Review of Cathay Pacific flight Hong Kong Taipei in Business

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX 474
Class Business
Seat 23K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 01:45
Take-off 30 Jul 15, 08:15
Arrival at 30 Jul 15, 10:00
CX   #4 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 432 reviews
NGO85
By 3886
Published on 20th November 2015
Background:

This series will cover my summer pilgrimage home to the US. Our destination this time will be Boston. For the background and planning, please refer to Part 1 of this series.

Part 1 – NGO-HKG [CX 533, Airbus A330-300, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11629.html
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] – You are here
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 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.


Pre-flight:

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.

photo 1photo 2

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.

photo 3

Boarding pass.

photo 149

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).

photo 4

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).

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CX B77W in “The Spirit of Hong Kong” special livery.

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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.

GA B738.

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KA A333.

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TZ B789 nicknamed the “Big Yella Fella,” which RI 777 also spotted.



My gate, 18.

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The B77W that will take me to TPE.

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Heading back to the lounge, I see the CX B77W in “The Spirit of Hong Kong” special livery getting towed to a remote stand.

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Heading down into The Cabin.

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My boarding pass was scanned and I was allowed in. Nothing special with the welcome to the lounge.

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The view from the lounge.

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The lounge is long and skinny. I head to grab some food first.

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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.

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I head over to the IT area, which was quieter. They have some iMacs and the famous private CX seats that line the windows.

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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.

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My offering.

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From my seat, I get a great view of this LV B752 arriving. I have never seen LV before.

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Ten minutes until my boarding time, I leave the lounge. Goodbye “The Cabin,” until we meet again.

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Another shot of the LV B752 from the main level of the airport.

photo 28




——————————-

Cathay Pacific, CX 474
Equipment: Boeing B777-300ER [B-KPZ, delivered March 2012]
Departure: 8:15 (ATD: 8:47)
Arrival: 10:00 (ATA: 10:05)
Flight time: 1:18


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.

photo 29

My bird as I head down the jetbridge.



Press at the end of the jetbridge.

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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.

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My seat in the mini J-cabin.

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The familiar and roomy Cirrus seat.

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A different angle of the seat across the aisle.

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An FA immediately approaches with a tray of pre-departure drinks (orange juice and water only). I grab an orange juice.

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The large storage compartment that CX has.

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The literature slot, which contains the Discovery magazine and the safety card for this B77W.



Airbag seatbelt and retractable armrest.

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Seat controls, power, and AV connections.

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Storage compartment with the CX headphones and mirror.

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Two windows per seat, I get a view of a SQ A333 out my window.

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The shoe storage compartment beneath the armrest.

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Coat hook on the back of the seat.

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The FAs came though and offered the regional J blankets.

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Fortunately, we get the bigger long-haul J pillows.

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The view of the mini J-cabin from my seat, there were just 4 other people in this cabin.

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Oshibori was distributed.

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Menus were distributed.



Immigration cards and other junk were distributed.

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While waiting for boarding to finish, I fire up StudioCX. Always a strong selection.

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Our route today and the massive B77W that dwarfs HK.

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We get pushed back late. Our neighbor on the other side is this KA A333.

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Taxing around the airport.

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BR A321 arriving.

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UA B772 getting towed to a gate.

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UO A320 in HX livery? Strange.

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KA A333 taking off.

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PR A320 taking off.

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CX A333 taking off in front of us.

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Turning onto the runway, you can see the CX A333 starting to lift up at the end of the runway.

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As we head down the runway, a nice shot of a KA A333 that was following us.

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CX heavies sitting at remote stands.

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We lift off into the beautiful ocean.

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We make a U-turn to head towards TPE.



Leveling off, the FAs begin service. A peek down the aisle.

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Breakfast service starts with drinks. I get an orange juice and coffee.

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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.

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Buttonhole in the napkin so I can eat like a gentleman.

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5 pieces of fruit, but pineapple is duplicated. No dragon fruit through.

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Given the light load, the FA brought out the entrees by hand.

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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.

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The FA then came through with a basket offering more croissants. I took two more.

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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.

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The meal concluded with coffee.

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My empty row.

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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.



Near Taichung.



A quick trip up to the lavatory. Standard CX bathroom with Jurlique products and flowers.



Dropping into TPE.

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We do a fly by of the airport. A little hazy this morning, but you can at least see most of TPE.

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Leaving the northern tip of Taiwan to make our U-turn to land from the north.

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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.

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Reverse thrust.

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We get to taxi by BR operations.

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BR A321 with sharklets.

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BR A332 taxing.

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IT A320 with sharklets.

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BR B744F.

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BR A332.

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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.

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We quickly engage and deplane. The farewell is pretty neutral and I head into the jetbridge.

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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.

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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.

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The disparity between the former Portuguese style buildings and the standard Chinese apartments (these pictures were taken from the same intersection facing different directions).

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Cemitério de São Miguel Arcanjo.



I’ll leave off this bonus here and pick it up at the end of the next report.

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Thanks for stopping by this report and/or series and I’ll see for the finale as I finally return to Nagoya.
See more

Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.1/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Meal/catering6.0

Cathay Pacific The Cabin

8.1/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services8.0

Hong Kong - HKG

8.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Taipei - TPE

8.2/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

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.

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Taipei (TPE)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 52 reviews of 5 airlines on the route Hong Kong (HKG) → Taipei (TPE).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 1 hours and 38 minutes.

  More information

16 Comments

  • Comment 151601 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 9432 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    Having flown this route in BR regional busines class, I can tell the CX B777 Cirrus beat it any day !

    But Eva Air offers better service : Linen on the table, ohiboris twiced offered, extensive menu and wine list, vintage champagne, etc...

    You luckily got a Boeing 929 for the ride to Macau ! What else for an avgeek enthusiast ? ^^

    See you for the next leg.

    • Comment 329447 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      Having flown this route in BR regional business class
      - I read these reports last night^^ I agree, the service you had on BR looked much better. Catering is hard to compare since this was breakfast service (so no wine menu). BR 77W would provide the complete experience of Cirrus seat and better catering :)

      You luckily got a Boeing 929 for the ride to Macau ! What else for an avgeek enthusiast ? ^^
      - LOL, I didn't even notice that, good eye. I guess I can check another Boeing off my list. There were a couple of these Boeing 929s in Nagasaki when I was there too.

  • Comment 151606 by
    whitelight44 346 Comments

    Excellent FR and pictures. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Comment 329446 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      You're welcome :)

    • Comment 329613 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci 007^^

      Now I don't even try to know in which routing we are lol
      - I will start finishing the routes in chronological order, it is even complicated for me to remember^^

      I hate CX for the airplanes swapping : it's far from being a 5* airline and disappointing
      - When you are expecting a specific cabin, it is annoying to show up at the airport and realize you are getting a different product. In this case, the swap was an improvement in cabin comfort (A343 => B77W), but that's not what I wanted.

      The lounge is average especially for an Asian lounge
      - Better than JL Sakura Lounges IMO.

      On board I agree with you that the catering offered for this route is far from being stellar : in my first class experience, same route, CX didn't bother to have a choice of red wines
      - This is their busiest route since TPE is such a large fifth-freedom hub for them. They treat it quite poorly. I only did HKG-TPE-NGO versus HKG-NGO (long-haul A333) in order to try the A343.

      Macau is becoming a really ugly city with all these shiny buildings/casinos : only few parts of the old downtown are interesting
      - It was my first time there and don't see a reason to go back^^

  • Comment 151621 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 10683 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    Now I don't even try to know in which routing we are lol

    I hate CX for the airplanes swapping : it's far from being a 5* airline and disappointing

    The lounge is average especially for an Asian lounge

    On board I agree with you that the catering offered for this route is far from being stellar : in my first class experience, same route, CX didn't bother to have a choice of red wines

    Macau is becoming a really ugly city with all these shiny buildings/casinos : only few parts of the old downtown are interesting

    See you soon for another leg

    I

  • Comment 151638 by
    A380B77W 4347 Comments

    Thanks for this great FR :) !

    Nice flight on CX, even with a poor catering, but the Cirrus & 77W are the best way to do this very short flight !
    And BR have the same seat also on their younger B77W. And I think sometimes CI also fly their 77W into HKG.

    Wonderful pictures :D !!

    • Comment 329614 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Getting a B77W on a short hop is nice, but I was more interested in trying different aircraft. I didn't know CI operated any of their B77Ws to HKG, I guess it makes sense to send the plane on a 4-hour regional hop before it heads out on a TPAC.

  • Comment 151639 by
    aussenrist 215 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report and you always have the nice weather for your trip!

    Normally CX mostly use A3XX/772 for this route so it was unusual for changing to 77W. BTW recent news stated that CX would dismantle its A340s by the end of 2015 and replaced by A350 starting in Feb 2016.

    For this short CX flight in J, I would say their services is in standard but can be more since J is only 40% full. The J crew should have more time in handling their passengers.

    IMO I would prefer other airlines for this route if in Y because they are cheaper (UO), or provide a full meal (BR) while CX only has a snack box (cost-benefit consideration...)

    “Turbojet breakfast service was better than UA’s TPAC catering for breakfast” --> I can't agree more! (BTW I’ve never taken Turbojet to Macau :O )

    Nice bonus for Macau and looking forward to your next report!

    • Comment 329615 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you very much for your comments!

      You always have the nice weather for your trip!
      - Not always, the second half of the Macau bonus was pouring rain :(

      Normally CX mostly use A3XX/772 for this route so it was unusual for changing to 77W. BTW recent news stated that CX would dismantle its A340s by the end of 2015 and replaced by A350 starting in Feb 2016.
      - I think there are occasionally B77Ws on the TPE-NRT fifth-freedom, which was where this plane was heading. Based on my spotting at KIX/NGO/NRT, I mainly see A3XXs, B772s, or B773s. I have only seen a B77W at NRT once before. The B744s are also disappearing :(

      For this short CX flight in J, I would say their services is in standard but can be more since J is only 40% full. The J crew should have more time in handling their passengers.
      - Meal service is done in less than 40 minutes, there is obviously time available.

      IMO I would prefer other airlines for this route if in Y because they are cheaper (UO), or provide a full meal (BR) while CX only has a snack box (cost-benefit consideration...)
      - It's an 80-minute flight, you don't need J. Last time I flew CX NGO-TPE, it was in Y because of the cost/benefit on a route like that. No point spending 3x more on a regional business product.

      “I’ve never taken Turbojet to Macau :O )
      - I was satisfied with their on-time performance and we didn't sink so I'm happy :)

  • Comment 151645 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    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.
    - I see that CX is not immune to last minute change of aircraft. If you want to talk about disappointment, you can't imagine how I felt when my TK flight from CPH-IST went from an A330 to A321.

    From my seat, I get a great view of this LV B752 arriving. I have never seen LV before.
    - I'm a bit confused. Isn't LV Albanian airlines?

    My boarding pass was scanned and I was allowed in. Nothing special with the welcome to the lounge.
    - Good thing that I did not waste my time with this lounge. It looks very average for an Asian lounge.

    The packaged towelette instead of another oshibori is a little strange. There was no choice of pastry, croissant was the only option.
    - No hot towels nor a choice of breads? A bit cheap for a premium cabin if you ask me, especially for such a renowned 5* carrier.

    The dim sum is similar to what they have in the CX lounges. Presentation and taste are okay, but not really restaurant quality.
    - It's really difficult to get restaurant quality meals onboard so I never expect them to be. At least you had a choice for this short route. AY didn't give me any choices when I flew them in J from LHR-HEL and HEL-CPH.

    At least you had a comfortable ride. Great bonus of Macau.

    TurboJet’s Super Class gets a meal service. Ironically, their breakfast service was better than UA’s TPAC catering for breakfast.
    - I can spend an eternity inside a plane, but can not stand a second in a boat. I took one of these from HKG to mainland China and was about to crawl on the wall. Nice continental breakfast in Super Class.

    Thank you for sharing another awesome FR with first rate pics. See you at the finish line. ;)

    • Comment 329618 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      I see that CX is not immune to last minute change of aircraft. If you want to talk about disappointment, you can't imagine how I felt when my TK flight from CPH-IST went from an A330 to A321.
      - These are different types of disappointments. My disappointment was a geek disappointment, since this was actually a good aircraft swap in terms of comfort. Your swap is just all-around bad ;)

      I'm a bit confused. Isn't LV Albanian airlines?
      - Not that I'm aware of (http://www.iata.org/publications/Pages/code-search.aspx): LV = Mega Global Air Services (Maldives) Albanian Airlines ceased operations and Mega Maldives took over the IATA code based on my search. You are living in the past ;)

      Good thing that I did not waste my time with this lounge. It looks very average for an Asian lounge.
      - It's the one I hadn't tried yet, so I figured I would give it a look. Not the best of the CX Lounges.

      No hot towels nor a choice of breads? A bit cheap for a premium cabin if you ask me, especially for such a renowned 5* carrier.
      - The only oshibori was pre-departure. Croissants were the only pastries available, no other choice.

      It's really difficult to get restaurant quality meals onboard so I never expect them to be. At least you had a choice for this short route. AY didn't give me any choices when I flew them in J from LHR-HEL and HEL-CPH.
      - It depends. I would take no option and a really good meal over 5 bad options ;)

      I can spend an eternity inside a plane, but can not stand a second in a boat. I took one of these from HKG to mainland China and was about to crawl on the wall. Nice continental breakfast in Super Class.
      - I don't have great sea legs either, but I didn't find it too choppy. The return trip was in a storm and that one was a little bit more green...

      See you at the finish line. ;)
      - I'll let you win this one ;)

      Thanks for all of your comments Adan.

  • Comment 151729 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Unfortunately you didn't get to fly on the A340 on this segment, you can rarely trust the scheduled equipment on these short busy hops as equipment changes are common on these flights :(. I guess you got the old cabin on SK which isn't quite nice on a long-haul flight.

    Beautiful spotting shots from HKG! The weather surely helped!

    TZ B789 nicknamed the “Big Yella Fella,” which RI 777 also spotted.
    - Thanks for pointing that out :). You got some great shots of it at HKG!

    Heading back to the lounge, I see the CX B77W in “The Spirit of Hong Kong” special livery getting towed to a remote stand.
    - Simply breathtaking!

    The hard product seems to be great (obviously), the soft product could use some improvements though.

    After reading a handful of CX reports lately it looks like CX has quite a few improvements to make in the catering department.

    Nice shots from the coastline of Taiwan!

    Great tourism bonus from Macau!

    See you in the next one!

    • Comment 329621 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments :)

      I guess you got the old cabin on SK which isn't quite nice on a long-haul flight.
      - I think I read the first A340 went in for retrofitting, but it is being sent to SFO or ORD.

      Beautiful spotting shots from HKG! The weather surely helped!
      - HKG spotting is always good, there is always nice scenery in the background.

      Simply breathtaking!
      - CX doesn't have very many special liveries, so this was my first time seeing one in person.

      The hard product seems to be great (obviously), the soft product could use some improvements though.
      - Having seen what kind of service NH offers on shorter domestic flights in J, CX has a lot of room for improvement. There are a lot of inconsistencies, I never had consistently good crews. It was always hit or miss.

      After reading a handful of CX reports lately it looks like CX has quite a few improvements to make in the catering department.
      - CX catering has been weak for a while and I don't really see it improving. Sometimes I see a good entree, but then it is followed by a bad dessert or a disgusting appetizer. It's similar to their crews, too inconsistent. But, they offer a fantastic hard product as evidenced in this report.

      Macau is pretty so-so, not someplace I would go out of my way to see, but since I was there and had a day to kill, it was worth it to just take the ferry there. I didn't go for the casinos so there really isn't much to do there.

  • Comment 152178 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4991 Comments

    Ah, too bad they swapped the a/c out on you! Would have been interesting to see a report on CX's old herringbone seats--that is what's on the A340 fleet right? Wow, you'd never been on an A340 before? And they're becoming more and more rare. When I was a kid shuttling back and forth between IAD and CDG on AF all the time, it was almost always an A340 and it was my favorite aircraft at the time. I still find A340s to be one of the most beautiful commercial aircraft out there.

    I find those weird rounded booth seats in the CX lounges so ugly--is it just me? They had those in the Wing First class lounge and I kind of cringed. Maybe I'm weird.

    So for this flight you had a comfortable seat, good crew, and so-so catering...sounds like a typical CX flight.

    • Comment 330026 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Kevin is burning the midnight oil catching up on old reports :)

      Maybe I'm weird.
      - Maybe?

      Wow, you'd never been on an A340 before?
      - No North American carrier has them and I have only been to Europe a handful of times and never using a European carrier. My chances have always been small :(

      I find those weird rounded booth seats in the CX lounges so ugly
      - Ugly yes, but slightly useful. Your cabin luggage fits perfectly under the table so you can keep everything compact. The fact that these seats are in both J and F lounges says something the F lounge ;)

      sounds like a typical CX flight.
      - Exactly. At least it was on a Cirrus seat and not an old regional product :) The views of Taiwan were worth the flight. If I took the direct HKG-NGO route it would be ocean the whole way.

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