After much much much delay, here finally, is the first flight of the return portion of this series of flights with American Airlines. As previously mentioned, this trip was essentially a mileage run over a long weekend yielding 19,000 miles. You might be wondering why this flight is in Economy with all the other flights in Business and First. In my previous reports, I spoke about having problems with my ticket. I had used SWUs (Systemwide Upgrade vouchers) to upgrade on all flights; however, due to the aforementioned mysterious problems with my tickets resulting in a corrupted PNR, I ended up not being able to upgrade this flight. Although I wasn't expecting to sit in Y, I decided to make the best of it and thought to myself that it would be a good for the #AvGeek in me to be able to experience both cabins on this route.
So here we go for a 14 hour flight across the Pacific…
Although the flight was at 1:40PM, I got to the airport a little before 10AM so that I could do some lounge-hopping. As often as I've flown in and out of HKG, I always find the architecture to be impressive.
Unfortunately, the AA check-in was not yet open and it wasn't possible to check in online or on the AA App, so I went outside for some planespotting as I waited for the counter to open.
Soon enough the AA counter opened and I was able to get my boarding pass and lounge invitation.
As soon as we got airside, we were right next to the Qantas lounge so we decided to go check it out. It had heard that it had been renovated since my last visit years ago when DL used the QF lounge.
The lounge is literally around the corner on the right as soon as you get airside.
The lounge agent was very welcoming and courteous and apologized that there was no First class section when she saw the oneworld Emerald status. For those not familiar with oneworld and American Airlines' program, the highest AA FF status, Executive Platinum (oneworld Emerald), allows entry into the International First class lounges of any oneworld carrier no matter the class of travel. Having been a longtime Delta and SkyTeam loyalist, this is definitely a nice perk.
There will be plenty of time to check out Cathay Pacific's First class lounge later. For now, let's take a look around the recently renovated Qantas lounge.
Very nice first impression. The furnishings look modern yet comfortable and the fact that the lounge is on a mezzanine level makes it bright and airy.
Nice looking bar
The lounge is almost empty at this time of day. It's always nice getting a lounge to yourself!
In case you want to have a large family dinner in the QF lounge, they have you covered :-P
Or perhaps you're in the mood for hibachi? They have that too :-)
The buffet area with a decent breakfast offering, including some hot choices and pastries. Living in the US and being used to carrot sticks and fake cheese in US lounges, I'm always thrilled to get real food when travelling internationally.
With a glass of surprisingly good Australian sparkling
Cheers! It's never too early for bubbly!
A few more pics of the lounge. It is very spacious and although you are far from the windows you can still do some planespotting.
After a very enjoyable stay in the Qantas lounge, we headed accross the way to Cathay Pacific's The Wing First class lounge.
The agents at the desk were also very nice. There is a champagne lounge as soon as you walk in. I like the concept, but I'm not a fan of the dark look of this lounge.
The furniture is plush and comfortable, but there's something very 90's chic and unappealing about the decor in general, although the lounge has also been recently renovated.
But that did't stop me from enjoying a glass (or 2 or 3) of Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial :-)
The Wing Features and First and Business class section. First class passengers and oneworld Emeralds can access both sides.
Overall the lounge is quite nice and large. However, although I've never been in the AF La Première lounge in CDG or the LH First Class Terminal in FRA, two lounges with very good reputations, the CX the WIng F lounge does not feel as exclusive as the AF or LH lounges sound in the reports I've seen. Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice lounge and I enjoyed it, but you don't have someone waiting on you hand and foot and to escort you everywhere like in the AF la Première lounge, so it's not really in the same league.
There is, however, one feature of this lounge that does feel exclusive and First Class-y, the restaurant.
There is a buffet with a large selection of food including dim sum and desserts, or you can choose dishes from the menu. I did a mix of both.
A few items from the buffet. The dim sum was very good.
I also chose the duck breast from the menu which was very good. Throughout the meal the waitress kept my glass of champagne full.
A selection of desserts from the buffet.
And a Cognac to wrap up a nice meal.
By boarding time I was well fed (read: I stuffed my face) and well tipsy, so I was starting to care less about sitting in Y for 15 hours. I've done 17 hours in Y from DTW-HKG before….piece of cake!
Boarding had just started when I go to the gate. Here's our beautiful bird for the day–couldn't get a better shot.
Boarding was fast through the Priority lane, but the security checks after the boarding gate tend to slow down the flow of passengers. At the boarding door I was was warmly greeted by a Hi there! Back already! That was a short trip–it was the same great crew we had on the way over. I knew right away, even though we were sitting in the back that the crew experience would be positive.
My first impression of the Y cabin was generally positive despite my general aversion to the 3-4-3 configuration on 777s.
The touchscreen IFE screens are large.
Oh the poor people that have to sit in the middle for 15 hours in such a tight configuration–I hope they're all short and thin :-P
Luckily I was able to grab one of the 2-seaters towards the back so my friend and I didn't have to wory about one of us sitting in a middle.
The view from my seat all the way in the back.
The seat pitch is decent–it could be worse. Another advantage to the two-seater rows in the back is that they are farther from the sidewall than normal rows so you get more lateral space.
The IFE screen is nice and large. The touchscreen is very reactive.
View from my seat
View out the window
Boarding was fast and efficient and we pushed back a few minutes early as the safety video comes on.
A little planespotting while taxiing.
Beautiful CX 77W
It's always funny seeing UA narrowbodies in HKG
We got some good views on takeoff and flew directly over the city. Unfortunately, it was a hazy day so the photos are not clear.
Flying over the heart of the financial disctrict.
As always, shortly after takefoff some announcements are made on the IFE
I switch the IFE to the airshow right away. It's going to be a very short flight today with strong tailwinds .
View of the cabin before the meal service. The 3-4-3 configuration looks tight.
Hot towels are handed out before lunch
Pre-meal drink service. I got a white wine and water.
The meal is served halfway to Japan.
The options were chicken (no surprise there) or vegetarian. By the time the FAs got all the way to the back, there were no other options so I had to go with the vegetarian meal. I wasn't particularly happy about not having a choice of meals, but it actually turned out to be pretty good. It was an Indian style vegetarian curry–certainly more interesting than the usual bland chicken or beef.
After the meal the lights were turned off and most pax went to sleep so it was quiet in the cabin.
I wasn't tired yet and got to chatting with some of the FAs–some of which I'd met on the DFW-HKG flight. After a nice chat with this very nice crew, I went back to my seat. One of the awesome FAs stopped by and discretely offered us a bottle of wine to enjoy at our seats. What a great gesture that more than made up for the lack of meal choice!
Wow, we are going really fast!
After half a bottle of wine I was ready for a nap :-) The mood lighting was on at this point
i woke up over the middle of the Pacific right before the mid-flight snack.
The mid-flight snack box was ok, nothing spectacular. It was a sandwich with some cheese and crackers and a chocolate bar. This is comparable to what I've had on DL on TPAC flights in Y.
The mid-flight snack was a good break from boredom in the middle of the flight. Afterwards, I watched a movie, played some poker on the IFE, and took another quick nap.
You can buy duty-free from the IFE
I woke up as the sun was rising approaching the California coast.
Nice scenery over Northern California despite some morning haze.
One nice feature of the IFE is that you can see the duration of movies to see if you have enough time to watch before arrival.
Some more moodlit cabin shots
The pre-arrival breakfast was served a little over an hour before arrival. With only 3 pieces of fruit and a croissant sandwich, it was definitely less generous than breakfasts I've had in TPAC Y on DL before which usually consisted of an omelette with sausage links and potato wedges as well as fruit. Our wonderful FA came by and offered us a second sandwich after we were finished our meal, which I accepted.
Somewhere over the Rockies
More mood lighting.
Less than an hour left to arrival.
Over the dry west Texas plains.
A video about US customs and immigrations is played shortly before arrival.
Love the 77W's raked wingtips
We landed over 45 minutes early. Those tailwinds were really pushing us along.
People standing up while we are still taxiing–a very common sight on flights to/from Asia in my experience. I've seen people get up and struggle up the aisle during takeoff before! This is nothing :-)
Needless to say FAs had to make several announcements to get people to sit down, but many did not listen.
Well, I survived Y on a long TPAC flight yet again. It really wasn't bad at all.
Last view of our 77W on the way to immigration.
Immigration was rediculously fast. I used the new self-serve kiosks and was through in less than 5 minutes. I think it was a record for me. Even my friend who has global entry took longer than me, lol. Speaking of Global Entry, now that I have an American passport, I should probably get it.
Thanks a lot for reading this very long report!
A little tourist bonus of Hong Kong to make it even longer :-)
I always enjoy eating out in Hong Kong
There's something for everyone. #AvGeek
Thanks for reading!
Qantas Business Lounge
Hong Kong - HKG
Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW
All in all, it was a pretty decent flight. The wonderful and especially attentive crew really made it an enjoyable experience.
Cabin comfort - I'm not going to lie, the 3-4-3 configuration is tight. The seats are definitely too narrow for this type of long-haul flight. However, having gotten the 2-seater block of seats in the back made it a more comfortable flight with more lateral space and no middle seat or stranger sitting next to us.
Catering - The main meal was really good, but the other two were disappointing. I'm again comparing to Delta on similar routes and Delta wins hands down on TPAC Y catering.
IFE - Great IFE system. Fast, responsive, great airshow and lots of content.
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