hz747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 1632 posts, RR: 1 Posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9482 times:
My trip to Perth was an idea born out of boredom. The wife was away in New York for two weeks for work, and I was stuck in Hong Kong. With essentially two full weekends, I decided that I would spend one jetting off somewhere new, and earn some miles in the process.
There were some guidelines. I had to leave late enough on Friday that I would not be missed from work, but still give me enough time explore the city. I really wanted to go to New Zealand, as I have not been since 1985, but I wanted to visit the south island. On the 1985 family holiday, we only did the north island. However, the Auckland flight would put me into the city at around 12pm on Saturday, and have me leaving a little later on Sunday, so about 24 hours in total on the ground. For a flight which is almost the same distance as the flight to London, this just did not make sense. Europe was out too for a similar reason.
The flight to Perth was quite good. It was scheduled for a 3pm departure from Hong Kong, which would get me into Perth at 10:35pm (no time change). Then leaving Perth, the return flight was at 00:05 Monday, landing in Hong Kong at 7:10am. Perfect! The lowest fare was really cheap, but no miles could be accumulated, so I picked the next higher fare and booked it. After a TripAdvisor search I decided on the Novotel, as I could not find a cheap hotel that had good reviews. And the Novotel in central Brussels I had just stayed at earlier in the year was awesome in both price and quality.
Done and dusted. The day of travel, I took the ferry into Central and checked-in on Airport Express. After working until about 12:30pm, I took the A12 bus from Tai Koo Shing to the airport. It was a good time to leave as everyone vaporizes during lunch in Hong Kong. A pleasing bus ride and I was at the airport in about an hour. I meandered to the gate, which was the furthest one on the left prong of the “Y” that is the HKG terminal building. As we got closer to the time, I noticed very little activity, and sure enough, an announcement was made that the flight would be 30 minutes late due to a late arrival of the plane. It was a Cathay Pacific A340, with the upgraded interior. I thought I might get upgraded, but no, and later I think I saw there are only 26 business class seats on the A340 (upgraded), and it was pretty full.
The whole time I am emailing and taking calls in the waiting area, hoping, that while on any call there is not an announcement about boarding, white zones, or any other dead giveaways.
At 3:30pm there was still little activity and another announcement was made that the aircraft had been delayed again for technical reasons this time. But they estimated only another 20 minutes was needed and we would board. This turned out to be about right and I was on the plane, taking my seat in the very last row on the left hand side, seat 70A. While business class may have been full, coach was empty. I would say no more 60-70 people in the back two sections. They asked if I wanted to move, but I didn’t really. I told them that during the flight, I may take a nap once it is dark outside and the window is no longer fun.
View from 70A, a sister A340 next to us
We pushed back at 3:55pm and the captain made the announcement that while the plane was late from its original destination, there was a routine, scheduled maintenance which was to be done that added to our delay. He suspected we could make up some time in the air.
We took off to the West, made a sharp turn to the South, and pretty much stayed the course the rest of the way. The takeoff seemed to have a long roll, but the climb was a bit better than my last Cathay A340 flights. On a full flight to Jakarta once, it was like an old man using a rope ladder, very slow. The flight was relatively smooth for the first hour and a half, but then things got really rocky. We zigged and zagged through the stormheads but still experienced some heavy chop. Eventually, it became dark and the turbulence died down, somewhat.
Does anyone know what island this is? I’ve lived here four years and ashamed to say I don’t know…
It remained smooth until we passed over the last of Indonesia, and was quite heavy again until reaching landfall in Australia. That was pretty cool too, following on the map, I could see that Broome should be visible off the right-hand side, and eventually I could see the city lights. With just over an hour to go (and there can’t be that much traffic in these parts) it was smooth sailing all the way into Perth.
One of the thunderstorms we were dodging
Night cabin shot
It was interesting too, on arrival, as there were a few lights here and there, but no indication that there was a city nearby, mind you I was on the side of the plane facing the desert. It looked like we were going to land on darkness, but eventually a runway appeared and we were down. As we were taxiing to the terminal I saw a VirginBlue 737 land right after us and another plane on final.
At the gate, and on the way to immigration. My goodness they were extremely friendly here, which caught me off guard as by then I was pretty tired. Clearing quarantine, I went out to find nothing in arrivals (was looking for a icey cold drink), and found the cab queue.
Going into the city was uneventful and the nice cabby who really looked the part of the Australians we see on American TV, But he gave the history of the city, and an idea of what to expect from the most isolated city in the world. After A$35 I was at the Novotel, and ready for the sleep. Just a side note, the folks working the evening at the Novotel were super nice, for someone who just arrived shortly after midnight. They offered to order me a pizza from a nearby restaurant, but I opted for their room service burger instead.
For Perth, I:
- toured the central business district
- had brekky
- took the ferry to Freeo
- Shipwreck museum
- Saw an Asian couple taking provocative pictures of the female in the bushes behind the shipwreck museum
- Took the train back to Perth
- Had Cantonese for dinner
- Went to the Rosie O’Grady’s
- Went to Aquarium of Western Australia (one of the best I have ever seen!)
- Went to Art Museum of Western Australia (really good, and again the people were so nice!)
- Went to the Museum of Western Australia, including the Pompeii exhibit
- Massage to prepare for the flight
- The last supper, where I really wanted Thai and eventually found a restaurant
- Took an hour walk back to the Novotel to try to kill time
- Took a cab back to the airport
While Perth is geographically isolated, and expensive (I assume since most stuff, even domestically made, has to be shipped there), the people could not be friendlier. Sure, there were a few jerks out on Saturday night, but I can attribute that to alcohol and teenagers.
The airport was not dead at 9:30pm, but it was not a circus either. I was checked right in, given my lounge pass, and sent on my way. My research had told me that there very little behind the magic curtain, and I should entertain myself in the pre-screening area for a little bit. After a Red Rooster meal, where I discarded the fries, I went through security.
My seat selection had told me that this flight was extremely full. After wasting time in the duty free area, and walking the length of the terminal twice, I went back to the gate and found we would be boarding soon. Sure enough, this flight was insanely full. Since I was exhausted from all the walking, I pretty much went right to sleep and slept through to the brekky service. That was great, except brekky was just a snack. I actually enjoy the Cathay version of the English breakfast . Also, given the information that displayed when landing, it appears insanely full, meant the vast majority were not going to HK. There were at least 20 transfer flights listed on the IFE!
Another interesting bit on this flight. No pre-pushback announcement from the captain, and no pre-descend announcement from the captain. I think he was shy, based on the cracking voice he had when he stated “Flight Attendants Please Be Seated for Takeoff”. On the descend, he stated, “Flight Attendants, 30 minutes to landing”. That was it!
Oh well, a short bit of time later, we were on the descend, and landing on the left runway, coming from the East. It was windy and wet in Hong Kong. The weather for Perth had been amazing. Nippy in the shade but stellar in the sun, however, I saw several lobster red Asian tourists early on Saturday so I decided to keep to the shade in the city.
Clearing HK is never a hassle and in no time I was on the bus back home.
Hope you enjoyed my report! And if you are in need of a getaway, I can recommend both Cathay and Perth.
toby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 74 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7362 times:
Hello, excellent trip report. I like CX, my sister worked for them from their London Heathrow base and said they were a good company to work for, until she quit haha.
Do Qantas operate services to Perth from HK? Or is just CX? Do CX still give those little information cards with your meals, I always found them very adorable ^_^
Is there much to do at PER airport, not many foreign airlines operate here, I think a handful of Asian and some Middle Eastern operators, I maybe wrong. I have never been to PER but I heard it is a wonderful city. How long was the flight?
I have no idea what a "Red Rooster" meal is haha, care to enlighten?
hz747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 1632 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7216 times:
I think only CX flies HKG - PER. The international terminal for sure is quite small, and seemingly all the flights leave at or near midnight. I can say that EK, SQ, and Jetstar for sure were flying from there. Both SQ and Jetstar to Singers, while EK was going to Dubai, and I think Air Mauritius was leaving that night too.
The flight to HKG on CX is 7.5 hours, and almost a straight line north.
Red Rooster, I wasn't a fan, but I am in love with Oporto (seemingly on in Sydney!).
tim From Australia, joined Jun 2000, 704 posts, RR: 3 Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7041 times:
Toby25 here is a live departures board for Perth will give you a idea of the Airlines and frequency of flights from the international terminal. Has been Australias highest growth airport for the last few years. In regional,domestic & international flights.
toby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 74 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6619 times:
Quoting tim (Reply 6): here is a live departures board for Perth will give you a idea of the Airlines and frequency of flights from the international terminal
Wow, I am impressed! When I hit the link and saw KLM and Alitalia, I was like Bloody Hell I didnt know they flew there until i realised they were code share flights! It seems PER is attracting a fair few number of players, predominately Asian which is good considernig PER is a city all alone! However it does seem the flights are quite spaced out so there must be a lot of quiet times at the airport.
It would seem PER is a mix of low cost airlines and the big boy players, like SQ!
Quoting hz747300 (Reply 4): Red Rooster, I wasn't a fan, but I am in love with Oporto (seemingly on in Sydney
thanks, I do not think we have such a chain in UK, although I am not a fan of fast food. I would love to see In and Out Burger cos I have seen them refered to in many trip reports here and just wanted to know what all the fuss is about!
Quoting hz747300 (Thread starter): taking my seat in the very last row on the left hand side, seat 70A. While business class may have been full, coach was empty. I would say no more 60-70 people in the back two sections. They asked if I wanted to move, but I didn’t really
is there something special about the back row? I find this the worst seat in the house. Restricted recline, usually near the toilets or galley, you still have someone reclining in the front of you. Just wondering why you didnt move?
tim From Australia, joined Jun 2000, 704 posts, RR: 3 Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6419 times:
Correct, obviously also with no curfew the airlines can choose anytime they like to coincide with connecting flights onto Europe etc. If it was on a curfew like most of the other big international terminals (Syd,Mel,Bne) all the traffic would be within a 12 hour period during the day instead. I still miss our old daily BA 744 (BA11/12) PER-SIN-LHR-SIN-PER. QF took up that route with the double daily 333 services to SIN. SQ also have double some times triple daily 333 flights to SIN. Aswell as Jetstar and Tiger on the route.
Cathay's seats are different. They don't recline, they slide down, creating the illusion of a recline. Since the flight was scheduled, 3pm to 10:30pm, it was better to stay awake anyways, given I would only have 2 days to explore. It was hassle free, except when it was dark, it would light up in the back each time one of the staff went to or fro.
Quoting tim (Reply 5): Qf fly 3 times weekly PER-HKG-PER using 333's.
I had no idea. Really, the night I was leaving I didn't see any QF at the terminal, except a Jetstar A320 to Singers.