superior. For me, having paid just GBP600 return, I feel I got great value for money and spent an enjoyable 26 hours or so on their aircraft!
LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 12619 times:
Thanks for all the comments! I hope Oasis keep going strong, I think they do offer a good value product - particularly if you can get a good price. They are definitely worth considering for those who need to travel from LGW/YVR to HKG!