Review of Cathay Pacific flight Nagoya Hong Kong in Business

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX 533
Class Business
Seat 18A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 04:10
Take-off 18 Jul 15, 10:15
Arrival at 18 Jul 15, 13:25
CX 465 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 4356
Published on 14th September 2015
Background:

This series will cover my summer pilgrimage home to the US. Our destination this time will be Boston. This trip coincides with my switch to oneworld, which brings up a couple of options. Boston now offers direct service into Asia on both CX and JL, this seemed like the better option since I try to avoid domestic US sectors to the best of my ability. I would rather fly a regional route in Asia than a domestic route in the US (regardless of class).

A cursory look at fares showed that the JL option (NGO-NRT-BOS) priced out at ¥190,000 (in Y) and ¥540,000 (in J). CX has been working hard to cut into JL’s market (also reflected in the downgrade in mileage accrual on these carriers even though they are both oneworld) and often has very low fares ex-Japan. CX just started HKG-BOS, but it only operates 4 days a week, which proposed a slight problem, but I am flexible. Cursory searches found that taking CX (NGO-HKG-BOS) was only ¥120,000 (in Y) and ¥265,000 (in J). Doing the math, most of you will see that a $2,200 TPAC in J is a very attractive fare. Yes, flying to HKG adds 6 hours of flight time since I have to backtrack, but when you are in J, that’s an irrelevant factor. If CX J was more prohibitively priced, I would have paid more for JL Y than CX Y to reduce the travel time considerably.

The first hiccup came when HKG-BOS was not operated on the day I wanted to leave. I searched around and found that HKG-EWR or HKG-JFK would be the same price. I figured that the flight to EWR arrived earlier and I could probably use UA miles to book a cheap EWR-BOS reward ticket. On the return, I decided to do a 1-night stopover in Hong Kong since CX allows it at no cost. Returning to Nagoya form Hong Kong, there are three (or four) options. There are two direct HKG-NGO flights on A333s. There is the fifth-freedom HKG-TPE-NGO flight on an A333 also. The interesting thing about the HKG-TPE-NGO routing is that I get a bonus segment and I can pick any flight HKG-TPE that gets in before the flight from TPE-NGO leaves. Looking at the HKG-TPE options, my eyes lit up when I saw there was an A343 operating this route. I have never flown an A340 before so that sealed the deal. I quickly pulled the trigger on the CX routing (HKG-NGO-EWR and BOS-HKG-TPE-NGO).

When I went to book the reward ticket with UA for EWR-BOS, they wanted 25,000 miles for Y!!! That is a 40-minute flight; no way I’m doing that. UA Y was $200, which was ridiculous since I’d also have to pay for a bag since I’m not *A Gold anymore. Fortunately, B6 operates EWR-BOS, offers a free bag, is more full-service than UA, and is only $60 for the one-way on a comfy E-Jet. I’ve never flown B6 before, so why not give that a try too. When the smoke cleared, this was a $2250 routing that put 24,000 miles into a new AA account, well on my way towards oneworld Ruby status.

Part 1 – NGO-HKG [CX 533, Airbus A330-300, Business] – You are here
Part 2 – HKG-EWR [CX 890, Boeing B777-300ER, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11794.html
Part 3 – EWR-BOS [B6 2380, Embraer E-190, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11833.html
Part 4 – BOS-HKG [CX 811, Boeing B777-300ER, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12199.html
Part 5 – HKG-TPE [CX 474, Boeing B777-300ER, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12326.html
Part 6 – TPE-NGO [CX 530, Airbus A330-300, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12360.html

This report will cover the flight from Nagoya to Hong Kong. Without further ado, the new series…


Pre-flight:

The day before I was scheduled to leave, we had a typhoon arrive in central Japan in the morning that hit the country pretty hard and completely disrupted travel in northern China, Korea, and Japan. I was starting to get nervous as I saw all of the morning flights in/out of NGO get cancelled or delayed. Knowing that CX533 was going to be operated by the plane that would be arriving from HKG in the evening, I carefully watched the status of my plane all evening. Fortunately, CX sent the plane albeit a little late. The plane arrived late into NGO and at midnight I received a SMS message from CX saying that my flight was going to be delayed by one hour due to crew legality reasons. The same crew that did the HKG-NGO the night before does the NGO-HKG in the morning so they needed the required rest period.

As always, I took the Meitetsu ?Sky train from Nagoya to NGO for ¥1170 (~30 min). I arrived at the airport 2.5 hours before departure when the CX counters were just opening. Apparently too early because they hadn’t even turned on the monitors yet to mark the counters. The CX agent at the counter apologied for the flight delay and confirms my itinerary into EWR saying the connection will not be a problem. She checks my bag and hands me my boarding passes along with lounge invitations to the JAL Sakura Lounge in NGO and the CX Lounges in HKG.

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The international check-in area is now themed with ninjas hanging from the ceilings.

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With boarding passes in hand, I pick up some omiyage for my family and then head towards the observation deck. The main lobby in NGO.

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Stepping out onto the observation deck, it looks like the morning rain has now stopped. We can see the AY A330-300 in Marimekko livery is here again. There is also the NH B737-700 that is preparing for service down to HKG. In the foreground, the ANA Wings DHC8-400 is getting boarded for service down to Matsuyama.

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NH B767-300 getting its belly filled for service to Sapporo-Chitose.

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KE B77W waiting for take-off, but what on earth is that landing?

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That hideous plane is a NH B767-300 in the 60th anniversary “???????You & Me?” special livery arriving from Sapporo-Chitose.

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As soon as the NH B767-300 clears the runway, the GE90s wind-up and the KE B77W lifts off towards ICN.

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International tail line-up at NGO.

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Lurking out in the distance is the Boeing DreamLifter and a PR A321 with sharklets.

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CI A333.

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What are all these people so interested in?

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The LH A343 in *A special livery is the star of the show (no pun intended).

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Continuing the Airbus theme: SQ A333.

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JL B738 getting loaded for service to PVG.

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AY A333 in Marimekko livery.

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And my bird for the day: CX A333. The youngest A333 in the CX fleet, less than 3 months old at the time.

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NH B737-700 lifting off for service to HKG.

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JL B737-800 lifting off for service to PVG.

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DL B757-200 getting backed-up for service to Guam.

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As I mentioned in my last series, the original DreamLiner prototype is now on permanent display at NGO as a gift from Boeing to the city. I still don’t think they know what to do with it so it is just sitting in the corner.

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One last look at the domestic side of the airport (all NH at the moment) and that hideous NH B767-300 in 60th anniversary special livery.

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A quick stroll through the shops and restaurants upstairs before heading towards security and immigration.

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International departures and the FIDS. You can see my flight listed with a 1 hour delay for “crew legality.” The CZ flight with the 5.5 hour delay is because the flight the previous night was cancelled so they had no aircraft available at NGO for the morning flight.

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Security and immigration was a breeze and I was airside within 10 minutes. The little duty free area at NGO after immigration.

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I head off towards the lounges.

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The JAL Sakura Lounge is accessed by this escalator down a floor.

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The lounge entrance. If you look carefully, you will see a very interesting list of customers to this lounge: CA, CX, CZ, AY, PR, UA, and VN. For whatever reason, some of these carriers choose to use the JAL Sakura Lounge instead of the Star Alliance Lounge or the KAL Lounge.

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Entering the lounge, I’m greeted by two JL agents behind a counter who take my lounge invitation card and tell me that they do not announce boarding so I should watch the monitors in the lounge. I head in and drop my suitcase off.

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The view towards the front desk from the luggage storage. Private rooms for phone calls, the smoking room, and the bathrooms are all attached to this hallway.

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Entering the lounge. It is pretty empty at this hour since the AY and JL flights just departed. The lounge overlooks the tarmac and is okay for a regional airport (JL doesn’t operate that many international flights from NGO). The only Japanese press is in the front and the food/drinks are in the middle of the lounge.

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There were people getting food and drinks at the time, so here are some random shots of the food that I could manage without people in the way. A pretty generic breakfast offering, but better than what the KAL Lounge or Star Alliance Lounge offer. I still think that the private lounge that DL and MU uses is the best.

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Your author’s selection for this quick 20-minute pit stop in the lounge and the view from my seat. You can see a number of dirty dishes around, so the cleaning was not very methodical as you would expect in Japan.

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After eating my snack, I bused my tray, used the restroom, and headed off to the gate. We are leaving from Gate 14 today, so all the way at the far end of the airport (far for NGO standards).

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——————————-

Cathay Pacific, CX533
Equipment: Airbus A330-300 [B-LBK, delivered April 2015]
Departure: 10:15 (ATD: 11:39)
Arrival: 13:25 (ATA: 13:59)
Flight time: 3:20


Arriving at the gate, boarding is well underway and they are already doing Y boarding. I head to the business class line and two smiling CX agents welcome me, scan my boarding pass, and wish me a pleasant flight.

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Before heading down the jetbridge, we get one last glimpse of our bird.

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Down the jetbridge we go.

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Press is located on a cart near the entrance of the plane. Since we are leaving from Gate 14, there is only one jetbridge so all passengers board through 1L.

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Entering the plane, a friendly Malaysian FA welcomes me aboard and has the male FA walks me to my seat.

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The cabin was already full at this time and I unfortunately had a seatmate. Arriving at my row, I asked the FA if I could take the back row, which was empty. He told me to just sit in my seat for a second while he checks the passenger manifest. He comes back 30 seconds later and tell me I’m welcome to take any seat in Row 18 (they block this row off online). He takes my backpack and moves it for me. So here we are at my new seat for this flight. The FA had noticed the camera and tells me to enjoy my photography from the window in privacy. I thank him and settle in.

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The cabin view from my seat while boarding.

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Another FA showed up shortly after to offer me a pre-departure beverage, it’s never too early for champagne and a glass of water. The FA then offered me the pillow from the empty seat next to me for extra comfort.

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Nothing like sipping champagne and watching a CI A333 roll by for its departure to TPE.

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Or this KE B738 arriving from ICN.

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Or duo shot of a NH B738 taxing while the NH B763 lifts off for its run down to OKA.

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The fourth FA in the business cabin then dropped off another glass of champagne and an oshibori. She hands me the menus for today (I’ll show these later on).

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The purser than came through and addressed me by my name, she introduced herself and thanked me for flying with CX and apologized for the delay. She was then followed by a FA that offered me a blanket. I asked the FA if they had slippers (I knew they don’t have them, but this was a test to see their response). The FA apologized, paused, then said they’d see what they could do. The FA returned with a pair of socks that I could use instead. Not the same as slippers, but I do appreciate their resourcefulness and willingness to try and accommodate my request. The FA could easily of said “we don’t have slippers” and then walked away. These are the same socks that come in the long-haul J amenity kits.

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Boarding was finally finished and cabin preparations were underway. A rare 7C B738 taxis by, which was followed by a 7G A320.

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The front door closes and the jetbridge retracts.

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What I do like about CX is that as soon as the plane starts up, the IFE gets switched on and can be used during the taxi and take-off. I thought StudioCX has a nice selection of entertainment, but the map could be better. They have annoying 2-3 minute commercials at the beginning of every program, but you can fast-forward through these so it’s only a minor inconvenience.

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As we taxi to the runway, the safety video plays on the screen while the FAs do the demonstrations. The pilots came on, introduced themselves, described the flight plan, and apologized for the delay and said they’ll do their best to make up some time. An IBEX CRJ-700 taxis by arriving from Sendai.

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The CZ A320 finally arriving (this was the flight that was cancelled from the previous night).

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As we turn towards the runway for a southward take-off, I get a peak at who is behind us. The always comical site in Asia: UA B737 operating to Guam.

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We pull up short to let this CI B738 from TPE come crashing down across our nose.

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We align and power up the whirling Rolls-Royce turbines as we head down the runway. As we lift up, we get a last glimpse of the international terminal and the DreamLifter.

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Rising up over Ise Bay.

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Entering Mie Prefecture over Ise.

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Leaving Mie Prefecture.

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Not the most glamourous of business products, but the new regional CX seats are fine for a flight of this length. CX sends three A333s per day to NGO, two flights use the regional product and one flight uses the long-haul product. Seat pitch is acceptable, the seats have shells so no one reclines into your space. If you have a seatmate, you probably can’t get out without asking them to get up. I don’t think you are supposed to store things in the foot well, but you can easily fit a backpack, bright colored shoes, or other small items down there.

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Pictures of the recline.

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I liked the fabric choice and the headrests were flexible and well padded.

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The center console does not provide a lot of privacy if you are travelling with a stranger. The seat controls are basic and not difficult to use.

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Under the armrest is located the remote control for the IFE. You can easily reach the monitor and use the touch-screen functions so this was kind of useless.

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There is a small slide out tray on the front of the console for drinks.

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Under the armrest is the main seat storage. In here is located the safety card, magazine, and headphones.

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The headphones, which I didn’t use.

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In-flight literature.

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The two sided safety card for this A333.

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The magazines come pre-packaged. It contains the Discovery magazine for this month, the duty-free catalog, and a barf bag.

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And a random picture of the pillow for good measure.

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I find the placement of the IFE to be very low in relation to the seats, but it can be tilted. On one side of the IFE is a hook for a coat and on the other side is the USB and A/V inputs.

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In between the seats is a little phone holder while you use the USB port for charging.

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The headphone jack is under the armrest.

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The AC power is on the front of the center console.

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There was a magazine rack in the back of the cabin, right behind my seat with The Economist proudly on display.

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Approaching Ky'sh?.

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The FAs then started service by offering otsumami and offering aperitifs from a trolley. The otsumami is special for flights to/from Japan. It was very good and was quickly devoured. I ordered a Cloud Nine so they told me they’d prepare it in the galley and bring it out.

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My neighbor is already getting a little frisky.

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My Cloud Nine and a second dish of otsumami that the FA kindly offered seeing my empty dish.

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While I sip my aperitif, let’s take a look at the menu for today.

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They do the full coursed meal on this flight with three entrée options, none of which sound particularly exciting.

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The drinks menu as well.



The folding tray table.

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Aperitif glasses were collected and the linens were laid.

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Here comes the trolley for delivery of the appetizers. The very friendly FA for my row, she is really focused on pouring that water.

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And she places down my tray. At least the tray is covered with a napkin so it isn’t too tacky.

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She then offered me bread and a drink with my meal, I’ll take garlic bread and a Kirin.

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After reading a number of scathing reviews of CX catering, I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of this starter, very visually appealing. A shrimp, cauliflower, and tomato terrine didn’t sound appetizing on paper, but this was okay.

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The generic soba noodles you get on every flight.

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The salad wasn’t anything special, but it did have a good ratio of vegetables to lettuce so it was fine.

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The FAs then came down the aisle distributing mains from a trolley. As all reports state, the trolley starts from the front and moves backwards. So if you are at the back you get the leftovers and the food is not as hot. The advantage of the trolley system is that you don’t have to pick an entrée until you actually see it in front of you. We all know how misleading menus can be at times.

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They only had two of the three entrées on the trolley and neither looked great, so I was brave and asked if they had any of the beef left. They said they would bring one out from the galley.

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And here comes my main. Ouch! No, this is not an economy report, and even if this were an economy report, I would still complain about this offering. That just looks like a complete mess and totally unappetizing. The beef was just stringy and not appetizing at all. This is a reminder of why I never order meat on a plane. After so much promise with the starter, this is a huge let down. I can honestly say that CX catering is way below CA and MU. They need to do something about this ASAP.

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After eating the rice and picking through some of the meat, I just gaze out the window over the blue Pacific to erase that memory.

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Cabin shot in the middle of the meal service.

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After the meal trays were cleared, next up was the cheese and fruit trolley service.

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I normally don’t take the cheese plate, but since I didn’t finish my entrée I was still a little hungry. And a glass of Bailey's to wrap up the meal.

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After the cheese and fruit plates were cleaned up, the FAs came through with another trolley offering tea or coffee and your choice of ice cream. It will be coffee and everyone’s favorite J dessert: Haagen-Dazs served with a metal spoon.

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Another refill of my Bailey's was promptly offered. My glass was never empty on this flight; even with a 85% load the FAs were very attentive.

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The meal service was concluded with an oshibori as we passed over Taichung.

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After another round of coffee and Bailey's were offered, the purser approached me and asked me if I would be willing to complete a survey. I was the only passenger she asked, I wonder if it was because she saw me taking pictures. For the free CX pen, why not! That and it was an opportunity to give them much needed feedback on their catering.

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After completing the survey, I went up and used the lavatory. A standard A330 offering, but they did have the Jurlique products in there and it was very clean.

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Leaving the lavatory, I saw the FAs all huddled in the galley eating their lunches. I startled the Japanese FA when I asked her what she was eating in Japanese. Same as KE, CX always has a Japanese FA on flights to/from Japan. Cabin shot as I returned to my seat at the back of the bus. There was also the typical CX artwork on the rear wall of the J cabin.

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I find it weird that they didn’t clear the tablecloth until they prepared the cabin for arrival, but maybe it was because I was working on the survey while they were cleaning up after lunch. While I was sitting there, the Japanese FA came up to me and started talking to me. Turns out she lived a subway station away from me when she was living in Nagoya to go to school to become a FA, small world. I asked her about why she went to work for CX instead of JL or NH; I jokingly asked if it was because her English was too good. She stayed and talked until we began our final descent into HKG.

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An air-to-air. I think it is an OZ B747.

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Final approach into HKG.

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We smoothly touch down on a sunny day in Hong Kong, about 30 minutes after our originally scheduled arrival time so the pilots did make up some time enroute.

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We have a 1-minute taxi since we take Gate 68 right next to the runway. 1L is quickly engaged.

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A PR A321 with sharklets taxis by as we wait to deplane (along with a rouge CI cargo container making a run for the border).

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My seat. I’m a good passenger and leave my space as clean as I found it.

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The friendly crew is all in the galley to wish me a safe trip to New York. I thank them for their great service and head out into the jetbridge. A look back at our bird heading into the terminal.

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Heading up the jetbridge.

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Heading to transfers.

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Transfer security was empty and I was quickly back into HKG.

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I will leave off this series here as I begin my layover in HKG before the long-haul service into EWR. Thanks for reading this report and please stop by the rest of this series!
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Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.1/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering5.5

JAL Sakura Lounge Annex

7.1/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services7.5

Nagoya - NGO

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Hong Kong - HKG

9.2/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This is my second time taking CX and my first time in J. CX is kind of mixed bag in that they offer excellent service, a so-so hard product (regional business), and poor catering (although the service really helps make up for the food deficiencies). If I could have the choice of any carrier on this route, I think I would still take CX over NH (on a B737). For what I paid, I’m not going to complain. It was a comfortable flight and I care more about friendly crews than fine dining.

Cabin comfort: Brand new and clean A330. The cabin was pretty full, but I was able to move to the back and had a whole row to myself so it didn’t feel that bad. If I was in my original seat with a seatmate, this may be scored a little bit differently. The seat is very comfortable, but both pitch and privacy could be improved.

Crew: Fantastic. By far the best crew I will see in this series (not intended to be a spoiler alert). All 4 of the FAs had positive interactions with me and would talk to me. The purser was ever present, which is always a good sign. The fact that the Japanese FA approached me and spent over 20 minutes talking to me shows that they aren’t just being ‘fake’ friendly. Service was done with a smile and they were very attentive to passenger needs.

Meal and catering: And boom goes the dynamite. Yikes, I don’t even know how to touch this. I’ll start with some positives, I felt like their drink menu was good. The otsumami was very good and the presentation and taste of the starter was very good. The salad, soba noodles, cheese/fruit plates were all average. The dessert is not great, but standard service in Asia on regional routes. The main was just a disaster. But having seen the other options, I don’t think there was a good option available. They all looked bad and the taste of the stringy beef still lingers in my mind. At least it was a full, coursed meal.

Entertainment: Newspaper offered and the standard seatback literature (I didn’t even bother opening the plastic to look at the magazine on this flight). StudioCX has a good selection, the moving map could be better, and the ads before each program are annoying. The screen should be bigger for J, but found the touch screen to be very responsive.

On-time performance: CX notified me of the delay 12-hours in advance via SMS message so I knew the night before and could sleep an extra hour. From check-in to onboard, everyone apologized for the delay. We left when they said we would and the pilots made up some time so we halved the 1-hour delay. It was delayed, but it was handled very well so I’m going to be a little bit lenient in the penalty.

Information on the route Nagoya (NGO) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Nagoya (NGO) → Hong Kong (HKG).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Cathay Pacific with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 4 hours and 5 minutes.

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16 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 146694 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments

    Thank you for sharing another comprehensive FR with us!

    Oh yeah, that is very scary and I'm glad your flight didn't get cancelled! I had the same nervousness in me when I flew with LH from ARN to DEL via MUC. There had been some extreme storms around Munich which resulted in the cancellation of MANY flights, which got me nervous of course. I was lucky both of my flights weren't cancelled.

    Great spotting shots from NGO! The shot of the KE 77W departing is stunning, I love pictures from that angle.

    I had expected to see the brand-new IFE that I've seen on other CX 333 reports as this bird was quite new, this particular IFE looks like the older one. Do you know how the IFE looked like in Y?

    The soft product on this flight sounds great from your impressions.

    The starter got my hopes up for the main course but was disappointed when I saw the picture of the meal. I don't think there's much more to write about the main, utterly disappointing.

    See you on the next one! I'm very excited for the following parts!

    • Comment 325343 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1772 Comments

      Thank you for reading the report :)

      I'm glad your flight didn't get cancelled!
      - I had multiple flights booked (CX delays would cause a B6 no-show), which is what caused some concern. I'm just glad I didn't leave one day earlier! Although I'm sure if I had problems getting to BOS, CX would have taken appropriate actions to ensure a premium class cabin customer got where they needed to go (JL or AA options).

      Great spotting shots from NGO!
      - It's hard to get great shots on grey days, the planes always look better with light reflecting off of them. NGO was the most spotter friendly airport in his series, but you will soon get some more exotic (for you) spotting as we get to the US.

      I had expected to see the brand-new IFE that I've seen on other CX 333 reports as this bird was quite new, this particular IFE looks like the older one. Do you know how the IFE looked like in Y?
      - I didn't have time to poke back into Y in order to see what the new Y product has. This is the new regional business class seat, so it has the most modern IFE. Maybe you are thinking of the long-haul configured A333s, in that case J has the Cirrus seats and the Y has seats like the B77Ws. They have three different hard-products in their A333s so it is very confusing and you have to be careful looking at seat maps (old regional, new regional, long-haul).

      The soft product on this flight sounds great from your impressions.
      - This flight was great, but I found long-haul CX service to be so-so maybe because they are night flights.

      I don't think there's much more to write about the main, utterly disappointing.
      - Thankfully, I consider catering to be the least important factor. I prefer crews, cabin comfort, and on-time performance to be more important to me. However, it doesn't change the fact that their catering is consistently moderate to poor, which is not what you would expect from the national carrier of a city that is known for its food...

  • Comment 146695 by
    eminere™ 272 Comments

    Great report as usual. And as usual CX's catering lets them down. For a premium Asian carrier they just cannot seem to get this area right.

    • Comment 325344 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1772 Comments

      Thank you for your support eminere!

      All three entrees looked poor, it's not like I chose the one bad option. There is a fundamental problem with this cost cutting and I don't think it will change. Personally, given their fares, it doesn't deter me from flying with them. I would rather take this food than pay $5000 more to fly SQ.

  • Comment 146709 by
    Chatokay 277 Comments

    Thanks for a very fine report, I liked it.

    Another refill of my Bailey's was promptly offered. My glass was never empty on this flight
    Motto of a good FA, a drunken asleep pax is a good pax :p

  • Comment 146722 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Hi Michael. I meant to comment on this yesterday but I felt sleep right after I posted my FR. You see, I did a quickie to PHX again. You know we have to work hard for our status.

    I try to avoid domestic US sectors to the best of my ability. I would rather fly a regional route in Asia than a domestic route in the US (regardless of class).
    - You are wise my friend.

    Yes, flying to HKG adds 6 hours of flight time since I have to backtrack, but when you are in J, that’s an irrelevant factor.
    - It makes a world of a difference, especially on a quality carrier like CX with all direct access seats on their long haul fleet. Although I must add that lately I have not been impressed with their catering from some of the reports that I have read, particularly the one from lagentsecret on his intra-Asian flight. What a disaster! One of my friends is an expert on CX and he has warned me that the cost cutting at CX is getting ridiculous.

    Looking at the HKG-TPE options, my eyes lit up when I saw there was an A343 operating this route. I have never flown an A340 before so that sealed the deal.
    - Be careful about any schedule change. The same thing happened to me when I booked a TK flight from CPH-IST in Nov. (I have a new series coming up which should be more interesting to read) A few months ago my eyes lit up when I saw an A330 being operated for this flight and I quickly booked the flight. Well, recently I found out that the airplane is now an A321. Noooo! I cried, threw a tantrum, screamed but at the end resigned myself to my fate. ;) By the way, let me give you a preview of that trip - SFO-CPH on SK, CPH-IST-HKG on TK and HKG-SFO on CX. Isn't it exciting? :P

    Fortunately, B6 operates EWR-BOS...so why not give it a try too
    - Why not? I'm doing the same thing with its reincarnation in Brazil. I just booked a domestic SDU-GRU on Azul. We can compare notes to see how Mr. Neeleman's original baby has grown and changed vs its Brazilian sibling. ;)

    The international check-in area is now themed with ninjas hanging from the ceilings.
    - Is the one in red the good one or the bad one?

    That hideous plane
    - Ugh....

    What are all these people so interested in?
    - Maybe a gladiators fight? :P Great spotting as always.

    A quick stroll through the shops and restaurants upstairs before heading towards security and immigration.
    - Very nice. I love the local flavor present at some airports.

    A pretty generic breakfast offering, but better than what the KAL Lounge or Star Alliance Lounge offer. I still think that the private lounge that DL and MU uses is the best.
    - I think you just answered why other airlines prefer this lounge.

    Your author’s selection for this quick 20-minute pit stop in the lounge..
    - Eating light this morning? :P

    Entering the plane, a friendly Malaysian FA welcomes me aboard and has the male FA walks me to my seat.
    - Impressive for a regional flight.

    He takes my backpack and moves it for me. So here we are at my new seat for this flight. The FA had noticed the camera and tells me to enjoy my photography from the window in privacy. I thank him and settle in.
    - Wow! So different from what you would expect flying a U.S. carrier. When the FA on my AA MIA-GIG saw me taking pics, she did not mention anything but later asked me if I was an airline employee. :P I should have told her that I was reviewing the flight for Mr. Parker her boss.

    The fourth FA in the business cabin then dropped off another glass of champagne and an oshibori.
    - Boy you can drink. Good for you. This panda starts feeling lightheaded after half a glass.

    I don’t think you are supposed to store things in the foot well, but you can easily fit a backpack, bright colored shoes, or other small items down there.
    - Your sense of individual style is undeniable. ;)

    My neighbor is already getting a little frisky.
    - Oh at times like these I wish I was carrying a cat as a cabin pet and let it loose.

    ..let’s take a look at the menu for today.
    - The cover has changed. Now it is a minimalist one.

    They do the full coursed meal on this flight with three entrée options, none of which sound particularly exciting.
    - I bet that your lunch would be better than my transpacific supper meal HKG-SFO.

    And she places down my tray. At least the tray is covered with a napkin so it isn’t too tacky.
    - That looks way better than my AA meals in J, and it's a regional flight on CX. As the title of one of Pedro Almodovar's movie goes What have I done to deserve this?

    I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of this starter, very visually appealing.
    - Gorgeous!

    And here comes my main.
    - Did they use a local Chinese take out place to cater that? :P

    ..everyone’s favorite J dessert: Haagen-Dazs served with a metal spoon.
    - CX's official dessert. How boring!

    After another round of coffee and Bailey's were offered, the purser approached me and asked me if I would be willing to complete a survey.
    - But you are a VIP after all. :P

    Thank you for sharing another great FR Michael. Looking forward to the next report.

    • Comment 326353 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1772 Comments

      Thanks Adan, it's been a crazy past two weeks (3 TPACs in Y in less than 17 days).

      You are wise my friend.
      - I know I am :)

      Although I must add that lately I have not been impressed with their catering
      - This will be a consistent trend in this series. The catering is just bare-bones.

      Be careful about any schedule change.
      - I have a feeling you know what is going to happen then ;) I had a bad feeling going into this trip knowing that the A343 would be axed and it was. Most would argue that getting a B77W instead is an upgrade, but it doesn't change the disappointment of losing that sentimental opportunity to fly an A340.

      By the way, let me give you a preview of that trip - SFO-CPH on SK, CPH-IST-HKG on TK and HKG-SFO on CX. Isn't it exciting? :P
      - What an unusual compilation of carriers. I think you have a soft spot for SK.

      Why not? I'm doing the same thing with its reincarnation in Brazil.
      - Given the erosion of service standards in the US, there is no reason why I shouldn't look at my options. B6 is still full-service and I have no allegiance to UA and will not pay 3x more for an inferior product.

      Is the one in red the good one or the bad one?
      - They are still there, so we are still waiting to find out who wins that battle.

      Very nice. I love the local flavor present at some airports.
      - I love NGO, it is the perfect balance of local flavor and global connections.

      Eating light this morning? :P
      - I ate at home before heading to the airport. I don't like to load up to much since I was facing 24 hours in a vegetable state between the two flights to EWR.

      Impressive for a regional flight.
      - I found the regional hospitality to be much better than the long-haul hospitality on CX. Not sure why, but they just seemed more friendly and went out of their way to make you feel comfortable.

      When the FA on my AA MIA-GIG saw me taking pics, she did not mention anything but later asked me if I was an airline employee. :P I should have told her that I was reviewing the flight for Mr. Parker her boss.
      - I always feel really awkward taking pictures in the US. I was at ORD the other day and took a picture of the security line, the TSA agent comes up to me and asks me if I want another one with him flexing his muscles...

      Boy you can drink. Good for you. This panda starts feeling lightheaded after half a glass.
      - Hollow leg.

      Oh at times like these I wish I was carrying a cat as a cabin pet and let it loose.
      - I just need to get one of those spray bottle misters that you use on cats.

      The cover has changed. Now it is a minimalist one.
      - It's the new re-branding, I don't mind these covers. They serve their purpose.

      I bet that your lunch would be better than my transpacific supper meal HKG-SFO.
      - What time does the SFO flight leave HKG? You can see the meals in my HKG-EWR report for comparison. Coming back BOS-HKG, I got screwed with supper and breakfast combo. That is the worst for a 16-hour flight.

      That looks way better than my AA meals in J, and it's a regional flight on CX.
      - Looks and taste are two very different things my friend ;)

      Did they use a local Chinese take out place to cater that? :P
      - Even that would be better than this. That beef was disgusting.

      But you are a VIP after all. :P
      - I am a very interesting person, I know.

  • Comment 146737 by
    cobra 3591 Comments

    Tnak you Michael !:)

    Always a pleasure to read a fr of your production ^^

    The more i see NGO, the more i love this airport. It's a modern and human scale airport with japanese touches.

    When you have seen this ugly ANA 767, you can say i love the Pokeman plane :))). I hope to see the Star Wars plane soon ^^

    Regional seat not so bad, but nothing compared to the cirrus one. Fortunatly, this is a short flight.

    Entrée seem tasty (but fool of deadlies shrimps :)), but the vomit dog bowl is clearly not appealing at all :))

    Very friendly FA, you make me laugh when you speak about NH and JL english skills^^

    On-time performance is okay, no problem to connect to a long long flight to the NJ !

    See you soon amico :)

    • Comment 326355 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1772 Comments

      Always a pleasure to read a fr of your production ^^
      - Merci Cobra!

      The more i see NGO, the more i love this airport. It's a modern and human scale airport with japanese touches.
      - It is KIX Jr. I like it a lot more than NRT. It is so small and compact making it really practical.

      When you have seen this ugly ANA 767, you can say i love the Pokeman plane :))). I hope to see the Star Wars plane soon ^^
      - I have not seen it yet. I was at NRT this past week and kept an eye out for it, but no special liveries both times I passed through. I wonder if it is operating out of HND instead.

      Regional seat not so bad, but nothing compared to the cirrus one.
      - For this length of flight, it is okay. If I had a seatmate, it would have been much more uncomfortable. It is still better than US F or European C ;)

      Entrée seem tasty (but fool of deadlies shrimps :)), but the vomit dog bowl is clearly not appealing at all :))
      - At least the shrimp were not hiding from you :) They were clearly visible in the terrine. That meat is not even fitting for a dog ;)

      Very friendly FA, you make me laugh when you speak about NH and JL english skills^^
      - I had NH trip this week, I will have another funny story about English-ability on NH :)

      On-time performance is okay, no problem to connect to a long long flight to the NJ !
      - No, plenty of time to take a shower and relax in the CX lounges ;)

  • Comment 147055 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5963 Comments

    Another wonderful report!

    Typhoons are no joke, glad your flight was ok.

    I would rather fly a regional route in Asia than a domestic route in the US (regardless of class) - Even on CA :-P Yeah...Y on regional Asia routes is often better (at least on soft product with meals etc) than a similar length domestic flight in F in the US.

    Doing the math, most of you will see that a $2,200 TPAC in J is a very attractive fare. - There's an understatement. It's freakin fantastic! Heck, that's a good price for a TATL in J much less a TPAC.

    When I went to book the reward ticket with UA for EWR-BOS, they wanted 25,000 miles for Y!!! - I think 25K miles is the lowest redemption rate for domestic Y on any U.S. carrier. Soooooo not worth it.

    That hideous plane is a NH B767-300 in the 60th anniversary “???????You & Me?” special livery arriving from Sapporo-Chitose - I really don't get some of these special liveries in Asia, lol. Beautiful spotting as always despite the grey weather.

    Private rooms for phone calls, the smoking room, and the bathrooms are all attached to this hallway. - Oh wow, I haven't seen a smoking room in an airport lounge in ages.

    The FA could easily of said “we don’t have slippers” and then walked away. - Yep, that's what would happen on most airlines.

    That's awesome that you were able to get a row to yourself. Taking lots of pics for FRs can be awkward when you're travelling alone and have a neighbor. I like the design of the seats. They seem perfectly suited for these types of regional routes. Better than standard Domestic F/Regional J seats, but not at the same level as Long-Haul J.

    My neighbor is already getting a little frisky - Those nails tho'

    I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of this starter, very visually appealing. - it is pretty...and then it all goes to hell :-P
    What to say about the main dish. For one, I've had better looking mains on AA in domestic F, which is just wrong. Ugh, it literally looks like barf...not appetizing.
    Aside from that the drink menu is rather varied and impressive for such a short flight.

    Great aerial views throughout. Looking forward to the next one!

    • Comment 326356 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1772 Comments

      Thanks Kevin, I try not to disappoint (too often).

      Even on CA :-P
      - What could possibly go wrong with CA ;) Actually, yes, I would fly CA to PEK over flying DL from DTW to ???. So even though that direct DL flight is there, it just doesn't inspire me.

      There's an understatement. It's freakin fantastic!
      - This is common fares on CX to Europe and NA out of Japan. It really is an attractive option.

      I think 25K miles is the lowest redemption rate for domestic Y on any U.S. carrier. Soooooo not worth it.
      - That's not true. UA had that route for 12,500 on different dates. I also had some DL SkyPesos that I was going to use JFK-BOS for 10,000 or 12,500 (I forget which), but I already committed to EWR so that was off the table. For $60, a one-way ticket is still cheaper than Amtrak.

      I really don't get some of these special liveries in Asia
      - But they are just so cute! Not. I have no idea what that plane was even trying to represent. A nasty reincarnation of the It's a Small World exhibit at Disney World...

      Oh wow, I haven't seen a smoking room in an airport lounge in ages.
      - You must not come to chain-smoking Japan very often... Smoking rooms are more common than bathrooms. You have to have your priorities straight ;)

      Taking lots of pics for FRs can be awkward when you're travelling alone and have a neighbor.
      - I always feel awkward when exposed, but figure I'll never see these people again in my life, so what do I care what they think... Granted, I normally save most photo-ops on long-hauls for the end of the flight to avoid that 14-hours of intermediate awkwardness.

      For one, I've had better looking mains on AA in domestic F, which is just wrong. Ugh, it literally looks like barf...not appetizing.
      - I've had better looking mains in UA Y...

  • Comment 147344 by
    Chibcha SILVER 498 Comments

    Great report and pictures, I'm looking forward for the rest of the trip!

  • Comment 148520 by
    socalnow 978 Comments

    Greetings NGO85 and thank you for yet another beautifully shot FR.

    We can see the AY A330-300 in Marimekko livery is here again.
    -Great looking aircraft. It looked like challenging light conditions and pics are excellent.

    That hideous plane is a NH B767-300 in the 60th anniversary “???????You & Me?” special livery
    -I find it fun and whimsical.

    The Delta 757 just looks out of place among the VN 321s so far form home...

    The CX J interior looks modern and clean. I agree the fabric is nice looking too.

    I've had a grand total of one trip in CX regional J and it was breakfast time. The catering, aside from the atrocious main, on your flight looked light years above mine.

    Again, thank you for all of the wonderful photos and I look forward to getting caught up with the next installments.

    Happy flying.

  • Comment 154093 by
    66691 1 Comments

    I was inY on the CX533. It is the one on 10/4/15. I took B-LBG and the touchscreen was fantastic!

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