This report will cover the flight from Hong Kong to Taipei-Taoyuan. An extremely busy route with no shortage of options. I picked CX 474 since it was originally scheduled to be operated by an A343; however, when I did online check-in the night before I was heartbroken to see a 4-class B77W seat map. CX didn’t stop there, when I checked again in the morning, it was switched to a 3-class B77W. Most people would be excited to get a Cirrus seat on a flight like this, but I really wanted to fly an A340 for the first time (my dream came true with SK, but at the time it was a big disappointment). At the end will be Part 1 of my Macau bonus.
From Hotel ICON, I opted for a taxi to the airport since I needed to leave before the shuttle buses to the Airport Express started up. A taxi fare to Kowloon Station plus an Airport Express ticket is probably more than taking a taxi directly to HKG. The taxi dropped me off and I headed into the iconic HKG terminal.
There is no shortage of counters for business class check-in. I was quickly checked in by a professional agent who handed me my boarding passes. She also was alert of my connection in TPE and mentioned that the CX Lounge in TPE is currently closed for renovation so I need to contact ground crew on arrival for instructions.
Security and immigration at HKG is decent given the size of the airport. I get spoiled with NGO so I find the 20-minute wait a little long. Clearing immigration, I stop by the FIDS. If you look closely at the FIDS, between 7:30am and 8:20am there are 4 flights leaving for TPE (BR, CI, CX, and KA).
There is no question who runs the show here. With the release of the first plane in the new CX livery last month, I’m really excited to see the evolution of CX (I like the new tail logo although the new all white livery is a little meh).
CX B77W in “The Spirit of Hong Kong” special livery.
I take a walk to my gate to confirm what plane CX finally settled to send to TPE this morning and to do some spotting before heading to the lounge.
TZ B789 nicknamed the “Big Yella Fella,” which RI 777 also spotted.
My gate, 18.
The B77W that will take me to TPE.
Heading back to the lounge, I see the CX B77W in “The Spirit of Hong Kong” special livery getting towed to a remote stand.
Heading down into The Cabin.
My boarding pass was scanned and I was allowed in. Nothing special with the welcome to the lounge.
The view from the lounge.
The lounge is long and skinny. I head to grab some food first.
The lounge is pretty busy in the dining area, so just one quick shot of part of the buffet area. Several hot options of dim sum, congee, and western foods.
I head over to the IT area, which was quieter. They have some iMacs and the famous private CX seats that line the windows.
The IT area only had minimal drink and food selection in a corner so you had to go to the main area for hot items.
From my seat, I get a great view of this LV B752 arriving. I have never seen LV before.
Ten minutes until my boarding time, I leave the lounge. Goodbye “The Cabin,” until we meet again.
Another shot of the LV B752 from the main level of the airport.
The hoards are already queuing at the gate. There were close to 75 people boarding in the priority lane for this flight, it was ridiculous given the 40% load in J. Boarding was called about 15 minutes.
My bird as I head down the jetbridge.
Press at the end of the jetbridge.
Entering the plane. I like this shot because you can see the stairs up to the crew rest in the B77W. The welcome on board by the purser was so-so.
My seat in the mini J-cabin.
The familiar and roomy Cirrus seat.
A different angle of the seat across the aisle.
An FA immediately approaches with a tray of pre-departure drinks (orange juice and water only). I grab an orange juice.
The large storage compartment that CX has.
The literature slot, which contains the Discovery magazine and the safety card for this B77W.
Airbag seatbelt and retractable armrest.
Seat controls, power, and AV connections.
Storage compartment with the CX headphones and mirror.
Two windows per seat, I get a view of a SQ A333 out my window.
The shoe storage compartment beneath the armrest.
Coat hook on the back of the seat.
The FAs came though and offered the regional J blankets.
Fortunately, we get the bigger long-haul J pillows.
The view of the mini J-cabin from my seat, there were just 4 other people in this cabin.
Oshibori was distributed.
Menus were distributed.
Immigration cards and other junk were distributed.
While waiting for boarding to finish, I fire up StudioCX. Always a strong selection.
Our route today and the massive B77W that dwarfs HK.
We get pushed back late. Our neighbor on the other side is this KA A333.
Taxing around the airport.
BR A321 arriving.
UA B772 getting towed to a gate.
UO A320 in HX livery? Strange.
KA A333 taking off.
PR A320 taking off.
CX A333 taking off in front of us.
Turning onto the runway, you can see the CX A333 starting to lift up at the end of the runway.
As we head down the runway, a nice shot of a KA A333 that was following us.
CX heavies sitting at remote stands.
We lift off into the beautiful ocean.
We make a U-turn to head towards TPE.
Leveling off, the FAs begin service. A peek down the aisle.
Breakfast service starts with drinks. I get an orange juice and coffee.
There are no linens on this flight. They only set down a tray that is covered with a table cloth. The packaged towelette instead of another oshibori is a little strange. There was no choice of pastry, croissant was the only option.
Buttonhole in the napkin so I can eat like a gentleman.
5 pieces of fruit, but pineapple is duplicated. No dragon fruit through.
Given the light load, the FA brought out the entrees by hand.
She showed me both options on the tray and I picked the dim sum. The dim sum is similar to what they have in the CX lounges. Presentation and taste are okay, but not really restaurant quality.
The FA then came through with a basket offering more croissants. I took two more.
Trays were cleared before we reached Taiwan, so a very efficient service. When you compare the breakfast offering on CX to what you would get on a European C flight of similar length, it is a much stronger offering.
The meal concluded with coffee.
My empty row.
Welcome to Taiwan! Spectacular views as we lock onto the coast around Tainan and run straight north towards TPE. Taiwan, much like Japan, has a fantastic topology.
A quick trip up to the lavatory. Standard CX bathroom with Jurlique products and flowers.
Dropping into TPE.
We do a fly by of the airport. A little hazy this morning, but you can at least see most of TPE.
Leaving the northern tip of Taiwan to make our U-turn to land from the north.
Final descent into TPE. Much more developed area than around NRT, but still looks very similar on approach.
Touching down 5 minutes late, we cross paths with the CI A333 in ST special livery.
We get to taxi by BR operations.
BR A321 with sharklets.
BR A332 taxing.
IT A320 with sharklets.
Pulling into our gate and my heart dies a little more. What are the odds that we pull in next to a CX A343; the plane I had hoped for.
We quickly engage and deplane. The farewell is pretty neutral and I head into the jetbridge.
Entering the terminal, I ask a CX agent standing there with transfer information about the lounge situation. She tells me to follow the signs towards the lounges and a CX agent will be waiting for me in the hall to give me instructions. Up we go into TPE.
I will leave off this series here as I begin my layover in TPE before the final leg into NGO. Thanks for reading this report and please stop by for the end of this series!
—————————– BONUS: Having been to Hong Kong several times before, I decided to use my stopover for a daytrip out to Macau. Checking into Hotel ICON at 7:30am, they had a room for me so I dropped my bags in my room and took the MTR to Hong Kong in order to take TurboJet out to Macau. I was intrigued by the “Super Class” that they offered, so I went ahead and booked that for the hour long trip (not necessary, but when in Rome…). TurboJet’s Super Class gets a meal service. Ironically, their breakfast service was better than UA’s TPAC catering for breakfast.
Walking up to Fortaleza da Guia.
Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guia and the Guia Lighthouse.
Views from the top of Fortaleza da Guia.
The disparity between the former Portuguese style buildings and the standard Chinese apartments (these pictures were taken from the same intersection facing different directions).
Cemitério de São Miguel Arcanjo.
I’ll leave off this bonus here and pick it up at the end of the next report.
Thanks for stopping by this report and/or series and I’ll see for the finale as I finally return to Nagoya.
Cathay Pacific The Cabin (closed)
Hong Kong - HKG
Taipei - TPE
Short hop on CX from HKG to TPE that was pretty unremarkable from both the in-flight service and catering. The only positive of this flight was getting the B77W with Cirrus seats so I can watch the GE90s from the window. This is the type of route that CX should really excel on given its importance, but after this experience, I'd probably take a different carrier on the HKG-TPE route in the future.
Cabin comfort: Long-haul Cirrus seat on an 80-minute flight, no problems here :) Fairly empty cabin so very private. the regional J blanket could be better (first world problems).
Crew: Meh. It was a short regional route and that's how they treated it. Nothing very personal or welcoming. They did their jobs with smiles and efficiency and that's about it. Not the greatest of CX crews.
Meal and catering: Considering this is just a 80-minute flight, the meal offering was appropriate in quantity. I find the lack of linens disappointing. Packaged towelette to finish the meal versus a second oshibori is poor. The dim sum offered is the same that is in the CX Lounges, not great. Croissants were in no shortage and warm and flakey. There are just a lot of factors that don't exude 5* characteristics. This is a highly competitive route and they should do more.
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.
On-time performance: Really slow boarding and we left quite late. Arrived into TPE 5 minutes late.
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