justbala From India, joined Feb 2006, 168 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 8899 times:
Having taken a year off from work, I am currently pursuing a 1 year full time MBA programme (EPGP) at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. As part of the course, one term is dedicated to an International Immersion programme in conjunction with a Business School overseas. This year we had the good fortune to spend 1 term in South Korea at KAIST Business School. This TR describes the last leg of the journey back from SEL, covering the HKG-BLR leg on KA metal in Y class. This is probably the first report on this sector.
The inbound leg from ICN was on a CX 330 and I dont recollect much of this flight as I crashed as soon as I got to my seat at ICN and was woken up after almost everyone departed from the a/c @ HKG.
As I was spending the weekend in HKG, I checked in for my return flight (dep 2245 hrs) at the City Check In counters at Hong Kong Island MTR station at 1300 hrs. You can check in your baggage starting from 24 hours prior to your departure.
External View of the Hong Kong Airport Express City Check In
Simple 3 step Check In Process
Ticket Vending Machine for the Airport Express Train - 100 HKD needs to be purchased before check in
Check In Counters with the FIDS.
The Airport Express Ticket gives you access to the check in area. There are counters for a plethora of airlines and I queued up behind a family who were being checked in at the KA counter. The lady manning the adjoining Shenzen Airline counter asked me if i was flying KA and then motioned me to come over to her desk, In coupla minutes my baggage was tagged and dispatched on its journey to HKG and I was given the boarding pass to my flight later that evening.
Post check in one can directly access the Airport Express Train
But I still had almost half a day of sight seeing left and headed to the Left Baggage Center, which is at the far corner of the station and deposited my carry on bags. The charge for 3 hours is around 40 HKD (iirc)
After spending an evening at "The Peak" and around the Expo area, I was back at the HKG station to board the Airport Express Train. Trains depart every 10 mins with coupla stops along the way.
Inside the Airport Express Train
In Seat Audio Control... the audio speakers are inbuilt into your seatheads.. pretty neat
Arriving at HKG Airport. The train heads onwards to AsiaWorld Expo
Entering the Airport Terminal
Since I had my boarding pass with me I headed straight for immigration and security. The lines for both were not that long and in under 10 minutes I was air side.
Caught up with some classmates who had also decided to to take a break @ HKG
Headed to Food Court Area on the upper level for some Beef Curry and Rice along with Bun and Cream..
My flight to BLR today was boarding at gate 25 today and about 30 mins before departure time headed out to the gate.
Display of Chinese Opera Costumes at the gate
KA 152 to BLR Boarding at Gate 25 - Codeshare with parent CX
The KA 330 taking me back home - too dark to read the regn
ILBST sadly missing -
More colleagues at the gate
OW Logo at the front door
The Y class was choc-a-bloc with hardly any seats free. The J class seemed roughly half full.
View from my seat up the aisle
Safety video on the personal IFE screen
The safety demonstration on the IFE was in English and Chinese. This was followed by an audio tape in Kannada (The language spoken in the State of Karnataka, the capital city of which is Bangalore) and Hindi. Not sure if other international airlines flying into BLR have safety procedures in Kannada
The IFE onboard KA A330 is non-AVOD. There are a handful of channels - nothing much to write about. One channel had a Hindi movie on.
Leg Space was slightly on the cramped side - manageable for a 5 hour flight is you are of average height.
Once we got airborne, the crew distributed menu cards
Today's options in Y included -
Western Main Course - Lemon Thyme Chicken with Orzo Pasta, Green Bean and Carrot
Indian Main Course - Tandoori Lamb with Vegetable Korma and Turmeric Rice
Indian Vegetarian Main Course - Paneer Korma and Aloo Gobhi Masala (Potato Cauliflower Dish) and Basmati Rice.
Served along with Fresh Fruit Plate,Bread Roll and Tea/Coffee/Drinks.
KA Also provides a snack service before landing and today that was going to be Broccoli and Carrot Puff Pastry or Roasted Chicken in Pita Bread. Notice how the "Vegetarian" symbol is erroneously put against the Chicken dish. I brought this to the notice of the crew who apologized for the mistake.
The Indian Non-Veg Option
The Lamb was a lil too sour for my taste and hence I left the tray pretty much untouched. Thankfully I had a hearty dinner at HKG Airport itself.
Post dinner, the cabin lights were turned off and the crew retreated back to the galley. However the forward Y cabin was way too hot for comfort. In fact I was sweating though my headsets.
The F/As were repeatedly called to correct the situation, however they said they are trying their best, but given that this was a pretty old a/c there airconditioning was not in the best of shape.
Unable to sleep, I headed out to the galley and spent almost two hours there chatting with some colleagues and the F/As. KA (and probably CA) are the only East Asian carriers who have a crew layover at BLR. The crew offered us drinks and snacks while we were there.
About 45 minutes away from BLR, we experienced mild turbulence and the seat belt signs came on. I bid farewell to the F/As and went back to my seat. The turbulence kept showing up all the way into BLR.
We landed into BLR and were docked at the gate before time.
Thank You for Flying Dragon Air
View of the a/c after disembarking at BLR
My luggage took an inordinately long time to show up - not sure if this is due to City Check in.
View of the Baggage Belt at BLR
Overall the KA experience was pretty average. The dated metal along with a rudimentary IFE and bad catering make this a "not-so-appealing" option when compared to the likes of SQ and TG. The saving grace probably is the crew and HKG Airport itself. Wonder if CX would take over this route from KA in the near future given the amount of traffic this route generates especially to the US West Coast. Hopefully that happens soon!!
Flown IC , 9W , SQ , SV , GF , S2 , LX , IT , LH , OS , DN , AC , MH , 6E , MI , AA , TG , EK , QR , SG , TK , KW, UA ,
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6715 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 8170 times:
good to read about KA again, it's a rare carrier on a.net. KA could do better, but I guess its product is still regarded good enough to compete with the main rivals from China. I had a rather nice flight from HKG to PEK back in 2010.
sq_ek_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1633 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8041 times:
Great Report! The food looked good, too bad it didn't match its appearances with taste.
I would hasten to add however, that KA's product (as a regional subsidiary carrier to a huge international parent) seems miles ahead of Silk Air which is a similarly structured airline. The food looks way better and more substantial on KA, they offer two meals on the BLR flight and at least make an attempt on IFE. Throw in the fact you were in a widebody and it seems as though the crew were nice, Dragon Air seem to be miles above MI.
Flew MI several times between SIN and KTM, a flight time of about 5 hours as well. At Silk Air their catering is basic at best, inedible at worst with absolutely tiny portions. No snacks, no second meal services. They have no IFE save for silent features on drop down screens, their crew are surly, rude and inattentive on sub-continent runs (though this isn't the case on South East Asia flights) and their A320s, at least when I flew them, were rather tatty and cramped. I was surprised that this was an SQ subsidiary and I believe the flight even had an SQ code on it!
ojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2962 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7575 times:
Quoting justbala (Thread starter): Having taken a year off from work, I am currently pursuing a 1 year full time MBA programme (EPGP) at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. As part of the course, one term is dedicated to an International Immersion programme in conjunction with a Business School overseas. This year we had the good fortune to spend 1 term in South Korea at KAIST Business School.
vaus77w From Australia, joined Aug 2011, 143 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7355 times:
Thanks for sharing! I'd heard about the city check-in at HKG, looks like a great service. Sounds like you got quite good service for a 5 hour leg, with 2 meals. Although the IFE looked pretty average, I guess many people nowadays have their own devices. Speaking of which, did the seats have in-seat power?
abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5075 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6287 times:
Quoting sq_ek_freak (Reply 2): I would hasten to add however, that KA's product (as a regional subsidiary carrier to a huge international parent) seems miles ahead of Silk Air which is a similarly structured airline. The food looks way better and more substantial on KA, they offer two meals on the BLR flight and at least make an attempt on IFE. Throw in the fact you were in a widebody and it seems as though the crew were nice, Dragon Air seem to be miles above MI.
= Right on the money.
I have often wondered why KA does BLR as well. But from all my airline work, I am always reminded that BLR and AMD in India are not as premium oriented as many people think. In the case of BLR, while there are volumes, a LOT of company corporate contracts stipulate Y travel.
Anyways, thanks for sharing. I don't believe this route was covered in the past.
blrsea From India, joined May 2005, 1415 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 6271 times:
Nice report Bala. Was the flight duration really just 5 hours? I thought it was around 6-7 hours. This flight makes CX one of the shortest to LAX/SFO. I know of many people of US west coast who prefer to take CX from BLR.
How was the food? Any idea how the vegetarian options were?