Friday 21st July 2006
We arrived at the airport about 90 minutes before the scheduled departure and checked in at one of the internet desks. The evening before we checked in on-line and realised that the flight was not particularly busy, so we reserved ourselves a window seat each, where nobody would be sat next to us.
A serious advantage to Cathay's on line service was that you could change your seating assignment at any time, something that I have not seen on other airlines. So we kept checking every hour and If one of myself, my brother, his friend and my mother had somebody sat next to them, we would move.
The check in for our flight was separate to that of another Cathay Pacific flight that departs at 10:15, 50 minutes earlier than our flight. It was to be operated by an Airbus A330-300 and unlike ours was completely full, since they were not taking standby passengers on (as noted by a sign next to check in).
We didn't check any bags in, only hand luggage and the member of staff wasn't picky by the fact that that the main mini suitcase I was carrying was 0.1kg over the limit, although I wouldn't have argued had she asked us to do so.
Boarding passes were passed to us and we decided to split up and meet at the gate for boarding. I once again decided to use the time for a bit of spotting. Not much at this time, only a China Eastern Airbus A300-600 B-2321 bound for PVG and a former SQ Boeing 747-400 carrying the colours of IB, that had just come off lease with the Spanish carrier.
I eventually decided to go to the gate after having a cup of tea and one of the cookies from Subway, still it was 40 minutes before the scheduled departure of the flight.
Cathay Pacific Flight: CX 714
From: Singapore Changi (SIN)
To: Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok, China (HKG)
Scheduled Departure - 11:05
Actual Departure From Gate D34 - 11:05
Takeoff From Runway 20C - 11:17
Scheduled Arrival - 14:55
Actual Arrival On Runway 25R - 14:53
Arrival At Gate 25 - 15:04
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-267
First Flight On 9th November 1995, Delivery To Cathay Pacific Airways 25th October 1996
The gate lounge before our departure.
The aircraft being loaded up with freight.
I took my seat on the aircraft rather early, whilst the rest of them followed suit later on, but in plenty of time. Once the aircraft pushed back from the gate, somebody took their place on the aisle seat of the row that I was on. You can't win them all I guess!
First impressions on the aircraft were surprisingly disappointing. There seemed to be a bit of damage on the seat that I was sat in. For example somebody seemed to have driven a Biro pen through the buttons for the lighting and entertainment system, plus there was a scratch on the screen.
I couldn't fault the cabin crew on the flight though, very friendly with smiles, plus the uniforms of all the different staff were different in taste and colour. In the month of July, Cathay Pacific were celebrating 60 years in the sky, and as part of this the crew wore the uniforms of the past and the present.
Before takeoff we were handed hot towels, and also given menu cards for the flight. Here is what was available to eat on board.
Lunch On The Flight
Braised Fish With Bean Curd Sheets with Mushroom Steamed Rice & Stir-Fried Vegetables (Created By The Chefs Of Lei Garden Restaurant, Hong Kong To Celebrate The 60th Anniversary Of Cathay Pacific Airways.)
Chicken With Red Wine Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin, Onion & Seasonal Vegetables
Haagen Dazs Ice Cream
I chose the chicken for lunch, and it was an excellent choice once more. The chicken was cooked perfectly and having not tried pumpkin in that form, it was certainly a pleasant surprise. No complaints there then! Haagen Dazs was great as usual.
Chicken with pumpkin, onion and seasonal vegetables, yummy!
Following takeoff we headed south from Changi airport, before making a complete circle to fly right over the airport. Our cruising altitude was of 33000 feet.
Whilst eating the meal I tried to see what was on the personal television and to my surprise an episode of the great comedy Little Britain was available to watch. It was the first ever episode and it was nice to remember a great classic.
The television options however on their Boeing 777-200 and 300 fleet are not on demand, like the rest of the fleet. I was also constantly interrupted by the flickering of the TV screen. It seemed that everytime I rested by arm on the rest (as you do) this was the case. You also to adjust the screen to one particular position for the least amount of flicker, sadly though this was a position where I had to stretch my neck to see it.
The passengers settle down on the lightly loaded flight following completion of lunch service.
Following lunch the crew came round with a drinks service, where they also distributed immigration cards for Hong Kong. I filled it incorrectly the first time and had to ask for another, but the staff member delivered it to me with a smile.
First sights of Hong Kong!
Very Short Finals!
The aircraft began its very slow decent about twenty minutes before landing, and we had a beautiful view of the Hong Kong skyline, as well as the Disneyland resort. We landed pretty much on time, but the taxi to the gate meant that we were in fact late arriving overall.
Air India VT-EJI (Airbus A310-300) landing as flight AI358 from BOM via BKK.
NH Boeing 767-300 & several CX aircraft are visible in this shot.
B-HTG (Airbus A320-200) of Dragonair.
D-AIGP (Airbus A340-300) will head back later tonight to MUC as LH730.
Air Canada Airbus A340-500.
Cathay Pacific's B-HOR being pulled by a tug.
9M-MMN, Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-400 on a remote stand.
B-18303 of China Airlines.
B-HSH of Dragonair.
Arrivals hall of HKG.
After disembarking from the aircraft, I had one other look out of the window to see what was going on. The we made the walk to immigration and to pay for MTR cards, then to meet our tour guide who would take us to the bus for hour hotel, located on the Nathan Road in Kowloon.
I was expecting a lot from Cathay Pacific Airways, mainly because of all the awards that they had received around the world and that many have said to me that they are comparable to their big rival, Singapore Airlines.
Sadly though there were those little bits that just were not quite right. The entertainment system is poor compared to EK and SQ, the seats are not the most comfortable in the world and there was also damage to the cabin.
But on Cathay Pacific's side was the excellent food and the warm cabin crew so maybe I will give them another opportunity in the future, when the price is right.
CX 714 21/07/2006
Comments & Suggestions Are Very Much Appreciated!