I wanted to make a visit to Toronto, Canada, and I began searching for some great airfare deals to Toronto. I had found a great deal on Cathay Pacific Airways, about 1,400,000 Won r/t (Around 1,200 USD) via Hong Kong (ICN-HKG-YVR-YYZ). I've decided to book that flight. But, it appeared that all of the flights were full. I kept on searching for the availability of the flight on all the dates between July and August, but I had no luck. Finally, I gave up and I decided to book on another Airline. I could not fly on any US carrier, Because I do not have a US Visa, and it would be too late if I tried to apply for one. I've searched some more. Air Canada flights were also full, Korean Air flights were also quite full (and expensive).. After waiting for a few weeks, someone I know had informed me that there were a few seats left on the July 5th flight on CX, so I decided to take that one, and I booked it.
A few days after booking, my tickets had arrived. I was excited to fly on an airline that I have never flown before, and also to fly my first International flight in 3 years. The day before my flight, I had checked in online for both legs.
Monday July 5th, 2004
I left my house early at around 6AM, as Incheon International Airport is located very far from my house. It is about 60KMs away from the city centre. That day was a cloudy day. I was a slightly concerned that the flight may have been delayed or even cancelled due to a Typhoon which passed South Korea the day before. The drive to the airport was uneventful. I saw some interesting looking clouds on the way. I arrived at Incheon Airport at around 6:55AM, which was slightly earlier than expected.
Strangely, the rest of the Seoul/Incheon Metropolitan Area was overcast, but the Incheon Airport area was very clear.
Since the Check-in Counter opens at 7:30AM, I just waited and walk around the airport. The Check-In Counter was located at the west side of the airport. During the opening of the Counter, all the Check-In staff greeted and bowed towards all of us. After it opened, I had received my boarding pass, with the seat I have reserved while checking in Online the previous day. I also had received an Onward Boarding Pass for my second leg, CX828. I had no luggage with me for this trip.
I then went to Burger King for a quick breakfast. Unfortunately, they did not have any breakfast menu, so I had to have the 'regular' ones. After spending some time there, I went to the currency exchange. I changed some Korean Won to Canadian Dollars and some Hong Kong Dollars. After that, it was time to go inside the Gate area. After going through security, I passed through the Immigration area. The western area of the airport (Gates 41-50) were very quiet. In that area, There was a Northwest DC-10 in n/c, a Singapore Airlines 747-400 in really bad shape, three(!) United Airlines 777-200ERs, two Vietnam Airlines 767s, a Cathay Pacific A330, and finally, our plane for this leg of the flight: a Cathay Pacific 777-300 B-HNG at Gate 45. (Some of the information here may be slightly inaccurate as I had lost the boarding pass stub for this flight, as well as the other leg. I may still have the boarding pass stubs for the return legs).
Here is our plane, at the gate.
A really dirty looking Singapore Airlines 747-400 9V-SMT.
I went around the airport to spot some planes parked at other locations of the large terminal. I saw a large number of Korean Air jets. I didn't see much Asiana because I didn't go near the Asiana gates, which are located at the Far-Eastern side of the airport. I also saw some Thai 777s, an Iran Air 747SP, an Air France 777, and some others that I do not remember.
The Iran Air 747SP. A rare airliner nowadays.
I bought myself some Iced Tea afterwards, and sat down and relaxed near the gates. I watched some TV which were set up near every gate. The programming was quite boring. Time flew by past, and boarding started at around 9:45AM (I am not 100% sure of the boarding time, as I said above, I lost my boarding pass stub afterwards). Handicapped passengers, Business Class passengers and Marco Polo higher level members got the top priority to board, followed by Rows 61-70, 41-60(?), 31-40 (or something similar like this).
Cathay Pacific Airways
Flight No. CX417
Seoul Incheon International (ICN) - Hong Kong International (HKG)
Boeing 777-367 / B-HNG
Scheduled Departure Time 10:30.
As soon as I went through the Glass jetways, and entered the plane, a Flight Attendant greeted me, and showed me where my seat was located. Cathay Pacific has an OK/Average seat pitch of 32". It was reasonable for a short-haul flight to Hong Kong. A few moments later, the Australian (judging by the accent) Captain greeted us over the PA and gave us the details for this flight. Shortly after that, the flight attendant did so, in English, Korean and Cantonese. Looking out the window, I saw a Garuda DC-10 ariving from Taipei, pass next to us and park into the gate next to us. Soon, Garuda DC-10s will no longer be able to be seen at Incheon Airport, as they are pulling out in September.
Afterwards, the safety demonstration started, and we started push-back and made the long taxi to Runway 33L. I saw a Malaysia Airlines A330, an Orient Thai 747, a KLM Asia 747 in the new scheme, and some other jets. After we made the turn to the runway, there was a brand new Korean Air 747-400ERF HL7600. It is the newest Korean Air freighter. It started to become cloudy when we were taxiing.
Right after taking off from a foggy Incheon Airport, we made a sharp left turn. Right after that, my camera battery power became low. I could not take any more pictures and I had to wait until I arrive at Chek Lap Kok. The Entertainment system began to work shortly after, and there was an Inflight Exercise demonstration which began showing. Soon, it finished, and I watched Shrek 1. A moment later, the meal service commenced. There was no menu for this flight. I had the Kimchi Sauce Fish and Rice, which was delicious, but a little soggy.
Looking at the Channel 47 Skyshow/Airshow, We were passing the Southwest corner of Korea, and past Cheju Island. Then, we passed Taipei, and made a right turn heading for Hong Kong. The expected arrival time was sometime around 1PM. We started our approach to Hong Kong shortly after. We were on final descent to Chek Lap Kok's Runway 25R. The approach was beautiful. We went very close to the water, and then finally touched down.
We left the runway, and the Flight Attendant went on the PA and welcomed us to Hong Kong. And, for the first time, I saw the brilliant terminal (exterior) of Chek Lap Kok with my own eyes. It was magnificent, with many interesting airliners also. An Air Mauritius 767 taxied next to us, shortly before arriving at our Gate, which is Gate 60. I noticed that every other Jetway has an "Asia's World City" Logo.
Disembarkation began, after the seat belt sign was off.
The 777-300 is a great airplane. It is very spacious, and the new Overhead Bins are great. My first flight with Cathay Pacific was very nice, exemplary.
Hong Kong - Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKG)
As soon as I got off, I didn't exactly know where to go. I was not used to transferring/transiting at an airport, as my last International flight with a transit was 3 years ago. So, after walking around in circles for a few times, I finally found out which way to go.
The Waiting area for the Security Check had large windows, and a Cathay Pacific 777-200 was visible. Finally, I got through. It was quite a long line, divided into two at the end.
After taking the Escalator up a level, I could see the amazing architecture of Chek Lap Kok International Airport. It was amazing. The best I've ever seen, for an Airport.
I bought some new Batteries for my Camera. Shortly after, I decided to do some spotting. There was an endless number of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair jets. There were also many China Airlines and EVA Air aircraft.
Afterwards, I decided to get some food. I went to the upper level Food Court. I had some Chicken in Sweet and Sour Sauce, with Rice. It was great, considering the fact it was Fast Food. Right after I finished, I walked back to the Gate Area. I was surprised to see that my flight had already begun boarding, and there was a long lineup.
I didn't have the chance to see what time it was, and I also lost my Boarding Pass Stub for this leg of the flight.
Cathay Pacific Airways
Flight No. CX828
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International (HKG) - Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) via YVR.
Airbus A340-313X / B-HXG
Scheduled Departure Time 16:20(?)
As I boarded the A340, I thought it had a very clean looking interior. I liked the colour of the new seats. The flight attendant showed me where my seat was. I got into my seat, and put my bag in the bottom of my seat. The PTVs Cathay Pacific use on the Airbuses and the 747s seem to be manufactured by Matsushita. It showed a screen saying "Welcome on Board", and also the routing of the flight. A few moments later, the announcements began.
Shortly after, we pushed back, and the Safety Demonstration began. There was an EVA Air 747-400, in the old Colour Scheme next to us. We were to takeoff on 25L (I think), and passed by some interesting airplanes, such as a Swiss A340-300, Virgin Atlantic A340-600 and an Orient Thai 747 Classic in the One-Two-Go scheme. I also saw a Cathay Pacific Cargo 747-400F taxi by next to us. We soon began our takeoff roll. It took a bit long, and the climb performance was not too good.
Some minutes later, the Inflight Exercise video showed. Then the Interactive StudioCX menu appeared on the screen. It was interesting, and it was not available on the ICN-HKG flight, maybe because it was short. After, the meal service had begun. There was a menu included in the seat pocket, for this flight. There was a choice of Chicken, and another one that I cannot remember. I chose the Chicken. Next to the meal, there was a small Card promoting their new Non-Stop flight from Hong Kong to New York.
It tasted excellent. It was much better than the Kimchi Sauce Fish and Rice meal I had on the ICN-HKG flight. The sun had already started to set, and I took some pictures.
Looking at the Skyshow, we were cruising at about 34000 feet. I watched a Korean movie, called "Au Revoir, UFO", which was about a bus driver trying to date a blind woman. It was a nice movie. Afterwards, I took some more wing view pictures. The Flight Attendant asked me to put down the Window Shade after I am done with taking Pictures. Since it was getting dark, I didn't mind.
I decided to play some Games, since the Programming was not that interesting to me. There were 5 games available: "Shanghai", "Caveman", "Elephant Memory", "Solitare" and "Hieroglix". They were all interesting Games. The Controls were on the Armrest, which was not exactly a good location. Anyways, Time flew by, and the Sky was already Black, while passing near the East Coast of Japan.
Time passed by. I played all the Games, and got bored. I decided to listen to some Music, while watching the Skyshow. We were over the Pacific, near the Int'l Date Line. Soon, the lights were turned off. I turned on my Reading Lights to look at the "Discovery" Inflight Magazine of Cathay Pacific.
After crossing the Date line, I decided to get some sleep. After a very short sleep, I woke up again. The sun had already began to rise. The Seat Pitch on CX was not very impressive, but adequate enough. I watched some more Programs on the PTV. After sleeping again, and waking up, we were starting to approach. The lights weren't still on yet.
The approach to Vancouver International was very interesting. There were some interesting Hills/Mountains. We approached from the Northwest, and finally landed (Don't know which runway). While taxiing, I saw two other Cathay Pacific jets, a Korean 777, and many other aircraft. We were parked next to a China Eastern A340-600, B-6051.
The Flight Attendant announced that the Stopover would be for about 1 hour. Passengers heading for Toronto were not allowed to leave the aircraft. A KLM MD-11 pushed back, and a JAL 747-300 in the new scheme arrived. Afterwards, I decided to get some sleep, as the Cleaners arrived to clean the Washrooms.
I woke up, and we were already ready to depart. We pushed back shortly after, with the Safety Demonstration showing. While taxiing, I saw a CX 747-400, a MyTravel A330, an unidentifiable F-28, as well as some "Purolator" 727s. There were others, which are more common, and weren't too interesting. We began the Take-Off Roll, which was again, quite long.
We climbed very slowly, then made a sharp U-Turn, heading East. The Western area beyond Vancouver Airport seemed very Muddy.
Photo © HoonsAir
The Exercise video showed again, and then the Programming. The Meal Service began after. I chose the Chinese option. I vaguely remember what it exactly was, but this time, I was not very impressed with the Meal. I expected better. I was very tired, so I decided to sleep. I missed the amazing view of the Rockies. When I woke up, we were already over Lake Huron.
I filled out some cards, before landing. Even at around 9PM/10PM, some Light can be seen outside my Window. Soon, we were already over Toronto. Toronto had a very interesting approach. We touched down at sometime around 10PM. During the taxi towards Terminal 3, I saw a Jetsgo MD-80, and other unidentifiable planes taxi by. We arrived next to a BWIA 737.
Disembarkation began shortly after. After I got off, I noticed how modern and clean Toronto's Terminal 3 looked like, although it isn't really new. I went through Immigration, etc.
My first Flights on Cathay Pacific Airways were very nice. Service was impressive, although the Seat Comfort can improve a bit. Next time I need to fly Long Haul, I would choose this airline again, if possible.
Thank you for reading.