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CX LHR-HKG-LHR Old/new Y Class A343/744(many Pics)  
User currently offline22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 413 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 26266 times:

After doing stage 1 of the selection process for Cathay Pacific's cadet pilot programme back in April, I had successfully passed and was invited back to do stage 2 consisting of several tests, group exercises and panel interview, and if able to get past stage 2, on to stage 3 for an interview with senior management pilots.
As I had my final year of my university course still to complete, I deferred stage 2 until after university was finished.
I had booked my flights to Hong Kong this time flying Cathay Pacific, the airline I'm hoping to be working for soon. The return fare was £540.

Outbound flight: LHR-HKG

Date: 19 June 2008
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Route: LHR-HKG
Flight No.: CX256
Aircraft: A340-313X
Reg: B-HXJ
Seat/Class: 57A Economy
Scheduled: 20:20 - 15:40 +1
Actual: 20:25 - 15:23
Flight time: 11:29
Block time: 11:58

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Photo © Ven Stephan

Checked in 48hrs before the flight online, and selected my seat at 57A.
Arrived at T3 for the bag drop at around 1800

CX check-in desks at T3

My boarding pass


After a quick walk around the shops I went around the terminal to see what planes were around.
ANA 777-300ER JA735A preparing to fly back to NRT as NH202

Air Canada 767-300ER C-FMWY departing for YYZ as AC859

Air India 767-300ER G-CEFG arriving from Mumbai as AI131

Jet Airways 777-300ER VT-JEK preparing to go back to BOM as 9W117

Virgin Atlantic A340-600 G-VYOU, will be flying VS400 to DXB later in the evening

Qatar Airways A340-600 A7-AGA preparing to go back to DOH as QR2

As I had started walking towards the gate before it had been announced on the FID I was the first to arrive

My plane at the gate; Cathay Pacific A340-300 B-HXJ

Boarding started at around 1930 for our 2020 departure.

The economy class cabin, look at the old fashioned seats

view from my seat at the gate

Another CX A340-300 B-HXM just arrived from Hong Kong as CX253

AA 777-200ER N799AN just landed from JFK as AA142 and taxiing to its gate

The flight was completely full and at 2025 we were pushing back and taxiied towards runway 27L for take-off

The line-up for departure

Lufthansa A320 D-AIPP behind us, just arrived from MUC as LH4764 and taxiing to its gate at T2

passing the maintenance area at LHR

and the poor 777 with its tail missing

turning onto 27L at 2043

video of the take-off


Over Windsor and Windsor Castle


Passing over STN

The IFE starts up around 15mins after take-off, IFE onboard the A343 is not AVOD

The IFE controller on the armrest. The headphones used a 6.3mm jack.

the sun is setting is we make our way East

Currently over northern Holland about 40 minutes into the flight, still around 11 more hours to go

A menu and an amenity kit was distributed containing socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, mints. Eyeshades had to be requested.

50 minutes into the flight peanuts, drinks and wet wipes were distributed

some window views of the sunset as we pass over Denmark

The Great Belt Bridge (Storebæltsforbindelsen), the world's third longest suspension bridge that links Nyborg with Korsør can just be seen in the bottom of the photo

the sun continues to set

Dinner was served about 1hr 50mins into the flight
This was the menu:

I chose the pork with mash, which was really nice. I especially liked the HK style mayo salad

After dinner, the FAs came through to ask for window shades to be closed.
Just an hour after the sun had sunk below the horizon it was coming back up again

the toilet

After about 4 hours of uncomfortable sleep and about 7.5 hours into the flight we were now flying over Mongolia


Had a look to see if there was anything on the IFE to watch but all the movies were all playing half way through so I watched a few short programmes.

1.5 hours before landing a breakfast/lunch was served.
The menu consisted of:
- Fresh seasonal fruit
- Fruit yoghurt
- Bread roll
choice of
- Egg roll with mushrooms and tomato and potato wedges
- Seafood congee

I went for the egg roll, this was nice but the sauce was a bit rich, I ate it all up anyway

some cabin pics


Our current location

reaching the Pearl River delta

Over Zhuhai harbour

and over Macau


and finally Hong Kong

Turning onto final approach

Passing Kwai Chung, Tsing Yi and the Tsing Ma Bridge

Video of the landing

We touched down on runway 25R at HKG at 1516 local time after a flying time of 11.5 hours

Hong Kong Airlines 737-800 landing behind us

A very short taxi from the runway and we were at our gate; gate 68, one of the furthest gates from the main airport hall. On blocks was at 15:40 giving a total block time of 12 hours.

The business class cabin taken whilst getting off the plane

I managed to get a quick visit to the cockpit and got some quick tips for stage 2 from the second officer who was a recent CX cadet graduate.

B-HXJ at the gate

Cathay Pacific 747-400 B-HUI parked next to us at the gate

China Airlines A330-300

EVA Air 747-400 arriving from TPE

FID for the transfer passengers

view of the ramp at HKG

On the way to baggage reclaim, taking the people mover

With the HK smart ID card, getting through immigration was just like getting out of a subway station with the addition of a thumb print scan. So quick and easy.
and into the baggage reclaim hall, my baggage for some reason was one of the last to come out after everyone else from the flight had already collected their luggage and left.

With my luggage I was out into the arrivals area and to the bus station to get a bus to my hotel.

My stage 2 at Cathay City was going to be on 25th June, so I had a week to prepare. On night of the 24th however Typhoon Fengshan had hit Hong Kong, and a Typhoon signal no. 8 had been hoisted until 11am the next morning. This meant my stage 2 had been cancelled and I later received a phone call to say that it had been rescheduled for the next day, the 26th.
Stage 2 was really tough and I didn't think I did well enough, but a few days after I received a call to say I had passed and would be attending stage 3, along with an ICAO English assessment and HK class 1 medical all on 10th July.

My stay in HK also included a trip to Guilin from Shenzhen by overnight train, flying from Guilin (KWL) on Hainan Airlines 737-400 to Haikou (HAK) in Hainan and then flying from Sanya (SYX) also in Hainan back to Shenzhen on a China Southern MD-82. A trip report for that will be up shortly!

some pics form Hong Kong



taking the star ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui

View of Hong Kong Island from TST

Dinner at a 'Dai Pai Dong'

HK trams, buses and taxis. note the Jet Airways ad on the bus

Damage after the Typhoon

Mong Kok

Mango ice dessert

Looking down Nathan Road in TST from a bus

View of Shenzhen from my Grandfather's place in San Tin

A Hong Kong market

Ngong Ping 360 cable car, the view of the airport is amazing from this.

Return flight: HKG-LHR

Date: 14 July 2008
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Route: HKG-LHR
Flight No.: CX255
Aircraft: 747-467
Reg: B-HOY
Seat/Class: 51K Economy
Scheduled: 00:35 - 06:20
Actual: 00:45 - 06:07
Flight time: 11:57
Block time: 12:22

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Photo © Florian Kondziela

After 3 weeks it was time to fly back to London again. Checking-in online the seat plan showed that it was going to be one of the new interiored 747s. I was looking forward to trying out the new economy seats with the sliding recline.
I arrived at HKG at 2130 and went to the queueless bag-drop at check-in area B.


the regular check-in desks were however really busy

and then passed quickly through immigration and airside, had a walk around the shops then walked around the airport.
tonights flights:

Swiss A340-300 HB-JML flying LX139 to ZRH

Singapore Airlines 747-400 9V-SPO flying SQ002 to SFO

ANA 767-300ER JA606A in special Panda colours flying NH1276 charter to Tokyo Haneda

Escalators down to the people mover, see the Emirates FAs

Cathay Pacific 747-467 B-HKF flying CX261 to CDG, notice the purple mood lighting on in the first class cabin in the nose

Lufthansa A340-300 pushing back for LH731 to MUC

Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAC flying CX105 to Adelaide. Hopefully I will be on this flight soon!

Looking down the terminal

The FID with the rest of the night’s flights

Got to gate 3 for my flight to find it is B-HOY, previously in Asia's World City colour scheme but now back in normal Cathay colours.

Boarding began at around midnight for our 0035 departure


Onboard the 744 with the new cabin, boarding still in progress

First thing I did was try out the recline, although it is excellent in the way that the person in front no longer disturbs you by reclining, this new recline really didn't recline much or feel any more comfortable. The traditional recline is much better.
The seatback pocket which was located behind your legs on your own seat was also much less convenient. It was located there so as to create more legroom but how much legroom does a seat back pocket take up anyway? Only the safety card was located in the seat back.
The 9" PTV and controller however were really nice.
Here is a brochure of the new seat

The flight was around 90% full with a few seats here and there unoccupied.
Once all passengers had boarded the Captain announced that due to favourable winds we would be arriving at LHR too early and we would wait for another 15 minutes before pushing back.
Push back was at 00:45 and we took-off from runway 07R after a long taxi at 01:05. On the taxi to the runway I saw several Oasis 747s parked up, some of the Cathay a/c in maintenance and the new Hainan Airlines A340-600 (ex CX)

Video of the safety video and cabin


Menus were shortly distributed but there was no peanut/snack service, probably because of the late departure time. Amenity kits and headsets were already placed on seats before boarding.

15 minutes after takeoff the IFE started, this time it was AVOD which had a good selection.
The map however was still just the regular type that cycled through the different maps and info. The interactive type would have been nice, like on QR and VS.
some screen shots of the IFE:

Dinner was served 1 hour after take-off.
This was the menu:

I chose the fish. The main meal, potato salad and dessert were all a bit bland but still pretty nice.
Surprisingly CX had no Chinese tea, but only English tea and coffee. On Virgin Atlantic they had Chinese tea in a proper china tea pot.

Our current progress

The toilet, also looks new

After dinner I put on a movie but fell asleep part way though. When I woke up we were now almost 5 hours into the flight and the sun was rising.

Slept a bit more and we were now 8 hours into the flight and flying into Western Russia

Feeling a bit hungry and still some time to go before breakfast so I ordered a cup noodle.

after that I watched some programmes and played some games on the IFE
Outside it was light now

About 1hr45mins before landing breakfast was served
this consisted of:
- Mixed seasonal fruit
- Fruit yoghurt
- Croissant with fruit preserve and butter
Choice of
- Omelette with veal sausage, hash brown potatoes, tomato with herbs and braised beans
- Stir-fried buttered noodles with shredded pork in oyster sauce served with chilli sauce

I went for the western choice; the omelette and sausage, pretty nice



the state of the toilet 11 hours into the flight

some cabin shots


video of the cabin

the IFE controller

We were now over Holland and about to cross the English Channel

and starting our descent half way across

soon we were in the holding pattern at Lambourne

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTonyban From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 383 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 26216 times:

Excellent trip report. So many pictures. Wow !!

User currently offline22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 413 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 26149 times:

here's the last part continued...

From bottom to top Kings Cross, St Pancras Int. and Euston railway stations

After 2 circles we were heading towards LHR, banking right over the O2 Arena (Millennium Dome)



Video of the landing

Touch-down was at 06:02 after a flying time of 12 hours

After a short taxi to T3 gate 42 we were on blocks at 06:07 with a total block time of 12hrs 22mins.
View at the gate

Air Canada 767-300ER C-FCAB taxiing by after landing from Ottawa as AC888

Some photos of the seat

B-HOY seen from the airbridge

We were parked next to CX 744 B-HKE that flew CX251, arriving 1 hour before us.

some of the early arrivers at LHR; Qatar A332, AA 777s, still quite empty.

Air Canada 777-300ER C-FITU, just arrived from Toronto as AC856

Malaysian 747-400 9M-MPI from KUL as MH2

Gulf Air A332 A9C-KC from Bahrain as GF2

Last view of B-HOY

T3 arrivals that morning

Passed quickly though immigration and into the baggage reclaim hall, our luggage was on belt 9, just down from the escalators.

A beautiful morning at LHR

Overall the new CX economy seats are much better than those on the A343 in terms of newness, IFE and amenities. However I did not find the seat that comfortable and actually quite hard, the recline also didn't work well as it didn't really recline much! They did look nice though.
The A343 seats were a bit dated but are in the process of being installed with the new cabins.
Service on both of the flights was good, didn't find it great but not bad either, just nothing special.

That’s it for another trip to Hong Kong, hopefully I will be off again to do 2 weeks of flight grading in Adelaide for stage 4, the final stage!

I hope you've enjoyed the trip report and all the photos, please feel free to leave your comments.

Thanks for reading!


my other trip reports:
- British Airways 734 LGW-MLA-LGW C/Y (many Pics) May08
- Qatar Airways (Y) LHR-DOH-HKG A332 A346 (162 Pics) Apr08
- Virgin Atlantic LHR-PVG-LHR Economy (lots Of Pics) Feb08
- Air Canada 777-300ER YYZ-LHR Economy Aug07
- Antonov An-26 Ad-hoc Cargo Charter EMA-RNS-VGO-MPL Mar07

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3831 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 6 days ago) and read 25974 times:

Really nice report and amazing pictures! Conjured up some nice memories of flying CX and a visit to Hong Kong in late May. I could just about make out my hotel in one of them!

Congratulations on your making it through the various stages, if I hear a welcome from Captain Man on a future CX flight I'll send a message up to the flight deck  Wink

These pictures in particular were sensational!

"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineSwissair4ever From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 25795 times:

Congrats on making in that far.

Does CX cover any of your expenses for the trip?

Also, does the amount of remibursement for your travel differ for which stage you make it to?

It would be nice if they gave you a free flight to get to the interviews/stage 3 or 4 and also if they would upgrade you!!

User currently offlineCXtra From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 25246 times:

Well, they've really given a facelift to the T3 forecourt, haven't they!

Impressive pictures - thanks very much for sharing, and all the best for stage 4.

Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
User currently offlinePumaknight From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 25140 times:

Really excellent trip report with some stunning photos.

Oh and good luck on your Stage 2/3 and onwards.

User currently offlineSagorion From Singapore, joined Dec 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 24707 times:

Your photos are fantastic. What camera and lens did you use?

Wonderful trip report as well. Thanks for sharing.

[Edited 2008-07-30 07:56:47]

User currently offlineTR763 From Brazil, joined Mar 2001, 788 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 24303 times:

What a great TR, congratulations!!

Quoting 22886 (Thread starter):
First thing I did was try out the recline, although it is excellent in the way that the person in front no longer disturbs you by reclining, this new recline really didn't recline much or feel any more comfortable. The traditional recline is much better

I thought these seats would be one of the most comfortable around, if not the most.
But it looks very modern and have a beautiful design. The IFE might be awesome.
I loved the pics! They gave us every detail of your flights.
Wow, CX looks so distant from my plans. Hopefully I´ll fly with them some day.  cloudnine 

Once again, congratulations!


User currently offlineNicholaschee From Australia, joined Oct 2005, 661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 24097 times:

Great TR 22886. The A340 fittings look dated. The 744 looks refreshing.

Good luck for Stage 4!

User currently offlineLACA773 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 4229 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 23698 times:
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Thankyou for the wonderful report. I enjoyed it immensely. I hope you'll post some of your airport pics on here. They are excellent.

I'm surprised the meals CX serves in Y are not more plentiful than they appear. Have they cut them back?

Does anyone know why LHR doesn't use more dual jetways for the widebodies? It would seem to be obvious to do so, but it appears they don't and where there is a dual jetway gate, the first jetway is not always put into use.

User currently offline22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 413 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 23598 times:

Thank you for all your kind comments so far

Quoting Swissair4ever (Reply 4):
Does CX cover any of your expenses for the trip?
Also, does the amount of remibursement for your travel differ for which stage you make it to?

Nope they don't cover any expenses, other than the flight from Hong Kong to Adelaide and back for the 2 weeks flight grading for stage 4. I've had to fly to HK twice so far, but of course its all worth it.

Quoting Sagorion (Reply 7):
What camera and lens did you use?

I use a KonicaMinolta 5D with the regular 18-80 lens it comes with and a Sigma 28-300mm lens. I also use a Sony DSC-W70 when its not so convenient to get out a big camera.

Quoting LACA773 (Reply 10):
I'm surprised the meals CX serves in Y are not more plentiful than they appear. Have they cut them back?

Haven't flown CX for long time so not sure. I thought the meal was quite standard in size, they're always too little!

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