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Cathay "Reunion": BNE-CNS-HKG In J  
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 11911 times:



Just to demonstrate that I don’t have a complete obsession with short, stubby commuter propliners from Canada, I wanted to share a flight experience I had earlier this year on Cathay Pacific, which formed one of the group of flights I took between the United Kingdom and Australia to visit family. For me, the trip marked a return to flying Cathay Pacific after a 21 year absence. No real reason for this – I have simply over the years wanted to fly and try out as many airlines as possible. My first (and last) Cathay experience was in December 1990, when as a teenager, I made my first trip to Taiwan. Back in the “old” days, getting to Taiwan from Australia required a stop somewhere as there were no direct flights, and for me, this meant a short transit in Hong Kong.

I still remember how excited I was seeing Hong Kong for the first time, flying into Kai Tak and glimpsing at the lights of Kowloon twinkling that night - as well as being completely wowed by all the heavies on the ground at Kai Tak. I got my first glimpse of Air Mauritius, Swissair and Alitalia, which being a boy from Brisbane, were all extremely rare sights. Flying with Cathay that December evening would also be my first, and sadly, last L1011 flight, and I still have the boarding pass for CX408 to this day.



Also back in the day when aircraft had smoking and no smoking sections!

PLANNING

Fast forward to March 2011, where I am a lot older, heavier and not necessarily wiser than I was in 1990, I had decided on One World for my flights from London to Australia as I have been married off to BA as an Executive Club member for a while now, but looking for something different, I decided to fly a mix of BA/AY/QF on the outbound flight and CX/AY/BA on the return. All flights would be in J. Well, there are times in my old(er) age, where the thought of being in Y to Australia and back fill me with dread. Having said that, I have nothing against flying in Y – as I have done this many times over the years between Europe and Oceania. The One World fare was quite competitive and it would give me a chance to sample and compare the J offerings with AY, QF and CX for the first time.

My routing ended up being London – Helsinki – Hong Kong – Brisbane for the outbound



The return flight would see me fly Brisbane – Cairns – Hong Kong – Helsinki – London although this report only features the first sector from Brisbane to Hong Kong. It’s one of the few Cathay tag on services within Australia and is the only intra-state Australian flight operated by Cathay.



CATHAY MEMORIES

Back in the summer of 1990, I remember Cathay Pacific as one of the region’s (if not the world’s) trailblazer airlines with an incredibly high level of customer service. The airline was admired far and wide and envied by competitors alike. Flying with Cathay out of Australia was billed as a wonderful experience so I was so very excited to see what all the hype was about and experience Cathay service first hand. At the time, Cathay TV adverts were frequently on TV in Australia and they told us that we would “Arrive in Better Shape” on Cathay, with the accompanying lyrics to the theme song reminding us that there was “a new world arriving on Cathay”. I know these were global adverts - does anyone else remember them?

The world of today is unfortunately vastly different from those relatively carefree and heady days of aviation in 1990, which sometimes makes me nostalgic, and Cathay Pacific, has weathered alot of storms in those intervening 21 years.

Some would argue that in the past decade or so, Cathay lost its market leading style that it once had in the 1980s and early 90s and in some respects struggled to differentiate itself from other “stars” of the airline world. External events outside the airline’s control certainly did not help. Others would disagree and say that the airline is in better shape today than it was back then, and operates a modern fleet of aircraft to more international destinations than it did in 1990, with an amazingly modern hub at Chek Lap Kok. I think both views are valid to some extent.

Comparing my Cathay experience in 2011 would be nigh on impossible and hardly an accurate comparison - my short flight in 1990 was on a L1011 from HK to Taipei in Y as a teenager, and my flight in March 2011 would be on an A330 to Hong Kong from Brisbane in J. Having said that, my aim to was simply to experience the Cathay of 2011 and see how it’s J product compared to the other One World carriers I had sampled on this trip.

LEAVING BRISBANE

Date: Sat, 19 March 2011
Route: Brisbane (BNE) – Cairns (CNS) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Flight: CX102
Aircraft: A330-300 B-LAJ (Delivered October 2010)
Seat:14K

After a wonderful stay in Australia, it is always hard to leave again, no matter how enticing a J class seat all the way back to Europe sounds. I spent a few lovely days on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, which is one of my favourite parts of Australia.



Particularly with views of the Glasshouse Mountains with the distinct shapes of Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerwah which are the remains of extinct volcanoes.



Another view just after sunrise



Pumicestone Passage



Sunrise over the beautiful Pacific Ocean



The day of departure however was less than sunny - and it aptly matched my mood. I wanted to stay longer! Overcast and rainy and it looked like it was not going to let up the whole day. Getting to the airport was stress free, despite all the road works around Brisbane these days, and I was soon at the Cathay check in counter to get rid of my bulging suitcase. Check in staff at BNE’s International terminal were very polite but somewhat perplexed about how to get my bag all the way through to London. Yes, these were all One World flights so you would think it should have been straightforward. Who knows what the problem was – the baggage tag kept spitting out HEL as my final destination and I politely said that there was no way I was picking up my bag again in HEL to re-check it (as I only had an hour transit time). The issue was soon fixed, and the check in supervisor wished me a happy flight – although he seemed a little alarmed that I was taking such a long way to get back to London. I simply said “I love flying” and grinned.

Saying farewell to family was hard, and I made my way downstairs and through Immigration. BNE is quite unusual in that regard. Most airports I travel through tend to make you go upstairs to departures, or at least this is on the same level as check in. Without any real delays I was through and out the other side, where visitors landside can look down and wave one last good bye to their friends and loved ones. With several waves to family, I made my way to the Qantas lounge to gather my thoughts and try and relax.

The lounge was nothing special but it helped to pass the time. It wasn’t very busy on this Saturday afternoon either which meant it was comfortable. Sorry I did not feel in the mood to take any pictures.

I headed back out to wander down the gates to see what aircraft were at their gates. Verdict: nothing overly special for this part of the world.

Walking through the departure area



Nice to see the NZ 747-400 pushing back for Auckland though as they are now becoming an endangered species - told you it was raining!



And also this Air Pacific 737-700 which was getting ready to fly to Nadi, Fiji.



Finally, there was my aircraft at the gate in the rain being prepared for its flight north.



Departure was expected to be on time, and when the boarding call was eventually made, I wasted no time in heading down the jetway and into my seat. Approaching the aircraft door, I touched the fuselage and then was immediately greeted by a very friendly young flight attendant who welcomed me onboard as Mr Palmjet and directed me left to my seat in 14K.

I was one of the first to board, so I managed a quick snap of my home for the next few hours - the infamous Cathay “coffin” J seat. I wondered whether I was going to like it.



Aptly for a flight heading to a SAR of the PRC, I was reading a book about one man’s experiences in China. Mark Kitto lives in the mountains (Moganshan) and “China Cuckoo” is all about the past 20 or so years of his life and dealings with China. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone with an interest in modern day China from a Westerner’s perspective.

After getting settled, I was offered a beverage with a smile, which, having had a couple of glasses of wine in the lounge, I decided on just an orange juice.



First impressions of the seat were actually OK. I had come to believe these seats were terrible - based on some of the reviews I had read, but I was not finding a lot to gripe about. I quite liked the seclusion. The only real annoyance was the angle of the seat to the windows - and being an avid “shoots pictures through windows of a plane” kinda guy, I found it almost impossible to take pictures without not first having to book an appointment at a chiropractor! Yikes - it was very tricky.

The cabin soon started filling up although J would not be entirely full in this section. My relative peace was shattered by a mouthy Australian middle aged man and his travelling companion, who were sitting behind me. They were going on a business trip – that wasn’t hard to work out as he was talking so loudly to his companion about it and of course spent time talking to her about what he was planning to drink on the flight. Thankfully, they weren’t too bad for most of the flight and I was pleased that my seat allowed me to just “disappear” into it and I did not hear much more of the chitter chatter from my neighbour..

We were a little late pushing back, but nothing to worry about, as I had nearly 4 hours to connect in Hong Kong. A welcome was given from the cockpit and some flying information for the first sector to Cairns. The rain had not let up and droplets of water continued to stream down my windows as the A330’s safety video fired up.

Today’s departure would be from Runway 19 which meant a long taxi to the far end of the airport. Although it was just after lunchtime, when things are usually much quieter at BNE, I noticed a queue started to form at the end of the runway.



Right behind us though was the Qantas 744 which was either heading to LAX, or back down to SYD, after arriving from LAX. Yep, still raining - and I preferred this shot of the raindrops in focus, with just the blurry image of the 744 behind.



We were good to go once it was our turn and a fairly long take off roll ensued, even though our first stop was only just under 2 hours away. The water started streaming rapidly across my window as we lifted off under heavy grey skies – and passed the gate at the terminal where we had been only 20 minutes or so before. Note the Etihad A330 which had just pushed back for its flight to SIN and AUH.



Good bye Brisbane and see you again soon!

Due to the low cloud, there were no views of central Brisbane as we climbed out – on a clear day, the view out of the window would have been great. By way of alternative, I spent more time watching the Cathay inflight map, which back in 1990, was non existent on the L1011!



Brisbane (and Toowoomba) - in Chinese



Heading up the East Coast of Australia to Cairns



I really liked this feature of the map - some quick facts and our flight time



Given the relatively short sector up to CNS (865miles), dining options were as follows: seasonal fruit, followed by a small Shepherd’s pie with ratatouille. Warm breads were also offered. It was a little unusual (to me) to have fresh fruit as the opening platter but it was cool and refreshing and I pretty much eat anything.



Now the Shepherd’s pie, which was very tasty. Cabin crew were very polished, but also friendly without being too overbearing. I sometimes find that people in some parts of Asia try too hard to be helpful and accommodating - when sometimes all you want is to be left alone. Cathay crew seemed to have the right balance and were spot on throughout this sector.



The other option was a chicken biriyani and katcumber salad. This was followed by a lemon curd tart along with tea and coffee. Being a sweet tooth, I loved the dessert. Yum. I could have had another one.

Still heading up the Queensland Coast, and soon we passed Mackay



Some interesting “glassy” bulkhead art in front of me.



One thing that has not changed in 21 years is Cathay’s inflight magazine - still called “Discovery” and contains lots of interesting bits about the airline. There is still a section “The History of Cathay” along with their route map and city pair information. I think it’s a high quality publication as far as airline inflight magazines go.

At this point, I reached backward and to the right for a couple of seconds to take a quick peek outside.



At least the weather was much nicer the further north we went.



Of course, it was around this time that we started to get some glimpses of the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast.



More coral as we get closer to Cairns



It wasn’t long after these pictures were taken that we started our descent into Cairns – it getting sunnier by the minute. Ordinarily it’s the other way around at this time of year for the weather in Brisbane and Cairns, so I was lucky to be greeted by a gloriously sunny afternoon in North Queensland.

Nearly at Cairns



The approach into Cairns (CNS) was directly from the south so that meant we would be passing right over the centre of the city. The cabin was secured for landing and all that was left was to enjoy the views outside. As we got lower, and headed inland slightly, the views were transformed from coral and aquamarine water to lush green hills and fields.



A little further along, with only a few minutes of the flight left



Passing right over Cairns was a treat, as my other approaches into this airport have always been from the other direction. Cairns is right in the tropics. The city was named after William Wellington Cairns, the then Governor of Queensland, or “Queensland State” which is the weird way that the British press seem to refer to State names in Australia. They don’t do it for US State names – you never read about something happening in “Arizona State” or “California State” –it’s just Arizona or California respectively.

Cairns was originally settled in 1876 to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield, but experienced a decline when an easier route was discovered from Port Douglas (further north). It later developed into a railhead and major port for exporting sugar cane, gold and other metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas and the Atherton Tableland region. Today, Cairns is a major tourist destination and a popular setting off point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns 1



Cairns 2



Cairns 3



The site of our large A330 descending over the city at low altitude must have been great on such a lovely sunny day. The airport is located just outside the main part of the city, and just a few seconds later, we touched down smoothly on Runway 33.

Wondered whether there were any crocodiles down there...



Rolling out



No really long taxi here as we arrived in the direction of the international gates at CNS, and on the way there, we passed a couple of aircraft on the ground. There was little traffic at this time of day – CNS has peak periods but mid afternoon on a Saturday is not generally one of them.

Looking over at the domestic terminal with a lonely JetStar A320 at the gate



Nice to see this Vincent Aviation B1900D – I had never seen or heard of these guys before until Coal did his excellent (and so far only) report on his B1900D flight last year with them in the Northern Territory: see

Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class (by Coal Nov 23 2010 in Trip Reports)



A short while later, we were docked at one of the 6 airbridges. Passengers continuing to Hong Kong were advised that they needed to leave the aircraft and re-board, and take belongings with them. At this point I was wondering whether all passengers had to be continuing to Hong Kong – but I understood there were some passengers whose final destination was Cairns, but they had to fly to Brisbane first – ouch! The crew were very nice and thanked us all for flying Cathay as we headed into the terminal. We had approximately 50 mins on the ground before being asked to re-board.

Inside the terminal, I was greeted with that musty and damp smell which is characteristic of locations in the tropics. The terminal inside itself looks rather dated but it was functional and well maintained. Thankfully it was also well air conditioned.



I decided to take a little wander around and it was great to see the world’s remaining Shorts Belfast sitting right in front of me. Only 10 were built in total in the early-mid 1960s and all originally were delivered to the Royal Air Force. They had a relatively short life with the military however (just over 10 years). This aircraft was stored in Southend for many years before making its way down under in 2003 with HeavyLift Cargo. I don’t believe the aircraft is currently operating any services.

At the same time, parked not far away from the Belfast were a couple of VIP aircraft, including one of the Australian Air Force 737-700BBJs operated for the Government. I later recalled this would have been due to the visit that day by Prince William who was in town to meet people and rescuers following the powerful cyclone which had passed through Cairns in only a few weeks before.



I also decided to grab a couple of pictures of my Cathay A330, seeing that the weather was so bad in Brisbane.



From another angle – glistening in the late afternoon sunshine. I’ve always loved the A330. Cathay were in fact one of the first, if not the first, A330 operator into Brisbane in the mid 1990s. I remember seeing them replace the 747s on the Hong Kong – Brisbane route from about 1995-6 onwards.



I decided to check out the lounge in CNS as I still had plenty of time. It’s a common user facility and given there were no other international flights on the ground other than ours, all lounge users were from the Cathay flight. It was a small lounge but operated by friendly staff, who welcomed me inside with a smile.

Selections were not bad for a lounge this small. No hot snacks, but a combination of well stocked bits and pieces along with a wide range of drinks, both alcoholic and not.

I did not linger for long however as there were no views.

HONG KONG HOP

Boarding was Hong Kong was announced about 10 minutes later, so being in J, I was able to board relatively quickly, and was soon back in my same seat. There had been a crew change in Cairns, but this crew seemed equally as friendly as the other crew and I was offered a drink very soon after getting settled.

It took a while to get everyone on board. A couple of welcome announcements were made, and unfortunately my mouthy Australian then rejoined us – again, thankfully he was relatively quiet for most of the journey.

We were ready to go without much fuss – captain made a welcome announcement and told us we’d expect smooth flying mostly, other than perhaps a few bumps over the Equator, and that we would be pretty much on time into Hong Kong.

Our route for the next sector - in English



And in Chinese



Taxiing out to the same runway for our departure, how could I not include at least one Dash 8 in my trip report? Here’s one of the many Qantaslink -400s resting.



I also happened to see an old friend in the hangar - and an unmarked Dash 8 cousin! Cairns is actually Skytrans’ homebase.



With very little traffic in the area, there was no delay and we were soon thundering down Runway 33 and passed the main (very quiet) terminal facilities - both domestic and international on the way.



And it was up and away - watching our shadow underneath get smaller



Still climbing rapidly - it was almost impossible to take this picture, given the angle of the seat to the window and the g-forces on takeoff!



Gaining height, and looking east toward the Coral Sea



Some essential flight information. The flight time to Hong Kong was not that long relatively speaking.



but still long enough to start enjoying some of the welcome and friendly Cathay hospitality. Nuts anyone?



Not being American, I was not too bothered if they were warmed or not!  

One great thing about flying in the tropics are the usually extraordinary cloud formations. I was not disappointed and Mother Nature put on a nice show outside my window as I nibbled some nuts.



Looking north and east toward the North Queensland coastline


Now high over Cape York and soon to leave Australian airspace



Still gazing out of the window with my drink and book



Some localised thunderstorms but nothing too turbulent for our A330



The view from my seat



The next phase of in-flight service soon commenced - with a more substantial bite on this longer sector.

First up was salmon gravlax with avocado cream and a mixed salad



followed by my choice of the deep fried cod with hot bean sauce, steamed rice, bok choi and carrots



The fish was very tasty - I don’t normally go for seafood on aircraft but I was pleased I did this time round. The salmon starter was not really to my liking as I’ve never been a big fan of salmon for some reason.
There was also a beef option, chicken curry or pumpkin ravioli.

The main course was then followed by my favourite part of any meal - cheeses then caramel macadamia cake and coffee and chocolate pralines.



The caramel macadamia cake was very tasty indeed.



After the meals were cleared away, I had a few hours to read - as I was really enjoying my book, I hardly made use of the IFE. Having said that, I did spend some time playing around with it, and it was easy to navigate, there was a good selection of media and it all worked fine.



I expected it would start getting dark soon, so managed to have the occasional glance out of the window to watch the fading light. I love this time of day. I was lucky to spot the moon in the distance.



After passing over the southern Philippines, and just when I was completely stuffed from having eaten quite a bit already, a short snack was served.



This consisted of a turkey and cheese roll with some vanilla ice-cream. Tea and coffee were also offered. Nothing was too much trouble for the crew and they seemed to be enjoying the flight. One of the senior flight attendants came by and asked me how everything was and we had a short chat in Mandarin, which was really lovely, moreso because she was able to understand my (now rusty) Chinese!



It was now dark as we passed near to Manila, with only a short time left for this very nice flight. I was sorry that it would soon be coming to an end.



The cabin was soon prepared for landing, and anyone in need of HK landing cards were given these to fill out. Unfortunately there were no views arriving into Hong Kong, which, 21 years ago, was quite the opposite. No more low flying Kowloon approaches anymore. We landed from the south and into a misty Hong Kong evening and a short taxi later, we were at our gate. I had plenty of time to make the Finnair Hong Kong - Helsinki 1am departure, so I made sure I got a final picture of B-LAJ, at the end of her day’s flying from Brisbane and Cairns.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My 2011 flight was Cathay was excellent. I know they have recently refitted their J class cabin out again which many people will applaud - given the criticisms made of the J class seat that I experienced. Having said that, I did not find it at all uncomfortable, apart from the difficulty with taking pictures. Then again, apart from A.net geeks like me, who else wants to take photos from the window? Both Cathay crews were lovely. I really enjoyed the service onboard, and nothing was too much trouble. The meals served were tasty and well presented - certainly as good if not better than any other OneWorld carrier I have flown in J. I would most definitely fly Cathay again, only this time, I won’t wait another 21 years!

Thanks for reading, and comments are always welcome.

Other recent trip reports:

Arctic "Dash" With Wideroe: 2 Days, 7 Stops (pics (by Palmjet Jun 22 2011 in Trip Reports)

The Atlantic And Me: Sata To Madeira (pics) (by Palmjet May 22 2011 in Trip Reports)

Ballina Boomerang: Coastal Flying With REX (pics) (by Palmjet Apr 10 2011 in Trip Reports)

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Almost AF ATR72: Skyteam Skip LHR-TLS (w/pics) (by Palmjet Nov 6 2010 in Trip Reports)

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Eastern - Number One To The Sun
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline767er From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 1092 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 11598 times:

Palmjet,

Another one of your gems. Loved reading it and the photos were just superb. Planing to do a TR on the HGK - HEL sector?



Aircraft flown:F27,Viscount. EMB120, SAAB340, ATR70, 737-200.737-300,DC8, DC10,747-100,747-200,747-300,747-400, A320, A3
User currently offlineswi From UK - England, joined Dec 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 11263 times:

Great report, thanks for sharing.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I think both views are valid to some extent

I agree with you here. CX may not currently be the greatest innovators in the aviation industry, but, for me, they have never lost the charm that they had all of those years ago. I have been flying with CX for many years and I can't recall a single occasion where they have gotten something wrong, or left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. They seem to have a winning formula, helped greatly by their amazing staff. They are, for me, the finest airline in the OneWorld Alliance.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
the infamous Cathay “coffin” J seat

I too was very apprehensive when it came to this seat, but it really isn't nearly as bad as some people claim. There is a slight feeling of claustrophobia at first, but this disappears as soon as the seat back is reclined.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I quite liked the seclusion

One of my favorite features of this seat is the privacy. I love how the herringbone layout takes the privacy experienced by first class passengers and shares it with J class. There is no more catching a cold from your neighbor, or choosing between isle or window access, or even being disturbed by your neighbor's flickering TV screen while you try to catch up on some sleep.

From what I have gathered from talking to them, the FAs seem to like the seat as well, as it allows service to be more personal, and means that they don't have to lean over another passenger while serving meals, etc.


Thank you again for sharing.


User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1044 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 10904 times:

Amazing trip report.
I love your hi-def pics, especially the view of AUSTRALIA.
To me, those scenic photos of yours show what AUSTRALIA means to me. Not the city of Sydney or Melbourne.

Many thanks for sharing your experience on CX Business class flights.
Very decent products out there, however the crew could have been better.

Brgds,
nethkt



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6658 posts, RR: 78
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 10794 times:

Hi Palmjet,

great report with countless high-quality pictures! CX's J Class product looks quite impressive - but I'm not sure whether I would like those seats.

I flew CX on my first trip to Australia in 2000. I could have flown HKG-BNE and BNE-HKG, but I chose days when they operated HKG-CNS-BNE and BNE-CNS-HKG. I also remember well the nice crews who granted access to the flight deck on the LHR-HKG, HKG-CNS and HKG-LHR sectors. I was even invited to a jump seat landing on the A340 into HKG. Good old days!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Particularly with views of the Glasshouse Mountains with the distinct shapes of Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerwah which are the remains of extinct volcanoes.

Very nice, I remember going there in 2000.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):

Sunrise over the beautiful Pacific Ocean

Awesome picture!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
First impressions of the seat were actually OK. I had come to believe these seats were terrible - based on some of the reviews I had read, but I was not finding a lot to gripe about. I quite liked the seclusion. The only real annoyance was the angle of the seat to the windows - and being an avid “shoots pictures through windows of a plane” kinda guy, I found it almost impossible to take pictures without not first having to book an appointment at a chiropractor! Yikes - it was very tricky.

What about shoulder space - didn't you feel cramped? I definitely prefer LX's new layout. Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind trying the CX J Class product.  

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I really liked this feature of the map - some quick facts and our flight time

That looks fine. Why did it turn purple?

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Some interesting “glassy” bulkhead art in front of me.

I like glass art of any kind, very nice.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Nuts anyone?

That's the way nuts or similar snacks should be served in J Class. LX, follow CX's example!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Not being American, I was not too bothered if they were warmed or not!

I can only agree.



PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10673 times:

767er - hello there. thank you for your comments. Glad you made it back to sunny Sydney!

Quote:
Planing to do a TR on the HGK - HEL sector?

I spent most of this sector sleeping! I don't really have enough material to do a report. The flight left HK after 1am local time and got into HEL at approx 630am!

Hi swi

Quote:
I agree with you here. CX may not currently be the greatest innovators in the aviation industry, but, for me, they have never lost the charm that they had all of those years ago. I have been flying with CX for many years and I can't recall a single occasion where they have gotten something wrong, or left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. They seem to have a winning formula, helped greatly by their amazing staff. They are, for me, the finest airline in the OneWorld Alliance.

There is a slight feeling of claustrophobia at first, but this disappears as soon as the seat back is reclined.

Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed the report. Out of all the flights I took on this trip, the CX flight was probably the most friendly - although the AY crew on the HEL-HKG outbound were also very lovely. I really enjoyed my flight with Cathay and now having flown with a range of other airlines, Cathay are certainly one of the best!

nethkt

Thanks very much for your comments.

Quote:
To me, those scenic photos of yours show what AUSTRALIA means to me. Not the city of Sydney or Melbourne.

Many thanks for sharing your experience on CX Business class flights.
Very decent products out there, however the crew could have been better.

Agree with you - many people think Australia = Sydney or Melbourne. There is so much more to the country than those two cities, and it's nice to experience something different. I love the coastal regions of Queensland. They are very pretty, and the beaches there can compete with any of the beaches in other parts of the world I have visited.

The crew(s) on my flights were very good. I had no complaints about the attentiveness and friendliness of the crews.



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10662 times:

PH - good morning!

Quote:
great report with countless high-quality pictures! CX's J Class product looks quite impressive - but I'm not sure whether I would like those seats.

I flew CX on my first trip to Australia in 2000. I could have flown HKG-BNE and BNE-HKG, but I chose days when they operated HKG-CNS-BNE and BNE-CNS-HKG. I also remember well the nice crews who granted access to the flight deck on the LHR-HKG, HKG-CNS and HKG-LHR sectors. I was even invited to a jump seat landing on the A340 into HKG. Good old days!

Glad you enjoyed the report. The seat was not as claustrophobic as others suggest. I have broad shoulders and did not feel constrained at all in the seat, particularly when it's reclined slightly. It had a degree of privacy that I really appreciated!

Your choice of flying CX to Australia in 2000 was certainly a good one - perhaps better than your recent TG experience? Also good move to include CNS in the HKG - BNE rotation. It makes the trip a little more interesting for sure!!

Quote:
That looks fine. Why did it turn purple?

Oh that was me. The picture turned out a little blurry so I made a tweak to the colour - its the "arty" shot of the report.

Quote:
I can only agree.

Well at least we agree on some things   Look forward to your next report!



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6658 posts, RR: 78
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 10537 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 6):
Your choice of flying CX to Australia in 2000 was certainly a good one - perhaps better than your recent TG experience?

Yes, it was a great trip on CX. Just too bad I got B-HUE on the return flight to LHR, one of the very few 744s not yet equipped with PTVs back then. At least it was painted in the old livery - something to remember.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 6):
It makes the trip a little more interesting for sure!!

  

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 6):
Well at least we agree on some things

Of course we do so.  

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 6):
Look forward to your next report!

The next one should be online very soon. It's almost ready.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10316 times:

PH

Quote:
At least it was painted in the old livery - something to remember.

Yes! By then, most of the fleet had been repainted. You were very lucky. I wonder whether Cathay will ever do a retrojet?

Looking forward to your next report - thanks!

Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1582 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10266 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello there PJ,

Thanks for this interesting story. I have flown CX long haul in Y some 4 years ago, on AMS-HKG-SGN and back, all on 343's and must say I was pretty impressed by the proactiveness of the crews. The seating itself was on the cramped side, it was just bearable for such a long flight but I would gladly choose CX again.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Flying with Cathay that December evening would also be my first, and sadly, last L1011 flight, and I still have the boarding pass for CX408 to this day.

Wow, you flew a L1011, no report from that one? Must've been really great, also the arrival on good'ole Kai Tak  

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
It’s one of the few Cathay tag on services within Australia and is the only intra-state Australian flight operated by Cathay.

A nice straight line on the map. Do they then have 5th freedom rights for the BNE-CNS leg?

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I simply said “I love flying” and grinned.

 

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
The only real annoyance was the angle of the seat to the windows

I can understand. A major downside in the herringbone cabin. And hence not too much pics from out the window ha ha ha...

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Today, Cairns is a major tourist destination and a popular setting off point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

That's what I did some 12 years ago on my trip down under.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Wondered whether there were any crocodiles down there...

Most probably yes.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
how could I not include at least one Dash 8 in my trip report?

A Dash addict, aren't you  



   Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9909 times:

Hi

Nice trip report, enjoyable read. Looking forward to more.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1700 posts, RR: 18
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9856 times:

Hi Palmjet

First of all thanks for your great report, I really enjoyed it. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for CX because theirs was the first B 747-400 I ever flew on and also the first long-haul flight I ever did on my own was with them from Zurich to Hong Kong.

And you have my greatest admiration on managing to take so many photos out of the window. Did you get up to take those? I'm asking because Air Canada uses a similar seat in J and I found it impossible to take any decent pictures in a sitting position without seriously risking my health in the process.

Cheers,
William


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9786 times:

Hi Sultanils

Quote:
Wow, you flew a L1011, no report from that one? Must've been really great, also the arrival on good'ole Kai Tak

Thanks for your comments. Yes, my only L1011 flight sadly. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the take off from Kai Tak, where I was sitting - the inflight meal, but sadly no pics back then!

Quote:
A nice straight line on the map. Do they then have 5th freedom rights for the BNE-CNS leg?

No, they don't have 5th freedom rights sadly - it would be a nice change for domestic flyers in Australia if they could opt for CX instead of QF or DJ!

Quote:
That's what I did some 12 years ago on my trip down under.

Great stuff - hope you enjoyed your trip to Australia?

Quote:
A Dash addict, aren't you

Guilty as charged!! Thanks again.

MSS658 - hi there. Glad you enjoyed the report. Thanks for your comments.

Hi William

Quote:
And you have my greatest admiration on managing to take so many photos out of the window. Did you get up to take those? I'm asking because Air Canada uses a similar seat in J and I found it impossible to take any decent pictures in a sitting position without seriously risking my health in the process.

I had to contort myself into positions that I cannot even begin to describe! It was very difficult to take pics. It took a lot of getting used to.

I think I was similar to you - Cathay was the first non Oceania airline I had travelled on, so I will always have a soft spot for them. I really enjoyed the recent flight I took with them, and there seem to be plenty of daily options to fly CX to HKG from LHR. Do they even fly to ZRH now?

Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1700 posts, RR: 18
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9673 times:

Hi Palmjet

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 12):
Do they even fly to ZRH now?

CX suspended ZRH some time during 2000 or 2001 I believe. At the time it was stated that they needed the aircraft to open a new route to India. A while back there were rumors that they would restart ZRH with the B 777. But then CX announced Milan, which is only 45 minutes flight from Zurich, and that was the end of ZRH.

It's just not right, the B 777 in the Asia's World City livery would just look so good in Zurich!

Cheers,
William


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9656 times:

What an absolutely fantastic trip report.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
At the time, Cathay TV adverts were frequently on TV in Australia and they told us that we would “Arrive in Better Shape” on Cathay, with the accompanying lyrics to the theme song reminding us that there was “a new world arriving on Cathay”. I know these were global adverts - does anyone else remember them?

I remember these very well! As a very young kid my family and I moved to Hong Kong for a few years and I remember seeing these on TV all time time. They were very catchy.

Cathay Pacific - Arrive in Better Shape

You have got me missing Cathay as it has been years since my last flight with them. Thanks to your report I may just have to go get on them soon for old times sake!


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1945 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 9480 times:

Hi PalmJet!

Fantastic report, thanks very much for sharing. I have to say that CX has always impressed me with their good service, both on board, and especially on the ground. One thing I would give them feedback on, is the presentation of the main courses. They always do it in these tiny plates, and unfortunately I think it doesn't look classy or professional at all. It reminds me of flying F domestically in China. Even the appetizers are served in proper-sized plates. It just doesn't make it look very premium to me.

By the way, the first thought that went through my mind when I saw the pic of CNS with the B1900D was "that must be Vincent Aviation!" and indeed it was! Thanks for the plug   

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VF SIN-DPS | SQ DPS-SIN-SYD
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1883 posts, RR: 25
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9366 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report, Palmjet!

Looks like you had two nice flights with CX in J! I didn't realize Cairns was so tropical; very interesting looking place!

I like the look of the CX J service, I just don't care for the look of those seats. Seems a bit cramped to me!

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4738 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 9154 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
At the time, Cathay TV adverts were frequently on TV in Australia and they told us that we would “Arrive in Better Shape” on Cathay, with the accompanying lyrics to the theme song reminding us that there was “a new world arriving on Cathay”. I know these were global adverts - does anyone else remember them?

Of course I do! Slow-mo flashes of suited executives walking out of an office building, a chic woman strolling across a street in Paris with bags of shopping on one hand and the other held a leash to a giant dog... And then a final flash of a close up 747 with wheels smoking on touch down. Vivid memories for me... There's a neeew worrrld... Arrrrrrrrriiiiving, on Caaaaathayyyy!

CX's advertising efforts were amongst some of the best along with SQ, TG and MH (sadly, not so much more these days).

Thank you for the memories. Over the years, I have connected (by road) all the Australian coastal cities I have visited from Cairns to Adelaide and everything in between. I visited Cairns quite a few times when I was living in Rockhampton and it is a picturesque little seaside town.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlinejoffie From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 802 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 9066 times:

Nice report, but I am not too sure whether I like the presentation of the meals, in those small bowls with everything put together. Personally, I think its nicer on a proper plate, but enjoyed reading it very much.

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1194 posts, RR: 17
Reply 19, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8828 times:

SR103

Quote:
I remember these very well! As a very young kid my family and I moved to Hong Kong for a few years and I remember seeing these on TV all time time. They were very catchy.

Cathay Pacific - Arrive in Better Shape

You have got me missing Cathay as it has been years since my last flight with them. Thanks to your report I may just have to go get on them soon for old times sake!

Thanks for the link and for your comments! Yes, this is the advert I remember so well.

Ryanair!! has described it so well!

Quote:
Of course I do! Slow-mo flashes of suited executives walking out of an office building, a chic woman strolling across a street in Paris with bags of shopping on one hand and the other held a leash to a giant dog... And then a final flash of a close up 747 with wheels smoking on touch down. Vivid memories for me... There's a neeew worrrld... Arrrrrrrrriiiiving, on Caaaaathayyyy!

It was quite a flash advert for its time - and I think much more bold than the current campaign being run by CX. I just love those fashions and hairstyles as well from the early 1990s!

Quote:
Thank you for the memories. Over the years, I have connected (by road) all the Australian coastal cities I have visited from Cairns to Adelaide and everything in between.

Glad you enjoyed the stroll down memory lane. I could not believe I still had the original 1990 vintage boarding pass! You've certainly seen more of Australia than most Australians have - any more trip reports coming from you Sir?

Hi Matthew

Quote:
Looks like you had two nice flights with CX in J! I didn't realize Cairns was so tropical; very interesting looking place!

I like the look of the CX J service, I just don't care for the look of those seats. Seems a bit cramped to me!

Nice to hear from you. Yes, Cairns is well and truly in the tropics. It's a totally different vibe up there compared to other parts of Queensland. The CX seat, which is now on its way out, was fine. It was in fact less cramped than it looks. I was just glad to be able to spread out a bit and of course, it was better than being in Y for the flight!

joffie - thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed. I wasn't to fussed whether the food was on a proper plate - it still tastes the same at the end of the day. I did not find it detracted from the overall experience, but I appreciate everyone has a different view! Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 1869 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8798 times:

Hi Palmjet, your reports never cease to inspire me! From that very first photo of the CX A330 in CNS you evoke so many memories and it's always a wonderful journey to follow.

I've never flown CX on that route, but I have seen their aircraft depart from CNS. It's interesting to read about your experiences in J. I've done six legs in Y (SYD-HKG and intra-Asia) with CX and always been disappointed with them. FAs who are quick to attend a call, but seemingly lacking in warmth and intuition, hard seats and largely inedible food (and I like airline food!). I've always thought that it must be their other cabins that give them a 5 star Skytrax ranking compared with Qantas' 4 (or maybe the lack of a domestic service!) - your comments would certainly support that.

Look forward to your future reports!



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2433 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8515 times:

Hi Palmjet,

What an excellent report with many beautiful pictures from Down Under. It has been more than three years since my partner Herman and I visited the continent.

I really enjoyed your in-depth information about Cairns and Brisbane. Your report is somehow encouraging me.  


Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
My first (and last) Cathay experience was in December 1990, when as a teenager, I made my first trip to Taiwan.

Both Cathay and Taiwan are still missing in my log.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
flying into Kai Tak and glimpsing at the lights of Kowloon twinkling that night - as well as being completely wowed by all the heavies on the ground at Kai Tak

A nice childhood memory. I had the same feeling while traveling through Changi.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Flying with Cathay that December evening would also be my first, and sadly, last L1011 flight, and I still have the boarding pass for CX408 to this day.

How wonderful that you have still got that. My collection got lost during my removal to Netherlands.  


Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Also back in the day when aircraft had smoking and no smoking sections!

And without any liquid restriction.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Fast forward to March 2011, where I am a lot older, heavier and not necessarily wiser than I was in 1990

Haha, I love the way you put this. 


Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I decided to fly a mix of BA/AY/QF on the outbound flight and CX/AY/BA on the return.

This is how you take benefit on airline alliances.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
It’s one of the few Cathay tag on services within Australia and is the only intra-state Australian flight operated by Cathay.

Does Cathay have fifth freedom rights?

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I know these were global adverts - does anyone else remember them?

Oh yes, definitely.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
views of the Glasshouse Mountains with the distinct shapes of Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerwah which are the remains of extinct volcanoes

Gorgeous! What a breathtaking scenery!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
he seemed a little alarmed that I was taking such a long way to get back to London

So did our check in agent in Perth last time when she noticed our itinerary of Perth – Singapore – Doha – Heathrow – Amsterdam.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Saying farewell to family was hard

I can imagine that. I get emotional every time I bid farewell to my mother.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
out the other side, where visitors landside can look down and wave one last good bye to their friends and loved ones

Brilliant! I cannot recall any other airport with such design.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I quite liked the seclusion

I am not sure about it as Herman and I are used to fly together.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I spent more time watching the Cathay inflight map, which back in 1990, was non existent on the L1011!

Can you remember how you were killing time on the L1011?

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
It was a little unusual (to me) to have fresh fruit as the opening platter but it was cool and refreshing and I pretty much eat anything.

Nice presentation. I like the banana leave on the bottom of the fruit plate. It somehow emphasized its freshness.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
but I understood there were some passengers whose final destination was Cairns, but they had to fly to Brisbane first

I would not mind it.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
how could I not include at least one Dash 8 in my trip report?

Palmjet and Dash 8, what else?  


Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
the deep fried cod with hot bean sauce, steamed rice, bok choi and carrots

  


Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
we had a short chat in Mandarin, which was really lovely, moreso because she was able to understand my (now rusty) Chinese!

I did not know that you spoke Chinese. Impressive!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I won’t wait another 21 years!

I bet you won’t.  

Thanks a lot for sharing. What an enjoyable read for this wet and cold summer day. Looking forward to more reports of yours!

Best wishes,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineaerocabin From New Zealand, joined Mar 2011, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8237 times:

Hi Palmjet,

Thank you very much for your report. The shepherd's pie looked really good!

It was interesting to see the Vincent Aviation B1900D in Cairns - they operate (or used to) in New Zealand.

I've never flown CX - usually I fly TG or SQ, but I would really like to try them one day - especially after your report on their service levels.

I look forward to reading about your AY sector!

Regards,

aerocabin


User currently offlineaerocabin From New Zealand, joined Mar 2011, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8237 times:

Hi Palmjet,

Thank you very much for your report. The shepherd's pie looked really good!

It was interesting to see the Vincent Aviation B1900D in Cairns - they operate (or used to) in New Zealand.

I've never flown CX - usually I fly TG or SQ, but I would really like to try them one day - especially after your report on their service levels.

I look forward to reading about your AY sector!

Regards,

aerocabin


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 24, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8193 times:

Beautiful report.

CX was my first long haul carrier, and I really hope to fly them again in the future.

The catering looked just right for these sectors, and the scenery rather sublime too!

Great read,

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
25 Palmjet : Good morning Suryo Great to hear from you. I hope you are well. I hope you both get down to Australia again soon - there's always Cathay to take you t
26 Palmjet : Hi Coal Glad you enjoyed it. The tiny plates did not register as something of an issue for me, but thanks for your comments. I have to say that if it
27 Post contains images allrite : My sole real J class experience was with Qantas and it was superb, but it felt like it took the already solid Y experience up to the next level rathe
28 CARST : Good TR. I think the enclosed J seat looks very comfy and kind of private. Like a small J suite, just not fully enclosed like a real F suite. Interest
29 Palmjet : Hi allrite Who? Moi? Never! I do love the Q400 though, although I recall you are not so much of a fan? I was lucky to have a QF Q400 experience back i
30 flythere : It's really a wonderful trip report I must say. And for you even managed to take those pictures from the angled seat, credit must be given to you! Alt
31 abrelosojos : Hey - thanks for taking the time to write about your experience w/ CX. I smiled looking at those 1990s boarding passes - I think I still have a few of
32 Palmjet : flythere Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, it is always sad leaving family behind again, but it was nice to know I was going to have a little m
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