HONG KONG - BEIJING
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SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 07 2008
I was heading up to China for a work trip, and as last time I flew KA
(Dragonair) between HKG
and China, this time I thought I would stick to CX
for 100% of my itinerary to and from SYD
I also took 4 domestic flights within China which I will write-up soon. They were very interesting and full of surprises.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this report. I know airlines like CX
get reported on a lot, and it may not be that interesting to you, but I just enjoy writing the reports and seeing the final product. Also, I don't get to fly a lot of really "interesting" airlines, so you'll have to cope with the airlines I travel on for work. So be it!
I tend to let the pictures fo the talking rather than write a lot of words. It's not that I'm lazy - I just find that the pics tell a much better story than a lot of words describing the obvious.
To the journey...
I checked in online and then dropped my bag at the Airport Train Terminal on Hong Kong Island. There were only 2 check-in desks, and the lines were super-long and took forever to process. I found it hard to believe there wasn't a dedicated bag-drop for internet check-in pax.
The train out to the airport is excellent. The moving-blue line is kind-of hypnotic to watch as it moves slowly along the route.
And so it was into the terminal. It's great being able to check your bags in at the city train station - it makes life so much easier! As you can see from the departure screens... HKG
ain't a quiet place!!
I always think of HKG
as a "beautiful airport" - especially when compared with the new Suvannabhumi in BKK
which I detest (as a passenger, spotter and enthusiast!)
is just so user-friendly!!
I went up to the upstairs food court.... Burger King was pretty packed, so I thought I'd try Popeye's which I had never had before. It was decidedly ordinary!
has free internet terminals here-and-there... but it's hard to find one that's free!
There were also signs advertising free wireless internet for laptop users, but as much as I tried, I couldn't get it to connect at all.
Then it was off for some spotting! HKG
has to be one of the greatest airports I have been to for watching aircraft - parked, taking off, taxiing, landing... whatever! I could sit there all day and be transfixed. There is no point describing the aircraft in the pictures to you as you will know what they are from merely looking at them. Suffice it to say, the variety was great - particularly coming from somewhere like Australia where we don't have the sheer number of different and (for me!) unusual carriers you see in a place like HKG
I'm sorry about the reflection off the glass in some pics - it was the middle of the day. Does anyone know how to reduce this when taking pics at airports? Any tips would be appreciated for a novice photographer like me!
Sad to see the Oasis 744 parked-up and destitute. Great colour scheme and pity this airline never really made it.
Why would you need to light up? Just walk inside and breath in! Yuk!
My bird that took me to PEK
I have never seen this airline before! East Star Air.
This airport just has so much space!
One of my favourite schemes.. you don't see green enough on airliners in my opinion!
Time to take a break from the spotting and have a snack. I thought this was cool - a TV
screen that comes out from the wall. So as a solo diner you don't have to sit there looking like an idiot and feeling self-concious by yourself. Nice idea!
Then, with a belly full of noodles, it was back to some spotting. There's just so much to see here!
Finally - something we get to see in Australia too!!
Finally, its was time to go to the gate. Boarding was chaotic (as when flying most Asian carriers - so much for boarding by row numbers!) but I just hung-back and waited until most had boarded. This aircraft was an older A330 with the old-style Y seats. It featured PTV's, but not AVOD. Fine for a 3 hour flight. And I find these old seats perfectly comfortable, and with good pitch.
For an older aircraft, the cabin was in excellent condition - my traytable did need a wipe-down I noticed.
Flying time on the schedule is 3 hours 30 mins. A bit quicker than that tonight - but that does included ground-time of course.
Push-back and taxi were fast and completed quickly. Before I knew it, we were lined-up on the runway ready to go! I forgot which runway we took off from, but it wasn't a long taxi, that's for sure!
What a fantastic colour scheme! Why the engine covers? Was it on its way to being delivered? Strange that it should be in HKG
- unless that's where Hainan Airlines was collecting it from. But its not their home base.
One of the best 744 schemes around IMHO.
What is that "clunking" sound during taxi on an A330? I've noticed it before. It sounds like it comes from the main landing gear area, and sounds like a metallic thump with a short expulation of air accompanying it. It's not just CX
's aircraft that do it - I've noticed it on QF
A330's too. Any ideas? It's a strange sound!
Lift Off!! I love this moment!
Nuts and drinks came around. I chose an OJ. It was no problem giving me a second packet of nuts too.
Then, of course, it was time for the meal service. There was a choice of 2 meals. I chose the western-style chicken. Nice ice-cream too! Very nice for a flight under 3 hours. A really nice meal.
This was the alternative offering - Asian beef. Nice of my travelling companion to let me take a snap-shot!
I missed the start of the AV
cycle, so slipped in my iPod, read a little, dozed off and before I knew it we were in PEK
As it was dark when we landed, I couldn't take any more pics that were worthwhile showing here.
The new terminal in PEK
is spectacular, it has to be said. Very impressive!
All-in-all, after having a few flights with CX
that could be described as "average" for various reasons, they seem to have come good again, in my eyes anyway. The flight from SYD
was excellent with an excellent crew in the new Y class. Unfortunately, as it was a night flight I couldn't take any pics and do a report.
This flight, albeit a short one, was excellent, with an attentive, kind, smiling and professional crew. It was smooth as silk... oops! Wrong airline!
Hope you enjoyed the report. I will write-up the Chinese domestic sectors as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading.