Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
The Cathay Pacific Intercontinental Marathon  
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31209 times:

The Cathay Pacific Intercontinental Marathon

It all started off with a plan to head to Europe as my last free holiday before my working life began. My initial plans had me wanting to travel to Dubai for the Dubai Airshow in November but my exam schedule presented me with bad news - I would have an exam during the time of the airshow. I was forced to change my plans but it had a positive outcome - I would be able to spend much longer overseas than I had originally planned. The trip would take me from Auckland to Hong Kong initially before starting my European adventure by flying into Amsterdam via London. Returning back to Hong Kong via Paris, I would then shoot off sideways for a quick visit to Los Angeles before heading home via Hong Kong and Sydney.

Hello and welcome to my 22nd trip report. This report will cover my flights on Cathay Pacific from AKL-HKG-LHR, LHR-AMS on BA, CDG-HKG-LAX-HKG-SYD and then the short hop on Qantas’ Jetconnect back to AKL. My apologies in advance for the length of this report as it is a marathon - I didn’t know how I could break this up so I just decided to amalgamate them into one report.

Thanks gcmap.com

Since I was going to be heading to Hong Kong, there was only one choice in it for me - Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific is a world class airline and a member of Oneworld. It all started off in 1946 when it was founded by Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow; naming it due to their ambition that the airline would fly across the Pacific one day. Starting off with a single DC3, the airline has grown to be one of the world’s leading airlines with a fleet of 114 passenger aircraft flying to 50 destinations right around the world, not to mention flights across the Pacific to the likes of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Vancouver. They have also acquired Dragonair, which helps them to connect the rest of China to their hub in Hong Kong.

With everything planned out, I started to make bookings. The initial itinerary just to Asia would see me fly Cathay’s A340-300, 747-400, A330-300 and Qantas’ 737-800; with small intra-Europe flights to be bought separately. I would travel right around Western Europe for 5 weeks and have a stop in Hong Kong each way. A few days before my adventure, I decided to add on a side trip to Los Angeles; also on Cathay Pacific. This would send me on my first 777-300ER long haul flights after 2 short hops across the Tasman in the great aircraft.

Due to the fact that I had night flights for the majority of the legs, I chose aisle seats so I wouldn’t be trapped by the window and two passengers and therefore didn’t take many pictures during those segments.


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31774 times:

27 December 2011

An alarm early in the morning went off and I jumped out of bed to a beautiful summer morning. The day of the European adventure had dawned. Cathay Pacific has 2 daily flights over the summer into Auckland - the earlier flight (CX117/8) is operated by an A340-300 and the afternoon (departing Auckland) flight (CX107/108) is operated by a 747-400 over the northern winter but reverts back to an A340-300 during the northern summer. I had chosen to take the earlier flight in order to be able to hang out with my friends after I landed.

Making my way to the airport



Being Marco Polo Silver has its benefits when flying with Cathay Pacific. You’re granted Business Class check in, lounge access and priority boarding. After arriving at the airport with no traffic on the roads, I headed straight to the empty Qantas Premium check in Area - it has a handful of check in counters for all premium OneWorld flights out of Auckland. Upon a professional greeting by the agent, I enquired about how full the flight was. I was told that it wasn’t very full at all and then she said that she’d block the neighbouring seat for me. I didn’t expect that but well done to the agent.What a great start to the day! With my boarding and lounge passes in hand, I walked the 5 or so metres to the immigration pre-clearance desk within the Premium check in area. Having a chipped NZ passport, it isn’t really an advantage when travelling alone as the smartgate system is much quicker. I then headed upstairs and bid farewell to my parents before heading airside.

Qantas Premium check in area
Normal check in area
Boarding/lounge passes


Auckland airside hasn’t changed a bit since I last went through at the beginning of 2011. I went straight to the Qantas Business Class lounge for some breakfast. New Zealand tends to shut down between Christmas and after New Year as people take their summer holiday. The airport was rather quiet and so was the lounge. We were advised in the lounge that our aircraft had some engine issues and would be called for boarding at a later time. The offerings inside the lounge were satisfactory - cereal, fruit, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, toast and drinks. People came and went but my area remained completely empty. Eventually, a message was made across the lounge that boarding had commenced. After packing up, I thanked the lounge attendants and headed to my gate at the end of the pier.

Airside
Air NZ 772 at Gate 2
Looking towards the A380 pier
Follow the sign
Emperor Lounge - Auckland’s ‘open’ lounge, MH use it too
Qantas Lounge
Breakfast offerings
On my way to the gate
Gate 7 is somewhere up there
FIDS. What, gate closed already???
Air NZ 77W
Gates 6 and 8, also known as the US segregation for extra security screening gates, to the left
HXF waiting alongside the KE 744 to ICN



To my surprise, the gate was rather empty by the time I got there which meant that most people had boarded. No queue for me - I was straight down the air bridge and onboard B-HXF.

Just about on!



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31698 times:

Flight Information

27 Dec 2011
Routing: Auckland - Hong Kong (AKL-HKG)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX118
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0930hrs (GMT+13)
Actual Departure: 0945hrs (pushback), 0959hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1530hrs (GMT+8)
Touchdown: 1543hrs (GMT+8)
Flight time: 10 hrs 58 min
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300
Registration: B-HXF
Seat: 59A


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Colin Hunter - AirTeamImages
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bastian Ding


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dana Low
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dana Low


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nicholas Young
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Linze Folkeringa



Cathay Pacific has a fleet of 11 A340-300s. They operate flights to AKL, DME, FCO, JNB, PER and some Middle Eastern destinations. With a configuration of 26J/257Y, they currently have the old ‘coffin’ herringbone J and the fixed shell Y seats. Retrofitting to install Y+ seats will commence Q3 2013. The A343 has served AKL for over 12 years now. This particular A343, B-HXF, was delivered new to CX in January 1997, making it 15 years old when I flew it. The cabin has had a few refurbishments since then.

I received warm “good morning” or “welcome aboard” greetings from the flight attendants as I made my way down the aisle to my seat. Not long after making myself comfortable in the pair of seats I had to myself, the captain came across over the PA and announced that were were delayed due to maintenance and that we would be performing an engine ground run at the gate before making our way to Hong Kong. The flight attendants thought on their feet and decided it was a good time to distribute the menu and also take some meal orders. Today’s choice - Chinese (noodles) vs English (egg) breakfast.

The seat, as mentioned above, is of a fixed shell design. This means that when you recline, the cushions slide forward instead of the seat physically moving back into the person behind you. It is slightly similar to Air New Zealand’s new Premium Economy Spaceseat I tried in a previous report however the seat cushion doesn’t tilt up like it does in NZ’s seat, causing a lot of the pressure and weight of your upper body body to be forced onto one spot rather than being spread out. Cathay Pacific had obviously not researched these seats enough and I found them to be extremely hard/uncomfortable. My glutes and lower back would be sore after a few hours of sitting down, even if I had attempted to soften it by sitting on the cushion. If you reclined the seat, it’d make things far worse so I guess it’s a good way to teach people how to sleep in the upright position for when they switch back to more ‘normal’ seats! I’m extremely glad that they’re finally replacing the seats but disappointed that the 744s and the A343s won’t receive them. I can’t wait to try the new seat out. The seat was the same on every single CX flight I had, accumulating to about 70 hours of sitting rather uncomfortably. Luckily I had an empty seat next to me on 3 of the 6 legs. I’ll go into more detail of each individual experience for each flight. You won’t believe how many times I wrote something about the seat and how I felt. But I suppose at least the legroom was acceptable.

Torture chair
A closer look at my torture chamber for the next 11 hours
At least there’s sufficient legroom
Menus distributed
View out the window
View from my seat
Tray table exposing the power socket


Under seat storage is horrible on the window block of seats but looking over to the middle block, it looked like they had tonnes of room for belongings. There is this strange metal/plastic plate restricting what you can place under the seat. The picture doesn’t show it very well but you can see the huge amount of underseat storage of the middle aisle seat. The IFE boxes weren’t a problem.




After just sitting around and waiting, the purser, Bingo, decided to pay me a visit. She introduced herself, welcomed me on board the flight and told me that if I needed anything, all I needed to do was call her. It was the best welcoming I have ever had on a flight and it sure felt like I was in a higher class than where I was seated. I asked her if I could visit the flight deck after arriving in Hong Kong and she told me that she’d get back to me during the flight. It was all very professional and it had a great touch to the beginning of the flight. Well done Bingo - your service and professionalism should be one of the benchmarks for CX Economy FAs. I’m sure she did set the mood for the rest of the FAs on board that flight; the service was excellent that day. Now if only all flights were like that!

Cathay Pacific’s IFE is named StudioCX. The current version in the A343 and 744 was installed at the same time that the current seats were fitted. There is a new version being fitted to the cabins featuring the new Y seats as we speak. The old version has a handset and the new version is touchscreen. There is a decent selection of movies and songs however I was more interested in the airshow function whenever I wasn’t trying to rest. An iPod and a noise cancelling headset is all one needs to enjoy a flight! Every seat in non-regional planes have their own power point so you do have the ability to charge devices. The only downside is that for Economy passengers, it lies behind the tray table so you have to keep the tray table down if you want to use it. There is another place opposite the power socket where a USB port could have existed somewhere down the track but obviously this design isn’t going to be sticking around. Strangely enough, they had Harry Potter 7 Part 1 available but no Part 2 so if anyone ever wanted to watch the whole thing at once, they were out of luck.

Movies



Still sitting at the gate, a familiar humming sound of a GE90-115B vibrated the cabin. The NZ 77W bound for MEL was powering up alongside us. Not long after they had taxied to the runway, our hairdryer CFM56s were fired up for the engine ground run test at the gate. I thought that they would either push back first or even perform this at the engine testing area near the runway but no - they simply did it before pushing back. We finally pushed back at 0945 with a relatively short taxi to 05R for departure at 0959 to the east.

NZ123 taxiing out to the runway
Finally on our way!
NZ 733 inbound
QF26 from LAX about to touch down. This service no longer operates.
Lining up 05R
Positive rate, gear up; DHL 752 and NZ 77W, 744, A320 below
Manukau City



Departing to the east when travelling towards the north or northwest means a great view over Auckland City can be seen. Today was no exception. We took a route directly over Rangitoto Island in the middle of Auckland Harbour on our way across the Tasman Sea, along the Queensland coast and up towards Hong Kong.

Turning over Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island in the foreground, followed by the North Shore and Auckland City
Close up on Auckland City
.

Muriwai Beach and the West Coast
Passing right over the entrance to Kaipara Harbour
Cabin view




Pre-service drinks were handed out with sanitising towels (no hot towels these days in Y on many carriers) not long after the seatbelt sign was turned off. The smell of food wafted through the cabin not long after.

Orange Juice in the cup holder


As on a lot of these flights with Cathay, the meal selection consists of an Asian meal and a western meal. Today’s breakfast was a choice between an onion and spinach frittata and noodles with pork. I chose the frittata. The meal was fine. Possibly a little bit small but it wasn’t bland. The only complaint would be that the baked beans were rather dry. Bingo was on hand to serve the meal and remembered about my request, telling me that the pilots were fine with it and I could head up to the cockpit after landing in HKG. That was great how she both asked the pilots and remembered to get back to me. It was all done in a professional manner too. So it is true - people can make an airline.


Meal delivered
Doesn’t look too bad



Day flights travelling westbound are always nice to take. It means that you can rest a little bit and have enough energy to finish off the day once you arrive. I was keen on resting up in order to adjust to HK time before making the big jump to European time a few days later. There’s not a heck of a lot of things to see out the window while crossing the Tasman Sea but further on, there can be some decent things to look at.

Lavatory
Alternative IFE: Somewhere out there is the Great Barrier Reef



As we flew over Papua New Guinea, pre-service drinks were served once again as lunch was being prepared. 6 hours into the flight, the service had begun. I had the chicken - it was tender and tasty. It was accompanied by New Zealand Natural Hokey Pokey (similar to honeycomb) ice cream. Again, on the small side - I’d predict that the rest of my meals would be of a similar size. The strange timing of the meal made me hungry later on in the flight. There are snacks available during the flight including CX branded instant noodles.

Papua New Guinea below
Lunch served



After lunch, it was time to sit back and rest up because the flight would arrive in HKG at 3pm local (8pm NZT) and I’d still have the rest of the day to complete. That quickly became a mission. I had a kid in the seat behind me doing all these annoying things. The design of the seat means that the tray table is hinged up to the seat. Annoyance number 1 - opening and closing the tray table, making it drop. The vibration of the tray table dropping went right through the seat. I probably should have switched to the aisle seat in hindsight. Annoyance number 2 - playing hand games with the seat back. How do you let your kids do these things? So you’re thinking I should have moved. Well I would have had to move into the next section for the 3rd annoyance. She started making really annoying sounds, squeals and she even sang the alphabet a few times. The mother obviously didn’t care either. Thankfully, it was only a day flight.

What looks like flooding over the Philippines
Instant noodle snack
Not far from HKG now!


The rest of the flight was quite uneventful in the dark cabin until we were getting closer to HKG. We started descending and manoeuvring through the thick layer of pollution until the wheels met the tarmac of 07L. The nice taxi around to Gate 29 was one with a view of just about the entire terminal, spotting planes from all over the place. This is Hong Kong!

Just look at the haze/pollution below..
A few turns to line up with the runway
Not quite the same as Singapore
About to descend into the pollution
Can’t be far now
Short final
Washing out with assistance from the hairdryers
Vacated the active, time for the long taxi around to the other side of the pier
That’s more like Hong Kong to me
KE 772 taxiing for departure
International tail lineup
Jet and South African



I waited for everyone else to disembark before heading for the cockpit. I had a nice chat to the Australian captain before it was time to leave and head landside. The immigration queue was moderately long but my bag was waiting for me at the other end and I was off to Kowloon! One of the cheapest ways of getting into town is by taking the bus the short distance to Tung Chung and hopping on the MTR and making whatever changes to get to your destination. The problem I faced was that it was heading towards rush hour and so the trains were packed. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as much like a sardine before but me and my luggage survived the first leg!

Final look at the cabin
Cockpit



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31477 times:

Hong Kong

I was with my friends from New Zealand for a few days before they went off to China and Taiwan and I went the other way towards Europe. We took a day to go to Macau.

Pictures of Hong Kong and Macau:

The Peninsula. Wish I was staying there!
Hong Kong Island
Sunrise over Hong Kong Island
Bruce Lee Statue
Onboard Cotai Ferry First Class, bound for Macau
Legroom for the hour boat ride
The closest I got to plane spotting at Macau
What everyone goes to see - The ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral
Portugese architecture
Crazy casinos - Grand Lisboa
Wynn
MGM Grand
Inside The Venetian
Bank of China building, Hong Kong
HDR of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31419 times:

30 December 2011

The short stopover in Hong Kong was over and it was time to embark on a completely new journey to Europe - my maiden voyage. My flight departed at 1am on the 31st but it required me to be at the airport on the 30th. I caught a bus directly to the airport from Jordan after parting with my friends. The buses are relatively slow (all the taxis zoom past) but at least they get you to the right place in one go. Why not save a penny when you’re in absolutely no rush at all!

We eventually rolled up at the airport. The bus I took arrived at the departures level so it was a quick walk from there across to the check in counters. There was no queue at the Business Class check in counter - at least 5 vacant desks. It didn’t take long and my bags were checked through. The check in agent had confirmed that it was a pretty full flight. I had changed my seat at the last minute in the hope of getting 3 seats to myself and it looked to remain that way.

Right where I wanted to be dropped off!
A look at the huge space inside
FIDS. My flight is still a page and a half away
Check in counters
Boarding/lounge passes
Landside shops
I love the design



Security was no problem at all and I found myself airside at HKG once again. I love the terminal building. Roaming around the terminal looking at all the different planes is a great experience. I did just that and found myself looking at a Biman DC10 - something I didn’t expect to see!

Airside - escalators to take you down to the gate level
Biman DC10!
My plane waiting for me



After a little bit of wandering, I headed for the lounge closest to my gate - The Wing. It turns out that my gate was the directly opposite the lounge. I handed the lounge pass to the attendant and was told where to go for both the showers and the lounge part. The only part of the lounge which was open was the lower floor due to renovations going on in the main part of the lounge. Offerings were no where near as good as what I’d experienced in the past but a few things to nibble on to pass the time away. The lounge as a whole was set to reopen in early February, just in time for my flight to LAX. The whole bottom area was supposedly renovated before the closure of the main part of the lounge so it had the cool individual seats which were apparently a big hit in The Cabin, another of CX’s J lounges. I decided to take a walk down to the shower area just to have a look but was persuaded by the person at the desk to take a shower. And that proved to be a great decision! The shower cubicles were like little fancy hotel ensuites. The shower took up the end portion and there was a toilet and a basin with a seat. The shower had the biggest monsoon showerhead I’d ever seen.. And it felt so good standing under the torrent of that shower! All amenities you needed could be found too; including a hairdryer, razor and toothbrush/toothpaste. All fresh for the journey ahead of me, I went back to the lounge for a few more snacks before making my way to the gate.

Not the easiest place to access. Entrance is where the poster of the lady is
Entrance area
The Wing Business Class downstairs lounge
The shower
Basin
Huge monsoon
Back for some relaxation before the flight



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31494 times:

Flight Information

31 Dec 2011
Routing: Hong Kong - London Heathrow (HKG-LHR)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX255
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0105hrs (GMT+8)
Actual Departure: 0105hrs (pushback), 0124hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 0620hrs (GMT)
Touchdown: 0624hrs (GMT)
Flight time: 13 hrs 19 min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Registration: B-HUA
Seat: 57H


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Anthony Cheng
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Johannes Klinghardt


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Wilco737
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sam Chui


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Craig Murray



Cathay Pacific have been users of the 747 for a long time. It has been the backbone and flagship of the carrier. They have had the -200, -300 and -400 series in their fleet over many years. Some of the older ones had been converted into freighters after their passenger life. However, fuel prices are starting to take their toll. Cathay has brought in the 777-300ER to replace some 744 flights such as most flights to North America. It is rumoured that Cathay will make an announcement this year on further 744 replacements. A few years ago, they mentioned that the A380 was too big for them; but things can change - time will tell what they will order. B-HUA was delivered new to Cathay at the end of July 1992, making it over 19 years old when I flew on it. It also sports Rolls Royce RB211 engines.

There was no queue when I got there - just about everyone else had boarded. This time around, the staff felt cold as I boarded the plane. I didn’t really care at that stage since all I wanted to do was sleep in order to ease into European time after my biggest time zone change. The doors were closed and I was left with 2 empty seats next to me - just like I had seen on the seat map when I checked in online. I thought I’d slide over to the window for departure before making a little nest for myself. I had strewn all my stuff under all 3 seats.

The seat was exactly the same, just in 3-4-3 this time. IFE was the same as well. No need to recover these points!

Hello again, torture chair
What I thought would be my nest for 13 hours
View outside
Menu



We pushed back on time and made the taxi down to the other end of the runway (07R), passing the remaining planes at the terminal and then those around the HAECO maintenance hangars at the far end of the airport. There was a short wait for a few planes and then we were off. There was a most peculiar route out of Hong Kong and it included a big circle over Hong Kong before heading north (picture below).

Goodbye Hong Kong!
Overlooking Tung Chung
Interesting route


After the seatbelt sign was turned off, the purser approached me but instead of a nice welcome, she said, “Another passenger is going to sit in the window seat”, in the coldest manner possible. That person just had to be the one complaining from the row in front of me. Well, who’s to argue against the purser? So I reluctantly obliged, vacating my window seat and the dream of a nice little nest for the journey west. It set the mood for the rest of the flight. Then, as you do, the guy who snuck into the window seat told me his partner was going to sit in the middle seat. I told him to wait until after dinner. So he relayed that message to his so-called partner sitting directly behind me. His partner had a seat free next to him so it’s beyond me why they couldn’t just settle there or where they were originally placed.

Dinner came around soon after. I chose the beef stew which was pretty nice. The salad was pretty strange - “Chicken breast with mixed vegetables in Italian dressing”.. And I left it alone. But the weirdest most creepy feeling came from Mr 59H. He didn’t eat his meal but thought it’d be more fun to watch me eat, as if he was timing his strike. It was so awkward sitting there eating and seeing this creep watching me eat out of the corner of my eye for the entire time - it was just downright weird. I hope I don’t encounter anyone like that ever again. Some people are so rude in getting their way it’s not funny. So I had finally finished eating, got out of my seat to let 59H’s partner in and then moved to the seat behind where there was a gap between me and a girl on the window fast asleep and oblivious to anything else going on. And then one of their sons went across to join them. Oh well, at least I wouldn’t be bugged by them for the rest of the flight.

In the same way that people make an airline, they can also do the opposite. The crew I encountered on this flight had the opposite attitude as my first flight. None of them seemed to care about anything during that flight. I visited the lavatory halfway through the flight to find that the majority of the lavs at the back of the plane had no toilet paper and the ground was wet in most. You’d think that FAs would be on to that without hesitation by doing routine checks but I had to approach one of them and tell them that they needed attending to. They quickly went into action but they had all this down time to do a quick check and see if they were up to scratch and chose not to. To add to that, they had no expressions when serving the meals at all and it felt as though they wished they were somewhere else. Maybe it was going to be New Years Eve when we landed but we would be in London. Is that not better than serving customers on a New Year night flight? Throughout the flight, there were odd bumps of turbulence, some more severe than others. In the instances that required the flight crew to turn the seatbelt on, the loud voice of a flight attendant would come across telling people to return to their seats in English, Cantonese and Mandarin in a rather loud voice. This happened a number of times throughout the night and was particularly annoying for ones trying to rest/sleep.

Dinner
Cabin view before lights out
Lavatory


I rested/slept for the rest of that flight, checking the airshow every now and then. Our route took us over St Petersburg, Copenhagen and Amsterdam on our way into London. It felt weird flying over the city (AMS) where I’d end up flying to later in the day. Breakfast was served somewhere over the Baltic Sea. I opted for chicken on noodles (other option was a similar meal to my breakfast onboard CX118) and wasn’t disappointed by the flavour. The accompanying croissant didn’t really look like much of a croissant.

Breakfast


[b]Flying over Amsterdam



As we approached London, the captain came across on the PA and informed us of the backlog of landing flights and to expect some time holding. We were only in the pattern for ten minutes as we left the pattern and headed for 27L. The short taxi into T3 was followed by the queue to get out of the plane. Immigration wasn’t overly packed at that time but it still took a few minutes for me to get through; and an IT was written on top of the stamp, supposedly meaning international transfer. My ticket to AMS was purchased separately so I had to go out and find my own way to T5 after collecting my luggage. Of course, that wasn’t too difficult as the trains come often enough through T1,2,3 on their way to T5.


London Stopover

Terminal 5 at LHR is huge and it’s solely for British Airways. It would make it annoying when you arrive on another Oneworld carrier and have to transit to T5 for the connecting BA flight. I checked in for my flight via the self check in kiosks as there was no queue anywhere.

And out pops a thin, supermarket docket paper feeling boarding pass
FIDS


With nothing else left to do landside, I passed through security. Processes here were relatively quick. Jetlag was starting to hit me and the surreal feeling of being on the other side of the world was also starting to settle. Witnessing the New Year fireworks from Auckland on BBC inside the terminal was the only bit of homesickness I felt during the entire 2 month trip.

Airside
The north end of the terminal


After being accustomed to hearing the recorded woman calling out for flights: “British Airways, American Airlines” etc etc (for all the codeshared airlines), the Amsterdam flight was called.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31356 times:

Flight Information

31 Dec 2011
Routing: London Heathrow - Amsterdam Schiphol (LHR-AMS)
Airline: British Airways
Flight: BA434
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1140hrs (GMT)
Actual Departure: 1138hrs (pushback), 1155hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1400hrs (GMT+1)
Touchdown: 1333hrs (GMT+1)
Flight time: 55 min
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Registration: G-EUUV
Seat: 27A


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Markman
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jozsef Teply


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jens Breuer
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © G.Luca D'Urbano



British Airways operates a large fleet of 41 A320s out of 90 A32X family planes. G-EUUV was delivered new to BA in March 2008.

I made my way to my seat in the last row. The legroom was pretty tight - Eric later advised me that the rows in front of the plane were flexible seats which could be turned into Business Class seats; and in turn had far more legroom. But this was the only window available so I took it. We pushed back on time and made our way down the other end to 27R for takeoff.

A tight squeeze
Neighbouring A319 pushing back
BA 772 takeoff run
Queue for departures
Last look at an Air NZ plane for a while
LHR Terminal 5
Just looking at that makes me cold


A small snack was served onboard. It’s probably equivalent to what Air New Zealand serve, plus the option of many drinks. It wasn’t very filling. I took an apple juice with my snack of cassava crisps.

Snack
Leaving the British Isles
Cabin View



The flight went by without any problems and soon enough, we crossed over the English Channel and onto Mainland Europe. This meant that AMS wasn’t too far away. I had no idea where I was until we landed and passed another runway on the taxi in and that was when I thought to myself that we had landed on the Polderbaan. The long taxi in took us to Gate D4 with a nice view of the F100 perched on top of the terminal.

Hello Continental Europe!
Past some windmills
Over the highway
Just about!
Start of the long taxi
Crossing the Zwanenburgbaan
Hello Schiphol!
Regional apron
A few Fokkers there
There’s only one place you could be!
The flight departing from up there looks pretty cool!


Disembarking didn’t take long but there was a rather big queue for immigration. UK is a non-schengen country which means you have to pass through border security when travelling to Europe. A few questions about how long I was staying for were asked and then I was given the all clear into Europe. I went to find the hotel shuttle stop for the ride to my hotel - the Hotel Ibis Amsterdam Airport. The bed was quite nice, room was ok, nothing fancy. I later ventured out into Amsterdam City but the jetlag got the better of me so I returned before New Year celebrations had begun. Not only that but I had a meeting the next morning with Suryo (Akhmad) and Eric (Airbuseric) for some spotting at AMS!

Landside at Schiphol
My hotel room
Amsterdam City Centre
Bikes and canals
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many bikes at once.. How do you find your one/get your one out without knocking the rest over!?



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31303 times:

The middle section (ie all of my European travelling) is saved for another trip report in the future. As mentioned at the beginning, this is mainly covering my flights on Cathay Pacific so this report now skips to the flight out of Europe.


6 February 2012

Fast forward 5 weeks and I find myself in Paris, getting ready to head back to Hong Kong. 5 weeks had gone by so quickly and it was great meeting up with so many photographers and fellow trip reporters.

Paris’s public transport system is quite thorough. Due to the age of the infrastructure, things are not luggage friendly. It was a mission to get down to the Saint Michel-Notre Dame RER station with an overweight suitcase, a laptop/camera bag and a backpack but I somehow managed even with broken down escalators.

The RER B line takes you all the way to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and depending on what terminal your flight is from, you may have to take another people mover named the CDGVAL. For those departing from Terminal 2 (AF, KL, Skyteam carriers, Oneworld carriers and many others), there is no need to take the extra train as the RER stops in the middle of the Terminal 2 complex. Apparently there is a shuttle bus that goes around Terminal 2 because it’s so large but I had no idea where to catch it from so I walked all the way down to Terminal 2A from the RER station. It had been known for a few days that there was to be a strike on that day, the 6th of February, by the ground staff. With this in the back of my mind, I was wondering if the flight would be delayed at all. The departure board seemed ok, not too many flights were showing “retarde” as their status.

FIDS


The walk down to Terminal 2A went past many empty check-in areas, the odd Middle Eastern airline, some full AA check in areas, and finally down to Cathay Pacific. The Economy Class line was pretty full seeing that there was another Cathay flight (via AMS) which was also open for check in. No problems for me - the red carpet of the First Class check in was wide open so I was called over there from the blue carpeted Business Class line. I asked how full the flight was and the reply was that it was packed. With no mention of any delays, I was on my way with my boarding pass in hand.

Boarding pass


Security took a little while to pass through as all the priority line people were entitled to jump the security line. I was in no rush as even the first Cathay flight still hadn’t departed. Once airside, I had a quick wander around (not that much to do in the smallish area) before heading to Cathay’s lounge.

EY F1 liveried A346


Cathay Pacific’s lounge at CDG is a rather small, open air ‘rooftop’ type thing; perched above the main floor with a quasi view (ie if you tried, you’d be able to look out over the frosted glass ‘walls’) of both airside and landside CDG. I didn’t know what to expect from it. I went in, was greeted and was told that the place had no toilets but there was a toilet block opposite the lounge entrance. After entering, I could see why - there was absolutely no space for anything else in that lounge! France is known for its wine and the CDG lounge is apparently the only CX lounge apart from the HKG lounges which serve champagne. But more surprisingly, I saw a bottle of Chateau La Begorce Margaux 1998 - it was an extremely good wine. In hindsight, I probably should have had another glass or two to help me get to sleep! The food offerings were small but quite diverse and they were replenished quite frequently. It had things such as fruit, nuts, cold cuts, cheese, sandwiches and mini macarons. A fridge was filled with all sorts of drinks and yoghurts too. But obviously, that wine was definitely the highlight of the visit!

Entrance to the lounge
Food and drink offerings
That area seemed to comprise of half the size of the lounge


I left the lounge far too early because as soon as I reached the gate area, there was an announcement that the flight would be delayed by 30 minutes “due to the late arrival of the aircraft”. I knew that was a complete lie because the inbound aircraft had arrived at 6am. Obviously we had also been affected by the strike. Nevertheless, people started queuing. It got to the point where the Economy line snaked its way around just about the entire area of the Terminal 2A add-on gate lounge area. It kept on growing until most of the seats were actually empty because people decided to join the queue..

Towards the left of the image, there is a person holding up a sign - the Economy queue had stretched a long way back!


Eventually, boarding began..




It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31337 times:

Flight Information

6 Feb 2012
Routing: Paris Charles De Gaulle - Hong Kong (CDG-HKG)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX260
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1300hrs (GMT+1)
Actual Departure: 1339hrs (pushback), 1358hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 0720hrs+1 (GMT+8)
Touchdown: 0759hrs+1 (GMT+8)
Flight time: 11 hrs 20 min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Registration: B-HUB
Seat: 58C


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alexander K.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Phil Hyde
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Florian Kondziela




B-HUB was delivered new from Boeing in October 1992, the next new 744 frame of CX’s following B-HUA; which I flew on to LHR. Other than that, the rest of the information about CX’s 744s from above are the same.

Indeed, the flight was a packed one. A few people were called to the desk just before boarding (possible op-ups) but I wasn’t one of them. Another silly decision by me to choose the aisle seat of the window block rather than the middle block would mean that there’d possibly be two people wanting to climb over me to get out. The guy in the window seat looked like some sort of architect/designer and I can’t believe he stayed put for the entire flight, not needing to even stretch during the flight. The prisoner seat guy was a Filipino who left his jacket on for the entire flight. More about him later. We were finally told from the flight deck that the delay was due to the strike. The plane was refueling right up to pushback. It must have been from the lack of ground staff. Anyway we finally push back some 40 minutes behind schedule and make our way to the closest runway, Runway 08L.

Meals were eventually passed around. Chicken and rice was the option I chose. I don’t recall a menu being handed out on this flight. The main was nice but the salad was another odd ball.

Lunch/dinner


Anyway, due to the horrible times of this flight, it meant that I’d arrive in Hong Kong after midnight Paris time. It left Paris at a time which wasn’t very body clock friendly. Therefore my mission was to sleep as much as possible so I could spend the day doing something in Hong Kong. I watched a movie until after dinner was cleared up. There were these French students all around my area who were up for the entire flight making quite a bit of noise and moving around; especially up and down the aisle. The only window I was able to look out of was the emergency door window at the back of the plane. There was a fantastic view of some cities over Russia as we flew east. Back in my seat, I tried resting/sleeping some more. My neighbour in his jacket thought he’d stretch out as far and wide as he could and in doing so, took the entire armrest and also somehow took my legroom. It was the most uncomfortable long haul flight i have ever experienced. I couldn’t have felt any more cramped than I did and the seat really didn’t help my cause either.

Hours passed, we made a funny zigzag pattern across western China on our way towards Hong Kong and there was an announcement over the PA near Chongqing if there were any doctors onboard. Well that was the last we heard of that as there was no medical emergency to Chongqing or other nearby airports and we continued our way towards Hong Kong.

Breakfast was due - some kind of omelette with potato cubes and bacon. Once again, the egg was well cooked.

Breakfast


I was so wasted towards the end of that flight and after it that I didn’t report on anything else; not that there was much to report on. We landed smoothly, I somehow made my way to my accommodation and crashed for a few hours.

Hong Kong
One day I’ll get to Thailand to try authentic green curries!


My longer stay in Hong Kong was over and it was time for the add-on side trip to Los Angeles. Yes, it was more like a separate journey altogether.. And an odd way to be travelling instead of continuing around the world from Europe!

Nevertheless, the bus to the airport seemed to be the more direct way instead of having to change MTR lines 3 times and then onto a bus. The check in staff were very nice - both my bags were overweight by a few kg but they were put through without a problem.

Boarding Pass


The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s flagship Business Class lounge, had been fully reopened a few days before this flight. Everything was new and it looked fantastic. It retained features like the long bar and the noodle bar but included new features like The Coffee Loft. This cafe-like area took up the space previously occupied by the desk/lounge area overlooking gates 3 and 4. The use of cheap cafe-style seating seems to somewhat cheapen that area of the lounge, even if it’s supposed to be themed accordingly. I ordered a coffee and instead of using the espresso machine, they simply pressed the button on the automatic coffee machine and gave me the coffee. Surely the espresso machine isn’t just for looks.. It tasted horrible too.

There are a few signature drinks which Cathay has and they are available at the long bar. The Cathay Delight is a non-alcoholic kiwifruit and coconut based drink and is a must try if it’s available.

Stairs leading to the main area of The Wing
The Long Bar
The Noodle Bar
The new cafe area


There are also a few food options alongside the offerings of the Noodle Bar (noodles, bbq pork buns etc) and the Coffee Loft (patisserie items, Haagen Dazs ice cream behind the counter) which are self serve, consistent to the old Wing.


Supper
Dessert, Cathay Delight is on the right


After a relaxing time in the lounge (of course, including a shower), my flight was displaying as boarding. An announcement was made for it too. The gate was well placed for me - all I had to do was walk out of the lounge. The usual extra US gate security check was done (the old fashioned rummage through the bag) and thankfully it didn’t take very long. My special water bottle was kindly emptied by the agent and returned to me. But in all honesty, the area isn’t overly ‘secure’ as such beyond the checkpoint itself - someone could easily toss a bottle of anything into that area.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31310 times:

Flight Information

12 Feb 2012
Routing: Hong Kong - Los Angeles (HKG-LAX)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX880
Scheduled Time of Departure: 2345hrs (GMT+8)
Actual Departure: 2354hrs (pushback), 0014hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 2015hrs (GMT-8)
Touchdown: 1935hrs (GMT-8)
Flight time: 11 hrs 41 min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: B-KPW
Seat: 39D


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Viktor Gula
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Manny Gonzalez - Thrust Images


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © A. Kwanten
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jerry Pang



Cathay Pacific ordered the 777-300ER back in December 2005, for delivery from September 2007 onwards. They have proved to be a great addition to the fleet and fly the majority of North American flights. Earlier this year, they announced that Premium Economy was going to to be introduced along with a new Economy Class seat (some in 3-class configuration and some in 4-class configuration). Some aircraft have already been retrofitted and some have arrived brand new from Boeing. B-KPW is CX’s 5th youngest 77W, delivered after B-KPX (ie it wasn’t delivered in chronological order) on 29 Aug 2011. At the time of my flight, it was the youngest 77W in the fleet. It currently sports the new Business Class seats but hasn’t been retrofitted for the new Y+/Y seats yet and will probably be the last plane to be fitted. Cathay Pacific has stuck with a 3-3-3 seating configuration in Economy which would be music to some peoples’ ears. It does provide for quite a roomy cabin when compared to that of NZ’s 77W where (I feel) the black adds to the claustrophobic effect.

Down the jetbridge I went and I settled myself into my seat. I was rather lucky to have no neighbour in the middle seat on this flight. It gave me room to move around and not have to worry about getting up for someone. I could just feel the space as I sat down in that seat - the surroundings just felt so far away, especially when the overhead lockers were closed. Something strange underneath the seat prevented me from fitting any bags in front of me. The only thing which stopped me from being in absolute awe was the fact that the mood lighting was never used on either 77W flights - planes which I’m pretty certain have the ability to do so. Looking beyond the curtain in front, a nice purple glow was shining between the gaps. I really don’t get why they don’t use everything they have at their disposal such as mood lighting throughout the entire plane. Menus were handed out before departure, in similar fashion to the first leg of this trip. It said that supper and brunch would be served on this flight.

Departure was to the east on 07R (again) and off on a routing towards Tokyo via Taipei. Dinner was served some time after takeoff but I wasn’t hungry after having something to eat in the lounge. I chose the spare ribs and rice.

Supper


The flight was so much more comfortable with an empty seat next to me. It also meant that I had an extra place to store my stuff. The initial part of the flight was for resting so I could be awake for the latter end of the flight before our arrival at around 8pm local.

Lavatory
Flying alongside Japan


After reaching Tokyo, our course took us nearly directly due east - straight for the West Coast of the USA.

A funny feeling how a whole ‘day’ is spent flying - depart after dusk, land after dusk
Still some distance remaining!


The IFE onboard the 77W seemed to be better than the one onboard the 744 and A343. It had external cameras onboard and the airshow program seemed to be better too. It will improve once more in the new touch screen version being installed into the new Economy seats.

Night is upon us again!


And with the sun ‘setting’ again, we were getting closer to our destination. With that came the next meal. Brunch was served at a semi-appropriate time for Hong Kong but it was fast approaching dinner time in Los Angeles. How confusing for the brain to be served brunch with the sun setting. Nevertheless, I took the egg dish once again and no surprises - it was cooked to perfection again. I’ve come to the conclusion that Cathay Pacific is great at cooking eggs. The sausage, bacon and mushrooms accompanying the egg were fine too. Another pretty decent meal onboard Cathay Pacific.

Brunch
Cabin shot while there’s still light outside
Watching the sunset from the back of the plane
The terminator closing in


It was soon time to prepare for landing.. It didn’t feel like a long flight!



As you may notice in the picture above, the ‘details’ about the flight such as time to destination, speed, altitude and temperature are all blanked out. It wasn’t the case when flying over Japanese airspace so I would assume it’s something that is turned off over US airspace for some reason (unfortunate for us enthusiasts). Our approach path from the north took us on the well known Santa Monica approach with a turn over downtown LA in order to line up with 24R. I was watching the forward camera for the entire descent and noticed a really flashy Staples Center below - the Grammys were being held and I flew right over the top of it! That was a pretty cool feeling. Not long after, we landed without a hitch and taxied into Gate 120. Immigration was horrible at TBIT. There were complications up in front of us with a whole group of people not knowing English and not following instructions. But eventually (at least 40 mins) I got through, collected my bags and got out of there.

[Edited 2012-07-02 03:38:14]


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 31121 times:

Ok, I seem to be having trouble posting pictures the rest of my report. I shall do that in a few days' time and see if the sites can recover by then. Thank you for reading the journey to date and I hope you do find the next part to read soon!

Cheers,

Nicholas


Camera Equipment:
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

http://www.nickyoungphotos.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/anz787900/
http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?pid=17353


Previous Trip Reports:
Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 1/2: AKL-ZQN-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 2/2: AKL-NPE-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air New Zealand: NZ105 AKL-SYD Economy (by NZ107 Feb 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
A Whale Of A Time: Emirates A380 Inaugural SYD-AKL (by NZ107 Feb 15 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 1 Air NZ AKL-WLG-AKL (by NZ107 Jun 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 2 JQ/DJ AKL (by NZ107 Jul 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 1: Air NZ AKL-CHC-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 2: EK A380 Revisited (by NZ107 Jan 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 3: East Coast Adventure (by NZ107 Feb 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 4: Int'l On Domestic (by NZ107 Feb 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 5: Capital Stopover (by NZ107 Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 6: Homebound On EK A380 (by NZ107 Jun 27 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 7: The DUD Diversion (by NZ107 Jul 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Touch Of Nostalgia - Jumpseating The CV580 (by NZ107 Aug 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Aerolineas Argentinas A342 AKL-SYD (by NZ107 Sep 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Emirates A340-500 MEL-AKL (by NZ107 Nov 12 2010 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat Long Haul: NZ2- The Flagship Route (by NZ107 Dec 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Low Cost Vs Legacy, Southwest Vs United LAX-SFO (by NZ107 Jan 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Delay And An Upgrade: NZ5- Upper Deck (by NZ107 Jan 30 2011 in Trip Reports)
Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL (by NZ107 Feb 25 2011 in Trip Reports)
Domestic Joyriding With Globetraveller; Sky Golf? (by NZ107 Mar 31 2012 in Trip Reports)



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6607 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 29384 times:

Hi Nicholas !

Thanks for a fantastic report with fantastic pictures although a bit long. It seems that the first few flights weren't so great but the last one seemed much better. I think the biggest difference in being a comfortable flight is if the seat next to you is open and of course having a nice crew makes a big difference as well.

From what I understand, CX cannot get their 77Ws fast enough to replace the 744s. Nice that you flew on different aircraft types! Even better that you flew on CX's (at that time) newest 77W!

You must have gotten a lot of miles for these flights with CX! Perhaps Gold already ?

Looking forward to part 2!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 29144 times:

Ok, it looks like everything's solved.. Fingers crossed I can post it all now.


Los Angeles

Just a few pictures from my time in Los Angeles - I realise that the report is huge.. And once again apologise but also congratulate you for getting this far. Thanks for those who have read every line! But you’re more than 70% through!

AA Oneworld 772


We (The777Man and I) witnessed an emergency landing - this 757 performed a missed approach but instead of climbing, he held his altitude for a flyby. We later noticed that there was something wrong when the nose gear hadn’t been deployed. He went around, consumed fuel out near Santa Catalina Island and about 40 minutes later, he returned for the smoothest landing I had ever seen - his nose gear was held up for as long as possible. Well done to the pilots on that day.

Not your ordinary go around
Safely on the ground
Hello to the real Barry, Mr President’s plane - Air Force One
NBA - Staples Center - LA Clippers vs Washington Wizards
Me, Nick Young
Pasadena
Americana at Brand
NBA - Staples Center - LA Lakers vs Portland Trailblazers
22 February 2012

And after that side trip, it was time to head home. Home was (of course) on Cathay Pacific (and Qantas) via Hong Kong and Sydney; creating a 28 hour flying experience rather than the usual 12 it’d be for a direct flight between LAX and AKL. It sounded like a brilliant plan before the travels but after the experience on the Y seats, I was not quite as optimistic that it’d be as fun as anticipated. I’d be keen to do it in the future though with the new seats!

I rocked up to TBIT 2 hours before departure.. Plenty for getting through security at LAX when it’s dead quiet. The check in agent kindly put my luggage right through to AKL - it’s the first time I’ve had so many airport codes on one luggage tag - HKG, SYD and AKL! She was able to check me in through to Sydney but I was told that I wasn’t able to be checked in for the short hop on Qantas back home until later on. She was extremely helpful and at the end, she went out of her way by jumping over the scales to hand me my documents while wishing me a good flight.

TBIT FIDS
Boarding pass


Terminal 4 at LAX, otherwise known as Tom Bradley International Terminal, is regarded many as a dump. There is absolutely nothing to do airside and I somehow hope that the new terminal being built right now can revitalise the terminal and make it sane to travel through again. The Oneworld members share a lounge. At the top of the elevator after going through the north side security, 3 airline logos are displayed - QF, BA and CX. The lounge itself is long - characteristic of the shape of the terminal and the area it’s confined to. There’s quite a bit of seating around the place, quite a few snacks, a bar and other such facilities. Though due to the shape, there is hardly any place which has privacy of any kind. It’s far from a quiet place in the late evening with many flights departing; notably QF flights back to Australia. It seems like it’s a step away from the typical American lounge because there is no such thing as a drinks voucher - I’m led to believe you can have as many as you like (different story if you’re departing from AA’s terminal and use the Admirals Club lounge). One of the downsides is that it lacks sufficient power points. You have go go searching to find ones that aren’t already in use by someone else.

Looking towards the entrance
Food area - bar and more seating is further down
B-KPH is the bird taking me to HKG


After a little bit of standing around, it was time for boarding.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 29210 times:

Flight Information

22 Feb 2012
Routing: Los Angeles - Hong Kong (CDG-HKG)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX881
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0005hrs (GMT-8)
Actual Departure: 2359hrs (pushback), 0029hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 0740hrs+1 (GMT+8)
Touchdown: 0800hrs (GMT+8)
Flight time: 15 hrs 31 min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: B-KPH
Seat: 59D


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sam Chui
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © K.H.Yim


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sneeze Lam
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © William Mah




B-KPH was delivered to Cathay Pacific in May 2008. It has the same configuration as B-KPW has at this present time - First, herringbone Business and old Economy.

It’s so good to be one of the first to board - nobody to block the aisle while trying to put things into the overhead bins, nobody getting out of their seat to let others in... But today’s flight was full and that meant I’d have a neighbour. He eventually found his way to the seat. I basically had to store everything in the bin above me due to the lack of storage under the seat in front of me. I was too tired to do much more and my camera was locked away.

Walking down to my seat


We pushed back early and had a long taxi all the way around from Gate 120 on the north side to the south runway of 25R. This happens to be the longest runway at LAX and a lot of the long/heavy flights use this one. It’s the same runway used in the emergency landing. A very long takeoff roll got us airborne and we made our way north along the coast and up towards Anchorage. The map below shows an approximate route to what I was watching on the airshow function for the whole flight.

Thanks again [html]gcmap.com[/html]!

Both meals were fine, similar to all other meals I’d eaten on CX to date. 15 hours was a long time to be sitting/sleeping in that seat. And to think I’d have another 9 hours in it again after a day in Hong Kong wasn’t exactly music to my ears.The route was particularly interesting, staying well clear or North Korea. We were told that we’d be landing to the west but just on approach, we did this huge bank and ended up landing to the east. It was a pretty cool experience but I wish I had some photos of it!

After we landed, I went up to the cockpit and had a nice chat to the American captain who mentioned that we took off with 130t of fuel and still had enough fuel left over for another 1.5 hours of flying! To think that we could have flown 16.5 hours was mindblowing.. The 777-300ER is one amazing plane.

77W Cockpit


A day (11 hours) spent in Hong Kong and at the airport spotting was drawing to a close. I now held my boarding pass for the last leg home on Qantas thanks to the check in agents. Unfortunately, I couldn’t switch seats but that wasn’t a big problem because I had a window. Another visit to a lounge was required. This time, my departure gate was a long way down - not far from The Pier. So I decided to give that lounge a visit.I think I should have stayed longer at The Wing. The low ceiling wasn’t as welcoming but the lounge had arguably better seating areas. Next time I’m in Hong Kong, I’m checking out The Cabin too.

Boarding pass


There aren’t any boarding announcements in The Pier unlike The Wing and I had to keep checking the boarding status of my flight. Once it popped up, I was on my way to the gate area for my flight.


Flight Information

23 Feb 2012
Routing: Hong Kong - Sydney (HKG-SYD)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX111
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1900hrs (GMT+8)
Actual Departure: 1908hrs (pushback), 1926hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 0715hrs+1 (GMT+11)
Touchdown: 0730hrs (GMT+8)
Flight time: 9 hrs 22 min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration: B-LAK
Seat: 59A


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © chen Wang
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kris Mogford


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sarmad Al-Khozaie - Tranquillity Aviation Photography
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alexander K.



Cathay Pacific has owned A330-300s for a while. With a fleet of 34, they are the backbone to the regional/medium haul flights which Cathay operate. They have a few older subfleets dating back to 1995 and a subfleet in which they’re still waiting to receive some more planes. The older ones are configured for regional travel and don’t make the long trips to the likes of Australia anymore. The newer ones have the normal long haul configuration and will receive the newest configuration consisting of the new J, new Y+ and new Y seats. B-LAK was delivered on the 26th February 2011 making it just under a year old when I flew on it. It had the new Business Class seat already installed when I flew it but it’s also the first A330 in the fleet to be fitted with Premium Economy and the new Economy seats. So in a way, I probably wouldn’t be disappointed if I flew this one again in the near future!


Having status helps when you want to board early.. But in this instance, everything fell apart as there was a strange queue in the airbridge. It was a LAG (liquids, aerosols, gels) security checkpoint set up just before entering the plane! It was not the desired way to end my time in Hong Kong - it was similar to a speed camera which you would only see (or miss) once you went around the corner. There were many outraged passengers who weren’t allowed to take their duty free onboard with them. They all claimed that they had no information of such rules. I believe that Australia’s rules are simply uncalled for. Who knows why they do such a thing like America does but it is a great way to annoy people. The water bottle I had taken from the lounge in order to drink during the flight was confiscated. But other than that, I was free to board.

The 2-4-2 configuration is the same as on the A340-300. With only one person to climb over, I was happy enough to grab the window seat. Departure proceeded just like my 2 other night departures out of HKG - taxi to the end of 07R. It seemed like quite a long takeoff roll in the A330. It also seemed to me that the A333 was louder than the 77W throughout the flight.. But I’m not too sure if sitting in a middle aisle seat made a big difference compared to being next to the window.

Departing over the terminal
Bright lights show Tsim Sha Tsui


Dinner was served. I opted for the sauteed beef (other options were braised chicken with tomato mushroom sauce or bow tie pasta). It wasn’t as good as other meals I’d eaten on CX. Maybe it was because I had already eaten in the lounge so I didn’t feel too hungry by then.

Dinner


I was in sleep mode from after the meal in order to get back into New Zealand’s time zone after having overshot it by 5 hours by going to Hong Kong. When I woke up, breakfast smells were in the air and it was still dark outside. I didn’t think much of the Chinese breakfast option - braised chicken on a steamed rice roll; so I opted for the trusty egg souffle again. And once again, it was cooked well.

Breakfast


The sun wasn’t even up by this point. It would be another half an hour before light would start creeping over the horizon.

Good morning Australia!
Cabin


And just like that, were were approaching Sydney. Runway 34L was in use for the heavies today so it meant flying over the city and then the airport before a 180 degree turn to line up 34L.

Sydney City. Note two cruise ships in port
Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport
Turning around to line up
Cronulla
Condensation!
Short final
Washing out and looking at the usual traffic parked up
Non-QF/Oneworld pier of the international terminal. Note TG Retrojet


And just like that, 24 hours of sitting in that torture chair was finally over. Boy was I glad to get out of it, walk around and then sit in a normal seat.

Business Class cabins



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 29116 times:

SYD Transit

I’ve been through Sydney Airport many times before but never for an international transfer. I suppose it wasn’t that special seeing that instead of heading for immigration, there was a separate direction towards a security checkpoint and some customer service desks before an escalator to take you right back into the airside departures area. Again I was “randomly selected” for testing of explosives traces.. Oh well. At least I wasn’t in a hurry - my flight was still a couple of hours away.

A familiar sight
Boarding pass


A bit of wandering around the place for the sake of it suddenly became tiring so I headed for the departure gate. Not long after, a boarding call was made.

My plane waiting for me
Boarding


With the seemingly QF standard “Thank you, Mr Young” from the gate agent after scanning my boarding pass, I was on my way home.


Flight Information

24 Feb 2012
Routing: Sydney - Auckland (SYD-AKL)
Airline: Qantas (operated by Jetconnect)
Flight: QF55
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0915hrs (GMT+11)
Actual Departure: 0923hrs (pushback), 0938hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1425hrs (GMT+13)
Touchdown: 1426hrs (GMT+13)
Flight time: 3 hrs 3 min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: ZK-ZQG
Seat: 17F


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nicholas Young
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nicholas Young




Jetconnect is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas and it operates the majority of the Qantas flights to New Zealand “on behalf of Qantas”. Technically, it’s a separate operation but if one has never flown Qantas before, they would not know or be able to tell the difference. Jetconnect arose from the demise of Ansett New Zealand’s successor, Qantas New Zealand (using the Qantas name, though operating as a franchise). When that went belly up in 2002, Qantas sought to fill the gap and formed Jetconnect. Initially, they used 737-300s and -400s (transferred from their Australian fleet) on both domestic New Zealand flights but then sought to change things by withdrawing from the domestic market (Jetstar replaced their services) and purchasing a new 738 fleet in order to compete against Air New Zealand and Emirates on the Tasman. Fast forward to 2011 where they have all 8 new 738s equipped with Panasonic touchscreen PTVs - a quantum leap from the entertainment systems in the 733/4s. ZK-ZQG, the 7th 738, was delivered on the 22nd of June, 2011. It was named after Lord Ernest Rutherford, the New Zealander who was the first person to split the atom. They operate with a configuration of 12 Business Class seats and 156 Economy Class seats; identical to the 738s which ply the Australian domestic routes.

Down the airbridge



The flight wasn’t overly full seeing that it was no longer holiday season so I was glad to have an empty seat next to me. On the aisle was a girl from Sweden heading to New Zealand on exchange. The seats onboard this Qantas 737-800 are far better than Cathay’s long haul fixed shell seat. I would have been so happy if that was the seat I had just spent the last 70+ hours of long haul flying in. I won’t ever take another normal Y seat for granted! Legroom was plentiful too - said to be 31”.

Legroom


As I mentioned earlier, These 738s have come with new IFE installed in them. It is touchscreen. There’s a decent selection of songs, TV shows and movies - definitely sufficient for the short hops the plane does across the Tasman. It was easy to use and also provided a decent airshow programme to track the flight progress with. Unlike Cathay Pacific, Qantas was able to store both part 1 and 2 of Harry Potter 7.



We pushed back a little late and made our way over towards the shorter of the parallel runways, Runway 34R.

Taxiing out alongside a special liveried KE 744
VA AT7
VA 738


With a departure to the north, we turned to the east immediately and began the short hop across the Tasman Sea.

Rotate
Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs
EY A346 parked for the day
Seeya later, Sydney!


Lunch was on its way. We were given two options - beef or chicken. I chose the beef and was satisfied with it. It was similar to what you’d get on a Qantas Australian domestic flight although comparing it to the 2009 meal I had, a salad was extra on this meal tray. Maybe things have changed or maybe the salad isn’t exactly required on a short hour flight between MEL and SYD.

Relaxing over the Tasman with a movie on one screen and the airshow on another
Lavatory
Cabin


And just like that, I was almost home. 23L was in operation which meant a downwind over the city.



And in typical New Zealand fashion, I was greeted to views of cloud from the land of the long white cloud.

Land ahoy!
JS-WAEsa4/s800/IMG_2880edit.jpg" border="0"/>Approx 3 mile final
No sign of Colin?  Haere mai, home at last


There was a little bit of a satisfying moment there too as I had beaten CX107 in from HKG (although i did leave a few hours earlier). We made our taxi into Gate 15L - the A380 capable gates are ‘swing’ gates and can hold 2 narrowbodies each with an airbridge instead of one widebody on the dual airbridge.

Aussie neighbour not operated by Jetconnect



I passed through immigration with ease and was home after nearly 2 months of travelling.

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific - People do make an airline. Unfortunately, there were some inconsistencies among staff members which let the rest of the team down. I suppose having a large staff base doesn’t help but I’m sure that something could be done in order to maintain a consistently good service each and every time. I’m glad that the fixed shell seats are getting scrapped but it’s frustrating that none of the planes which fly to Auckland will be fitted with the new seats. I might be waiting for the A350-900 before I get to fly on another Y seat on CX from Auckland.. And that’s a long way away. If I do fly CX again soon, I’m sure I’ll choose a flight through Sydney in order to get on that new seat and actually enjoy sitting in Economy for a long haul flight. I feel as though the service was better on the non-744 services.

Qantas (Jetconnect) - Qantas is the same full service carrier I’ve known them to be for many years. Their standards have not slipped and their product is competitive with Emirates and Air New Zealand, just as they set out to make it. I certainly wouldn’t have any problems flying them again but I suppose price and scheduling will be the only issues separating the 3 main carriers across the Tasman.


So that brings me to the end of this long trip report. Thank you all for reading.



Cheers,
Nicholas

http://www/nickyoungphotos.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/anz787900/
http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?pid=17353



Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 1/2: AKL-ZQN-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 2/2: AKL-NPE-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air New Zealand: NZ105 AKL-SYD Economy (by NZ107 Feb 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
A Whale Of A Time: Emirates A380 Inaugural SYD-AKL (by NZ107 Feb 15 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 1 Air NZ AKL-WLG-AKL (by NZ107 Jun 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 2 JQ/DJ AKL (by NZ107 Jul 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 1: Air NZ AKL-CHC-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 2: EK A380 Revisited (by NZ107 Jan 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 3: East Coast Adventure (by NZ107 Feb 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 4: Int'l On Domestic (by NZ107 Feb 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 5: Capital Stopover (by NZ107 Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 6: Homebound On EK A380 (by NZ107 Jun 27 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 7: The DUD Diversion (by NZ107 Jul 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Touch Of Nostalgia - Jumpseating The CV580 (by NZ107 Aug 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Aerolineas Argentinas A342 AKL-SYD (by NZ107 Sep 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Emirates A340-500 MEL-AKL (by NZ107 Nov 12 2010 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat Long Haul: NZ2- The Flagship Route (by NZ107 Dec 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Low Cost Vs Legacy, Southwest Vs United LAX-SFO (by NZ107 Jan 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Delay And An Upgrade: NZ5- Upper Deck (by NZ107 Jan 30 2011 in Trip Reports)
Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL (by NZ107 Feb 25 2011 in Trip Reports)
Domestic Joyriding With Globetraveller; Sky Golf? (by NZ107 Mar 31 2012 in Trip Reports)



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6607 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 28888 times:

Hi Nicholas !

Very good to see the complete report!

I was curious why you went thru immigration in LHR when you were going to AMS ? You can just do an airside transit.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 12):
Terminal 4 at LAX, otherwise known as Tom Bradley International Terminal

It's just known as Tom Bradley International Terminal; AA is in Terminal 4.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 13):
It was a LAG (liquids, aerosols, gels) security checkpoint set up just before entering the plane! It was not the desired way to end my time in Hong Kong - it was similar to a speed camera which you would only see (or miss) once you went around the corner. There were many outraged passengers who weren’t allowed to take their duty free onboard with them. They all claimed that they had no information of such rules. I believe that Australia’s rules are simply uncalled for. Who knows why they do such a thing like America does but it is a great way to annoy people. The water bottle I had taken from the lounge in order to drink during the flight was confiscated. But other than that, I was free to board.

US does not have such a check. Once you clear security, you can buy and bring any liquids with you on board including duty free.

Looking forward to your intra-European flights trip report!

It was good to see you when you were here and hope to see you again when you pass by.

You were lucky to get tickets to a Laker game, those are supposedly difficult to get.

Take Care

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 28806 times:

Hi Lars, thanks for your comments!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):
Thanks for a fantastic report with fantastic pictures although a bit long. It seems that the first few flights weren't so great but the last one seemed much better. I think the biggest difference in being a comfortable flight is if the seat next to you is open and of course having a nice crew makes a big difference as well.

Yeah, my apologies for the length once again.. I felt as though the continuity would be lost if I split it up. The A343 flight was great and so was that HKG-LAX. That's very true - it makes a huge difference having an empty seat next to you plus a nice crew.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):

From what I understand, CX cannot get their 77Ws fast enough to replace the 744s. Nice that you flew on different aircraft types! Even better that you flew on CX's (at that time) newest 77W!

I heard they're leasing a few more 77Ws (2009 build apparently). They have decided to fast track the retirement of the 744 fleet.. They do look weary. I'm glad that I had flown on so many different types with them and yes, getting the newest one at the time was something rather special!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):
You must have gotten a lot of miles for these flights with CX! Perhaps Gold already ?

Haha, nope.. It'd require another RTW to get that  
Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
I was curious why you went thru immigration in LHR when you were going to AMS ? You can just do an airside transit.

I had to collect my luggage as I had not interlined it. The mobile phone shops that I saw were airside at T5 and I wanted to get a simcard for the rest of my European travels so I stuck with that course and went there.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):

It's just known as Tom Bradley International Terminal; AA is in Terminal 4.

Oh right, thanks.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
US does not have such a check. Once you clear security, you can buy and bring any liquids with you on board including duty free.

I meant the security check just before the gate when boarding flights to the US rather than the fact that you can/can't take certain things through.. But yeah, Australian rules are very strange.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):

Looking forward to your intra-European flights trip report!

Might be a while yet!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
It was good to see you when you were here and hope to see you again when you pass by.

Indeed, it was good to see you again! I'll definitely notify you again when I think about returning to LA!


Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1954 posts, RR: 24
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 28124 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really impressive report, NZ107! What a lot of travel around the world on CX in Economy Class!

The Economy seats do not look impressive, and would give me a bit back problem I am certain! Food looks average, but the breakfasts do look to be the best meal choice.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Dinner came around soon after. I chose the beef stew which was pretty nice. The salad was pretty strange - “Chicken breast with mixed vegetables in Italian dressing”.. And I left it alone. But the weirdest most creepy feeling came from Mr 59H. He didn’t eat his meal but thought it’d be more fun to watch me eat, as if he was timing his strike. It was so awkward sitting there eating and seeing this creep watching me eat out of the corner of my eye for the entire time - it was just downright weird. I hope I don’t encounter anyone like that ever again. Some people are so rude in getting their way it’s not funny.

Gosh, some seat mates can be bizarre. I have never heard of this type of scenario before though!

One question - why is that in the photo of your CX 777-300 shot at LAX bound for HKG, the 1st jetbridge is retracted away from the gate at Door 1L. Was this used at all during boarding, or retracted only after F and J were boarded? I just found this interesting if it wasn't being used at all for such a full flight.

Best,

Matthew (767747)


User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 28064 times:

Nice report! Hope your travels bring you to SFO! Some great places to spot around here!

9V-SPJ


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1299 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 27851 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Nicholas!!

What an amazing CX Marathon. I would have chosen to title it "The Cathay Pacific Intercontinental Extravaganza"!! Just terrible you had to endure those torture seats for countless hours. However looks like you enjoyed CX.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
not to mention flights across the Pacific to the likes of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Vancouver.


You forgot Toronto, which has been around much longer than the newly introduced Chicago lol

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
Being Marco Polo Silver has its benefits when flying with Cathay Pacific. You’re granted Business Class check in, lounge access and priority boarding.

Did all the miles from these flights boost your status even further!!!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The flight attendants thought on their feet and decided it was a good time to distribute the menu and also take some meal orders. Today’s choice - Chinese (noodles) vs English (egg) breakfast.

Taking orders for meals in Y?

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
Close up on Auckland City

Gorgeous views of Auckland.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
Annoyance number 1 - opening and closing the tray table, making it drop. The vibration of the tray table dropping went right through the seat. I probably should have switched to the aisle seat in hindsight. Annoyance number 2 - playing hand games with the seat back. How do you let your kids do these things?

This is one reason I take the last seat on an aircraft....Hate all the three annoyances happening to my seat, like you mentioned above!!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
31 Dec 2011
Routing: Hong Kong - London Heathrow (HKG-LHR)
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight: CX255
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0105hrs (GMT+8)
Actual Departure: 0105hrs (pushback), 0124hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 0620hrs (GMT)
Touchdown: 0624hrs (GMT)
Flight time: 13 hrs 19 min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Registration: B-HUA
Seat: 57H
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 4):
The check in agent had confirmed that it was a pretty full flight. I had changed my seat at the last minute in the hope of getting 3 seats to myself and it looked to remain that way.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
The doors were closed and I was left with 2 empty seats next to me - just like I had seen on the seat map when I checked in online. I thought I’d slide over to the window for departure before making a little nest for myself. I had strewn all my stuff under all 3 seats.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
After the seatbelt sign was turned off, the purser approached me but instead of a nice welcome, she said, “Another passenger is going to sit in the window seat”, in the coldest manner possible. That person just had to be the one complaining from the row in front of me. Well, who’s to argue against the purser? So I reluctantly obliged, vacating my window seat and the dream of a nice little nest for the journey west. It set the mood for the rest of the flight. Then, as you do, the guy who snuck into the window seat told me his partner was going to sit in the middle seat. I told him to wait until after dinner. So he relayed that message to his so-called partner sitting directly behind me. His partner had a seat free next to him so it’s beyond me why they couldn’t just settle there or where they were originally placed.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
But the weirdest most creepy feeling came from Mr 59H. He didn’t eat his meal but thought it’d be more fun to watch me eat, as if he was timing his strike. It was so awkward sitting there eating and seeing this creep watching me eat out of the corner of my eye for the entire time - it was just downright weird. I hope I don’t encounter anyone like that ever again. Some people are so rude in getting their way it’s not funny. So I had finally finished eating, got out of my seat to let 59H’s partner in and then moved to the seat behind where there was a gap between me and a girl on the window fast asleep and oblivious to anything else going on. And then one of their sons went across to join them. Oh well, at least I wouldn’t be bugged by them for the rest of the flight.

Isn't all this your fault to begin with. You had been assigned 57H, why were you in 59K (window) and attempting to take three seats all to yourself on an already packed flight. Perhaps you had already seized their seats, and they had talked to the purser about it, with the only resolution by her to settle it after they take off. Also you choose to continue to sit in the middle seat when you should have moved right away. You were after all separating two people who had planned to travel together. I wouldn't really feel sorry for what you encountered, but watching you while you ate was quite creepy.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
To add to that, they had no expressions when serving the meals at all and it felt as though they wished they were somewhere else. Maybe it was going to be New Years Eve when we landed but we would be in London. Is that not better than serving customers on a New Year night flight?

It could have been far worse than working the New Year's Eve flight. They were probably working the flight on New Year's day out of LHR after the 24 hour rest. Most cabin crew turnaround times are now 24 hours. EK, EY do it on their ultra long haul AUH/DXB to JFK sectors. So they already were miserable leaving Hong Kong knowing their New Year's day was going to be in the air!!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 6):
Not only that but I had a meeting the next morning with Suryo (Akhmad) and Eric (Airbuseric) for some spotting at AMS!

How nice to meet these two on New Year's day. And especially nice of them to make the time on a day such as New Year's day to meet up with you.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 9):
As you may notice in the picture above, the ‘details’ about the flight such as time to destination, speed, altitude and temperature are all blanked out. It wasn’t the case when flying over Japanese airspace so I would assume it’s something that is turned off over US airspace for some reason (unfortunate for us enthusiasts).

At least your map was still functioning. On one of my EY flights the flight map was off before we took off and remained that way for the entire duration.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 9):
Our approach path from the north took us on the well known Santa Monica approach with a turn over downtown LA in order to line up with 24R. I was watching the forward camera for the entire descent and noticed a really flashy Staples Center below

Did you not see the "Hollywood" sign? I deeply regretted my camera running out of batteries to click that and of course the gorgeous arrival path into Los Angeles.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 13):
The map below shows an approximate route to what I was watching on the airshow function for the whole flight.

Very northern route, as opposed to your inbound flight which was directly over the Pacific.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 13):
The 777-300ER is one amazing plane.

She sure is!!!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 13):
There were many outraged passengers who weren’t allowed to take their duty free onboard with them. They all claimed that they had no information of such rules. I believe that Australia’s rules are simply uncalled for. Who knows why they do such a thing like America does but it is a great way to annoy people. The water bottle I had taken from the lounge in order to drink during the flight was confiscated. But other than that, I was free to board.

Liquids are not allowed period. Even in the Middle East your Duty Free is confiscated and handed to you on landing.


User currently offlinelxa333 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 27827 times:

what a great trip report, well done dude! New Zealand is so far from everything on the planet. It takes a very loooooong time to get back to western civilization(USA, Canada, EU). I guess the long flights can be enjoyable.


SWISSAIR-Worlds most refreshing airline
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6438 posts, RR: 38
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 27639 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
Really impressive report, NZ107! What a lot of travel around the world on CX in Economy Class!

Hi Matthew, thanks for your comments! It was a lot of travelling on CX Y.... I don't think I'll do anything quite like it on those seats again  
Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
The Economy seats do not look impressive, and would give me a bit back problem I am certain! Food looks average, but the breakfasts do look to be the best meal choice.

Yeah, about time they changed them too.. Just a shame the won't find their way easily to most destinations for a while. The taste is probably more important in the food and most of them were just fine.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
Gosh, some seat mates can be bizarre. I have never heard of this type of scenario before though!

Nor had I! It wasn't a seat I was wanting to stay in for that flight either!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
One question - why is that in the photo of your CX 777-300 shot at LAX bound for HKG, the 1st jetbridge is retracted away from the gate at Door 1L. Was this used at all during boarding, or retracted only after F and J were boarded? I just found this interesting if it wasn't being used at all for such a full flight.

From memory, I visited the plane before heading up to the lounge so that was about an hour or so before boarding. I suppose it was just sitting there until they were ready to start boarding etc.

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Reply 18):
Nice report! Hope your travels bring you to SFO! Some great places to spot around here!

Thanks 9V-SPJ! I visited SFO on my last trip to USA but it's a nice city and I'd love to return again.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):

What an amazing CX Marathon. I would have chosen to title it "The Cathay Pacific Intercontinental Extravaganza"!! Just terrible you had to endure those torture seats for countless hours. However looks like you enjoyed CX.

Thanks Flightsimboy! I think I'll hold back an "Extravaganza" until I fly this much in J or Y  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
You forgot Toronto, which has been around much longer than the newly introduced Chicago lol

Ahh yes, Toronto. Hence the "to the likes of" phrase - I knew I'd forget to list one!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
Did all the miles from these flights boost your status even further!!!

Haha nope, CX have a layered system whereas once you get silver, your mileage year resets so you need a further 60,000 miles from there to reach Gold.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
Taking orders for meals in Y?

CX is known to take meal orders from Diamond and Gold Marco Polo members. Maybe in this case, it was a confirmation of special meals and subsequent drink orders - not too sure but they were writing things down on paper.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
You had been assigned 57H, why were you in 59K (window) and attempting to take three seats all to yourself on an already packed flight

Oh sorry, I have a few typos with the seat number. The seat I had on my boarding pass had 2 free seats next to it after pushback so I made my move then across to the window. And the plane wasn't packed - there were still a few empty seats around the place in the 'middle' seats. Yet these people just "had" to be seated next to each other or that first guy just "had" to be moved from where he was for some reason unknown. Oh well..

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
At least your map was still functioning. On one of my EY flights the flight map was off before we took off and remained that way for the entire duration.

Yeah, I'm grateful for that or else I wouldn't have enjoyed the flight as much.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 19):
Did you not see the "Hollywood" sign?

It was 7pm and dark, plus without a window seat, it's pretty hard to see anything else apart from what the camera gives you. The Hollywood sign is not in line with the flight path (that I'm aware of anyway).

Quoting lxa333 (Reply 20):
what a great trip report, well done dude! New Zealand is so far from everything on the planet. It takes a very loooooong time to get back to western civilization(USA, Canada, EU). I guess the long flights can be enjoyable.

Thanks LXA333! New Zealand is far from everything on the planet, though I did take a rather indirect route home to make it seem like an absolute eternity away this time 


Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1299 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 27590 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 21):
It was 7pm and dark, plus without a window seat, it's pretty hard to see anything else apart from what the camera gives you. The Hollywood sign is not in line with the flight path (that I'm aware of anyway).

No that sign is directly outside the window, looking down of course!. I didn't realise it was dark and forgot you didn't have the window seat!! I still remember seeing it and then in blurring out in the exhaust from the engines as we passed it.


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1114 posts, RR: 32
Reply 23, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 27085 times:

Yo Nicholas.

That was certainly an epic read... I've the satisfied feeling of just having eaten a good omlette! It has certainly got to go down as one of the most comprehensive reports on CX that is for sure - and covering the entire range of their a/c. I don't think the A380 is too much of a stretch for CX do you? And I think they night to keep up with the competition too...



Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
My apologies in advance for the length of this report as it is a marathon - I didn’t know how I could break this up so I just decided to amalgamate them into one report.

My favourite type of reports! And rather that than a protracted striptease (ahem! I was guilty in Africa series).

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
Cathay Pacific has 2 daily flights over the summer into Auckland

My only trip to NZ was with CX. Fond memories.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 3):
HDR of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

Great photo - quite clear weather.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 6):
As we approached London, the captain came across on the PA and informed us of the backlog of landing flights and to expect some time holding.

Nice! It is the classic welcome to LHR. I am fascinated by the early morning bank of heavies into LHR - there are some great photos on the database of these. I should try and get up to see it one day.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 9):
Supper

Excellent quality of meals/ drinks in the lounge.

I think CX came of looking pretty good in these reports. The seat looked a pain, the meals looked a bit frugal, and it was a disappointment to hear about a scattering of rude staff. But otherwise all other things seemed excellent.

So. Well done! And it was a nice thing to do before you start working life!

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineCXB77L From Australia, joined Feb 2009, 2648 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (2 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 26989 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Thank you for the trip report, Nicholas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 12):
Conclusion

Cathay Pacific - People do make an airline. Unfortunately, there were some inconsistencies among staff members which let the rest of the team down. I suppose having a large staff base doesn’t help but I’m sure that something could be done in order to maintain a consistently good service each and every time. I’m glad that the fixed shell seats are getting scrapped but it’s frustrating that none of the planes which fly to Auckland will be fitted with the new seats. I might be waiting for the A350-900 before I get to fly on another Y seat on CX from Auckland.. And that’s a long way away. If I do fly CX again soon, I’m sure I’ll choose a flight through Sydney in order to get on that new seat and actually enjoy sitting in Economy for a long haul flight. I feel as though the service was better on the non-744 services.

You're right about inconsistent service letting the team down. More importantly, it lets their customers' expectations down. They say first impressions are the ones that last, and bad service - even if it's just a once-off, can turn away customers.

I must be among the minority here when I say I actually like the fixed shell seats. I've flown long haul on them before from PER to HKG and YVR and back. I find it to be a perfectly comfortable seat to sit in, although I will agree it's probably not the best for sleeping. I dislike traditional reclining seats because it takes away already limited legroom for the passenger behind. However, having recently experienced Virgin Australia's new domestic economy class on their A332s, which utilises a similar recline function as CX's new seats, (seat base slides forward as well as the seat back reclining), I guess it's a pretty good compromise between those who love their legroom and those who love their recline.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 12):
Qantas (Jetconnect) - Qantas is the same full service carrier I’ve known them to be for many years. Their standards have not slipped and their product is competitive with Emirates and Air New Zealand, just as they set out to make it. I certainly wouldn’t have any problems flying them again but I suppose price and scheduling will be the only issues separating the 3 main carriers across the Tasman.

I haven't experienced QF's new domestic Y class, but I think their old international product isn't up to scratch, and is vastly inferior to NZ's old international Y. QF's domestic Y class does look good, though. I must try it once.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 16):
I heard they're leasing a few more 77Ws (2009 build apparently).

I read on PPRUNE that it isn't "more" 77Ws. They are selling some of their 2009 build 77Ws and leasing them back until 2022.



Boeing 777 fanboy
25 theobcman : Having flown LHR-HKG on CX a few times for work, could not agree more about the seats. Torture Chambers ! I do try to avoid CX now but sometimes price
26 Post contains images NZ107 : Hey Luke! Great to hear from you. Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed. Hope you enjoyed the omelette as much as I did! Yeah from the beginning
27 Post contains images initious : Hi Nicholas, Thanks for this wonderful report on Cathay Pacific's international long haul services! That must be some crazy flying you've done over 2
28 MSS658 : Hi Nicholas Great report, glad CX pleased you on your intercontinental marathon. I do envy you flying CDG-HKG-LAX at once, a true hardcore routing. CX
29 lukeyboy95 : Hi Nicholas. A little follow-up; Exactly. But for me it smacks of not having enough confidence in the business to sustain large aircraft. I would have
30 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi Daniel, Thanks for your comments! It was a crazy journey.. And I didn't really feel as though I did that much flying either! Thanks! By the end of
31 Post contains images infodesk : Hi Nicholas, So, finally I have time to read about your CX marathon! What a lot of hard work you've put into this one, as walways Of course, you have
32 NZ107 : Hi Hannah, Thanks for your comments! I don't particularly want to write a TR this long again! And I suppose you'll be able to provide me with a glimp
33 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Nicholas, that's an extremely long, but great report with many outstanding pictures! I'm glad I could finally see them all. CX looks fine in genera
34 Post contains images akhmad : Nicholas, my friend, Finally I get around reading your exciting report. Phew, it feels like running marathon, but truly satisfied at the end. You must
35 Post contains images abrelosojos : Nicholas, First of all, thanks for your outstanding trip reports. Secondly, thank you for thoroughly confusing me and making me tired just from readin
36 gabrielchew : Very nice (thorough) report Nick! Looks like most of your CX flights were good, except for that aeful sounding HKG-LHR flight. Nice artwork! Nice rout
37 lychemsa : I thought that CX were changing all their Y seats. Really dumb to have installed uncomfortable seats.
38 Thai744 : Great trip report, Nicholas! Whan an epic trip! Having flown in those horrible CX "shell" seats often enough, I really felt for you with all the time
39 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi PH, thanks for you comments! Glad you could finally view the whole thing. I suppose it has something to do with the traffic - it hits a peak and t
40 beowulf : Thanks a lot for sharing. Very well documented.
41 airbusmango : Hi Nicholas! Absolutely fantastic trip report with innumerable fantastic photographs! Yes I do remember passing by The Peninsula when I was riding a K
42 NZ107 : Thanks Beowulf! Thanks Hafiz! It's by no means claustrophobic, especially in a 777. SIN-CMB would most likely receive the regional configured aircraf
43 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Yes, let's hope so. Could be a reason. LH hasn't said anything significant yet about the 748's performance. And many carriers don't even have 32", e.
44 NZ107 : Hi again PH, Which makes me wonder if they are going to take a leap for the A380, despite all these wing problems continuing to plague the fleets. I'd
45 karan69 : Hi Nicholas Man that was a marathon read and i am glad to say it was totally worth as we experienced your flights on CX with you It was interesting to
46 NZ107 : Hi Karan, Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed reading. I had to change my plans after booking which saw me backtracking to AMS. Otherwise yes,
47 Post contains images PlaneHunter : LH seems to be very satisfied with the A380. No worries, take your time. Better late than never! PH
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic The Cathay Pacific Intercontinental Marathon
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run posted Mon Jan 26 2009 11:39:12 by Ronerone
Business And Friends: Cathay Pacific HKG-BKK-SIN posted Sun Apr 29 2012 11:48:44 by akhmad
Cathay Pacific AMS-HKG: An Upper Deck Experience posted Sat Apr 7 2012 14:28:57 by akhmad
Cathay Pacific Suites - Ultra Long Haul HKG-JFK posted Sun Mar 18 2012 04:58:27 by thaia345
Cathay Pacific Herringbone On SYD-HKG posted Fri Dec 16 2011 04:22:17 by rushed
Cathay Pacific Suites/J & DragonAir F/J posted Sun Aug 21 2011 01:13:32 by thaia345
Cathay Pacific B747-400 First Class Transpacific posted Thu Jul 21 2011 05:29:09 by N178UA
Cathay Pacific New Business Class - CX 888 HKG-YVR posted Tue Jul 19 2011 23:24:23 by fjiii
Cathay Pacific New Business Class Experience posted Wed Jul 13 2011 04:48:05 by N178UA
"Thank You For Flying Cathay Pacific" posted Thu Dec 16 2010 06:44:01 by boeingdotcom

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format