Hi everyone! Welcome to another trip report of my travel series where I'll be covering flights during the summer of 2015. After a stressful couple of weeks prior to the flight, I was really looking forward for a vacation. As always, I'd fly to Hong Kong first before flying to other destinations across Asia.
After countless discussions with my family, we eventually came up with multiple destinations to choose from. In the end, we came up with the decision to go to Penang, Malaysia. Of course, this would be in addition to my usual trip to Bangkok where I'll be flying there at the end of August. Anyways, I hope I hadn't bored you all too much with my travel plans. Let's get on with the flight! ;)
Pre-flight: I was pretty excited to head back to Hong Kong for my summer holidays, and I always recommend flying on CX due to its high quality hard products as well as its fantastic service. However, prior to preparing for the flight was quite a difficult stage because due to me living in New York City, I couldn’t really decide whether to depart from either JFK or Newark (since CX serves both airports). After careful planning and analysis, I came to the conclusion where I would fly out of EWR, as I haven’t really talked about the departure experience and this would give me the chance to compare it to JFK and see which airport is better.
I left home at around 10:00 PM in order to head to Newark Liberty International Airport, arriving there approximately 45 minutes later
Terminal B Departures
Check-in area. I have to admit, Terminal B looks completely deserted at night. Also, IMO, I would definitely say that this terminal gives a little bit of a 70's vibe to it, making it slightly depressing. In any case, getting back to the subject. My best guess would be that Cathay Pacific and British Airways were the only airlines operating in the terminal at this hour since I know they have the last few departing flights from EWR.
CX check-in counters. The check-in process didn’t take any time at all since I already pre-selected my seat online and before I knew it, I was all ready to go to Hong Kong!
Heading towards security
Post-security: Terminal B at EWR is definitely one of the smallest terminals I’ve ever been to. Just like JFK, most shops closed after 11 PM. After a few shots of the terminal, I decided to cheer myself up and head up to the British Airways Galleries Lounge, located right after security. On the bright side, everything in EWR was and still is quite close to each other, avoiding the possibility of long walks which would eventually lead to the unfortunate event of missing flights.
Terminal B Gate Area
Now, to get to the lounge, the British Airways Galleries lounge, as well as the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse are located one level above the main departure area and are accessed through an elevator. The lounge was quite easy to navigate, especially with the sign being present around the hallway.
British Airways Galleries lounge entrance
Few shots of the lounge
I don't know why, but I somehow found the lounge in EWR slightly better, primarily because the overall atmosphere and lighting, which bring a bright and inviting tone. Although it's a tad bit smaller than the lounge at JFK, this lounge has pretty much everything that any Galleries lounge would have worldwide. Although, one of the biggest differences is that the lounge in EWR doesn't have an Elemis Travel Spa like there is in JFK.
Our flight was the last departing one out of EWR!
The dining area known as the Pre-flight Supper area. This is primarily used by British Airways First Class passengers.
Since I had about an hour left prior to boarding the flight, I got a few snacks for myself, relaxed, listened to music, surfed the web using the free WiFi, and chatted with some of my friends in order to pass the time.
In total, I spent approximately 1.5 hours in this lounge before I realised it was time to board the plane, which I was very much looking forward to!
Heading towards gate 54
For business class, Marco Polo Club members, and premium economy passengers, they boarded from gate 53
Time for a well-deserved vacation!!
I was about to go through the aerobridge at gate 53. Luckily, one of the gate agents spotted and stopped me before it was too late!! ;)
My ride to HKG: B-KPZ. I must say, Terminal B at EWR is definitely not spotter-friendly
Heading down the bridge
Some pre-flight information before I board: Date: 27 June 2015 Airline: Cathay Pacific Flight Number: CX 899 Route: Newark (EWR) - Hong Kong (HKG) Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER Registration: B-KPZ Distance: 8061 miles Scheduled Departure Time: 1:45 AM Actual Departure Time: 1:51 AM Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:30 AM Actual Arrival Time: 4:38 AM Flight Time: 15 hrs 45 mins Departure Gate at EWR: 54 Arrival Gate at HKG: 26
Main business class cabin on the 77G
My seat - 18K with the inflight controls
View from my seat, with the skyline of New York City further ahead
The good ol' legroom, which I love on this aircraft!
Pre-departure drink: Orange juice, as always
It didn't take long until boarding was complete. That was the cue for the captain's pre-flight announcement and welcome, advising us that we would be arriving into Hong Kong earlier than expected with the flight time of approximately 14 hours and 40 minutes.
Before I knew it, the doors were closed, the safety video was playing, and we were ready for pushback!
It was quite a short taxi to Runway 22R where the cabin lights were dimmed in preparation for takeoff.
We took off at 1:51 AM making the usual turn towards Connecticut
See you soon, America!!
After being in the air for 15 minutes, the seat belt signed was turned off. This pretty much gave me the ability to execute my plan for a late night departure, which was to enjoy a light meal, watch a movie or TV show, and go to bed right after. I knew that I could take it easy since this was yet again another 15 hour flight where I could do whatever I want, whenever I want! :)
Discovering the inflight entertainment, studioCX
Menu for today's flight
Crystal Geyser water bottle and amenity kit being handed out
Before I knew it, the crew came towards the cabin taking drink orders as well as setting the tables for the dinner service.
Table setup including the appetiser and fresh berries
Perrier, a.k.a. my standard drink!
After about 15 minutes, the main course was served. I chose the curry chicken with steamed jasmine rice and assorted vegetables. After the first couple of bites, I came to the conclusion that the chicken was average, but I've had better on other CX flights. Whereas for the rice, it looked and tasted as if it was undercooked. So, I would say that this wasn't really the best version I've had of the curry chicken.
Once I was done, the crew courteously cleared the table for us and then distributed hot towels as an end to the dinner service
A "midnight sunrise" spotted above Canada
Subsequently, the mood lighting changed before it ultimately led to complete darkness, which is the perfect environment for passengers to rest
At that point of time, I decided to find out where exactly we were and the overall progress of the flight
Cruising over Quebec, making it in good time!
Soon afterwards, I decided to call it a night. It didn't take long for me to set the seat in a fully flat position, and the duvet all nicely spread out before I slept on one of the comfiest business class seats in the world!
I woke up after about 7 hours only to only realise that I was craving for something to eat. I didn't know why, but I wasn't really in the mood for the wonton noodle soup, which is something that I'd usually get as a mid-flight snack. So, I went up to the galley area to get some light snacks for myself. I ended up getting two packets of Ruffles chips, which was able to satisfy my hunger.
As always, I went to visit the bathroom and met up with the "first class" sink which I'm somewhat of a fan of.
A dark cabin as always
Since I couldn't go back to sleep, I ended up watching an episode of New Girl
Cruising towards Siberia, with only 5 hours left
Dozing off again
I got up after an hour again since I couldn't sleep. So, I yet again went to see where we were and watch another episode or two of New Girl just to pass the time.
Heading towards Mongolia, with approximately 4 hours of flight time remaining
Afterwards, I went back to sleep.
Surprisingly, I dozed off only to wake up just in time as the cabin lights were back on and the breakfast service was starting. We had about 2 hours prior to arrival.
Table setup, which consisted of a fruit platter, croissant, and a glass of orange juice to start off
I even got myself a cup of illy coffee in order to wake myself up since I was feeling a bit groggy
Cabin view with mood lighting
Above central China
For the main course, I ended up choosing the seafood congee with a mushroom rice roll. To sum it up, I would say that I expected a lot when it came to the catering and I was disappointed yet again.
Once the breakfast service was over where the cabin crew cleared up everything, I went back to the inflight map only to discover that we were not too far from Hong Kong
My seat after 14 hours
Since there was less than a hour prior to landing and I didn't feel like watching another movie or TV show, I ended up chatting with the ISM for about 10 minutes since she noticed me taking photos continuously throughout the flight. From which, she said that she knew that I was an aviation geek and we had a good conversation about our love of aviation as well as how and why she became a flight attendant leading to becoming an ISM. It felt nice to hear about their stories and the reason why they became the people they are today!
After approximately 20 minutes, the captain came back on with his pre-arrival announcement, saying that we were now starting the descent towards Hong Kong International Airport and that we had 30 minutes until we landed. Suddenly, the seat belt sign came back on giving the indication that we had to prepare for landing, which didn't take long.
Shots of my seat
Final shot of my seat and ottoman before landing
Mood lighting in preparation for landing
We landed at 4:38 in the morning, which was about 50 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time!! I doubt that Airport Express would be open by the time I got out since it starts operation only at 6:00 AM.
Taxiing towards the gate
Actual flight route
Docking at gate 26 next to a Dragonair Airbus A330-300, B-HLG
Disembarking/Arrival into HKG
Although I was able to breeze through immigration, it did take a while to get my bags which I'll explain further below.
Post-flight: I reached the arrival hall an hour later from when we landed. The reason why I came out so late from baggage claim was because one of my bags was missing, which led to me getting frustrated for a bit until I contacted a CX baggage services representative. I remember waiting for half an hour for the team to handle everything such as identifying the bag, getting our contact information, address, etc. To cut a long story short, I got a call from CX baggage services approximately 12 hours later saying that my missing bag has been found, and that they would get someone to send it to my house.
Anyways, getting back to the arrival process. In order to relieve my stress, I went on to The Arrival lounge, which can be quite tricky to find. As always, I got myself some breakfast which included a cup of coffee along with some fruit, pastries, and a glass of orange juice
After I was done, it was 5:45 AM. Instead of taking the Airport Express which is my preferred way of heading to town, I ended up taking a taxi and made my journey from there.
British Airways Galleries Lounge
Newark - EWR
Hong Kong - HKG
As much as I am a huge fan of Cathay Pacific, I would say that this flight was a little bit of a hit-and-miss. There were some parts of the flight which it did well such as the crew (who were friendly and courteous as always), but I did feel that some parts were lacking. In particular, the food (which was average), the inadequate choice of entertainment, again, as well as the unfortunate event where one of my bags was missing. However, I must say, CX did a good job in getting it back to me. To sum it all up, I feel that mostly every flight on CX does well in some areas and some which could be improved. Anyways, thanks for reading this trip report. I hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for the next segment where I'll be flying to Penang for the first time, which I'm quite looking forward to!
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