Review of Cathay Pacific flight Taipei Nagoya in Business

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX 530
Class Business
Seat 18K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 02:50
Take-off 30 Jul 15, 12:00
Arrival at 30 Jul 15, 15:50
CX   #2 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 511 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 2800
Published on 7th December 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] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12326.html
Part 6 – TPE-NGO [CX 530, Airbus A330-300, Business] – You are here

This report will cover the flight from Taipei-Taoyuan to Nagoya. This is one of many CX fifth-freedom routes operated ex-TPE to Japan. There is only one flight per day operated on this route so there are no options to choose from. This route is typically operated by an A333 in regional configuration, but sometimes rotates onto old B773s during the late summer months when traffic picks up. Quite fittingly, the same plane that operated Part 1 of this series will operate this flight to NGO so everything comes full circle in this series.


Pre-flight:

I left off the last series as I went upstairs to enter TPE for my layover. Since the flight from HKG was late arriving into TPE, my layover will be a little bit shorter than I would have liked. I quickly head towards the lounges as instructed by the gate agent. The lounges are located quite far from the gates near immigration. Looking at the lounge map, the first thing you’ll notice is that the bathrooms and showers are not located in the lounges, a big minus.

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I head upstairs to find this sign.

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As I walk down the hall further, a CX agent sees me and comes running up to me. She greets me and confirms that I am the passenger coming off CX 474. She apologized for the lounge construction and told me that I will be using the TransAsia Lounge today. She shows me into the lounge and then talks with the TransAsia agents who greet me and welcome me to the lounge.

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It is a very small lounge, which is probably reflective of the size of GE's operations at TPE. Along the one wall was the food/drink options. There were some hot options, steamed buns, fruit/yogurt, and various drinks available.

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There was also a counter where you could order dishes. These two ladies were standing there talking the entire time so I couldn’t get a clean shot of the menu. It looked like there were some noodle dishes.

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The entire seating area viewed from my seat in the corner. As I said, maybe seating for 40 at max. In the back right there was a bar where there was a bartender on duty if you wanted mixed drinks or draft beer. Overall, the offering was strong for the size of the lounge. I don’t see many lounges this small that have full service bars and counters to order hot food.

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My offering is very basic since I just ate breakfast on the plane and will be getting another meal soon.

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GE models on top of the press area.

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I only stayed in the lounge for 30 minutes before heading back to my gate for the indicated boarding time. My boarding pass.

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On my way back to the gates, passing the “Wall of Literature.”

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Everyone’s favorite mini-escalator for the super lazy people.

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B Gates at TPE. I don’t really like TPE’s layout since all of the shops are placed in between the gates so there are no windows overlooking the tarmac. The windows on the right overlook the parking lot.

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FIDS. And my flight is delayed.

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I slink into this resting room next to my gate since it had (dirty) windows overlooking the tarmac.

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And here comes our lady of the day: B-LBK, arriving from HKG.

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My gate, B8. The gates at TPE are quarantined so once you are in, you are in. It is already a full house in here, so I just find a spot in the corner next to the windows and do some spotting since the windows here are a little bit cleaner.

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HO A320 taxing by.

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MF B738 lifting off.

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MU A320 lifting off.

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CX B773 arriving.

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CI A333 lifting off as the CX B773 pulls into its gate.

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Beautiful CX B773 arriving at the adjacent gate with its RR powerplants.






——————————-

Cathay Pacific, CX 530
Equipment: Airbus A330-300 [B-LBK, delivered April 2015]
Departure: 12:00 (ATD: 12:49)
Arrival: 15:50 (ATA: 16:15)
Flight time: 2:26


Boarding is called late at 12:25. Boarding is done in tandem to expedite things. All business class and elites to the left and economy to the right. At the end of the jetbridge is the press.

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A very friendly welcome by two FAs, one of them then walks me to my seat. A good indication of things to come. I don’t know what it is, but the crews to/from Japan were hands down the best crews I had on this trip.

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My seat in the back corner. The load today was around 40% in J so there was no seatmate for this flight and my entire row remained empty. The FA that walked me to my seat immediately asked me if I wanted a blanket, I said yes, so she scurried off and promptly presented me one.

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Seat pitch is fine in these new shelled regional business class seats.

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Tsk, tsk. A newspaper was left stuffed in between my seat and fuselage. Poor cleaning by the ground crews on this quick stop in TPE.

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Boarding was quickly finished and the front door closed. View from my seat.

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Another CX B773 on our right. We are wedged between B-HNO and B-HNQ. Highlighting how big CX’s presence is in TPE.

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Even with the quick boarding, pre-departure drinks are offered (water, orange juice, or champagne). I grab an orange juice. This was followed by distribution of landing documents, and an oshibori.

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As soon as those are cleaned up, push back is underway.

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Our route today.

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GE A320.

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JL B788 lifting off for KIX before continuing on to LAX.

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MF B738 lifting off in new livery.

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MF B738 arriving in old livery.

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BX A320 arriving (subsidiary of OZ).

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CA A321 departing.

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CZ A320 taxing off in front of us.

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As we turn onto the runway, I can see we are followed by a CX B747F.

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As we power down the runway for a southern departure, we go by the CI hangar.

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MU B738 in queue for take-off.

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CI A333 behind it in line.

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Lifting up over TPE.

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We make a U-turn to the right to head north towards Japan giving us an aerial shot of TPE as we leave the Taiwan coast.

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Brief seat tour. The center console has a pocket for the storage of small personal items. The IFE controls are located under the armrest. Headsets are preplaced in this small storage compartment.

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Power is located on the front of the center console.

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Literature and safety card.

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This time I actually opened up the Discovery magazine since it wasn’t in plastic wrap. The US destinations served by CX highlighting Boston as the newest destination.

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And now comes the biggest disappointment of all. I turn to the regional route map. CX operates to 5 different airports in Japan from HKG, with most also offering fifth-freedoms from TPE. Looking closer, something doesn’t look right. Most people would never notice this mistake, but living in Nagoya I can see a big problem with this map. Osaka and Nagoya are transposed. Nagoya is east of Osaka… Completely embarrassing for CX, how does a geography mistake make it into a route map? When I got home, I sent an e-mail to CX about this mistake. Let’s see if they correct their route map. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised though, if you remember that in Part 2, the FA had never heard of Nagoya before.

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If you don’t believe me about the previous geography mistake, take a look at this screenshot of the IFE showing Osaka to the west of NGO. The IFE is decent sized and has a USB port next to the screen with a storage compartment for your phone during charging.

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The tray table slides out from under the IFE and comes in two sizes.

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Menus are distributed by the very friendly FA that will be working my row. She addressed me by name the entire time.



The view of the cabin as service is about to start.

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No linens are laid, the FAs directly walk out trays and offer bread.

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The tray with starter and a packaged wet towelette. There is no aperitif service before the meal so my drink order is taken as the tray is delivered (I think this route is just below the 3-hour cut-off for a “full” meal service like that offered on HKG-NGO).

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Cloud Nine, quite a refreshing option and quickly became my CX drink of choice.

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I was distracted by the FA and ate half the appetizer before taking a picture. There were two shrimp, a tomato, and some lettuce. I’m not sure what makes this a “potato salad” as described on the menu. It looked like a normal salad to me, with a small portion size.

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The mains were brought out on a tray by my FA. She asked me which one I wanted. The halibut looked good so I went for that. Surprisingly good presentation by CX. I thought this was a very good entrée, the fish was good and the pasta was not overcooked.

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The FA then offered me bread. I originally just took the garlic bread, but she told me to take some more to put some meat on my bones.

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The FA was very attentive and immediately cleaned up my tray and returned with two flavors of ice cream, I chose the Belgian chocolate accompanied with coffee.

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After cleaning up my ice cream dish, she proposed another Cloud Nine while I watched StudioCX so I couldn’t say no.

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Meal service concluded halfway to Kyushu.

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A quick trip up to the lavatory. Clean with Jurlique products.

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Getting back to my seat, I found another Cloud Nine and a cup of coffee waiting for me on my tray table. Very attentive service.

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Cabin shot and a peek out the window as we arrived at Kyushu near Kagoshima.

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I just watched StudioCX for the rest of the flight with a glass of water that was promptly refilled.

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We approached NGO from the south over Ise Peninsula.

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Ise-shi as we descend into Ise Bay.

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The beaches in Utsumi as we make our final descent into NGO.

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Clearing the seawall.

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International terminal as we come to a screeching stop about 30 minutes late. EY A332 in “EXPO Milano 2015” special livery is here today.

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No planes in sight at the domestic terminal as we turn back around to taxi to the gate.

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MU A321.

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We take a gate next to our brother, who just completed the non-stop flight from HKG.

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Goodbye CX.

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Very warm goodbye from this very friendly crew. Up the jetbridge we go.

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Immigration was empty, so I was quickly into the baggage claim and on the train home. With that, I will sign off from this series. Thanks for reading this report and/or series!




—————————–
BONUS: The continuation of my day in Macau.

The Ruins of St. Paul's.

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The Grand Lisboa (the heinous pineapple) and Macau from the top of Monte Fort.

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Portuguese missionary statue.

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More views of the stairs up to the Ruins of St. Paul's as the weather quickly started to turn for the worst.

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With the incoming storm, I decided to start walking back to the ferry terminal by zigzagging through the old Portuguese part of town.

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Again, I opted for TurboJET back to Hong Kong. Here is our ship in the pouring rain. It was definitely a choppy ride back to Hong Kong and not for those with weak stomachs.

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Departing Macau.

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The TurboJET “Super Class” seat and meal for the return at around 15:00. With an upcoming dinner reservation with a friend in Hong Kong, I didn’t eat the whole meal, but the jelly was good.



Arriving into a very dark and ominous Hong Kong.

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Kowloon from Hong Kong.

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See more

Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering7.0

TransAsia Lounge

6.8/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services7.0

Taipei - TPE

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

Nagoya - NGO

8.6/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

A solid performance from CX on this regional fifth-freedom route. Decent cabin comfort, an above average meal, and an excellent crew were the main points.

Cabin comfort: Brand new and clean A330. The new regional J-cabin is adequate for a 2.5-hour flight and the light load made for a private flight. The product could always be better, but it is better than what the competition on this route offers (CI and JL).

Crew: The second best crew in this series after the one in Part 1. I don’t know what it is, but the crews on the flights to/from Japan are really good in my experiences. Great service from start to finish with very attentive and friendly FAs. My FA addressed me by name throughout the flight.

Meal and catering: For a flight of this length, you are right on the border of tray service and a full meal service. What was offered on this flight is similar to what I’ve seen on flights to ICN, PEK, and PVG where it is single tray service. The salad starter was pretty weak and wasn’t what was described in the menu. Bread was fine. The main was good, I enjoyed the fish and thought the pasta was passable. Standard ice cream dessert on CX.

Entertainment: Newspaper offered and the standard seatback literature. StudioCX has a good selection. The screen could be bigger for J, but found the touch screen to be very responsive and the resolution was good.

On-time performance: Left late and arrived about 30-minutes late on a 2.5-hour flight.

Related

14 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 151835 by
    eminere™ 271 Comments
    Is the departure time meant to be 12pm, not 12am?
  • Comment 151842 by
    marathon GOLD 10172 Comments
    There are windows overlooking the tarmac in TPE, but depending on the area, they are few in between, or you have to go down one level to the actual boarding area, a massive waste of time when you find out that there is no interesting plane to be seen from there, or that the view would be better from the next room, or maybe the one after next.. Also, most (not all) windows have an unfortunate greenish tint to cut the greenhouse effect.
    Another issue is that it is a long walk between the predominantly BR and CI gates, respectively, if you want to cover both.
    I don't remember these rooms as being quarantined, but maybe things changed since I last flew from there.
    Nice plane spotting, though, before boarding and during taxiing.
    Great shots of Taiwan upon take-off !
    The map mistake on CX's in flight magazine is unbelievable. Nagoya is much to big and much to close to HKG for CX for this !
    The MU aircraft in NGO is an A321 (it has 4 evenly spaced pairs of doors)
    Nice bonus, too bad for the weather.
    Thanks for sharing !
    • Comment 329643 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Merci Marathon!

      I hope you appreciated the GE tribute^^ I knew a TPE report would draw you out of the woodwork ;)

      Also, most (not all) windows have an unfortunate greenish tint to cut the greenhouse effect.
      - Yes, I strongly dislike this about TPE. NGO has the same problem, but I normally spot from the observation deck there. The windows my gate were fairly decent, not too green.

      I don't remember these rooms as being quarantined, but maybe things changed since I last flew from there.
      - There was a document check at the top of the stairs, not sure if this was related to our plane being late and them wanting to expedite boarding by pre-checking everyone.

      Great shots of Taiwan upon take-off !
      - I think the aerial shots were better in the previous HKG-TPE report, we had a very short U-turn on exiting TPE this time.

      The map mistake on CX's in flight magazine is unbelievable. Nagoya is much to big and much to close to HKG for CX for this !
      - It is small for Chinese standards ;) but it is still the 3rd largest city in Japan.

      The MU aircraft in NGO is an A321 (it has 4 evenly spaced pairs of doors)
      - My mistake, normally we get A320s at NGO, I corrected this oversight^^
  • Comment 151848 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10469 Comments
    Thank you for sharing !

    The lounge entrance looks like a prison door with these bamboos bars. lol
    Although the interior is pretty dark the global offering seems to bu decent for such a small-sized lounge.

    The gates at TPE are quarantined so once you are in, you are in. -> And the gates are not particularly welcoming...

    Overall a nice flight, if only it was longer. ;)
    A great crew makes always a good flight.

    Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert, what else ? lol

    See you for another FR.
    • Comment 329683 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Bonjour Clement, merci pour tous vos commentaires!

      The lounge entrance looks like a prison door with these bamboos bars. lol
      - But you have such a lovely GE FAs cutout welcoming you to prison :) I should have tried something from the counter, I regret not doing so. A small lounge with a solid offering, I'm glad I had the chance to a lounge from a non-allianced carrier.

      And the gates are not particularly welcoming...
      - I have always disliked TPE. I don't find it an attractive airport, which is strange given how nice most airports are in SE Asia.

      Overall a nice flight, if only it was longer. ;)
      - By the time you get to the last series, sometimes you just want to go home and sleep in your own bed ;) Getting a good CX crew makes the flight really nice, but unfortunately this does not seem to be consistent.

      Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert, what else ? lol
      - At least I had a choice of flavors^^ All they have to do is scoop it into a bowl and serve it, and then there would be less complaints, lol.

      I finally finished a series^^
  • Comment 151947 by
    aussenrist 225 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this report with nice spotting!
    Nice regional J product with very attentive FA services.
    So has CX replied to your email yet? I am interested in how CX reply and if they also give you some compensations i.e. miles :P
    Look forward to your next series! Waiting your SAS one!
    • Comment 329755 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thank you for your comments!

      Nice regional J product with very attentive FA services.
      - I'm glad I got a good crew on this final flight to leave a better memory of CX.

      So has CX replied to your email yet? I am interested in how CX reply and if they also give you some compensations i.e. miles :P
      - Nothing other than acknowledgement of my comment and that they would pass it on to their Discovery magazine people.

      Look forward to your next series! Waiting your SAS one!
      - I will finish my JL routing before getting to the SK routing. I'm getting too confused with all of these series so need to start finishing them in order!
  • Comment 151952 by
    indianocean SILVER 7574 Comments
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I'm amazed to see that TPE airport has been refurbished in a good way. I remember it was sad. It's now very nice and I like it.

    I'm glad you like Cloud Nine cocktail. It's one of my favourite, very refreshing.

    Usually, not bad surprise with CX crew
    • Comment 329756 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Merci pour vos commentaires!

      It's now very nice and I like it.
      - But it still doesn't improve the layout of the airport with the large boarding rooms and lack of windows overlooking the tarmac. The interior and bathrooms do look improved though.

      I'm glad you like Cloud Nine cocktail. It's one of my favourite, very refreshing.
      - I'm not much of a cocktail drinker, but it looked intriguing so I'm glad I tried it^^

      Usually, not bad surprise with CX crew
      - I had very mixed crew experiences in this series. It didn't seem very consistent...
  • Comment 152049 by
    Rl 777 802 Comments
    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Fantastic spotting at TPE! It seems like the weather got clearer once you got closer to departure time.

    The cabin looks very fresh, glad you got a new bird! Overall the cabin comfort looks decent for a flight of this length.

    It's pretty embarassing to mess up the spot of a particular destination when you fly there 3 times a day.....

    The catering part of this flight had its ups and downs but slightly more ups.

    The weather seemed to be good in Nagoya that day, always a nice welcome when you return home.

    Thank you for concluding this great series of FR's showing many parts of the CX J experience (Long haul and regional).

    Have a good one and see you on the next one!
    • Comment 330030 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for stopping by :)

      Fantastic spotting at TPE!
      - The windows are just so dirty and have that blueish green tint that makes all your photos look old.

      Overall the cabin comfort looks decent for a flight of this length.
      - When you consider most regional routes are on narrow-bodies, I would happily take a wide-body with these seats. Would you rather fly a A320 from ARN to FRA or a A330? Always the bigger plane ;)

      It's pretty embarassing to mess up the spot of a particular destination when you fly there 3 times a day.....
      - Yeah, no comment. I'm surprised no one has noticed this mistake before... how long has it been like that?

      The catering part of this flight had its ups and downs but slightly more ups.
      - It was catered like a shorter flight, which I guess is fine. I wasn't really hungry, but they should at least lay linens and distribute oshibori instead of the packaged towelettes. The small details are important.

      The weather seemed to be good in Nagoya that day, always a nice welcome when you return home.
      - I don't remember exactly, but it was probably hot, lol. Not as bad as SE Asia, but Japan can get pretty hot and humid in the summers.
  • Comment 152183 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6859 Comments
    I didn't even know GE had lounges until you asked me to add it to the database, lol. I'm sure the CX lounge would have been much better if it were open.

    There must be a decent amount of traffic between TPE and NGO considering CX is running a 5th freedom flight on a widebody. it's interesting how CX has a mini-hub at Taipei. You would think that Between BR and CI, that Taiwan would be sufficiently well served on regional Asian routes, but I guess that's not the case.

    I like the look of CX's new Regional Business class. Perhaps not as comfortable as SQ's new regional business class, but it certainly looks better than any kind of Domestic F product we have in the US!
    • Comment 330029 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for stopping by Kevin :)

      I didn't even know GE had lounges until you asked me to add it to the database, lol.
      - Clement said the exact same thing. I was just surprised they had a lounge at TPE, I thought most of their operations were out of TSA. CX handled everything very professionally, agents were there to greet me and show me where to go.

      There must be a decent amount of traffic between TPE and NGO considering CX is running a 5th freedom flight on a widebody. it's interesting how CX has a mini-hub at Taipei. You would think that Between BR and CI, that Taiwan would be sufficiently well served on regional Asian routes, but I guess that's not the case.
      - It's actually an interesting situation because there is no *A flights between NGO and TPE. The only operators are JL (1x daily: B738), CI (2x daily: A333 and B738), and CX (1x daily: A333 or B777). NH and BR don't touch this route. KIX-TPE has incredible traffic since GE/BR come into play. TPE feels like a CX hub, there is nonstop arrival/departures of CX heavies.

      I like the look of CX's new Regional Business class.
      - It is a perfectly good product for these flights. We can't always expect flatbed seats in Asia, but for regional products I would happily take this A333 cabin over any narrow-body cabin. The seat is shelled, so you don't have to worry about reclining into your face like on narrow-bodies.

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