TNboy From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 1131 posts, RR: 21 Posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2767 times:
I've just completed a trip from Perth-Hong Kong and return on Cathay Pacific Business Class; Hong-Kong-Shanghai return on Dragonair Business Class; and Shanghai-Beijing return on Shanghai Airlines economy. I'll split the report into threee bite-sized pieces, rather than test your staying power with one long report. So firstly, to Hong Kong with Cathay.
I'd been looking forward to this leg, as Hong Kong is one of my favourite places (even without the added bonus of a Kai Tak arrival), and my previous experiences with CX have been very good. This was to be no exception.
Perth wasn't too busy in the middle of the day, so check-in, customs, security were all cleared quickly, allowing time to look at the shops and relax in the Qantas Club lounge.
CX170 170 had a scheduled departure of 1220 and left a few minutes ahead of schedule, with a flight time estimated at 7 hours 13 minutes, which proved to be spot on.
CX uses an A330 for this service, with "regional" J Class seating of 2-2-2 at 45" pitch - a bit less generous than their international pitch (and much less than the new business class bed seating), but fine for regional routes. I supose it could be argued that a 7-plus hours international flight is marginally more 'international" than 'regional", but the seating was fine.
The A330 is quiet, and ideal for this run.
Meal service was lunch after take-off and a light meal before arrival. The main meal appetiser was minced pork with water chestnut and mint, served on a lettuce leaf. Very nice, but (for me, anyway), a bit messy to eat. The usual salad and smoked salmon rosette followed, then a choice of beef in red wine; Garoupa with ginger and corianeder; Indian butter chicken; or a Vegetarian pasta with pumpkin, spinach and cheese sauce. Then big choices of cheese, fruit, dessert, etc. Excellent meal, and I chose the chicken largely because of the Palliser estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc on offer. (Sorry if this sounds like a food and wine review, but it was a really nice meal!)
The amenities kit is also good - a see-through grey (for men, electric blue for women) wet-pack with a nice range of toiletries including (for men) mouthwash, the usual socks, toothbrush, eyeshades, etc., plus Biotherm detoxifying moisturiser, ant-fatigue energy booster and a lip balm.
There was a large range of movie entertainment, although I found the CXStudio entertainment guide, covering 35 pages, to be initially a bit hard to follow. In the end, I just surfed the channels and chose my movies that way. One of the enjoyable things about movies on planes is that you generally forget most of them anyway, so it's a good chance to watch something you may otherwise not bother with. On this occasion it was "Monsoon Wedding", an absolutely hilarious Indian film (in Indian and English, with some additional English subtitles), which has only had a limited theatre release. Very, very funny (and with some subtitles that clearly hadn't been modified!). Also watched The Shipping News (which was better than I had expected) and Rush Hour 2, as there's no better person to prepare you for Hong Kong than good old Jackie Chan!
There was a bit of cross-wind turbulence in the north of Australia, and the usual equatorial cloud build-up which caused some bumps, but otherwise a smooth trip.
Before landing there was a noodles and savouries buffet selection, plus sandwiches, satay, ice cream and pastries.
The crew was continually attentive and friendly. The Business cabin is large - seven rows, six abreast, and service starts from the back row port side, works forward, and then re-starts at the back row starboard side - so it can be a bit of an initial wait if you are forward on the HJ side. I was in 12 H, third row from the front. However, once started, it flows very smoothly.
We arrived on time, and I was farewelled at the door by name by the chief Purser (even though she had only personally attended to me twice in the seven hours - early in the flight.) I was very impressed at this attention to detail.
Before travelling on (later reports) we overnighted at the Regal Airport, with a good view on some night landings (but sadly nothing to see the next morning). Room 7082 if you're interested. Great ease of connection to and from the airport.
HONG KONG - PERTH
Two weeks later we returned to Perth. Arrived early to sample the delights of the amazing Chep Lap Kok terminal (and allow for the l-o-n-g t-r-e-k to gate 67). Fortunately the Pier/Wing lounge was adjacent, with nice snacks and drinks.
Again an A330 for the overnight flight to Australia. Departure on time at 2355, with a flight time of 7 hours 20 minutes. (Make that 7 hours 20 minutes of non-stop heavy turbulence!). The combination of a developing system in the South China sea, the equatorial build-up, and extremely strong winds all the way along the Australian coast made for very rough night. Even the little aircraft on the airshow display kept swinging from one side to another. Cute, but uncomfortable!
Supper and breakfast were on offer, with heated macadamia nuts served with pre-dinner drinks. Very Nice! Supper was salad, beef and chili sauce or grilled salmon fillet; plus a lighter choice of noodles or pizza, then the usual cheese, dessert, fruits. Breakfast was a choice of a substantial continental breakfast selection, or a big selection of scrambled eggs, sausages, steak, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, etc. Also muffins, breads and the usual accompaniments. The tea and coffee service was largely dictated by turbulence. I love the Cathay plates, with their swirls of color, and the big mugs for tea and coffee.
Different amenities pack on the way back - similar items, with minor variations, but a larger and much more impressive wet-pack in pale grey (for men) and white (for women).
Big movie selection again - I watched Gosford Park, and parts of Collateral Damage, in between trying to sleep, unsuccessfully.
Again the crew were outstanding, and service was first class. Passengers who fly into Australia will be familiar with the dreaded aerosol spray before arrival, and the "welcome" video. And just to prove they are human, the crew started to screen the "Welcome to Hong Kong" video by mistake. Frightened a few half-awake, turbulence-zonked passengers, who momentarily may have wondered where they were. Another on-time arrival into a cold but clear Perth morning, to face custome, x-rays, sniffer dogs - all the usual.
The trip reports to Shanghai and on to Beijing follow.
Cathay Pacific From Australia, joined May 2000, 1864 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2673 times:
Excellent report! It's good to see people enjoy CX's service!
A little off topic, does anyone know how ofter they change the content/brand of the amenity kit? Last Dec when I went to JNB with CX, their biz class amenity kit was from L'ocitane(sp), a year ago was some French brand (which I forgot the name) and before that was Crabtree. seems like they are changing it every year.
TNboy From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 1131 posts, RR: 21 Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2669 times:
Don't know about the frequency of change - the changes betwen my two flights were from late May to early June. Quite noticeable change in appearance (an improvement, although both looked very good), and minor changes in the range of goodies included. They seem to be going more for the soothe, revitalise, refresh options these days, which is great. The Biotherm stuff was really good, and my wife also commented on its appropriateness for in-flight. She loved hers!
Salvation From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 174 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2567 times:
How was the meal service handled by the f/a attendants from HKG to Perth during the turbulence? Did your crew show signs of wariness, being scared, or frustration? Last month I was on a flight from Honolulu to Guam on Continetnal's BusinessFirst and for the first two hours of the flight, we were in a developing storm system which created a very bumpy ride. During that time, the meal service was going on and they really had to work hard to ensure nothing cracked or spilled on themselves or the passengers. I was impressed as they did a GREAT job in balancing themselves (we were being jolted around heavily from right to left and vice versa) and managed not to spill anything on the passengers, nor crack or break anything. They even maintained a positive attitude during the heavy turbulence, trying to ensure us that everything was fine and to not worry. My hat goes off to my crew on the flight.
TNboy From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 1131 posts, RR: 21 Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2544 times:
Thanks Salvation and Cabincrewboy:
Salvation: The crew were excellent. The only indications they gave of any problem was when they said that tea/coffee service would have to wait for a while until the turbulence subsided, in case we spilled any. Very professional and calm (as you would excpect from any leading airline). Even on their regular patrols to ensure that seat belts were fastened, etc., they were very reassuring. CX actulally advise passengers to fasten their seatbelts over the outside of the blankets , to ensure minimum disruption when they have to check seat belts during turbulence.
I have to say, I'm not a worrier during rough flights, but I don't sleep well (if at all) when there is continual turbulence. I've never had the pleasure of a flat bed on overnight, so maybe this is the asnwer? Usually it's a long night of bad movies, good classical music, or lying there half-asleep wondering who I've upset recently - the list is usually quite lengthy, and keeps me occupied until the top,of descent, or a hearty breakfast!!
Now, Cabincrewboy: You know that your reputation has spread internationally, and safety cards are now nailed down. And NO, CX wouldn't dream of serving anything in cardboard boxes (other than duty-free 747 models, of course). I do have a Dragonair comb for you, among other things. I erred on the side of caution and threw the Shanghai Airlines pumpkin seeds in the bin at quarantine. Aren't you flying with the virgins yet?? Sorry!! I'll be in touch!!!