Photo review of Cathay Pacific flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong in First
Greetings Flight Reporters and welcome to another whirlwind Asian adventure. This was an especially exciting trip for me because I was bringing along a friend who was a complete newbie to most of the experiences I had planned for this trip. New to first class on top airlines, premium lounges, and new to a couple of the cities we visited. It's always a special treat for me to share experiences that I I value with someone else that I think will value them as well. To see things again through the newness of someone else's eyes. The reports of our travel will be broken down as follows:
We planned a long layover at NRT as we enjoy going into Narita Village and walking around and getting a taste of Japan. We moved quickly through immigration and customs. I am not as familiar with Narita Airport Terminal 2 as I am with 1. IT took a bit of time to find lockers for our luggage that were not already occupied. Once we completed this task we were on the Keisei Mainliner to Keisei Narita Station.
A great time walking about Naritasan Park and the Temple. On the way back to the airport we stopped off at Terminal 1 for a trip to the observation deck. The weather was wicked and foreshadowed what would become a lengthy delay.
The 777-300ER that delivered us from Jakarta to Narita earlier that morning.
Normally a crowded space but on this day the wind was howling.
We noticed there were no arrivals during our brief visit to the observation deck but it didn't occur to us that the airport was in fact closed to arrivals. Our inbound CX 777-300ER was airborne and en route per online flight tracking but later we would see a long holding pattern and diversion to HND.
We decided to retreat to the JAL F lounge in T2 and took the bus over from T1. A quick trip through premium security and immigration and we were airside.
I find this lounge to be very good. It is a little dated when compared with some other F lounges out there but service, food , and beverage are always very good.
We're immediately drawn to the itamae preparing sushi in center of the dining area. There is also some sake on offer. I order the set option but later notice guests asking for variations including just the sashimi or the nigiri of their choosing. The highlight of this visit was some wonderful melt in your mouth tuna.
Still oblivious to the delay I have a look around at the rest of the food offerings as well as beverage. I opt for some small plates and a taste of the curry to round out this meal.
The delay to our flight is now posted to the FIDS in the lounge but no new time is listed. The lovely women that staff the JAL lounge don't have any additional information, which is completely understandable. We decide to go on walk about and visit the Cathay Lounge and the gate area to see if there was any news an estimated boarding time. We are blissfully unaware at this time that the airport is closed and the aircraft has or will shortly divert to HND.
The CX lounge staff is unable to offer any information beyond confirming the flight is delayed so we go to the gate. As we approach the podium we encounter what turns out to be the station manager for CX and ask him about the situation. He breaks the news to us about the closure due to crosswind, flight diversion, and fluidity of the situation. He tells us they have inbounds diverting to KIX too. He notes our names and, I assume, that I'm traveling in F and asks if we will be at the JAL F lounge for the delay. We tell him yes and he assures us that he will keep us informed. A really lovely guy and most professional and forthright with what little information was available. Basically all you can ask for in a delay situation like this.
Upon retreating to the lounge we secure appointments to receive a massage treatment. Also, we pay another visit to the sushi counter. This time a more custom order.
We decide to make a nice long look of the terminal and get some walking in as we know where will be here for a while. This includes a trip to the upstairs JAL F lounge for, well, for no reason really. Just because we can. Also, I'm getting my non-avgeek friend starting to turn into one of us. He is very bullish on lounge hopping and any kind of spotting we can achieve. Of course when no aircraft are landing the spotting is limited.
The second floor JAL F lounge is also very nice in the same subdued manner. It's extremely odd to me to have this space, essentially a second lounge, right above the main F lounge. There's also a third F lounge in the Satellite terminal.
You'll notice similar food options as well.
This lounge is more sectioned off. There is a small business center, a phone area, and variety of seating. You'll also notice the scarcity of guests.
We settle in here and enjoy some beverages. We are given personal updates on the flight from both JAL and Cathay staff. It's rather remarkable actually, the level of effort they went to in order to make us feel updated. The staff would arrive in pairs and let us know...well, that they don't know anything. Excellent service and above my expectations. One of the updates was delivered by a pair of CX lounge staff in uniform...in the JAL F lounge.
Finally we are summoned for boarding after a 5+ hour delay. This was sad as we had planned to use this time to wander about in Hong Kong and now we would not have the time or energy to do so. Actually, for Mark, the whole flight down to HKG and back up in the AM was useless but we stayed to plan.
The crew were in a very positive and apologetic mood. We shared tales of the delay and they filled me in on their diversion and long work day. The purser was the exception and was a bit ruffled by the delay. I was seated in 1A so I was privy to overhearing several interactions with her and the Captain. He was upset about some CX staff that wanted to jump seat in cockpit and another that was apparently told he could ride in the crew rest. The captain was storming off the airplane to speak with the gate agents and the purser repeated that everyone was very tired. Personally I don't get extra confidence knowing the flight crew is "tired". They eventually sorted these issues out and it appears that the non-revs were accommodated.
Meanwhile though I was treated to some tasty Amour de Deutz Blanc de Blancs and one of the best airplane seats in the sky.
The menu, including wine promotion, for the NRT-HKG sector looked like this.
The next door neighbor.
Eventually we pushed back and encountered a long queue for 16R, as you would expect with a very busy airport recovering from a closure.
Once airborne the service started promptly and I requested the Deutz. The wine was served with some mixed nuts.
The table was set with the customary welcome note.
I think after nearly 7hours of lounge time at NRT I was at my limit of Japanese food for the evening so I opted for the western path for dinner.
The starter of salmon and prawn. Simple and light. Paired with the Chateau Bouscat 2012.
The cream of chicken soup was next. A heavy and unremarkable soup. The bread was a welcome accompaniment.
For the main I opted for the braised Hometoyyz (Canadian) short ribs. Braised beef for airplane meals almost always make sense. I was thinking of the delay as well but I wonder if any catering that had originally been prepared had to be redone after such a lengthy delay. Anyhow, a successful dish paired with the Chateau Haut-Bergey 2003.
I managed to remain conscious for the cheese course but it probably wasn't worth it.
I drifted off the sleep for the remainder of the journey and woke to some steamy windows in at HKG.
Cabin crew 8.5
JAL First Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
Hong Kong - HKG
What should have been a quick trip turned out to be anything but. The delay was certainly a disappointment but the CX and JAL agents were helpful for the most part although powerless against the forces of nature that caused our predicament.
The Ground Service: Information on the delay was slow at first but updates did come and almost to the point of discomfort. While I appreciate the effort i was somewhat taken aback that CX would dispatch two staff from their lounge to come to a partner lounge only to tell me they had no information. It was all well intentioned I certainly won't be upset by visits from lovely, smiling airline staffs.
The Lounge: I am a fan of the JAL F lounges at NRT. The sushi counter, the foot massage, the overall esthetic connect with me.
The Cabin: The CX F seat is timeless. Still perhaps the best bed in the sky and nto too shabby for lounging either. The CX Studio has great content but the screens are no loner able to deliver the sharpest resolution.
The Crew: Aside from some unprofessional antics from the Captain and Purser the rest of the crew I interacted with was very good. Delays are difficult on the crew as well but you could not tell anything was amiss aside from the aforementioned individuals.
The Food and Beverage: Adequate for a 3 hour regional flight but nothing special. The wines were all enjoyable.
Overall: An excellent way to travel between TYO and HKG.
Thanks for reading and happy flying.
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