Review of Cathay Pacific flight Hong Kong Newark in Business

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX890
Class Business
Seat 16K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 15:55
Take-off 22 Jul 16, 17:45
Arrival at 22 Jul 16, 21:40
CX   #4 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 431 reviews
aussenrist
By 4219
Published on 16th January 2017
Hi and welcome to my new anthology series American Vacation Story!

A Study in Green: CX J to Newark



A new world hangs outside the window. Beautiful and strange. It must be falling away. I must be. Sound and color with me for my mind. And the ship shows me where to go when I needn't speak.

This series will cover my annual vacation to the US in Summer 2016, which contains 4 journeys in 3 different sets of tickets with 2 alliances. It looks like 4 mini stories while they are somehow connected to my previous reports.

In order to make the reports more interesting, I will reveal the routing as we go on. The series will be broken down as follows:

Chapter 1 - CX890 HKG-EWR, Boeing B777-300ER in J [You are here!]
Chapter 2a - AA1615 EWR-CLT, Boeing B737-800 in Y [Here]
Chapter 2b - AA5164 CLT-BHM, Bombardier CRJ-200ER in Y [Here]
Chapter 3a - DL ATL-ATL, Boeing B767-200 Spirit of Delta in J/Y [Merge into 3b]
Chapter 3b - UA5865 ATL-ORD, Embraer E-175 in Y [Here]
Chapter 4a - CX807 ORD-HKG, Boeing B777-300ER in J [Flight cancelled and merged to 4b]
Chapter 4b - CX807 ORD-HKG, Boeing B777-300ER in J [Here]

This report is about comparison. Fellow NGO85 had flown this route in Jul 2015 (thanks Michael’s permission for quoting his report here^^) while I took it almost a year later. During this period CX has changed a lot. Therefore it is a good chance for comparing the CX J product and services after its rebranding.

This report will also have a quick look on the new CX Pier Business Lounge. Besides, the management of CX Lounges in HKG was changed to Plaza Premium (also manages TG Lounge and United Club in HKG) from May 2016. I would like to see if it has any impacts on services. This is my first time in business class!

Apologized that this report is quite long lol Please take time!


Background



Time flied and it was time to my annual vacation (Operation AL Burning). I planned this vacation immediately after returning from US in Jul 2015. At that time I had some Asia Miles going to be expired which were enough for redeeming a long-haul J ticket. Hence I decided to redeem it and US would be my preliminary destination. Finding the long-haul J award availability was a challenge because CX always holds the seats especially for the US. I kept searching and one day HKG-EWR accidentally released a seat. I promptly called MPC and redeemed it successfully.


Pre-Flight



I had my OLCI the day before departure via the CX mobile app. But the app was totally rubbish where it kept looping and crashed at the OLCI page lol

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I could only check in on my Surface. For seating, CX uses a 3-class 77G (no F) on this route. At first I wished to sit in the rear mini cabin as NGO85 did. Sadly the window seats were only available in forward J cabin during booking. Thus I went for 16K because of possibly less galley noise. Being a no-beef person, I pre-ordered the special non-beef meal since I believed it might be better due to its separate preparation.

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On the departure day I only applied half day AL because I still had few candidates to interview. I took the Airport Express from the Central Station in the afternoon.

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I arrived the airport 2.5 hours before departure. After a recharge, I headed to the CX check-in counter in Concourse B. The J lane has a rebranded signage (to me its fonts are too small). Not many people at the lane.

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The agent greeted me and asked my destination. I handed my passport and replied 紐華克 (Newark in Cantonese). But the agent seemed not understand where I go and asked again. I repeated it as 紐瓦克 (CX's translation) and sadly she did not know what 紐瓦克 means and asked. I said it third time by spelling E-W-R, she still did not realize it! What?! You could type E-W-R or my passport no. in the system to find it out!

I was annoyed at that moment and said one more time: Newark in New Jersey near NYC and my flight number is CX890! She suddenly sobered up and said “Oh! You are going to New York very nice…” lol To me Newark is not New York! They are in 2 states!

Despite the “Newark” incident, the agent was indeed friendly and efficient for the check-in. Guidelines for the carry-on baggage.

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The agent tagged and checked my baggage, handed me the boarding pass with lounge invitation. She mentioned my flight would depart from Gate 3 in the South Concourse. She also strongly encouraged me to use the newly open Pier Lounge while reminded me it had to take time to get there.

Once in airside, I rushed to the Smoking Lounge. Glad to know that the airport has upgraded the air ventilation there^^

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Then I headed to the Pier Business Lounge located in the Northwest Concourse near Gate 65 (1 gate after the First Lounge Entrance). It was a long walk from the security checkpoint which takes about 20 minutes. OMG on my way I saw a KA A330 in the ugly new livery!

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The Lounge Entrance. I took the escalator downstairs.

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The Pier Business Class Lounge



Once entered the first thing to see is the gold shark fin logo. The reception is on the right. I was warmly greeted by the concierges. They scanned my BP and asked if I wanted to store my bag (they have lockers). I did not need it and they let me inside.

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The lobby with elegant décor

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I started my visit from the right of the lobby, the Bureau. If you are workaholic, go there. Some solo chairs.

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It has several iMacs with a printer is placed under each workstation.

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FIDSs are everywhere with the newspaper offerings.

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Look at the top right! Oriental Daily (東方日報: Feud of CX) is allowed to access the Lounge!

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I then turned left to the main area of the Pier Lounge. It is divided into several amenities zones, and CX applies the wooden theme with different interior designs to each zone. There are 2 hallways connecting all of them: one is for accessing different amenities zones, another one is linking all the seating areas with views over the tarmac.

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A long transparent partition separates the amenities zones and seating area. It was Friday afternoon and the Lounge only had few people.

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The Lounge Signage with FIDS. They are all installed between zones.

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First, the Food Hall.

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Different from the Bridge Lounge, it is not in buffet setting (a cost cutting measure? or environment friendly? :P). You need to order the food from the attendants.

The food offerings are solely western options.



The self-service coffee cart

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I ordered an ice-cream. It is the same one served in Y and was not a brick.

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Second, passing the Food Hall was the Bar

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Third, the Noodle Bar

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Seating in the Noodle Bar

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Different with the Food Hall, it has a limited buffet with few Chinese hot dishes.

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It also has a refreshment corner with coffee and cookies

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Drinks offerings

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If you do not want a buffet, you can order from the menu.

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I ordered the famous Dan Dan Noodles. It was good while I think the taste was in Japan style rather than Sichuan one.

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Forth, the Teahouse. Apart from different kinds of tea, you can have any non-alcoholic drinks and confections.

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The dark color design and wooden ceiling of Teahouse reminds me the new CI Dynasty Lounge in TPE Terminal 1. I love this design very much and it is my favorite space of the Lounge^^

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Following is the Showers which has 14 shower suites. Sorry I did not take pictures here as the concierge at the desk staring at me strangely. I decided to use the shower however I was told it was full and I needed to wait at least 30 minutes (that's why so few people in other zones??? lol)! I had to skip it.

At the end is the Relaxation Room. The couches in the main area

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Behind the partition there are 14 (again?) daybeds for napping. Lighting is of course a bit dim.

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In general the amenity zones are well-positioned so that the noisier areas are closer to the entrance, while it will be quieter when you move away from the entry. The Lounge is very large. IMO the new Pier First and Business Lounge should occupy the whole level of the Northwest Concourse.

After the Lounge tour I strolled in the seating area. It is divided into several sections with different design concepts. USB and power sockets are everywhere.

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I grabbed a tarmac facing seat, settled down and connected to the Wi-Fi which is very fast

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Enjoying the nice view of the tarmac. A CX B77W together with an AY A350 at the remote stand.

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I left the Pier Lounge last minute. The Lounge and Gate 3 are the 2 ends of the Terminal. I did an 800m run back to my Gate.

Despite running, having a smoke along with plane spotting were necessary. A BA Giant next to an EK Giant

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Tarmac view from the Northwest Concourse

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A LH A340

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Although I arrived late to my Gate, the very long queue told me that there was a delay. It was the flight to the US thus passengers had to pass the additional security screening.

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But as a J passenger it was another story. There was a separate line for J on the left. I entered the zone in seconds.

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I walked to one of the security checking desk and was shocked to see the security staff was one of my co-workers in HKG during every CNY! “Ashleyyau! Why are you here?!” He surprisingly asked. Aa a result my carry-on checking was instantly cleared ;)

My Gate FIDS

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Flight Report



The dedicated J line. Boarding had started awhile where business class was already finished. But as a J passenger, I could cut the line anytime

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My bird today. Gate 3 is super plane-spotting unfriendly (If you recall, my first CX flight also departed at this gate^^). It is a 1.25-year-old 77G (B-KQX) which was just delivered in Apr 2015 as “Our 50th 777-300ER” (NGO85 took the 51th^^).

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Wow I was going to the dedicated J jet bridge!

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Following the Taiwanese couple

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Newspapers were provided at the door. However Oriental Daily was still involuntary denied boarding…

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2 FAs greeted me at the door and I turned right

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My J cabin view with the famous reverse herringbone Cirrus seats. My seat 16K was the third on the windows side.

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My seat 16K. A seat tour: it features a rebranded antimacassar and a rebranded pillow was placed. They are changed to cosmic latte color tone.

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Seat pitch is very good. The rebranded duvet was preplaced on the ottoman.

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PDB was offered and I requested water.

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Windows view of my seat

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The retractable armrest which require to be down for take-off and landing

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The seatback pocket

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The 15-inch touchable IFE screen. Our route today

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Our flight info

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The overhead bin. My back seatmate did not use it and I entirely owned it^^

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The overhead lights.

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The convenient all-in-one side panel includes a reading light, seat adjustment, the IFE control, a power socket, a headphone jack and a USB port. The noise-cancelling headphone was preplaced inside the side cabinet

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The storage cubby under the desk

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Under the seat is a cubby for shoes.

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A super hot oshibori was offered. It was nice to refresh myself after an 800m run

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The US immigration form was distributed

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Following were the UNICEF donation form and a duty-free promotion leaflet.

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My seat view to the back. One of the Y passengers had the most generous legroom^^ Today our flight was 100% full.

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The FA working on my aisle was checking whether our carry-on were properly stored.

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Boarding finished before 6pm. Nevertheless, the door was remained open for another 25 minutes with no information provided. Later the John Krasinski-look-like Captain came back from the rear cabin to the cockpit

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Eventually the door was closed at 6:20pm. The Captain came on the PA system to have flight announcement. He firstly apologized that there was a Y passengers suddenly collapsed and they had to take him off the plane to the hospital. He then welcomed us on board with our flight information i.e. expected turbulence and arrival time.

We pushed back at 18:26pm. Our neighbor was a B77W to LAX tonight

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A brand-new safety video was played

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A CX A330 in new livery parked at the remote stand

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We had a U-turn to the South runway. A SA A340

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In spite of the low air traffic in Friday evening, we had to make way for the narrow bodies. An UO A320

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An AK A320

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We were ready

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And took off! 2 CX Queens were waiting in the hanger for their new dressing

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We were leaving HK to the south and turned East. The Ladrones Islands

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Once we levelled off, the redesigned “new” amenity kit and a bottled water were distributed

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The lens wipe is now replaced by the mouth wash.

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I was offered the menu even I had pre-ordered the special meal

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The rebranded menu is very simple, black and white with text only (another cost cutting?)

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The wines and drinks list

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Maybe we had delayed an hour, aperitif service was merged with dinner and it started quickly. The linens were laid.

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Service began with the FA came around with drinks and warm nuts.

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Initially I wanted to try the CX signature drinks. Unfortunately he apologized that they were running out. Are you kidding me?! The flight just departed how come they were already not available??? I then requested OJ.

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Browsing the IFE. It has decent selections of content with always pop-up ads which is annoying.

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As I opted special meal, I was the first to be served. The starter tray with dessert were delivered. I finally had the metal tableware on CX!

The starter was merely vegetables: shredded green bean starch served with the very Y looking salad (no dressing). They were ice cold despite tasted ok. The special meal had its own bread, yet the FA still gave me garlic bread. It was perfectly warmed.

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I was demoralized when I saw other passengers had the shrimp starter…

The FA delivered my entrée followed by and explained it was curry fish with rice. But actually it was fried fish fillets with corn sauce (粟米斑腩)… BTW it was hot and tasted good. The vegetables were not overcooked. For drinks I had Baileys.

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The normal entrées were all displayed on a cart, which the FA rolled through the cabin for passengers choosing. At this point I restored my delight with the non-beef meal because half of the choices were beef…

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Sadly the raspberry jelly dessert was super sour.

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I was stuffed after the entrée. The FA came through with the cheese and fruit cart. I declined the cheese and chocolate but fruit only.

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Subsequently the FA came to me and recommended the mango pudding since they had some left. I replied that I was stuffed and did not need it. Unexpectedly he lured me that it was a famous CX dessert designed by a 5* HK hotel. Difficult to decline his generous invitations I went for one. It was sweet and much delicious than my special dessert.

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Dinner wrapped up when we were approaching Kyushu and was concluded by another oshibori.

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Cabin view after dinner. Even the FA had not yet dimmed the cabin light, most of the passengers were already called by the sandman.

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Time to visit the front toilet.

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This 77G only has the normal Y toilets, but clean and tidy.

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The only different is it stocked with Jurlique products.

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Behind the curtain is the PA system on this B77W

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I turned my seat into bed mode and try to get some sleep.

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I was 5'8". The fully flat bed is spacious for me. The duvet was cozy and did not make me hot during sleep.

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Unfortunately I could not sleep completely as being too full. I browsed the seat back materials.

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The rebranded safety card.

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The duty-free catalog featured the horrified expensive mooncake @@

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My front seatmate started his dinner until now. He pre-ordered a western vegetarian meal.

Being stuffed, I still felt uncomfortable in the sitting position lol So I stood up in my seat and hoped the gravity could help my digestion. View behind my seat.

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My front seatmate also stood up after his dinner. We looked at each other, and headed to the galley together and chatted. The seatmate is in fact an UA 1K member that he usually flies between NYC and HK on UA. This was his first time flying on CX.

We backed to our seats. The front seatmate successfully digested his food and went to sleep. On the other hand I took out my Surface and did my flight reporting. Can you guess which report I was processing?^^

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Knowing that I was working, the FA came and asked if I wanted some hot drinks. He proposed the chamomile tea to me.

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I was the noisiest passenger then lol Mood lighting was on

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The FA passed through the cabin hourly during my work. He brought me another cup of chamomile tea afterwards. I had a short chat with him. 2016 was his 20th year working in CX. He mentioned only 5 HK people (me and a family of 4) were in J today. A Taiwanese tour group occupied more than half of J seats.

He even brought the snacks basket to me for choosing. My snacks offerings. Mostly the same as Y.

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The beautiful sky outside my window

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I worked for about 2.5 hours until crossing the IDL.

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Cabin in mid-flight. My front seatmate had woken up and started his work while his neighbor was watching movies. We were the only three awake passengers then.

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Initially I wanted to try the mid-flight snacks yet I was still full. I ordered the chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice cream and it was delivered in a minute. The FA reminded me it was just taken out from the refrigerator so I had to wait to be eatable. After 15 minutes it was still a brick.

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After the ice-cream I felt sleepy ultimately. Before sleeping I went to the accessible toilet between the 2 J cabins. It was as clean as the front one.

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Changing diaper is a woman job on this 77G

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One addition to the accessible toilet is that it has a tray for stowing personal items when you are doing a big job

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I then had a very good 5-hours sleep until breakfast service started

Breakfast service (in HK time) began 2 hours before arrival

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Linens was laid. A fruit plate and a bread (same with dinner) were served. I requested OJ for drinks.

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The FA asked if I wanted to have cereal or yogurt. He gave me a box of Kellogg's corn flakes!

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As usual my entrée was the first to deliver. It was fried noodles with shrimp and 2 pieces of turnip cakes. Size was so generous compared with the normal dishes. It was ok with the help of chili sauce, like those in the HK fast food chains. I was once again stuffed.

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Chopsticks

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Another round of entrées parade

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In summary, the J catering were mostly unchanged after rebranding (except the menu card).

After the breakfast I completed the US immigration form. The 2nd Sunset at the South shore of Lake Ontario.

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We were now over the Finger Lakes

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Approaching Newark. The Captain came back for weather updates that Newark was now 32C

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The mood lighting was on during descending

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Downtown Newark

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Eventually we landed on runway 22L 20 minutes behind schedule. It was ok given that we had an hour delay in takeoff.

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We parked at Gate 55. Disembarking

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The crews gave warm goodbyes at the door and the FA thanked me for flying CX. In return I thanked for his great services.

Entering Terminal B2

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A look back at my bird on arrival

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A PD Dash 8-Q400 at the adjunct gate and a Y4 A320 at the back

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I took the escalator upstairs.

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Welcome to the America!

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The immigration was slow because a lot of people could not pass the immigration inquiries and they were brought to a separate room for further questioning. I waited nearly 45 minutes for my turn.

Maybe the officer saw my passport has many admitted chops, mine was very fast. The officer only asked when I would leave US and let me go after fingerprinted.

I proceeded to the baggage claim and my baggage was already circulating.

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I took my baggage and passed the custom with no wait. Landside of Terminal B

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After a 15+ hours flight my most priority task was having a recharge^^

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Next I took the AirTrain to Station P4 for taking the hotel shuttle.

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The carriage is a bit small.

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Unfortunately the shuttle was super slow for pick up. I nearly waited for half and an hour. I had called the hotel 2 times and got the same answer: the shuttle was coming then lol

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In the end I reached my hotel at 1am. I had a quick shower and started my overnight stay in Newark for the morning flight next day.




I was very impressed by the FA’s services. I sent an email appreciating the FA after my vacation. One month later I got reply from CX as below:

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This is the first chapter of American Vacation Story and please stop by the rest of this series.









Hey… Did I forget something essential in this flight report?





No. I indeed put it below.













Bonus: Evolution of CX Boarding Pass 1986-2016



I moved my house in mid-2016. When packing stuffs I discovered my grandpa’s BP travelling to the UK on CX in 1986. It is the return segment from LGW. 30 years later CX resumes its HKG-LGW flight^^ Covers of the BP

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The flight no. CX250 is still in use with the same departure time for LHR-HKG route



Another one is my grandma traveled to KUL in 2000. But CX will axe and transfer this route to KA wef May 2017.

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This one in 2015… Sorry I omitted it from my first report and put it back 1.5 years later lol

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And lastly in 2016… Goodbye to the last CX color BP together with the Lounge Invitation. Now they had changed to black and white printout (same with BA)

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BTW, where did I go? OK I give you the hint: please roll back to the beginning^^



And this was what I saw on my second journey.

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Thank you for your reading! As CNY is coming, an early Kung Hei Fat Choy greetings hereby! ^^
See more

Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering8.0

Cathay Pacific The Pier - Business Class Section

9.4/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services9.5

Hong Kong - HKG

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Newark - EWR

7.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

My first time in business class. For business class, CX performs well on this TPAC (but Y is another story). The rebranding is mainly reflected on the Lounges and inflight amenities. Both inflight products and services are mostly the same. The catering could be better. It is a redeemed ticket so overall I am very satisfied for this flight.

Cabin comfort: Good. A young and clean B77W. The Cirrus seat is functional and comfortable with plenty of legroom and privacy. The only criticism is the windows are a bit difficult to approach due to the seat divider. I prefer the new B/E Diamond Seat on AA B789 / CI A350, but the CX one is still good. The redesigned amenity kit is more useful than the "old" wrap one. No slippers. My cabin is quiet since most passengers are in sleep between meals. The toilets are the same with Y but clean and tidy throughout the flight.

Cabin Crew: Very Good. A 20-year veteran worked on my aisle and he was very friendly, proactive and in detail. He was mostly here when I was not in sleep. He delivered the personalized services to me. The rest of the crews were efficient and nice.

Entertainment: Good. Newspapers are available on the jet bridge (still no Oriental Daily). Standard seatback literature. The IFE has assortment of programs (more local side). I do not like the frequent-pop-up ads in StudioCX which is annoying. But it does not bother me too much as I turn it to airshow in default and entertained by my own device.

Meal and catering: Good. It has been the weakest area for CX J. Unimpressive. The special meal does not have big differences to the normal. Standard catering procedures are followed. It is weird that CX signature drinks are running out quickly (cost cutting?). The dinner starter is ice cold and the salad is too Y. The breakfast size for special meal is much generous than the normal. Despite both entrées are hot, their qualities like the food in the HK fast food chains. Snacks are available throughout the flight.

The new CX Pier Business Lounge is fantastic. Contrary to the new CX branding which emphasizes on simplicity, the Lounge adopts a warm and gorgeous design. It might not as gorgeous as the First Lounge, but still has the fine interior design and spacious with comprehensive services providing anything you might want in a lounge. Plenty of seating. Staff are generally friendly. Decent selections of food and quality is very good. Change of management agency does not have noticeable deviations in service at this moment. It becomes my favorite Lounge.

For EWR, the immigration was a bit slow but still better than ORD. AirTrain is convenient.

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Newark (EWR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Hong Kong (HKG) → Newark (EWR).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 15 hours and 51 minutes.

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18 Comments

  • Comment 382155 by
    Razza_Pr 205 Comments

    Hello, Ashleyyau, and thank you for this FR!

    Fantastic coverage on CX's new The Pier lounge! Definitely one of the best airline lounges I've come to know about so far. The teahouse looks meticulous, though it seems like they don't get enough visitors - what varieties (or should I say varieTEAs) of tea do they serve? Any specialties?

    Food presentation doesn't look too appealing for me. Definitely room for improvement there. How was the temperature when it got to your seat though? Still hot, or not as expected?

    Were you given an amenity kit? Or perhaps Cathay cut that loose for cost-cutting measures as well? (also, I forgot. It is Jurlique, not Agnes B., right?)

    The evolution of CX boarding passes is a great feature to add on this FR. Looks like your family and Cathay Pacific go a long way back :)

    Thanks again for this FR! Looking forward to read more of your American Vacation Story series!

    • Comment 382758 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Razza_Pr!

      The Teahouse has many kinds of tea to serve, from traditional Chinese teas to Western herbal teas, Ryokucha, etc. It also has a tea menu which features the JING Tea brand product. In fact not only the Teahouse, but the whole Lounge also did not get enough visitors during my visit. Maybe the time I visited are not the peak hours and the Lounge is too far away (near the end of terminal) from the main gates. CX mentions Teahouse has Tea specialists but from my observation they should be normal attendants only.

      I agree with you that the food is not appealing, despite not tasted bad. Maybe I usually fly on the Asian carriers so I think the cabin temperature is ok, not too warm (IMO the UA cabin is very cold in mid-flight).

      Yes CX gives me the amenity kit. It is designed by HK local brand “78%” and features Jurlique skin care products^^ The Agnes B one should be before the rebranding. But no slippers makes CX look not so considerate to passengers :(

      “Looks like your family and Cathay Pacific go a long way back :)”
      - No... in these days HK air traffic was not prominent and CX dominated the ex-HK market. It is very common for HK people to pick CX at that time^^ BTW the elderly in my family still prefer CX as they can talk to the FAs in Cantonese.

  • Comment 382160 by
    JW19 117 Comments

    Very thorough report. Nice insight on what CX is offering on these long hauls. Lounge yet again impressive, much better than that of SQ in SIN. However like you said, hard product in J is weak.

    No mattress pad provided for the seat? These Zodiac Cirrus seats has a uneven surface down the middle that makes it a little uncomfortable full flat. The serving dishes for the mains are also a throw off, how hard is it to use the same plates with the appetizers?

    Furthermore with so many award winning chefs and restaurants in HK, they should have at least offered a specialty in collaboration with them. Like how Qantas or Air France does it. Imagine having Yung Kee Roast Goose in the air....that is how CX should roll.

    Your review cements my decision further that the bulk of my OW redemption should go to JL instead of CX. But still it doesn't take away that your reporting is excellent. Looking forward to future installments.

    • Comment 382762 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comments JW19!
      IIRC mattress pad should be provided in F only. For the Cirrus seat, maybe my seat in this flight worked properly and its uneven surface is minimal, I did not feel the uneven obviously.

      For the food, I think CX use the same plates because mine is a special menu which is prepared separately. My special dessert is also pre-placed on that plate. Maybe another (real) reason is… cost cutting :P In fact for ex-HK flights CX partnered with HK award winning restaurants to provide specialty dishes on plane. Unfortunately this flight the specialty is a beef dish, which I am totally ignored by CX lol

      “Your review cements my decision further that the bulk of my OW redemption should go to JL instead of CX.”
      - Initially I decided to use my Asia Miles as OW redemption (I will explain in later reports). But CX blocks it so this FR appears @@

  • Comment 382193 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 7768 Comments

    I enjoyed reading you report , thanks for sharing.
    The cabin look nice and fresh and those seats ( used on many airlines ) really offer privacy, full access and turn down in good beds.
    I was a little bit disappointed by the first meal ( also it's nice) and would I loved breakfast with the fried noodle and ship and turnip cake.
    From the pictures of you Flight Attendant you can tell he is doing a great jobs.
    Very nice to see those old paper plane tickets. !

    • Comment 382767 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Merci pour votre commentaire Christophe! ^^

      “The cabin look nice and fresh and those seats ( used on many airlines ) really offer privacy, full access and turn down in good beds.”
      - Agree, although CX has adopted this seating for years, it is still one of the best business class seats in the industry. I really like the bulging aisle seat divider which provides a high privacy for the seat.

      “I was a little bit disappointed by the first meal ( also it's nice) and would I loved breakfast with the fried noodle and ship and turnip cake.”
      - I am also a bit disappointed especially the 1st starter. Despite it was good, I expect the outlook should be better as a J meal. The breakfast is a bit surprise. If I had known it before, I would not order the cereal as it is too full for me.

      “From the pictures of you Flight Attendant you can tell he is doing a great jobs.”
      - You are right! One thing I forgot to mention in FR is that the FA addressed my name every time he served me, which is a very good inflight experience^^

      “Very nice to see those old paper plane tickets. !”
      - The good old days of CX ;)

  • Comment 382201 by
    K2World 1775 Comments

    Thank you for this report
    Nice coverage of the "new" The Pier Business lounge
    A great flight onboard this CX 77W. Glad they change the amenity kit, I didn't like the previous one.

    • Comment 382768 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comment K2World!

      “Glad they change the amenity kit, I didn't like the previous one.”
      - BTW I love both designs. IMO the previous one looks more stylish, while the new amenity kit is more practical and easy to open^^

  • Comment 382240 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4936 Comments

    Look at you all fancy in CX longhaul Business class! Congrats on your first Business class flight, you sure did it right!

    Beautiful pictures throughout the report. A real treat for the eyes and great spotting at HKG. Looks like it was a perfect sunny (i.e. non-hazy) day for spotting.

    Not sure if I'm a fan of the the CX rebranding. I agree that the wing/feather thing looks really small on that sign.

    "To me Newark is not New York! They are in 2 states!"
    - I agree, but most carriers market Newark as New York. At least most will say New York - Newark Liberty. I think CX just calls it "New York" which is weird since they also fly to JFK.

    "Once in airside, I rushed to the Smoking Lounge. Glad to know that the airport has upgraded the air ventilation there^^"
    - Thanks for the info! Good to know. I always feel like I'm going to pass out in the HKG smoking lounges...granted, I'm very thankful for their existence, so I'm not complaining ^^

    Nice thorough coverage of the renovated The Pier Business class lounge. Looks awesome! Aside from restaurant table service in the F lounge, I don't see much difference.

    Wow, good thing the medical emergency happened on the ground and not in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, requiring an emergency diversion.

    "aperitif service was merged with dinner and it started quickly."
    - That's disappointing. I mean why shorten the service and break protocol like that? It's not like it's a short flight to EWR or anything, so I don't see the point of rushing it--it lessens the experience IMO.

    I didn't know there was such a thing as a non-beef special meal. Interesting. Or was is an "Asian Vegetarian Meal"? Beef is rarely ever good on planes anyway, so probably a good move on your part!

    "I was 5'8"."
    - You were? Have you grown or shrunk since? ^^

    "Knowing that I was working, the FA came and asked if I wanted some hot drinks"
    - That's the kind of personalised attention CX is known for.

    "In summary, the J catering were mostly unchanged after rebranding (except the menu card)."
    - That's a good thing! No indication of further cost cutting there. However, I'm surprised there were only 2 official meal services on such a long flight. AA and DL do 3 meal services on TPAC flights.

    "After a 15+ hours flight my most priority task was having a recharge^^"
    - I hear that!

    "BTW, where did I go?"
    - I know that airport! You came to DC again and didn't tell me ^^

    Thanks for an awesome report! Looking forward to the others in the series

    • Comment 382886 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Merci pour votre commentaire Kévin! ^^ Sorry for late reply lol

      “Looks like it was a perfect sunny (i.e. non-hazy) day for spotting.”
      - Yes! Blue sky becomes rare in HK these days (especially in winter). It is always nice to start a journey in a sunny day ;)

      “I agree that the wing/feather thing looks really small on that sign.”
      - Maybe CX wants its customers to use the classes colors to find the lanes. But when you in the HKG CX counters, all the things are in CX green. It is a bit difficult to find the respective lanes from a distance. In fact I had to find the J lane in awhile

      “I think CX just calls it "New York" which is weird since they also fly to JFK.”
      - Me2. Once upon a time CX indeed labelled EWR as “Newark/New Jersey”. Don’t know why they changed it.

      “I always feel like I'm going to pass out in the HKG smoking lounges...”
      - I have the same feeling^^ HKG has several smoking lounges still they were always crowded. Not only passengers, but lots of workers and tarmac staff also go to these lounges. There is only one smoking area in the tarmac, which is under my boarding gate of this flight! Imagine how crowded under the jet-bridges :o)

      “Aside from restaurant table service in the F lounge, I don't see much difference.”
      - I think the 2 Lounges are in 2 different positioning. Their design ideologies are the same, but the F uses light green marble for the interior while the J mainly uses wood. I believe the F has more individual private spaces and provides more personalized services i.e. foot messaging / a la carte dinning. For J, it looks like a public space for different passengers gather together.

      “good thing the medical emergency happened on the ground and not in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, requiring an emergency diversion.”
      - It is so true. Otherwise it would be a disaster for my following itinerary!

    • Comment 382887 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      “I mean why shorten the service and break protocol like that? It's not like it's a short flight to EWR or anything, so I don't see the point of rushing it”
      - Agreed. At that moment the crews looked like they had to finish the dinner in certain minutes otherwise they would be punished (?). IMO the services were a bit rush.

      “I didn't know there was such a thing as a non-beef special meal. Interesting. Or was is an "Asian Vegetarian Meal"?”
      - No it is neither Asian Vegetarian Meal or Hindu Meal (CX has separate options for both). This is a CX’s special in their meal choices because a portion of Chinese (including me) do not eat beef. And CX does not provide beef option on HKG-TPE routes.

      “You were? Have you grown or shrunk since? ^^”
      - I had passed my adolescence 10+ years lol

      “That's the kind of personalised attention CX is known for.”
      - As per my above reply to Christophe, the FA addressed my name every time he served me. Maybe we speak in same language, I am truly impressed with this FA. At least CX win back my confidence on this flight. It is worth for giving him an appreciation letter^^

      “That’s a good thing! No indication of further cost cutting there. However, I'm surprised there were only 2 official meal services on such a long flight.”
      - But on the other hand it indicates no further improvement on the J catering @@ IIRC CX tried to implement a new J catering service (direct copy from TK) after the rebranding and they had a trial run on HKG-JFK route in late 2015. But due to the overwhelming negative feedback from the crews and passengers (dinning time too long and too much workload), the new J service was cancelled lol Besides, based on my observation, most of the passengers were in rest on this flight. I think it would be more cost effective for CX provides mid-flight snacks rather than a formal meal.

      “You came to DC again and didn't tell me ^^”
      - No… I did not go to DC this time, my plane just passed through it^^ BTW I will fly to there some time in 2017 ;)

      “Thanks for an awesome report! Looking forward to the others in the series”
      - Chapter 2 & 3 are those uneventful domestic flights (the latter will be more interesting), while the finale is a dramatic story… It will be a long process to publish them all lol

      • Comment 382896 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4936 Comments

        "But on the other hand it indicates no further improvement on the J catering"
        - That's true! I guess we're all so conditioned to seeing cost-cutting and reduction in service, that improvements don't even come to mind as a possibility. It is a shame that it seems flyers have now been conditioned to lower expectations :-/

        "BTW I will fly to there some time in 2017 ;)"
        - When you do, let me know

  • Comment 382371 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    Thanks Ashleyyau for sharing your first J experience with this great FR.

    "This report is about comparison. Fellow NGO85 had flown this route in Jul 2015"
    - It's good to have high standards of comparison. ;)

    "I kept searching and one day HKG-EWR accidentally released a seat. "
    - You had a lucky break, especially for this coveted long route.

    "But the agent seemed not understand where I go and asked again. I repeated it as 紐瓦克 (CX's translation) and sadly she did not know what 紐瓦克 means and asked. I said it third time by spelling E-W-R, she still did not realize it! "
    - I am really surprised by this, especially CX @ HKG. Wow!

    "OMG on my way I saw a KA A330 in the ugly new livery!"
    - The old one was better.

    "A long transparent partition separates the amenities zones and seating area."
    - The new Pier J lounge looks really spacious and the ambiance is very similar to The Pier F lounge. I can easily see this as my favorite CX J lounge in HKG. It is just stunning.

    "..it is not in buffet setting (a cost cutting measure? or environment friendly? :P). You need to order the food from the attendants."
    - The CX lounge @ HND operates in almost the same way, except for the desserts which is self serve. You will see that in my next FR.

    "Behind the partition there are 14 (again?) daybeds for napping. "
    - This is a big plus in a J lounge. I wish U.S. lounges could provide this benefit.

    "My J cabin view with the famous reverse herringbone Cirrus seats. "
    - I think CX has one of the best j cabins in the industry and these seats are great.

    "Later the John Krasinski-look-like Captain came back from the rear cabin to the cockpit"
    - He sure looks very young to be a captain. Are you sure he is not a First Officer?

    "Once we levelled off, the redesigned “new” amenity kit and a bottled water were distributed"
    - The new one is more practical and better than the old strap one.

    "The rebranded menu is very simple, black and white with text only (another cost cutting?)'
    - Some might find the minimalist design elegant. I personally would prefer something more "colorful" with a selection of rotating covers.

    "Initially I wanted to try the CX signature drinks. Unfortunately he apologized that they were running out. Are you kidding me?! "-
    - I agree with you. This is pretty ridiculous, especially at the beginning of the flight. I'm speechless.

    Your special meal looks OK. It seems that CX needs to work on their portion size and quality of catering in J. I feel that JL is so much better in that area compared to CX. However, your chopstick in J looks better than the one at JL in F. ;)

    Service was top and that is always reassuring on such a long flight. I enjoyed reading this detailed and well photographed FR.

    • Comment 383306 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Adan! Sorry for late reply lol

      “It’s good to have high standards of comparison. ;)”
      - Besides a single review, it is always nice to see how an airline products and services evolve over the years :)

      “I am really surprised by this, especially CX @ HKG.”
      - Me2. If this situation happened outside HKG it is acceptable. But here is HKG which the CX counters are handled by its own employees. I expect they understand what I said no matter in Cantonese, Putonghua or English… Maybe the one I met is a new joiner/part-time...

      “The new Pier J lounge looks really spacious and the ambiance is very similar to The Pier F lounge.”
      - Agree. The atmosphere of 2 Pier Lounges are very similar as they share the same design approach. The main difference is their positioning, which influence their amenities and services offerings.

      “The CX lounge @ HND operates in almost the same way, except for the desserts which is self serve.”
      - It should be the new trend of CX Lounges because it can waste less food thus less costs. Also the Lounge can save spaces for more seating :P

      “This is a big plus in a J lounge. I wish U.S. lounges could provide this benefit.”
      - There is one in ORD now: United Polaris Lounge ;) Another my wish list in future!

      “I think CX has one of the best j cabins in the industry and these seats are great.”
      - Agree. Although more and more airlines adopt the Cirrus seats nowadays, I think the CX one still has the best privacy provided.

      “He sure looks very young to be a captain. Are you sure he is not a First Officer?”
      - He should be a captain… IIRC the purser at the door in that picture addressed him "Captain XXX..."

      “I personally would prefer something more "colorful" with a selection of rotating covers.”
      - Agreed. The new design is too simplified that even no pictures i.e. wine labels are shown (toner cost cutting???)! A simple design could also be colorful, depends on how it “designs”. I like the old menu more.

      “I agree with you. This is pretty ridiculous, especially at the beginning of the flight.”
      - Just as NGO85's comment below, the drinks are simply the mixture of juices and liquors. It is very hard to believe they were all running out lol

      “Your special meal looks OK. It seems that CX needs to work on their portion size and quality of catering in J.”
      - The special meal is OK, but not in "very good" level. I don't think CX would think of their meal improvements seriously (you know... they are still suffering loss from oil hedging) IMO the biggest issue of CX J catering is once the food is not ex-HKG its quality will vary greatly, where the Japanese carriers do not have this problem.

  • Comment 382446 by
    Nick 172 Comments

    Great report and thanks for mentioning that Cathay uses a three-class configuration on this route. Do you happen to know if they use a four-class configuration for the flights from LAX? I have an LAX-HKG flight coming up this spring and I chose 19K which seemed near the middle of the cabin on the seat map when I booked via Asia Miles. On the three-class configuration though, 19K looks to be right next to the galley.

    • Comment 383311 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Nick! Sorry for late reply lol

      Seat 19K is in the main J cabin of the 4-class CX B77W. I do not have chance to sit in that cabin but I think it should be OK. Just like you said it is near the middle which you should able to see the engine ;) Food options should not be running out when the cart come to your seat. The only issue maybe the noise since your back seatmates have to pass through you to go to the J toilets. On 3-class 77G, seat 19k is not recommended because it does not have a window lol

      Is it possible to change your seat to the mini front cabin? IMO the mini cabin has better privacy and less noise. BTW if you are in HK, let me know ;)

  • Comment 383027 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Ashley! There are a lot of similarities between our two flights, not much changed by CX in those 12 months ;)

    "They are in 2 states!”
    - This happens other places too, Cincinnati’s airport is in Kentucky and not Ohio (or in the case of your next report, neither IAD nor DCA is in Washington^^). The boarding passes at least say "EWR / New York” to make it clear. As others have said, they are drawing a comparison to the NY metropolitan area, similar to how most Asian cities have multiple airports (Narita/Haneda, Pudong/Hongqiao, Incheon/Gimpo, Taiyuan/Songshan, etc.).

    “You need to order the food from the attendants.”
    - I’d imagine it is for sanitary reasons. So many times I’ve seen people coughing on food. The new Pier looks good, I’ve only been to the Bridge, Cabin, and Arrival. The Pier looks far more expansive for a more comfortable long lounge stay. The Cabin is super compact and the Bridge is narrow since it only runs along the windows.

    “Unfortunately he apologized that they were running out."
    - The Cloud Nine is pretty good, that’s always my go-to drink on CX. Doesn’t make sense why they’d say they are running out, that’s just normal drinks and liquors being mixed…

    “This 77G only has the normal Y toilets”
    - I remember that there were 2 different types of toilets. The one at the very front had an F-style lavatory with fancy moonlighting and sink.

    "I ordered an ice-cream. It is the same one served in Y” <== regional J too^^

    I find the service by CX to be well done on these long flights. The FAs normally stay away in the galley, but if they know you are up they will come periodically to check-in on you.

    He gave me a box of Kellogg's corn flakes!”
    - I remember this vividly from my flight, I was shocked when they were handing passengers those little boxes^^ The breakfast (for dinner) looks better than most CX entrees, but still not great by CX. You should have gone for the congee, that was pretty good for breakfast. Also, the starters for dinner didn’t look very imaginative so you probably did well going with a seafood option.

    Your arrival experience at EWR sounds about as bad as mine last time. The whole transit to the hotel shuttles and the wait times are just painful there.

    IAD to visit Donald next?

    • Comment 385085 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 212 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Michael! Sorry for late reply lol

      “As others have said, they are drawing a comparison to the NY metropolitan area, similar to how most Asian cities have multiple airports”
      - I understand the rationale for positioning EWR as NYC and it is indeed appropriate geographically and theoretically. It is only my paranoia towards EWR lol

      “The Pier looks far more expansive for a more comfortable long lounge stay. The Cabin is super compact and the Bridge is narrow since it only runs along the windows.”
      - The 3 aforesaid Lounges are all located on the arrival level. The Cabin and the Bridge are narrow since their spaces are limited by the gate bridges and the middle moving sidewalks towards the immigration. Hence I am surprised that HKAA demolish the sidewalks and block the arrival hallway at the Northwest Concourse for CX to build up the Lounge.

      “regional J too^^”
      - The regional J is double in size! ^^

      “Doesn’t make sense why they’d say they are running out, that’s just normal drinks and liquors being mixed…”
      - Totally agreed and this issue happens on me again later! Maybe the actual reason is… cost cutting???

      “I remember that there were 2 different types of toilets. The one at the very front had an F-style lavatory with fancy moonlighting and sink.”
      - There are 3 toilets in J cabin where 2 are at the front and 1 in the rear cabin. I had visited 1 at the front and 1 at the back. Maybe the only one I did not visit is the F-style lavatory @@

      “The FAs normally stay away in the galley, but if they know you are up they will come periodically to check-in on you.”
      - It is good to know CX has this kind of personalized service to its J passengers. I always reminisce the CX’s good old days of treating its passengers no matter of their classes. It seems that nowadays only J & F still maintain this service standard.

      “The breakfast (for dinner) looks better than most CX entrees, but still not great by CX. You should have gone for the congee, that was pretty good for breakfast.”
      - Yes the breakfast is better than my expectation on CX. If I had known it was fired noodles in advance, I would not order the cereal because it is too much for me. I pre-ordered the non-beef meal so the congee is not applicable to me. BTW I might not choose the congee even I went for normal meal since IMO the congee contains too much water lol

      “The whole transit to the hotel shuttles and the wait times are just painful there.”
      - Sorry to hear that you also had the poor experience on the hotel shuttle in EWR! Initially I thought it was only my hotel’s problem because during my wait the other shuttles were kept coming except mine lol

      “IAD to visit Donald next?”
      - No this series is not an American Horror Story… so please rollback to the beginning^^

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