Here is a tale of two trips. I generally only fly Cathay Pacific for business, and these were no exception. At the last minute, I decided to go to Taiwan to give a presentation and meet with a few prospects. The presentation was internal which is always more relaxed, and a formal invite had been extended which means it would be paid for without any problems.
I went to the airport in the afternoon from home on the airport bus from Discovery Bay, and as is typical in the afternoon, the check-in area was fairly empty.
My flight was CX470, a 772, to Taipei, leaving at 5:35pm. In the airport, there were many people sleeping on the chairs setup between the Airport Express platform—which puzzles me. With an airport so convenient to get to, what the hell happens that they get there either too early, or stay there? There was only one cancellation on the board. Oh well, not my concern.
I entered the airside part of the terminal and b-lined for Burger King, as it is not readily available outside the airport in Hong Kong. From there I wandered about until realizing I had two hours to go, I decided to go to the business class lounge (earned on miles). It is a very nice lounge, I went to the one at the pier. I took a phone call, then made my way back to the gate.
Boarding was easy as pie—I always think I am going to get upgraded on the Taipei flights because there are so many everyday between Hong Kong and Taipei, even on Cathay Pacific. But it never happens.
Once I sat down, I realized I should have should have checked with Seat Guru when checking in online. 34K is not a window, unless you recline. That misses the best part of traveling, take-off and landing. Being pissed, but thankful it’s only 57 minutes flying time, I sat and furrowed, until a yummy chicken noodle snack was served. Could not argue with service on this flight.
After landing, I took one of the chaps up in greeting area outside customs on a taxi. They call on a cell phone, then I was taken through a passageway to another outside area and a car zipped in and I was popped in and off we were.
Taipei was quite nice. Last time I was there, it rained heavily, and I was only on the ground for about 22 hours or so. This time I would have time to explore. Which was nice.
Here is a picture of Taipei, still somewhat a scooter culture:
Here are all pictures of Taipei: Taipei Pix
After all was done, I made my way back to the airport, and this time I had checked Seat Guru while checking online. I chose a rather harmless looking 37A, from when I was seated in 31A by the travel agent. This was flight CX401, a 773, and 37A was a good seat:
Here is a cabin shot:
Here are all pictures of CX401: CX401
The flight was pretty good (it’s tough to screw up 55 minutes flying time), short, and another chicken noodle snack. Yummy! Landing was a snap, taxiing quick, and I was out waiting for the bus in no time. I would have Saturday to myself, but then I would be back at the airport on Sunday to go to Sydney.
Saturday came and went very quickly. By Sunday morning, I had arisen, and made my way to the airport bus for another trip. Not bright, but early darkness was still on top of Hong Kong but a bit of light was coming out by the time we reached Cathay City next to the airport. Once we hit the terminal, it was light. Check-in was a breeze again, no one was there. Which makes me wonder, when at the same time of day when I flew to Jakarta on the Saturday before Christmas, how much different were the load factors? Those lines were each a mile long for online check-in and business class!
Having checked in online, and no one waiting in either line, I chose online check-in because it was closer. Once checked-in, I went airside and made another b-line to Burger King, but it was less fun this time because I was just there. I had Happy Jacks to look forward to in Sydney.
This time I took some pictures from around the terminal:
Here is the crew boarding their flight to Vietnam:
Boarding was a snap and I was delighted to see this A330 for CX139 had been completely refurbished, or was new. I am not sure. Either way, we had AVOD PTV for IFE, and seatbelts with airbags! Take a look:
Here is a cabin shot during boarding, much easier to see the new PTVs (less blurry):
After boarding a flight with 100% seats filled, we pushed back and taxied to the departure runway. Here is a Dragonair A330 behind us:
Then we turned onto the runway and were away:
Here are all pictures of CX139: CX139
The flight was very smooth, on-time and the service was good. For brekkie I had the sausage, egg, and bacon, and for the dinner, I had the beef with noodles. Both were relatively tasty. Landing was on-time and smooth, and for a change, there was a line at immigration. Normally, landing in the evening there is no line. Fortunately, with more people, it meant that immigration did not have the resources to ask each passenger a hundred questions once clearing passport control.
Also, finally, Australia has done the obvious. No longer are there lines to declare and not declare, but rather just exits. Since one is treated the same anyways, it just makes sense. This time, the guy just waved me through without having to have anything x-rayed. It was cool. Likewise, there was a line at the taxi stand too, and it was raining.
Made my way to the Sheraton on the Park (Hyde Park), and settled in for a busy week.
It was a very busy week, sales meeting (all day) and no less than 10 client and prospect appointments. Only Friday morning did I have time to myself. Which I took advantage of getting a massage at the place under the AMP tower. I also went for a walk at the botanical gardens before checking out and heading to the airport. Boy was I surprised when there was a conference checking out of the hotel at the same time and also heading to the airport. Shame they were going to the domestic terminal.
Finally, I was able to find a cab and be on my way. I was actually early, and spent my spare change on lottery tickets after checking in by a very nice man, but with drawl so slow I thought time had stopped. Anyhoo, he would later take my boarding pass at boarding CX100, again an A330 to Hong Kong.
I did not take any pictures while in Sydney this trip, but here are some pictures from when I lived there and previous trips: Sydney
Next, I went to Oporto for a Bondi Norm meal, and sat at the ‘bar’ and ate while snapping a few pictures. I have one of my plane to Hong Kong:
Next, I cleared immigration and customs, then into duty-free land. I took a few pictures around the terminal, and just sat at the ‘bar’ again watching arrivals on the primary runway until boarding time.
Here are some shots from the ‘bar’, airside:
Pushback and taxi were on-time and smooth, but there was a bit of a wait for take-off, and a few planes holding short on the taxiways, including a REX plane:
We pulled up to the end of the runway and soon were in position for takeoff. Takeoff was choppy because some low clouds, but soon after u-turning way out over the Pacific, we were headed back to Hong Kong.
During the flight we had a sunset, a beautiful one at that. I always choose ‘A’ seats when flying north during evening hours to get the sunset view. I had the macaroni with cheese for lunch, and for dinner, beef with egg noodles. Here are some pictures of the sunset:
All pictures of flight CX100: CX100
The flight was fairly turbulent for the last half of the way. And this flight was about 60% full, and the service was very good. Landing was very smooth after clearing the clouds and entering a chilly Hong Kong.
Both trips were pretty good. There was something I thought was odd. When passing through the business class cabin on the new/refurbished A330 to Sydney, it appeared to me that the seats were 45 degree angles to the wall. Making having a window seat, very different to use the window, or maybe I am just jealous. Thoughts and comments on these trips are welcome.
Keep on truckin'...