Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1821 posts, RR: 9 Posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10153 times:
Heaven in the Queen of the Sky - Cathay F from HKG to LHR in F
I flew from Hong Kong to London Heathrow on CX 257 last week and happened the only passenger in the first class cabin, so I took the opportunity to take a few more pictures and decided to write a short trip report on one of the world’s best first class products on the “Queen of the Sky.” Since there are many reports out there about CX, this report will hopefully be short and I will concentrate on the pictures.
April 9, 2012
CX 257 Hong Kong to London Heathrow Lv1005 Arr1600 Boeing 747-400 B-HKE
One of the weakest spot on Cathay Pacific first class is perhaps their ground service (although I will argue Singapore Airlines scores lower in this area with really horrible check-in and lounge agents). For a local Hong Kong resident, the departure experience is efficient even without flying premium class. I checked in at the Hong Kong Airport Express station in Central the evening before and got my boarding pass issued and baggage all checked in. On the day of departure, I took the Airport Express to the airport and proceeded to Terminal Two for immigration and custom. Terminal Two is not really a separate terminal, but another check-in area to handle more airlines, mostly LCCs and foreign airlines. Thai Airways is the only major airline that uses Terminal Two. Regardless, the traffic is always lighter there and the only annoying aspect is an additional train ride to the main terminal and changing train if your flight departs from the 40-60 gates. The time saved at immigration and custom honestly makes it worthwhile. Terminal Two is really quiet this morning and I got through the e-gate and custom with no queue.
I went to the Pier first class lounge, since the Wing is closed. Gate 30 is closed enough to the Pier. No pictures since it has been discussed widely here. Anyway, the lounge was fairly busy since it was Monday, but I was able to find a table in the dining area, and subsequently at the main seating area. Service was good as usual.
The inbound flight arrived a bit late from Taipei this morning, but B-HKE, one of the second-hand Boeing 747s bought from Singapore Airlines, ran only slightly late in terms of boarding.
B-HKE busy at gate 30
Boarding began late at 9:45am and priority boarding was strictly enforced. A word about the loading – only one in first, half full in business, and almost full in economy…
The purser greeted me at the entrance and Wendy immediately escorted me to my seat, 1A, and Wuling and Sacha, the other two F/As, did the other pre-takeoff service – beverage, amenity kit, and pajama. Newspapers were already set up the console area and two UK papers were available – the Guardian and Independence (but not sure), along with the usual Hong Kong papers and global English papers.
Door was finally closed at 10:11am and we pushed back two minutes later. After an Mandarin Airlines’ EMB-190 B-186251 took off, we took our turn at R/W7R and lifted off at 10:33am for our twelve hours and thirty-three minutes flight to Heathrow.
Here is our routing:
310-Shaoguan-Wuhan-320-Taiyuan-Gobi Desert-Barnaul-340-Omsk-Western Siberian Lowland-Tyumen-Artyomovsky-Yekarterinburg-Perm-360-St. Petersburg-380-Narva-Kuressaare-Salme-Ronneby Airport-Malmo-Suderdeich-Norden-Drachten-Bakkum-Maylandsea-LHR
Over Gobi Desert
Over Western Siberian Lowland
Towards St Petersburg
Cathay Pacific first class looks excellent in the nose of Boeing 747-400. There are nine seats in total.
I like this shot, as it really showcases this cabin – no overhead bin
Magazine console in front of middle seat
Special decoration piece in front of the cabin
Seat pitch is huge
Seat in recline position
Seat in flat bed position with turnover service
First Class seat can be transformed into a suite and each seat has their own individual closet for their carry on suitcases and jackets. I felt that 1A and 1K have a smaller bin for carry on luggage. Anyway, with a light load, I just hang my jacket in 2A.
Another reason why I prefer Cathay Pacific first class on Boeing 747 is the huge bathroom with windows, which Boeing 777-300ERs don’t have.
Window in closed position
Baby changing station
I was actually quite surprised that breakfast was the first meal served on a 10am flight. When CX 257 departs at 9am, serving brunch after takeoff makes perfect sense, but when your flight departs at 10am, lunch should be served. Considered by the time the plane was at cruising attitude, it was already 11am. I saw it as a cost cutting effort, rather than a meal scheduled designed to accommodate passengers. Please not that lunch was served mid-flight in business and economy class, but I specially asked dinner to be served two and half hours prior to arrival, which makes more sense. I also ordered noodle soup and egg tarts mid-flight. The Hong Kong style egg tarts are new items, and it was okay – you couldn’t really expect egg tart freshly baked from a local bakery. I ordered them just for the novelty. Anyway, the food was very good except the entrée selection for the lunch service – the choices are not really good. Spare rib is rather plain, and I expect CX to serve more premium food for the Chinese menu, like stir fried lobster or scallop or beef fillets.
Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne
Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 2008
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Castello di Gabbiano Alleanza IGT Toscana 2008
Chateau Lynch Bages 2004, Grand Cru Classe Pauillac 5th Growth
Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
Ramos Pinto Quinto da Ervamoira 10 Years Old Tawny Port
Hong Kong to London
First Class Menu
Orange, apple, or grapefruit juice
Forest Berry Smoothie
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Natural or fruit yogurt from La Ferme du Manege
Organic free range eggs ~ freshly scrambled, fried or boiled
Served with your choice of potato cake with cheese and spring onion, broiled bacon, pan-fried Cumberland sausage, roma tomato with herbs or mushrooms
Dim Sum with chili sauce
Scallop with fish egg dumpling, baby spinach with shrimp dumpling, chive and pork dumpling, mini chicken glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf
Kedgeree cake with curry sauce, vine ripened tomato
Assorted breakfast bread and fresh toast
Served with Mrs. Bridges Scottish preserves, Tasmanian meadow honey and butter
Tea and Coffee
Caviar and Balik
Caviar and Balik Salmon “Tsar Nicolaj”
Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1821 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10125 times:
Grilled US Angus Beef Tenderloin with Madeira wine sauce, roesti potato, sautéed carrot and asparagus
Pan-fried Mediterranean Sea Bass with garlic butter, vegetable saffron rice, roasted portabello mushroom and French beans
Spinach and Ricotta cheese tortellini with tomato concasse and pine nuts
Pork with lotus root and octopus soup
Cold plate – beef tendon with mixed vegetables
Pork Spareribs in Chinese black vinegar sauce, steamed Jasmine rice and stir-fried broccoli
Cheese and Dessert
Fourme d’Amert, Cheddar, Reblochon, Tomme
Fresh berries with rose syrup
Warm raspberry friend cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce
Double boiled papaya with snow fungus sweet soup
Tea and Coffee
Taiwanese Braised Beef in spicy noodle soup
Barbecued roasted duck in noodle soup
Hong Kong style egg tart
Beef pastrami with horseradish butter, mango cheddar cheese chutney, smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
Hot towel served prior to arrival
On Boeing 747, three F/As served first class, and with only one passenger, the service went smoothly. Wendy is Hong Kong based, while Wuling and Sacha are London-based. I believe the purser is also Hong Kong based, along with a few more F/As, but they are mostly London-based. I had a good chat with Wendy after the brunch service, and after a number of disappointing flights with CX regional flights, this flight is a pleasure. A big thumb up and thanks to all three of them!
Despite a shorter flying time, we were placed on a holding pattern in Heathrow – nothing extraordinary, but due to low visibility and high wind, things slowed down a bit longer than normal. However being in first class, I don’t want the circling. We landed on R/W27L at 4:05pm and parked at gate 18 five minutes later. I considered this flight to be on time, given the typical Heathrow situation. Immigration however was not very pleasant even in the fast track line. It was an almost forty minutes wait but at least the bags were already out by then.
Tarmac in LHR
Double A380s waiting for return
B-HKE at tarmac
Cathay Pacific first class is still a nice experience despite there is not much ground service to talk about. If CX will install fast track immigration and custom line for non-HK resident and enhance the lounge experience a bit, it will be nicer. However the inflight service is still good, along with good flight attendants and decent food. The meal schedule was not acceptable in CX 257, but I at least got some flexibility being in first class.
N178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1649 posts, RR: 67
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9576 times:
Always like how your TR focus on the product especially seats and features. Very nice to have it all yourself to the P&W powered B744 of CX.
I agree that a better lunch should be served.
I think you ate the Caviar before the photo?
There is something very special in the B747, that A380 or B77W can't replace with. It is the B747 nose area, no one else in front of you. No galley, no FA stand in front of you making noises. If you're in 1A/1K , then it is all yours Hope you agree
Btw, I think CX B744 row 1 is better than 2 even you're travelling alone. Just my opinion.
toby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 75 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 9273 times:
Very nice TR.
You are right about the flight crew being mainly London based. Ever since CX250/251 got switched from the usual 74A to the 77W, the London based crew have been switched to cover the CX255/252 and now CX257/256 both operated by the 74A. London crew are currently only trained to man the 74A but will be trained on the 77W in Autumn I recall. My sister's b/f is London crew and operates the 74A sectors only from HKG-LHR.
concordechild From Italy, joined Aug 2009, 44 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7283 times:
great trip report!!!
"One of the weakest spot on Cathay Pacific first class is perhaps their ground service"
couldnt agree more, i fly the route oftne and its amazing how poor immigration in and out is for non residents. Cant believe Cathay cannot make a deal with the airport for a priority lane. a month ago it took 30 mins to go through passport control.
The seat is actually one of the more comfortable in the sky in my opinion.
Looks like there is enough space in there. On TG on the 773ER, there is nowhere near enough storage space in F
Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
I was actually quite surprised that breakfast was the first meal served on a 10am flight. When CX 257 departs at 9am, serving brunch after takeoff makes perfect sense, but when your flight departs at 10am, lunch should be served.
I agree. I'd be very surpised if by 10am nobody had eaten breakfast. Even if you had missed breakfast, most would prefer something more substantial than breakfast to make do for 2 meals.
abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5006 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5746 times:
Quoting Carfield (Thread starter): Regardless, the traffic is always lighter there and the only annoying aspect is an additional train ride to the main terminal and changing train if your flight departs from the 40-60 gates. The time saved at immigration and custom honestly makes it worthwhile.
= This is VERY useful info as I have absolutely hated doing immigration at HKG!
Thanks a lot for the report - wonder why loads are so weak. Also glad that Wendy & Co. were able to lift your impression of CX after all the disappointments you had.