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SFO-HKG-MEL 1st Class On CX And QF (43 Pics)  
User currently offlineCrdaus From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 142 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 21541 times:

This is the 3rd instalment of my trip report covering MEL-LAX-JFK-BOS-SFO-HKG-MEL, Circle Pacific 1st Class QF-AA-CX-QF 5th – 22nd May 2006. You can read my first two instalments covering MEL-LAX-JFK at MEL-LAX-JFK 1st Class On QF (lots Of Pics) (by Crdaus May 27 2006 in Trip Reports) and BOS-SFO at BOS-SFO 1st Class On AA (20 Pics) (by Crdaus Jun 1 2006 in Trip Reports)

SFO-HKG, CX873 1st Class. The flight is scheduled to depart at 1:10 am, so I arrived at SFO at about 11pm. Check-in at SFO was a bit slow due to problems with the e-ticket mentioned in my earlier trip report instalment. In addition, the 1st class desk woman seem distracted and I was invited to check-in at the business class desk which may have been why my baggage was tagged as business rather than 1st (as I discovered when retrieving my luggage at MEL). I like the way the CX 1st class check-in staff come out from behind the counter to greet you. It gives the whole process a more personal and welcoming feel.

Security check was a breeze with time to spare to enjoy the BA 1st class lounge. However, this lounge is a big disappointment. It is too small to accommodate everyone and only offers a few sandwiches and sealed packets of munchies, although the bar was good. The best thing about the lounge is that I was able to board the aircraft from the lounge, completely bypassing the usual crowd found at boarding gates. I was seated in 1K of the 747-400 a very private space indeed.

Due to works being carried out on the taxiways at SFO the 747 was towed at a snails pace for about 45 minutes before engines started, but this provided time to enjoy a pre-flight cocktail of Krug champagne and lobster medallions. Although it was 2am when the flight eventually took off, I had a full service dinner consisting of the usual CX fare, namely caviar and salmon followed by choice of courses. I had mushroom soup and then herb crusted lamb chops with vegetables. Quite delicious.


Menu for the flight


First course of smoked salmon and caviar with all the trimmings


A closeup of the first course


Mushroom cream soup


Main course


Mustard herb crusted lamb chops with vegetables and ratatouille


Overall though, I think CX standards are slipping compared to previous recent flights I have had with them. On arrival at my ultimate destination, MEL, I notice my luggage had been tagged “business class”. Although CX is a 5 star airline according to Skytrax, I would say the service is now on a par with QF, so either QF should be 5 star or CX downgraded to 4 star. Despite the flight being quite bumpy, the combination of termazapan and Krug did the trick and I slept for 7 of the 13 hours flying time. The rest of the time I was either eating or watching the CX VOD IFE system.


Prior to early morning arrival at HKG, I enjoyed a breakfast of dim sum, croissants and coffee.



Approaching HKG


Final approach to HKG



Landing at HKG



Inside the terminal at HKG


With about 2 and half hours before connecting with QF30 from LHR, I had time for more eating in the CX Wing dining room followed by a relaxing soak in an enormous bath in a private cabana. The HKG Wing is an exceptional 1st class lounge and I am not surprised it is rated the best in the world. It is a very spacious and airy lounge on the top level of the CX terminal and the main seating area is open to the cavernous roof of the pavilion like terminal building.


Inside the Wing at HKG

The food in the dining room was a comprehensive buffet.


Inside the Wing Dining Room


I continued to satisfy my appetite for dim sum, although I also had some bircher muesli.


Breakfast of dim sum, noodles, bircher muesli and coffee


Time for a relaxing soak in a private cabana.


A cabana in the Wing at HKG


Before boarding QF30, I had spent some time buying duty free. Too much time actually, because they were waiting for me to board. Although there were about 20 minutes before scheduled departure, as I was approaching the gate on one of those moving walkways, a CX lady addressed me by name and then radioed the gate to let me know I was coming. Similarly, on boarding the F/As greeted me by name and literally shut the door behind me! Later I realised that the flight was less than a third full and everyone else boarded early. The flight left the gate 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure time. As 1st class had only 5 pax that day and they were all sitting at the front, I decided to move back from my preferred seat of 2K to 3K and have the back of the cabin to myself!



Taxi to runway for takeoff


Takeoff from HKG


Climbing over Hong Kong



Inside the QF 1st class cabin taken from seat 3K

QF30 was an excellent flight, similar to the other QF flights experienced on this trip. The F/As were exceptional, the food was quite good, and the flight reasonably smooth. On the HKG-MEL sector, you can order from a long menu to eat at anytime throughout the 8 hour flight. This works well because some people want breakfast while others, like me, were ready for lunch.


Menu and winelist

I had a smoked salmon salad with artichokes and asparagus, followed by stir fried prawns, a cheese plate, and mixed sweets with cappuccino. I was so full of dim sum earlier consumed at the Wing that I couldn’t eat anything further on the flight.


Smoked salmon, artichokes and herb potatoes with caper mayonnaise


Marinated king prawns with tarator sauce, new potatoes and sugar snaps


Hand selected blue, soft and hard cheese with accompaniments



Petits Fours




The one unusual aspect of the flight is that they darken the 1st class cabin so that passengers can sleep. Why any passengers would want to do that on a daytime flight eludes me because even if they originated in LHR, they would have had ample time to sleep on the 12 hour LHR-HKG leg. It is a bit annoying because you feel you ought to leave the windows shut to appease the sleepers, whereas I wanted to look at the clouds. Anyway, after a couple of hours I finally relented and shut my windows. Pretty soon I was also feeling drowsy and ended up napping for a couple of hours, but not before checking out the galley to find the 1st class cabin now bereft of any F/As!


The empty 1st class galley mid flight

The 8pm arrival into MEL is a good time because you can go to bed at normal time and sleep (providing you haven’t slept too much on the flight of course). On arrival I was the first person off the plane but among the last to receive my luggage, once again proving that 1st class means little in terms of early baggage delivery. In summary though, I was very pleased with the Circle Pacific fare and the value it represents when you can fly CX and QF. The route is a viable alternative to direct return flights when the fare is a third less and there are only a few more hours flying time with excellent connections.

Note: photos in this report were taken with a Pentax Optio A10 8 megapixel camera.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDL4EVR From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 21499 times:

Great report! One question though...how come you got metal knives on the plane but plastic knives in the lounge?


We Love To Fly And It Shows.
User currently offlineTbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 21464 times:

Well, well, well -

You've made your circle Pacific/transcon USA trip. And I must say, I enjoyed every minute spent reading all of your trip reports. I understand and concur with many of your observations; in fact, I probably would have done the same thing and even ordered the same food!

Bravo, my friend. You travel as I would like and have in the past. Many happy, safe miles ahead and more superb trip reports.

Rod


User currently offlineDelta732FF From United States of America, joined May 2005, 228 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 21464 times:

Great report, nice pictures. Id like to fly that route one day.

User currently offlineQANTAS077 From Australia, joined Jan 2004, 5869 posts, RR: 39
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 21403 times:

nice report...suprised to find that Cathay has no Australian wines on it's first class menu. You'd think they'd atleast have a few bottles of something from some of the best wine growing regions in the world.


a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes, while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
User currently offlineTbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 21360 times:

Thank you QANTAS077 -

I visited the Barossa Valley long before many of the a.netters were born. Still today a lot of the world don't know or appreciate Australia. I consider myself quite fortunate indeed to have been to Oz three times. I learned about Australian wines long before traveling. QF was ahead of the times when they sampled Aussie wines in SF prior to 1970.

My father fell in love with Australia during WWII, but as a Yank G.I., came home. He passed that love onto me - and I've always known nothing but wonderful things of and in Australia. I always connect with the slogan, "The wonder down under."

Thanks all you a.net mates!

Tbear


User currently offlineQANTAS077 From Australia, joined Jan 2004, 5869 posts, RR: 39
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 21259 times:

what suprises me even more is that Qantas serves no West Australian wines in first class?!?! Margaret River wines are renowned around the world as being some of the best, yet our national carrier seems to shun them!


a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes, while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
User currently offlineAlaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 906 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 21098 times:

WOW!
This was an amazing 3 part report!
I only hope that i can fly this route and make a TR as good as this one!
Do you have pictures of CX first class? what are the two seats compared like?
I have heard a lot about Dim Sum... what is it?
~Cheers-
~~Kyle H.
next time you travel you must write another trip report mate!



to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1965 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 20721 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
I had a smoked salmon salad with artichokes and asparagus,

Wow, that looks pretty good! Great report.


User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4659 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 20373 times:

Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 6):
what suprises me even more is that Qantas serves no West Australian wines in first class?!?! Margaret River wines are renowned around the world as being some of the best, yet our national carrier seems to shun them!

Oh calm down  Smile Write them a letter for goodness sake!

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 7):
I have heard a lot about Dim Sum... what is it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dim_sum

It's great!

Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
This is the 3rd instalment of my trip report

Excellent report! I thoroughly enjoyed the picture choices this time around. I visited the Business Class Wing in HKG and it's very good - but my mouth was open wide at the facilities for First Class passengers. Looks like it's time to purchase a Circle Pacific fare myself!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9815 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 20293 times:

Good report. Thanks very much for all three. I have never flown international first class on a OneWorld carrier, so it is nice to learn how it compares to my trips on Star Alliance.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAirnewzealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2544 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 20259 times:

We do serve Maragret River...its in J/C...

Cheers

PS: Also in regards to the flight attendant not in the galley, they could of been heating up some things in the other galley, located near doors 2!!! Hope that helps!

And fantastic report once again!


User currently offlineCrdaus From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 142 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 19570 times:

Thank you all for your positive reactions to my report.

User currently offlineJumbo747 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 19418 times:

Marvellous report that.

Keep writing your experiences.
MARVELLOUS.  smile   wave 


User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7110 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 19074 times:

Great report, great pics. Glad to hear you had what sounds like a very pleasant experience

User currently offlineTurkishWings From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1453 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 18984 times:

Excellent report... Thanks for sharing with us  bigthumbsup 

What was the aircraft on HKG-MEL? A 330?



Coffee - Tea or Me?
User currently offlineCrdaus From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 142 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 18653 times:

Quoting TurkishWings (Reply 15):

What was the aircraft on HKG-MEL? A 330?

It was a 747-400.


User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 881 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 17040 times:

im just amazed at Blue Label being offered on Cathay's First Class. That's just amazing...  Smile

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