For this leg, I used my Asia Miles to redeem a one-way Business Class ticket through the CX website. On 26/Aug/02 at 1610 hrs, exactly 48 hours prior to my departure, I checked-in on the Internet. My pre-reserved seat was 11C, an aisle seat in a 2-2-2 setting. On the 28/Aug/02, I finished my work in Kowloon that morning before taking the Airport Express train to CLK. This is the fastest and most comfortable way to the airport. It only took 23 minutes. They have PTV’s in the seat backs, showing flight information, news, weather, etc. I then received a texted message from CX on my mobile phone, saying that CX 731 will depart on time. I love this service from CX.
On arrival at the airport at 1410h, I went straight to the self-service CXpress Kioks to get my boarding pass. I swiped my Marco Polo Membership Card and got my boarding pass and my lounge invitation in no time. When I looked at the queues next to the kioks, I thought how lucky to have this service!
I went straight to the immigration and security checks, knowing that this was still high season with many travellers. Thank goodness it did not take long. I was soon in the departure hall, on my way to the CX new lounge ‘The Pier’. This is more convenient for those far away gates, and mine, this time was gate 61.
I was feeling a bit hungry and so I went for something to eat. They had a good selection of all the usual, e.g. sandwiches, fruits, cakes and drinks. They also had a selection of dim sum too. But the best bit was their Noodle Bar. I opted for a bowl of delicious Japanese noodles with seafood. It was very nice indeed. I was tempted to have another bowl, but I thought I should leave room for the food on board. And how right this decision it was as I found out later!
Boarding was called for at 1530h. I went to Gate 61 to view this lovely Airbus. B-HLS looked really clean. There were many CX aircrafts on the apron. The best was the B744 ‘Asia’s World City’. It looked fantastic. There was an aging South African Airways B742, a Lufthansa A340, a JAL 767, a SWISS MD-11 in their new livery, having just arrived from ZRH, and on way to MNL.
At 1545, I boarded through the Business Class door. It was the new Business Class with sleeper seats. 11C had books on it. I thought someone was sitting there. So I asked the staff. They removed the books for me and asked me to take my seat. Champagne, orange juice and water came round as pre-flight drinks. As I was sipping the champagne, a ground staff came to me and said that my seat had changed to 2G in First Class!! I was overjoyed!!
First Class had sleeper seats too, albeit a bit wider and more spacious. The F/A came round and greeted me. She offered me Krug, my favourite champagne with some canapes. Obviously, I did not refuse her offer! The glasses in First Class were much larger and so I had to be careful! They then came round with the wine lists and menus. They took our order for the post-take-off drink and dinner. I spent some time trying out the different buttons for the seat. One can spend hours fiddling with them! Also, they have a separate entertainment guidebook for First. So, I spent ages reading that too. It was a Video-on-demand system, i.e. you choose when you want to watch, what you want to watch. They also had CD-on-demand too, with a pretty good selection. Of course, there was the Air Show and games.
Push back was delayed at 1640 due to heavy traffic. We queued for take-off for what seemed like ages. We followed an Air China B737, possible a –500, I could not see properly (champagne!?!). Then at 1700 we rolled down the runway and was airbourne in no time.
The flight was very full. Economy was over booked. Business was completely full. Out of the eight seats in First, 6 were occupied. No wonder CX made a profit despite hard times.
The climb was a bit bumpy. The southern China path had always been bumpy. Service began soon after reaching cruising altitude. My post take-off glass of Krug came. Then they laid the tables for dinner. For starters, we had a prawn and scallop salad with a coriander dressing. Then came a red capsicum soup. Both these courses were served separately and on fine chinaware. It was a pity that they made us use plastic knives! Maybe because of higher expectation in First, these were not too great. The scallop and prawn were a bit dry, possibly due to being in the fridge too long. The soup was tasty but a bit cold. However, the best part was the guinea fowl main course. It was tender and juicy and the fruity sauce went well with it. It was 5 star restaurant quality. I was so full by now, so I skipped the cheeses. I took some fruits instead. After that, they came round with a lovely apple crumble cake. It was so irresistible that I took a bit with vanilla sauce. I could not possibly eat anymore!
The F/A then distributed the pyjamas, slippers, night-bag containing the exclusive La Prairie products and duvets. I then flattened my seat, took my shoes off, covered myself with the duvet and settled down to watch ‘Changing Lanes’. It felt like being in bed watching a video!! Fantastic!!
Time went by quickly. We had a few bumps crossing over India. Once past Mumbai, we were smooth again.
On approaching the UAE, we were asked if we would like a snack. I opted for the Chinese roast duck rice noodles. It was very good, considering it was made in-flight.
We landed on time at 2005h. The approach to DXB was over the city from the sea and we could see the Emirates Towers clearly. The lights of the city seemed to get closer and closer until we landed smoothly. It reminded me of the old Kai Tak landing in HKG. The taxi to the terminal was halted half way whilst an SQ B777 took off in front of us. We parked at the gates about ten minutes after landing. Not many Emirates planes were back to base at that time of day. A Royal Jordanian A320 took off as we were near the terminal.
I had six hours before my EK flight back to HKG. So I rested in the Transit Hotel until the arrival of my fiancée’s flight from Nairobi at 0025h. I was so tired by then I could not possibly plane watch.
Overall, this segment was extremely comfortable. The crew were superb. Only the few rather big bumps spoilt a great flight.
Plane: B777-300 (could not see the reg)
My fiancee was led to my room by the nice bellboy, who offered to meet her at her arrival gate. I was overjoyed to see her after a two-week absence, much of that time we could not communicate due to her being in the wilderness. She certainly was pleasantly surprised!
We wandered down to the Duty Free shop and spent sometime doing some last minute shopping for presents. We did not go to the temporary lounge. The original one was being renovated.
At 0230h, they called for boarding. It was rather chaotic. There was no system to the boarding. So, we waited for the crowds to disappear first.
Once on board, the F/A greeted us warmly. We were seated 1H and 1K. They offered us champagne (Duval Leroy Fleur-very nice too!), orange or apple juices for the pre-flight drinks. They then offered us the menus, a bottle of mineral water and an overnight amenity bags. They offered to take our order for breakfast, which was to be served prior to landing in BKK, the intermediate stop before HKG. My fiancée chose the Nasi Lemak (a Malaysian/Indonesian rice dish) and I chose the vegetable frittatas.
Flying EK is great because they have their forward cameras on during the flight, from take off to landing. At 0340h, we were rolling down the runway. I watched the camera as the lights flicked past us. It was great! Unfortunately, both of us were so tired that we fell asleep soon afterwards. We did not even notice that they had a round of drinks after takeoff!
The F/A’ s on EK really were superb. They were friendly and efficient. Most of them were British. On waking, we chatted with them for a little while before sleeping again. The flight took us over Mumbai and the middle section of India. Again, it was quite bumpy. We then headed north a bit to reach Bangladesh before sweeping down for BKK. Over Bangladeshi waters, the flight was again very bumpy. It woke us up.
Breakfast was served one hour fifteen minutes prior to landing. They made a mistake and gave me the vegetarian omelette, which was completely bland! The Nasi Lemak, on the other hand, was superb. The breads were good. Overall, it was not a bad meal.
Landing in BKK was at 1240h local time. It was a smooth landing. We watched the camera all the time! Funny how the runway looked so far on screen, but in fact we were only seconds from touch down! Fascinating!
We were on the ground for one hour forty minutes in total. A new set of crew came on board. We watched the ground staff change the galley items, clean the aircraft, fill in the paper work, etc. Next to our bay, a Finnair MD-11 just arrived, presumably from HEL on way to HKG. It was the first time I saw a Finnair MD-11 in real life. What a beautiful plane. The livery was just right, so simple and no unnecessary detail.
At about 1330 hours, the crew welcomed the joining passengers from BKK to HKG. On closing the doors, the business class cabin was only about 30% full. However, Y class seemed full.
Soon after take off, we were offered a light snack, which was a full meal on its own. I chose the lamb with a fruity sauce. My fiancée chose a lemon chicken with noodles. Mine was really good. But the chicken was not. Anyway, we were so tired that we did not have much of an appetite. After the meal, we slept all the way to HKG. The flight time was 2h 25min.
As we neared HK, we did a big circle, turning south first, and then northerly to pass over the New Territories and then approached CLK from the northeast. Again, the camera gave us much entertainment, especially with the hills and the waters around HK. Landing was superb. It was very smooth. We taxied to our gate and we disembarked at 1740h. we were only 10 minutes behind schedule. I saw an Emirates B74F whilst taxiingto our gate. Again, a first time for me!
Emirates offered their chauffeur service to take us home. This was like a final touch from this fantastic airline.
Overall, Emirates rates very highly in my books and I love this airline. They are reliable, safe and offer a very high standard of in-flight service. I am sure most of you will agree.
CXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 10033 times:
In fact, when we both saw each other, we both cried!! Very soppy, right? But it was true. She could not find me in HK when she tried to call me from Nairobi, so she kind of guessed that I would appear somewhere in her return trip. But she could not affirm herself until she saw me in the room. In fact, when she saw her name on the board of that bellboy, she knew I was there, so she just followed him!
It was difficult to say which airline has better service because one was first class and the other business. Both have their strong points. The CX crew were very professional. The EK crew were very friendly and really make you feel at home. But, EK gave me the wrong meal, so, points to CX! Overall, I think CX has the edge over EK. But then, you have to consider the price differences of these two airlines..........
Zizou From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 1527 posts, RR: 5 Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 10059 times:
Great report! I enjoyed reading it immensley... What was the price difference between the two (I assume CX is more expensive)? I always tought that CX had the cameras as well? or is it only on their B777s?
Just one more thing, that Finnair MD-11 you saw at Bangkok, it was going to Singapore not Hong Kong. Once again, great report. Can you ask your fiance to type up her trip report on the Nairobi-Dubai flight, I would love to read it, I assume she flew Emirates.
9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1858 posts, RR: 10 Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9947 times:
You should try SIA. At least they offer metal knives in ALL classes. LOL! Overall, a very good report. I wish I could fly with CX one day but with non-rev status on SIA(in J class), I guess I'll be stuck with SIA for the next few years.
Airmale From Botswana, joined Sep 2004, 368 posts, RR: 2 Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 9874 times:
Nice report CXHKG, the meal service you described on your first leg aboard CX made my mouth water, so you took the trip just to meet your fiance for a while, WOW!!! also I want to know when did CX bring in the A330 to Dubai, wasnt it a 777-300 via Mumbai? do you think CX would be interested in extending their Karachi service also an A330 onto Dubai, would be quite successful I believe their KHI-BKK leg is very popular at present, as in the BKK-HKG service so KHI-DXB would be really good for them all the way.
Nyasa From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 19 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9864 times:
Nice report CKHKG. I heard that EK has a downward looking camera besides the forward looking one. Is this true?.Does the forward looking camera only come on when the landing gear is down?A friend of mine said that besides the cameras you can also hear the conversation between ATC and the pilot over one of the audio channels. If true that would be cool. Let me know about the cameras.
Zizou From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 1527 posts, RR: 5 Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 9868 times:
Nyasa, yes its true. Emirates does have a downward as well as forward looking cameras. The cameras are on for the whole duration of the flight, so yes even when the landing gears are up. Unfortunatley, Emirates does not have the conversation between pilot and ATC channel,. it would be a great idea for them to install them though. From what I know, only United only have this facility on their flights.
CXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9862 times:
Thanks everyone for their comments.
Zizou: The price difference is about 20-30% with CX more expensive. Sorry, you are right. The Finnair flight was to SIN because it was Thursday. They only do HKG on Mon/Wed/Fri. As to my fiancee writing her NBO-DXB report, I shall try and convince her. She is not quite the aviation nut as we are!
9V-SVA: I would not complain about having non-rev on SQ in J-class. I am really jealous. Anyway, just think of all money you save on each trip, you can then treat yourself to other airlines once in a while. Do you work for SQ?
Jamie: Yes, the EK Business is more cramped than many other carriers, e.g.the old CX business, the old BA Club World. The pitch is probably in the region of 45-48 inches. Many of the carriers are 50-60 inches now, let alone having sleeper-seats. But the service from the staff more than make up the lost inches in space. And also, one has to consider the fares they charge, which are much cheaper than other world class airlines.
Airmale: Yes, I took the trip just to meet her. Romantic at heart.... As to when CX introduced the 330 on this route, it must have been sometime after March 2002 because the timetable up to then still showed 777 for this flight. Certainly, last year when I took the HKG-BAH-DXB flight, it was 777. They still have the HKG-BKK-BOM-DXB flights. It used to be on 743, but they were leased to PIA a few years ago. Now the flight is on 777. We will be taking that flight in February next year, on our return trip from our honeymoon. As to KHI-DXB, I doubt CX have the rights to do so. Their DXB-BOM is doing well too. In fact,all their Middle East flights are doing pretty well. The BKK-HKG is one of the most popular regional routes, including freight. We have so many airlines flying this route: CX, TG, CI, Srilankan, Ethiopian, Finnair, Austrian (soon), Orient Thai, etc. It is like an insatiable route!
Airmale From Botswana, joined Sep 2004, 368 posts, RR: 2 Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9822 times:
Thank you for replying, but do you think CX could ask for rights on the KHI-DXB route? I dont think there should be a problem, Malaysia Airlines gained them in 2001, before that they just flew KUL-DEL-KHI.
CXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 9824 times:
Airmale: I cannot guess. It depends how highly CX places its priorities on the Middle Eastern routes. With its priorities in applying for the Chinese routes at the moment, which is a far more important market for CX, I would not think that CX would look into KHX-DXB in the near future. Malaysian Airlines probably have more interest in that route due to religious reasons since all parties involved are part of the Islamic world (guessing again).
B-HXB From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 744 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 9814 times:
Excellent trip report.
Concerning your Cathay leg: Was this "true" First Class? CX doesn't sell First Class on some short-haul routes and if the aircraft for the day happens to be configured with First Class they seat some lucky business class passengers there. It's very strange to be upgraded once you're seated and have passed the gate checkpoint... were you issued with a new boarding pass? And finally, you were really lucky, getting an upgrade on a redemption!
CXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 9787 times:
B-HXB: Thanks for you comments. Because they are using the A330. they sell true first class tickets on this flight. You can check with their on-line booking website. But, on this particular flight, I am not sure how many of us were actual fare-paying first class passengers! Probably none! However, they still gave us the true first class service, not the 'business class service in a first class seat'. I was not issued a new boarding pass. They just crossed out 11C and scribbled 2G on it. Yes, it is very rare to be upgraded, let alone on a redemption! I am only a Green Marco Polo member, the lowest rung in the ladder! It must had been my lucky day!
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5 Reply 15, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9763 times:
Whether to give passengers metal knives or not is not a random decision made by the airline. This is often dictated by the destination or point of origin. For flights into and out of the US, you can be sure that you will NOT find metal knives in ANY class.
CXHKG, yes that is one way to impress your partner.... it's worth all the effort, don't you think so?
CXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 9578 times:
Etravelconsult: Thanks. Both CX and EK are my favourite airlines. SQ 's service on board is good, but a bit 'cold' to me, a bit impersonal. CX and EK F/A's show a kind of warmth others lack. Do you agree?