Introduction Welcome to my first flight report! I am a regular reader of flight report, however, I have never had the follow through to post a report myself. I am always extremely grateful to people who take the time and effort to post here, so I figured I should make a contribution too. I never realised how much effort it took to remember to take a photo of every little thing, but now I know….
This is a relatively routine trip, but it is a good way to have a look at CX regional J product. I am working my way towards QR Gold / One World Sapphire, so when I found a very reasonable J fare from Shanghai to Bangkok on CX, I jumped at the opportunity to do a short hop and earn some Q Points. This was a very quick turnaround as I have been to Thailand before, so I literally just went and turned back. This would seem like insanity to most people, but I know more than a few people on here would not find this too unusual. This is the first flight in my trip. Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, I took them all using my iPhone….
My day started at about 08:30 on Saturday April 30th as I left my house in Putuo District, Shanghai, and made the short walk to my nearest metro station. The Shanghai metro is extremely well – developed and efficient and is an excellent way to get around the city. PVG is located about 45km from my house and takes approximately 45 – 60 minutes in a taxi and costs about RMB200. Today, I would be using a cheaper option of the metro combined with the high – speed Maglev train, which would take me about 50 minutes and cost RMB54.
Here is a couple of shots of the metro station near my house. Today I will take Metro Lin 4 as far as Century Avenue, change to Metro Line 2 as far as Longyang Road and then take the Maglev from there directly to PVG.
Reasonably busy for a Saturday morning:
I eventually arrived at my final metro stop and the terminus for the Maglev:
I arrived at the Maglev station and joined the long queue for tickets, although it moved quite quickly. I bought a return ticket which is valid for 7 days I think and costs RMB 80. The train goes at different speeds depending on the time of day, with peak hours reaching speeds of 430KM/H and off peak tipping along at the terribly slow speed of 300KM/H The train was very busy today, although there are always lots of seats. It is worth noting that the Maglev also sells business class tickets, which are arranged in a 2-2 layout as opposed to a 2-3 layout in economy. There is absolutely no point in buying the business class. It is marginally more comfortable for a 7 minute journey and cost twice the price.
View of the track:
The train has arrived!
The Maglev has quite an old fashioned and dated interior, but it serves its purpose well for such a short journey:
Nice views of Terminal 2….
And Terminal 1…..
The Maglev arrives in between terminal’s 1 and 2 and then you have a short walk to either of the terminals. I enter the terminal at the domestic check in end and have a reasonably long walk to the D counter where CX have their check – in. Walking to Terminal 2 from the Station:
The enormous check in area:
Lots of flights today, yellow is domestic and orange is international:
When I arrive at the Check – in counter, it is reasonably quiet. There is an agent at the head of the queue ensuring that everyone goes into the correct line. As the J counters are all full, I am checked in at the F counter. The agent is to the point and does not make any small talk to friendly gestures. He tries to convince me to change to an earlier KA flight, however, I was not about to switch from long haul J to regional J, so I politely refused. He continued to try to get me to change several times, which I found quite annoying.
CX / KA Check in area:
With boarding pass and lounge invite in hand, I made my way to immigration. I stealthily ran to get ahead of a large tour group that would have been a pain to get stuck behind. This is one of the many problems with PVG, long lines at immigration. The agents seem to spend an eternity on each passenger and the line moves at snail’s pace. Today was not so bad however, my record at the immigration line coming to 1 hour during the Chinese golden week last year.
Crazy immigration queue is a hallmark of PVG:
Once through immigration, there is a separate line for F/J pax that is not really advertised. Have a look for it, as it is certainly a lot faster than the regular line. F/J Security line:
Eventually, I found myself airside. These pictures give you an idea of the sheer size of this terminal. There are quite a lot of shops here, but I really don’t find them to be good value or have a good selection. You are much better off buying most things outside of China.
Just past security:
I look to the right:
And I look to my left:
BA 777 about to depart for LHR:
OZ 777 preparing for the short hop to ICN:
The CX/KA lounge is located near gate 68. Almost all lounges in PVG are named for the gate they are closest to. Once you take the escalator up, you will see the entrance to the CX lounge, as well as Lounge 69 which is a shared airline lounge. Lounge 69 is awful and I don’t recommend anyone paying to go in there. If you want to pay for a lounge, you should go to Lounge 77, which is the joint MU / Plaza Premium lounge. It is much better value.
Entrance to the lounge:
Stairway to heaven (or not)
Entrance to CX lounge on right, entrance to Lounge 69 can be seen on left:
The CX lounge in PVG is still the old style, unlike the new CX lounge design which can be seen in TPE, BKK, MNL etc. Although this lounge is one of the better lounges at PVG, this is not saying a lot. There is quite a lot of seating in the lounge, but it does get quite crowded sometimes. This being a Saturday morning, it was relatively quiet.
As you enter the lounge, you then walk down this corridor:
Seating as you enter the lounge:
The first and smaller of two food and drink areas:
Decent business centre:
Seating area with main food bar in the background:
View of an LH A380 from the lounge balcony:
View down the concourse:
As far as food and drinks go, selection is limited. Hot food usually consists of some rice, meat and soup. There is also instant noodles, crackers, peanuts, sandwiches and fruit. Drinks include wine, beer, soft drinks, water and a small selection of spirits. There is also two jugs of passable coffee.
Besides this, there is a made to order noodle bar, but I generally find it to be of low quality or an unusual flavour that most foreigners wouldn’t like. The lounge is also open air which means that you get all the noise of the terminal.
Hot food options: soup, scrambled eggs and ham and assorted dim sum:
None of the hot food was appealing to me, so I just went for some fruit:
Cathay Pacific CX367 PVG – HKG Airbus A330 – 300 B – LBA Seat 19A Duration: 2:26
After killing sometime in the lounge, I head for gate D65 which is a 2 minute walk from the lounge. As per usual, CX has divided lines for J / Y and the lines are heavily policed. Seems like a busy flight today with a full load in J, not sure about Y.
When I arrive at the gate, boarding is already under way and I walk straight to the head of the line and down the jet bridge. There is an SK A340 parked next to us preparing for the long ride home to CPH.
There are separate jet bridges for J / Y, but as I know I am in the mini J cabin, I take the Y bridge to save having to walk through the whole J cabin. I am greeted at the door and shown to my seat, which is the first seat in the mini cabin.
The CX long haul J product has been reviewed extensively before me, so I won’t bore you with the details. It is still an excellent product which give you the maximum space, privacy and comfort. My only complaint would be that the seat is a little hard for my liking.
My seat 19A:
I think the ottoman on row 19 is slightly less restrictive than normal rows, although the normal ottoman is more than large enough. CX does not yet have gate to gate IFE which is a little annoying, although it does work from the end of the safety video to when the wheels touch the runway.
Large and unrestricted ottoman:
Small side table:
Seat and IFE controls are now a little bit dated, but still functional and intuitive:
View of 19D:
Screen with moving map display:
I am offered a PDB of champagne, orange juice or water. I take champagne and OJ and make myself a DIY mimosa. Following this, hot towels are handed out and they are extremely hot!
We push back on time and have a short taxi to the active runway. We don’t have to wait to take off and the captain performs a rolling take off.
Austrian 777 arriving from VIE:
Taxiing on to the active:
Lift off! A fantastic day for flying:
Following take off, menus are distributed. I see that they are now signed by Kim Chong instead of Aaron Claxton, a sign of the new culinary direction of CX. I will talk more about this direction a little bit later. Main selections consist of an Asian fish dish, a western steak dish and an Asian duck dish. Dessert consists of the usual ice cream.
Nice menu design:
Note from the culinary team:
Soft drinks, tea and coffee:
Champagne and white wine:
Red wine and port:
Spirits, beer and liqueurs:
I order a Chivas with ice as my first drink and the pour is very generous. No nuts are offered on this flight which seems to be the norm now. Trays are served with the salad and a glass of water followed by a selection of bread. I go for the always excellent CX garlic bread.
Next the mains are wheeled out in the usual CX way. The most appetizing looking one is the duck with noodles. It was absolutely awful. The duck sauce had almost no flavour and the noodles were just plain with no sauce. The vegetables were good, but again no sauce. This was a very disappointing dish and I have had quite a few good dishes on CX out of PVG. This one was just a miss.
Following the main, the trolley came around with coffee and ice cream. It seems like CX always have the same flavours, chocolate, cookies and cream and banana and cream. I am a strawberry kind of guy, so it is disappointing to always have the same flavours (unless one of those flavours was strawberry!)
Once the meal service was finished, I watched a movie for a while. It seems like CX have had the same movies for months now. I really don’t find their selection all that good.
We had a bumpy approach to HKG and landed hard on RWY 25L. The IFE screen informed us that we would be arriving at gate number 1, which would be very convenient for passengers terminating in HKG, but it was far from where I was headed next. Weather was hazy here today and quite a change from PVG.
CX 77W ahead of us:
I managed to catch a pic of both the new Cathay Dragon livery:
And the new CX livery:
The ever rarer CX 744
I promptly got off the plane and I was through security and standing in the main hall within 10 minutes. I find HKG security to be extremely efficient and friendly.
Up close and personal:
I will hopefully be posting the rest of my flights soon and we will pick up on my way to The Pier First Class Lounge….
Cathay Pacific Lounge
Shanghai - PVG
Hong Kong - HKG
Thanks for reading my first Flight-Report. Of all the airlines plying their trade on the PVG - HKG route, CX undoubtedly has the best J product. Since they often use their Long haul J cabin on this route, you get a lot of added comfort. PVG continues to be a nightmare, but I don't see that changing any time soon. The CX lounge in Shanghai is one of the weaker lounges in their network and the sooner it gets a face lift to their new design the better. Catering on CX continues to be a considerable weak spot and it seems the recent changes were for worse rather than better.
All in all, CX represent a fantastic flight experience if you are not too concerned about the food.
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