This report will cover the flight from Boston to Hong Kong; a newer route for CX, but one of their longest at 15 hours of flight time. It will be my first time in BOS’s international terminal.
I arrived at the airport by car about 3.5 hours early. I had to return the rental car by 10pm so that was my limiting factor there. From the rental car drop-off, there are frequent airport shuttles to the terminals.
Arriving at the international terminal.
The empty departures lobby with flags representing the countries served by BOS.
The CX check-in counters were pretty empty at this hour, and I was kind of lucky that they open the counters at 10:30pm. I was quickly checked-in by a friendly American agent, who handed me my boarding pass and lounge invitations for the BA Terrace Lounge and CX’s The Arrival.
FIDS, all the TATLs are getting ready to go.
The security line was backed up with passengers leaving on TK, but there is a separate aisle for premium passengers on the left side. It was a poor TSA experience, unfriendly agents that were more interested in a conversation about some girl that worked for DL than processing passengers.
Airside is pretty sparse at BOS, but at least all the shops stay open late to account for the TATL flights (most things closed around midnight so you are out of luck on the CX flight).
A somber reminder of what awaits me, a round-trip to CDG is shorter.
Our beast basking under the spotlights.
A little spotting of what is left at BOS at 11pm.
BA B747-400 getting tucked in for bed, it will operate the 8:10am flight to LHR.
TK A330-300 about to board for IST.
Our gate for tonight.
Having exhausted the spotting at BOS, off to the lounge. The lounges are accessed through an elevator in the corner of the terminal near gate E8.
Getting off the elevator, the VS lounge is first.
There is a long desolate hallway of lounges.
LH Business Lounge (Senator Lounge was across the hall).
The entrance to the BA Terrace Lounge.
The dining area was already closed so I was directed into the main seating area.
The meager food and drink options (there were refrigerators with bottled drinks below the alcohol).
My offering, a generous 1L bottle of water and a cappuccino. I had a large dinner with my aunt before going to the airport so I wasn’t interested in filling my belly with M&Ms and pretzels. The lounge was sufficient in size for our CX flight, but wasn’t that large in my opinion. The food offerings were slim at this hour (an upcoming JL report will show the midday offerings). I just surfed the Internet while I waited for boarding.
As we approached 1am, I packed up and headed to the gate. Boarding was started on time and after pre-boarding and first class, business class was called. Into the jetbridge we go.
At the entrance to the plane was press on a cart, CX standard protocol.
A very warm welcome aboard from the purser and a FA.
Since we are on a 4-class configured B77W, it is a right turn into the main J-cabin. There is the F-cabin and mini J-cabin (2 rows) to the left. A look forward reaching the back of the J-cabin.
A picture of 26A on arrival.
My seat, 25A, on arrival.
Settling into my seat. Good seat pitch and nice storage next to the seat. Preplaced on the seat was a pillow, headsets were in the storage compartment, and duvet was on the ottoman. For a more detailed seat tour, check out Part 2 of this series.
A look down the row from my seat.
Pre-departure beverages were offered, I passed on the champagne and just took and orange juice and water.
This was followed by an oshibori.
Some water damage on this older plane.
Our neighbor tonight is a UA B737.
Once boarding was completed, the FAs came through and distributed amenity kits and landing documents. A nice brown kit to complete the grey one I got last time. Same contents as before featuring Jurlique products, fairly complete (sans pen).
StudioCX starts up with an obvious error. This flight better not be 30 hours…
The cabin on push back. The load was around 20% in J. Y+ looked closer to 90%. Not sure about F and Y.
On our taxi, we pass by the JL B788 parked at a remote stand for the night.
Continuing our taxi.
We roll onto the runway and the GE90s fire up. We take off to the north giving me a brief glimpse of the Boston suburbs as we head towards Canada.
The literature compartment contains the safety card for this B77W and the packaged Discovery magazine with barf bag.
The CX duvet.
Once we leveled off, the FAs distributed menus and water bottles.
Look down the row as service begins. An interesting observation was that FAs opened the tray tables on every seat that was not occupied.
Linens were laid.
I was asked if I wanted the supper service or the lighter meal (express option). I said I’d take the full supper service. My appetizers were laid before me and aperitif order was taken. I opted for a Cloud Nine.
The really bizarre “savoury dips” and bread sticks starter. I have no idea how this fits in with CX’s catering.
Mains were offered by cart, I took the cod. This was actually one of the best-presented entrees I’ve had on CX. The fish and vegetables were both good. I don’t really care for fried rice though.
Berries and a cup of chamomile tea for dessert. I declined the cheese plate and the pralines since I was ready for bed.
Meal service ended around here.
The cabin in night mode.
I went up to the lavatory to change. It was clean and unremarkable, not very J. The soap bottle looked like it had broken off its mount highlighting the age of this plane.
I prepared my bed and fell asleep.
I woke up 4.5 hours later as we were approaching the North Pole.
A peek out the window.
I went up to the use the lavatory and ran into the FAs exiting. They asked me if I wanted anything. I chatted with them for a bit as they made me a cup of tea. I asked about the low load, he said that this is his first time on this route and wasn’t sure how common this was for it to be essentially empty (20%). He said on the outbound HKG-BOS flight he did, it was close to 100% so it seems like I just got lucky. I grabbed some snacks to take back with me to my seat.
The same FA came to check on me about 15 minutes later and cleaned up my trash and asked if I wanted anything else. I decided to try the roasted duck in noodle soup. He brought it out 10 minutes later. I wasn’t wowed by the broth (not as salty as I was expecting on CX), but the dish was overall good.
When he came back to clean up my tray, he also brought me another bottle of water and snacks to enjoy while I watched TV. I didn’t ask for the snacks, but it was a nice gesture.
I find StudioCX to have a very good selection, it really is one of the better IFE options that I’ve seen recently.
I watched TV until somewhere in Russia when I went back to bed.
I woke up when the mood lighting turned on, about 2 hours from arrival.
The FAs lay out the linens.
The purser approaches me and asks me what kind of “Dr.” I am. That is always a conversation starter when people try to address you by name. We have a brief conversation about that, and then she asks me if I’ll fill out the CX survey. I happily do so in order to get another CX/KA pen.
Service starts with a cup of coffee and a strawberry smoothie. An oshibori was also handed out (the photo has evaded my camera).
Fruit plate and croissants are offered.
This was followed by cereal and yogurt. Need to start my day with two scoops of raisins.
The trolley with the breakfast entrees came by, I opted for the congee. The congee was very good, but this gelatinous “mushroom rice roll” was inedible. It was just chewy, flavorless, and not appetizing at all.
Cabin shot as I got up to change for arrival.
Approaching Hong Kong over Guangzhou.
Arrival information is displayed on the IFE and I complete my arrival documents and ready my lounge card.
Crossing over the suburbs of Guangzhou.
We make some zig-zag route to approach from the west.
Landing in HKG with some repulsive night shots.
As soon as we touch down, the windows fog up. It must be a nice balmy, humid summer day in Hong Kong.
We taxi awhile until we reach the gate, confirmed by the undercarriage camera.
A picture of my seat on arrival, as clean as I found it.
A warm goodbye by the crew on this flight. Up through the jetbridge and off to the immigration lines, which were very long at 5am since all the LCCs were arriving at this non-peak time.
Baggage claim was fast this time (bags were starting to circulate by the time I got there) and I quickly retrieved my bag and headed towards The Arrival. This is not in the most obvious location. You have to go under the Airport Express station to get there. I had to ask someone for directions.
I was welcomed in and immediately requested a shower. The room is nice and had all the necessary amenities.
Fresh from my shower, I grabbed a quick bite from the buffet and a cup of coffee. No photos since The Arrival is very small and very crowded at this hour. I had an intimate breakfast with a stranger at a two-person table since that was the only seat left in the place. I then took the first Airport Express to Kowloon Station where I caught the shuttle bus to Hotel ICON. Dropped my bags in my room and headed out to spend the day in Macau. Tune in next time for the next segment of this journey: the quest for the elusive A340!
Bonus: Hotel ICON
This is the standard room, not too big, but enough space. I was just staying one night, so this met all of my needs: friendly staff, MTR access, etc…
The bathroom is large with separate toilet, shower, and bath.
Daytime and nighttime views from room. The advantage of not staying on Hong Kong Island is the views of Hong Kong Island.
British Airways Club World Lounge
Boston - BOS
Hong Kong - HKG
CX is a strong TPAC product, but it comes with some caveats. The CX Cirrus seat is really good, the crews are normally very good, and StudioCX is good. If you are there for the food, then you should probably look elsewhere. I'm happy with the product based on the price I paid out of pocket so I would definitely consider flying CX on TPACs again.
Cabin comfort: Always a pleasure to fly on a B77W. I was in the main J cabin at the back, which was very quiet. I didn't have anyone close to me so I was able to rest undisturbed by people walking by. The CX Cirrus product is one of the best J-offerings on the market (sans SQ), great seat for sleeping and plenty of privacy. The J-cabin gets normal lavatories, nothing special about them other than the Jurlique products. Okay amenity kit, had everything I expect other than lip balm and a pen. Is it too much to ask for an Asian carrier to have slippers?
Crew: The crew on this flight seemed much better than the last flight. I don't know if that is a reflection of the light load in J or if they were just in higher spirits, but their service seemed warmer and more CXish. The FAs actually engaged me in conversation in passing and the male FA that worked my aisle went out of this way to serve me since he noticed I was up and moving about mid-flight. The purser also stopped by talk, she was asking me why I wasn't a Marco Polo member and how often I fly with CX and what my experience was like. That's good that a purser is being proactive like that about their product and trying to get customer feedback.
Meal and catering: The catering is not strong on these west-bound TPACs. A supper and breakfast is about as bad as it gets since I never got a full coursed meal. The appetizer for dinner was a joke, some packaged breasticks and mixture of some guacamole and something else??? The main was good and had above average presentation for CX standards. In the galley midflight, there were some other snacks, but not too different than what you would see in Y. The duck soup I had mid-flight was good, but not as good as the hamburger I had on the last flight. The breakfast was fairly complete. I’m glad they had a congee since I prefer that to rubbery eggs, but that nasty gelatinous roll that was served with the congee was inedible. Normal protocol was followed with no noticeable deviations in service.
Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge and the standard seatback literature (I didn’t even bother opening the plastic to look at the magazine on this flight either). StudioCX has a good selection, the moving map could be better, and the ads before each program are annoying (just fast-forward). I tried to rest most of the flight so didn’t really probe the offerings too much, but more than enough to last me through 5 CX flights in this series within the same month.
On-time performance: Pretty standard on a long-haul flight, we left late. We landed 40-minutes early so no complaints from me. Although in this case, landing 40-minutes early was not really desirable given the schedule of the Airport Express.
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