Review of Cathay Dragon flight Hong Kong Denpasar in Business

Airline Cathay Dragon
Flight KA360
Class Business
Seat 12A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 05:00
Take-off 26 Nov 15, 12:35
Arrival at 26 Nov 15, 17:35
KA 67 reviews
BombieFlyer
By 3360
Published on 25th January 2016
Hello everyone!

This flight report is the second installment of the trips I made last year in November and December 2015

Here is the schedule:
1. Nov 26, 2015 KA857 PVG-HKG in J class http://flight-report.com/en/report-12989.html
2. Nov 26, 2015 KA360 HKG-DPS in J class [You are here]
3. Nov 29, 2015 KL836 DPS-SIN in Y class
4. Dec 07, 2015 AF254 SIN-CGK in J class
5. Dec 24, 2015 GA204 CGK-JOG in Y class
6. Dec 27, 2015 GA245 SRG-CGK in Y class
7. Dec 30, 2015 CX752 CGK-HKG in J class
8. Dec 30, 2015 CX360 HKG-PVG in J class

Background
Following the previous FR, I find myself in departure area of Terminal 1. As always, HKG is a Mekkah for aviation geek. The number of airlines and the different types of aircraft visiting this airport is second to none. Whenever I visit HKG, I make sure I spend some time to do spotting even if it's only for 10 minutes. The sights of jumbos take off and land are just too good to be missed!

However, this time I have a personal mission to visit CX's lounges. Since the gate for my flight to Denpasar is Gate 60, the closest lounge would be The Bridge. I have not visited The Bridge since it undergoes renovation so it is the perfect time to check it out.

The Bridge
On my way to The Bridge, I decide not to use the train but instead the travelator (the moving walkway for the Americans) so I can fully absorb the experience. This time I no longer wander around aimlessly along the terminal building :) I'll be sipping champagne while watching the planes come and go.

HKG airport is already decked out for Christmas as can be seen from this funny ornaments on top of each boarding gate signage. I find it cute!
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Here we are! The Bridge
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As I go down the escalator, there are 3-4 Cathay Pacific staff who are manning the receptionist desk. One of them is standing near the landing area of the escalator. She neither say or do anything when I arrive. The three ladies behind the desk are also quite silent. Only one of them makes the hand gesture to check my lounge invitation. She takes it, scans it, and hands it back to me without saying a word like welcome or enjoy your stay or this way please. Very-very disappointing! Anyway, I don't make big fuss about it. I just want to get something to nibble, use the wifi to check e-mails from work, and drink some bubbles.

When I enter the lounge, it is quite full. Almost every chair, sofa, high stools, day bed, lounge chair, etc is occupied. My eagle eyes spot an empty Solus chair next to the window near the long bar. I immediately take it and set up a base camp for the next 2 hours or so.

Some pictures of The Bridge
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I go to the restaurant area and all tables are occupied. The food spread is okay. I apologize for not taking pictures as there are people lining up to take food. I feel a bit out of place for snapping pictures in a crowded area like that.

Here is what I get after all
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I try to do some work but alas my laptop refuses to connect me to my company's intranet. So I go to the window and snap some pictures.
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Can you spot our friend with her new skin? B-KPM is resting in between long-haul flights.
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What do you guys think of Cathay's new livery? I find it soulless and dull. My 5-year old cousin can come up with better design ;-)

Anyway, while B-KPM is resting, I am resting myself too. Time for some champagne! Champagne with a view indeed! Never too early for that
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I must say the bar attendant is one of the loveliest I have ever met. She is from the Philippines and she has been working for about 3 years at The Bridge manning the bar. She is so engaging without being intrusive and she remembers frequent guests of the lounge very well (more on that in later report). Later on, knowing that she is from the Philippines, I address her with 'Ate' which means older sister or to respect other in Tagalog. She smiles from ear to ear when I address her with 'Ate'. Kudos!

Around 12PM I bid farewell to Ate and I slowly make my way to Gate 60. I must say, after 6 glasses of champagne I feel as light as air hahaha.. Light weight, I know!
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The Flight
Route: HKG-DPS
Date: November 26, 2015
Flight: KA360
Equipment: A330-300
Registration: B-HLJ
Load: C22 out of 42 / Y unknown
Seat: 12A
Scheduled Time Departure: 12.35PM
Actual Time Departure: 12.45AM
Estimated Time Arrival: 05.15PM
Actual Time Arrival: 06.00PM

The terminal is quite empty at this time of the day
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To the right of my gate there is Thai's A380 being turned around
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I find this very funny :)
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I spot my chariot B-HLJ. She's fitted with the new regional J class seat. Judging from the amount of waiting passengers, I think this flight will not be full. Usually the premium line is longer than Y class line, but this time the line is very short.
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Boarding started around 12.20PM with not so big lines forming in front of the podium. I am skeptical that we will be departing on time since we start boarding so late. Even with light load, I don't think we can wrap everything in 15 minutes. I am proven right as later we push back 10 minutes late.

These two gentlemen beat me to be the first passengers onboard because I am too busy snapping pictures hahaha
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When I enter the plane, two flight attendants are standing and greeting passengers. One male FA then escorts me to my seat, 12A. After I settle down a bit, the same flight attendant comes and offer me the new signature drink of Dragonair called Rose Infinity. It is a concoction of rum, apple juice, grapefruit juice, and rose water. Quite nice but maybe a tad to sweet for my liking
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After FA collects my empty glass, I am able to snap pictures of my seat and the surrounding

So each seat has this red pillow and low quality headphone. The pillow is quite, not as firm as I like it but enough to support my lower back. photo 20151126_122046

I really don't understand why Dragonair is providing this cheap headphone to its premium passenger. Yes it is a regional carrier, yes it is 'only' the smaller sister of Cathay Pacific, but that does not mean it should lower its standard too, now should they?
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The seat itself is the same as Cathay Pacific's new regional J seat. Cathay Pacific's long haul J seat is Dragonair's first class seat.
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As you can see from the pictures above, the business class cabin looks rather empty. In fact, it is only 50% full. I don't have a seatmate so I immediately invade the pillow and the blanket to make my own camp for the next 4 hours! I find this new regional product only a tad better than the older business class seat. CX and KA are definitely behind their competitors when it comes to their regional cabin.

Leg room is good and recline is meeh. Could be better!
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I am able to charge my phone from the USB plug and put my phone in the holder next to TV
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There is a small storage space on my right side. When I say, it's really small. I can only fit my notebook, my documents holder, and my Bose headphone case. Other than this space, there is no other space where you can keep your belongings close to you
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The seat controls are pretty intuitive and very responsive
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10 minutes after scheduled departure time, we are finally pushed back
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Some interesting scenes along our taxi route towards active runway 07R


This is what is left of Martinair. Only the cargo division remains operating though I have heard it is not for long as AF/KL cargo is hemorrhaging money . It's a pity to see this brand gone as I flew with Martinair's B767-300ER Star Class from YYZ to AMS in 2006. That's an experience I will never forget! I just graduated from high school in Toronto and I moved to the Netherlands to pursue my bachelor's degree. I was only allowed 46 kgs of check luggage, I brought 64 kgs! Upon knowing that I was to leave Canada for good and I was this 'poor student', the very kind check-in agent waived the extra baggage fee and even upgraded me to Star Class. Ahhh memories!
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This baby boeing is #1 for take off. We are number 3 for take off, right behind another KA's A330 :)
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As we enter runway 07R, I see a sea of planes at HAECO's always busy hangars. Can you spot an airline from the second biggest island in the world that is shared between two countries? First time for me to see this exotic airline
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After a powerful lift off, we fly above Tung Wan and with that, I can see Tuen Mun and Shenzhen in the background. Fog is gone now and the view of Hong Kong from above is just magical. I feel like playing SimCity again hahaha


After we pass Shelter Island, the clouds start form thick layer again and I cannot see anything anymore apart from bright blue sky. With that, the 10,000 feet sign chimes and flight attendants spring into action
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First is the food and drink menu. The male flight attendant who greets passengers during boarding is manning the port side of the plane. After he distributes the menu, he asks me to peruse the menu and he shall be back shortly to place the linen on my table and serve bar service.

Let's look at the menu, shall we?
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The wine list
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Food and other beverages
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The smiley FA comes back to lay white linen on my table and serve bar service. Of course I need to finish off what I started at the lounge, another bout of champagne and some peanuts. No, don't worry, I will not turn into Heather Cho and recreate Nut Rage part II, The Vengeance!
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Say cheers!
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After a few minutes, my table is cleared and the FA comes with my appetizer. Overall, it looks nice but there is something that is not quite right. Oh wait, actually two things! First, so small eh? I finish it in two bites. Secondly, what's that chinese take-out style sauce container doing there? Why not use a small ramekin?
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The taste is not bad actually despite how minuscule the portion is. It feels like it takes the FAs longer to prepare the plating and presentation than the time passengers need to finish it. Really, it's so small. Seems like CX's cost cutting virus is spreading to KA.

Warm bread rolls are distributed too but I forget to take a picture of it maybe because I am too hungry from the small portion?

Now comes the main course. It is presented the same way CX presents main courses. A trolley topped with entree choices. I choose the fish entree because it looks least oily.
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During meal, the male FA keeps my water and champagne glasses top up all the time. I am quite happy with how he treats the passengers. let's take a closer look at the entree!
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The vegetables are crisp and the sauce is nice. However, the fish has this rubbery texture. Is it a sign of under cooked fish? Oh well, I am still alive so no major complain there. Bread rolls are offered again and again, I forget to take a picture. Duuuu-uuhh! Maybe the copious amount of champagne start to impair my brain-eye-hand coordination? Now I know how it feels to be Homer Simpson ^__^

The tray is promptly cleared and dessert is next. The FA comes with a huge basket of Haagen Dasz with various flavours. I choose Mango & Raspberry. To go along, I ask for Port wine.
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I wish CX and KA would offer more substantial dessert though. Garuda serves Haagen Dasz in their Y class, SQ does too. I have no idea how CX and KA's management justify ice cream as business class dessert…

After meal, most passengers go to sleep. I peruse Studio KA and settle on South Paw. Quite an emotional movie! Normally I don't really like boxing themed movies like Rocky, but this one is quite good. And boy, I don't think I can ever be as ripped as Jake Gyllenhaal after that many glasses of champagne. I am not going to post pictures of Studio KA as it's almost exactly the same as Studio CX. It has been reported here very often so I'll skip that

I keep my windows open and the flight attendants never once ask me to close it. Usually some FAs are so demanding about closing the window shades. I must say the level of attentiveness and overall service is much better compared to the first leg from PVG to HKG. Perhaps the light load helps the flight attendants to be more caring?
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Soon, Captain comes back online and announces that we have started descending toward DPS. He thanks us for flying Dragonair and wishes a good stay in Bali. He also informs us that we will be put on holding pattern because DPS is very busy with arrival at this time of the day.
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We enter Bali airspace from West Bali National Park and gradually make the first two loops above Gilimanuk and Negara district. Gilimanuk is the port where you should go if you want to cross to Java by using ferry. But let me remind you, this cross is not for the faint-hearted ;-)
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During holding, we have a neighbour posing and teasing with her beautiful livery. Can you guess who she is?
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Aaaah finally there she is! Daar is ie! Ziet er prachtig uit toch?
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After making figure 8 loops twice, we are finally aligned for straight-in approach to active runway 09. The sun is setting soon and it gives gorgeous background during final approach. Could someone teach me how to properly attach the video?
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We make a firm touch down at 6PM and after a long-ish landing roll, we exit the runway via taxiway N2 and roll to our designated gate in Apron B. Then it hit me how busy the airport is that afternoon! There are Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya, Virgin, Citilink, Air Asia, Qatar, and Jetstar. 5-7pm is really the throng of arrivals from Jakarta, Singapore, and Australian cities. There is also one visitor squeezed there! It belongs to Indonesian Air Force. It's a classic B737-200 Surveillance
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Let's take a look at the VVIP terminal! Some business jets are parked there. I wish I can identify it :)
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The setting sun provides gorgeous background for this bird. Welcome to the Island of Gods!
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Aaaah there she is! We've been chasing you! PK-GID, Garuda's 2.3 years old B777-300ER with first class cabin. Subsequent deliveries do not have first class cabin anymore after the management 'realizes' that F demand is not as big as they thought it would have been. She's positioning herself from CGK to pick up passengers going to Tokyo Narita.
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We come to a full stop next to QR's 77W that will soon depart back to DOH.
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Business class passengers disembark from the front door. Two FAs and the FO bid us farewell. That is a nice touch! I run like there is no tomorrow towards immigration hall only to find a bajilion amount of tourists snaking the lines. There is no counter for Indonesian citizens too! What are they thinking? No Indonesian national would arrive from overseas destinations because they only arrive in Jakarta? So I make my way and join this endless queue and resign to my fate that alas all good things must come to an end

So I bit you farewell for now. Thanks for following my journey to Bali, the Island of Gods. Please stay tuned for the next installment Jakarta-Yogyakarta with Garuda Indonesia.

I will give you some bonus pictures :)

The room at Novotel Nusa Dua
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Sunset as seen from Jimbaran Bay
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See more

Verdict

Cathay Dragon

7.4/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

Cathay Pacific The Bridge

7.2/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services7.0

Hong Kong - HKG

7.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Denpasar - DPS

4.0/10
Efficiency2.0
Access4.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

As I have mentioned before, this flight proves to be the better example of Dragonair. Flight attendants are very attentive and caring, seats are slightly better than the old recliner, and great PTV too. The only thing that probably drags Dragonair down is the apparent cost-cutting measures in the whole Cathay Pacific Group. It is so apparent they are cutting down on food quantity and quality. Tastes is good but that's all. All the little perks that might seem small and repetitive but are appreciated by premium passengers and set them apart from competitors like maybe two choices for starter and three for entree? And what about a cake or chocolate mousse?

Let's summarize my experience:
+ Clean and well-maintained aircraft
+ Seat is okay for this flight but longer than 4-5 hours I will not be a happy camper
+ The flight attendants in this flight really sets them apart from Cathay's efficient but cold FAs. My glasses are always top-up without being asked
+ StudioKA is as good as StudioCX

- Appetizer and entree portion is way too small. I don't think it's any different than economy class offering
- Slight delay during departure and arrival

As for The Bridge, my beloved bartender is clearly the shining star there. She should be the one standing behind the reception desk welcoming passengers, not those cold stoic CX robots. I would have given a 4 or 5 for services and staff attitudes but thanks to 'Ate', i give a 7. I would definitely come back there and spend some time again

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Denpasar (DPS)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Hong Kong (HKG) → Denpasar (DPS).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 4 hours and 55 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 156140 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5893 Comments

    Thanks for this nice report! How appropriate to post a report on Dragonair on the day it rebrands to Cathay Dragon!

    HKG is a Mekkah for aviation geek. The number of airlines and the different types of aircraft visiting this airport is second to none.
    - Totally agree! Looove HKG for the great spotting. Too bad when I went though last month it was at night and I didn't have much time for spotting.

    One of them is standing near the landing area of the escalator. She neither say or do anything when I arrive.
    - I've had similar experiences. The staff inside the lounges are great, but it seems the lounge dragons at the entrance are very indifferent. I wouldn't say they're unfriendly, but they could stand to smile and talk a bit more. Even in the First class lounges they're not very smiley.

    What do you guys think of Cathay's new livery? I find it soulless and dull.
    - It is a bit boring. I wish there were more color on the fuselage. It's a shame the trend of airlines going for boring all white continues.

    Usually the premium line is longer than Y class line, but this time the line is very short.
    - Yeah, that's always annoying. That was the case last time I boarded in HKG.

    I really don't understand why Dragonair is providing this cheap headphone to its premium passenger.
    - CX has the same headphones on regional routes. Had those on HKG-SIN in J.

    No, don't worry, I will not turn into Heather Cho and recreate Nut Rage part II, The Vengeance!
    - HAH! But it's not in a ramekin! Nooooo....Turn the plane around! :-P

    Secondly, what's that chinese take-out style sauce container doing there?
    - Ooh yeah, that's tacky and surprising to see on an Asian carrier. I would be shocked if I saw that on a mainline CX flight.

    Now comes the main course. It is presented the same way CX presents main courses. A trolley topped with entree choices.
    - I like that CX/KA do this. That way you can see which dish looks the most appetizing.

    I keep my windows open and the flight attendants never once ask me to close it.
    - Good! I hate when I'm forced to close my shades on a day flight. It's a day flight; if you want to sleep, put on the eye shades you got in the amenity kit! haha

    Nice air to air shots and beautiful sunset pic on landing!
    Thanks for a lovely and entertaining report!

    • Comment 333623 by
      BombieFlyer AUTHOR 93 Comments

      Hello KevinDC!

      Thank you for your comments :)

      I am surprised that even in First class lounge, the lounge dragons are indifferent like that. I start to think that maybe it is really Cathay's style. They are there to help you if you need them but if you don't give any signal that you need their assistance, then they will hide behind the curtain.

      I am also surprised about your comment that CX provides that cheap headphone between SIN-HKG because on CX360 between HKG-PVG (report later), I received the noise cancelling headphone (the one that looks like a Bose headphone).

      Once again, thanks for reading my report and please stay tuned for the next installment

    • Comment 333627 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5893 Comments

      I am also surprised about your comment that CX provides that cheap headphone between SIN-HKG because on CX360 between HKG-PVG (report later), I received the noise cancelling headphone (the one that looks like a Bose headphone).
      - As much as I love CX, I think this is just another example of them offering an inconsistent product. it's just like some flight that have Regional J seats and some Long-haul J seats on the same routes. it's all just random, haha

  • Comment 156185 by
    indianocean BRONZE 7225 Comments

    Now that Dragonair has been rebranded Cathay Dragon, I'm curious to know if changes will be brought to the airline.
    They will have the same logo, already have the same hard products onboard.

    Although the seat design looks nice, I'm not a big fan of the Regional Business Class seat, not enough recline.

    I'm not overwhelmed by the catering either. And still the unfashionable HD ice cream.
    As a Cathay group company, can do better.

    Very nice shot of GA plane before landing.

    Thank you.

    • Comment 333625 by
      BombieFlyer AUTHOR 93 Comments

      Hello Indianocean,

      Thanks for your time to read my report and for your comments!

      I am also curious what will happen to KA now that it has been re-branded. I always regard KA as being the lesser of two evils. And to be honest, I am not quite sure I understand and believe that there was a need to bring Dragonair brand closer to CX. I hope by being re-branded, that does not mean that KA will fall further to CX cost cutting measurements

      I also agree that their catering is by far their weakest link. I have the feeling the offering is not that much different than Y, it is just plated on nicer chinaware.

      Once again, thanks for your comments and please stay tuned for the next Flight Report

  • Comment 156687 by
    NGO85 1648 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR.

    Forget the Christmas decorations at Gate 25, the highlight is the guy doing a selfie in the background!

    I think your lounge arrival is very standard for CX, I’ve never had a warm welcome at any of their lounges. The bar staff are very friendly in the CX Lounges, most are immigrants in my experience and have all kinds of interesting life stories (always interesting aspect of travelling).

    A lot of carriers are going for the all white livery. The headphones you get are the same that CX offers in its regional cabins. You only get the good CX headphones if you get a Cirrus regional cabin. I find this to be one of the better regional recliner products offered on narrow-bodies, obviously it can’t compare to long-haul wide-bodies like what CX would operate into DPS.

    This is similar to my catering experiences on CX. The starter looks visually amazing, and then you get the main… Very standard CX/KA catering offering. Ice cream is the standard regional J dessert whether you like it or not. Very few carriers offer a real dessert on the regional tray service, but since this was a coursed meal you should expect something more.

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