Welcome to another series of flight reports by Quirrow. For this journey, it will be about a return trip from North America to Asia. The journey was a one way itinerary on board Korean Air. This would be my first time on Korean Air and I will be heading to Shanghai for some work. Finally I will be on an Asia Miles redemption towards Jakarta on Cathay Pacific.
Like my previous TR, the journey can also be read in my blog for the original format.
Having departed out of Shanghai Pudong numerous times via Cathay Pacific or Dragonair, I realized I have not really covered the Cathay Pacific and Dragonair lounge in Shanghai's Pudong Terminal 2. Compared to the older Terminal 1, the departure concourse in Terminal 2 looks far more impressive and feels less crowded. Cathay Pacific and Dragonair has departures nearly every hour to Hong Kong and even then their check-in counters are not very crowded most of the time.
Terminal 2 check-In area
Cathay Pacific check-in desks
With a reservation in Business class, I was checked in quickly and my boarding pass was handed to me. There was no mention of where I could find the lounge but having been there before, I did not ask. After getting my boarding pass, I went in search of some local snacks to bring back to Indonesia as there are some convenience stores before the immigration. There are also some restaurants and shops in the public concourse. With such a nice space, this was an equally nice space to spend some time before going to the lounge.
Departure hall in Terminal 2
However with the afternoon crowds, I proceed quickly through immigration. As expected there was a queue, though it moved quite fast and it took a total of 15-20 minutes before I was looking for the entrance to the lounge.
Signs to the lounge
Cathay Pacific has its lounge on the second floor with signs beside the escalators near gate 69. Guests could also access this lounge by elevators and once on the second floor, it is easy to spot the entrance to the lounge due to the red backdrop of the reception counter. I was welcomed into the lounge after they scanned my boarding pass.
The small reception area hides the fact this is a fairly large lounge. A stone brick wall lines the entryway that leads guests into this lounge. There are some seating area along with a magazine shelf and a small snacks and drinks counter in this section. The lounge by the entryway seems to be quieter and works for those passengers who are just seeking to get some drinks before boarding.
Entryway with the stone-brick wall
Lounge chairs are arranged to revolve around a small coffee table and there are partitions for each section though I would not call the lounge to be really private.
Lounge chairs by the entryway
In addition to comfortable lounge chairs, there are some bar tables and stools beside the magazine shelf. This allows guests to have some snacks while reading a wide selection of newspapers and magazines.
Magazine shelf with bar stools
Past the brick stone wall, there is a hallway leading to the restrooms which are clean and has a sleek white design. In terms of design, there really is no fault here, though for such a large lounge, there are no shower facilities.
Moving past the restrooms, there are some private workstation booths with iMacs and Windows desktops. Guests could also use the complimentary lounge wifi allowing them to bypass the need to obtain a passcode for the airport wifi. The wifi speed is quite good and works well for Skype, and other common surfing activities. It would stream smaller resolution videos as well so that is good.
Across from the workstation area lies the main lounge with even more lounge seats. The central section is most crowded though there are more seats towards the end with partitions for guests seeking solace in the lounge.
Inside the main lounge
At the other end of the lounge, there is a bar counter where guests could dine from. This is because there aren't any proper dining space in the main lounge. There are more dining tables closer to the reception desk. Though, the design of this lounge was not for dining in mind, since I expect most guests to be here for just an hour at most and Cathay Pacific/Dragonair serves a meal even on these short haul flights.
Bar section in the main lounge
Along the wall, there is a decent buffet counter. In the morning, there are assorted dim sum and pastries on offer though I would not say the food was any way enticing. Many guests would be having the cup noodles here which is common for an Asian airport lounge. For refreshments there are a couple of wines provided, along with the usual liquors. There is also an espresso machine here and the usual apple or orange juice.
Dining counter near the entryway
Pastries and sandwiches
Usually when I visit this lounge, I would be content with just getting packets of snacks. There are potato chips, chocolate wafers, packed nuts and some biscuits which is again common for lounges in Asia. Practical snacks that guests could take onto the plane too!
Because the lounge is located on the second floor, it feels spacious and guests have a vantage view of the departure hall. That sure beats having to spend time by the departure gate, though the public waiting area is not that bad in Terminal 2 itself. To sum up, Cathay Pacific runs a decent lounge in Shanghai Pudong Terminal 2 and this certainly beats China Eastern's own lounges in Terminal 1. Though guests should not expect the same level of offering like their lounges in Hong Kong.
PVG Terminal 2 from the lounge
It was a busy departure time around noon with SAS, Etihad and Lufthansa departing close around this time. As such, there was an early call for boarding at 11:50 with final call happening at around 12:05pm.
CX367 Shanghai Pudong PVG - Hong Kong International HKG STD-STA: 1220-1441 Actual: 1238-1521 Airbus A330-300 B-HLR Gate D65 Seat 12K
As I checked in online the previous night for the flight, I knew it would be the 'Cirrus' long haul seats for the flight, as opposed to the regional Business class seats. Lie-flat and aisle access from every seat in a 1-2-1 configuration is definitely better than an angled flat seat.
Boarding the A330
The cabin was already quite packed when I boarded. As I settled into my seat, I was offered a welcome drink. There was champagne, orange juice, or water. Though none featured the signature Cathay drinks. A refreshing towel was provided as well.
Cathay Pacific 'Cirrus' Business class seat
Champagne and hot towel
Since it was my first time onboard Cathay Pacific's Cirrus seat, I looked around for storage compartments. The seat was comfortable and spacious, with the ottoman still quite far in the original upright stance of the seat. On the right there was headphone in the compartment, the inflight remote and an electric seat control in the shape of the seat. Power plugs and USB ports along with a reading light are within reach as well on this side of the seat.
IFE and seat control
Headphone storage by the seat
The only drawback of this seat is perhaps the monitors that have to be retracted back on take-off and landing. While waiting, another round of beverage was offered during the somewhat long boarding process. After that, the Captain announced a flight time of 1 hour and 56 minutes.
Cabin crew went around to make sure the monitors were out for the safety demonstration to be shown in Cantonese and English. Menu for the flight was also distributed while taxiing which was fortunately without a long queue.
The menu for the flight was written in English and Traditional Chinese, and it read as follow:
On a side note, I found the beverage selection to be quite good. There was also a nice variety of main course for the food, and it makes for a quality menu for such a short flight.
International airlines' livery at Shanghai Pudong
After take-off, I requested for a deck of playing cards and socks from the crew. Blankets are also available on request as I noticed a couple of passengers requesting them. Unlike the other Chinese based carriers, Cathay Pacific does not provide slippers though they did have a large compartment to store your shoes or small bag on the right side of the seat. This is also a neat compartment to place your water bottles.
Playing cards and menu
Drinks are offered first though passengers need to ask if they want nuts. This was a bit of a departure where all Business class guests were provided with snacks and drinks before the meal. I was able to get a mug of milk tea which had to be prepared and a glass of water while I waited for the tea.
Milk tea and water
Ramekin of nuts
I figured on using the lavatory before the flight so I could relax and clean my hands before the meal. Lavatories are stocked with Jurlique amenities which is nice even for this short flight. Meal service had already commenced when I exited.
Table service was up to standard with a tablecloth setup and besides the utensils, there was a packet of antiseptic towelette.
Table setup for meal service
A small salad portion was provided first along with a choice of bread from the basket. As usual I just picked on one garlic bread. Portion for the salad was no difference from the Economy meal and I thought it could be a bit more though I have no complaints with regards to the quality.
Italian marinated prawn and mesclun salad
I went on to watch a movie in this short flight since Cathay Pacific has a great selection of movies and TV shows.
Entertainment on Studio CX
The meal service continued though it took a while for the main courses to appear. Cathay Pacific delivers its main courses on a tray for passengers to see. This is a nice way to let them pick on what they like rather than be disappointed on their expectations. The crew did ensure to come around with the beverage cart to ensure passengers do not go dry.
Main course selection
I ended up with the stir-fried noodles since I find Cathay Pacific has better catering for its Chinese or Asian options. The noodle did not disappoint from an airline food perspective and I enjoyed it with the supplied chilli sauce.
Stir-fried beef tenderloin with e-fu noodles, sa cha sauce, and pak choy
As usual, dessert of Häagen-Dazs ice cream was offered with coffee and tea. I was glad Cathay Pacific still retains this offering for dessert and it is easily the part to which I look forward to every airline meal on Cathay Pacific.
Häagen-Dazs ice cream
Dessert and coffee
For the remainder of the flight I occupied myself with the movie before turning to the great inflight magazine. The cabin crew came around to offer some duty-free shopping as well after the meal service.
Coastline of Southern China
During our descent, we were put on a holding pattern, and the Captain came onboard to note a delayed arrival into Hong Kong by 10 minutes, further indicating wet and cool weather in the city. Passengers on the window seat were treated to a view of the ongoing construction of the bridge and tunnel that will link Hong Kong with Macau and the Mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
Bridge construction on approach into HKG
However heavy turbulence as a result of a tropical cyclone during the landing approach resulted in an aborted landing. Captain advised us later of strong winds as we had to make another round of approach. Fortunately the second attempt was a successful one and I was glad the passengers and crew was calm in this incident.
Disembarking on a remote parking stand
This little incident certainly made our delayed arrival even later and to make matters worse, our flight was parked on a remote stand. During our taxi, the strong winds continued to make loud noises and did delay a few departures out of Hong Kong as well. As I found out later in the terminal, a tropical cyclone signal level 1 alert was being issued and conveyed to passengers.
Tropical Cyclone signal in HKG
Cathay Pacific Lounge
Shanghai - PVG
Hong Kong - HKG
This standard 2 hour flight between the Asian financial hubs certainly shows Cathay Pacific as a premium carrier. The long-haul lie flat Business Class seats made it a joy to be in and its privacy and comfort was in all ways superior to the regional configuration. For such a short flight, the crew certainly did all they can to impress in providing the full meal service and showed a certain level of efficiency for a packed Business class cabin.
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