Hello everyone! Welcome to my 23rd trip report where I'll be covering my flight back to Hong Kong for the Christmas holidays. As always, I was planning on going back to Hong Kong along with the usual pit stop in Bangkok. However, the last two sectors are going to be a surprise as this was a last-minute, unexpected trip that was amazing in its own way. I don't want to leave out anymore details. So, stay tuned for the rest of this travel series! It's something worth waiting for!! Anyways, let's get on with the flight! ;)
Here's a little backstory about booking this flight! So, I originally wanted to depart out of EWR due to the fact that Cathay Pacific is operating that route on the Airbus A350-900, and I would finally get a chance to try that aircraft on a long-haul flight compared to the one I took from BKK in 2016. Also, I prefer the departure out of EWR as it's a bit more private in the airport as well as the cabin. Unfortunately, the flight was completely full and I even called CX multiple times in order to get seats, but there were none.
Also, I tried getting flights on an earlier date such as the 22nd or the 23rd, but I couldn't get a seat. However, I was lucky yet again to get a seat on Christmas Eve. That way, I would arrive into Hong Kong just in time for Christmas.
So, I had no choice but to fly out from JFK on the good 'ol Boeing 777-300ER, an aircraft which I've flown for years. Honestly, I like flying on that aircraft, but now I'm starting to get tired of it. On the bright side, I finally get to see Cathay Pacific's new home in Terminal 8 as well as try out the American Airlines Flagship Lounge!
I left home at around 10:00 PM and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just in time to check out the new terminal
Terminal 8 Departures exterior
Terminal 8 Departures interior/departure lobby
Cathay Pacific check-in counters. As always, the process of checking-in took 15 minutes.
A huge Christmas tree!
Heading towards security
The security process took 5 minutes to say the least as it was late at night and I think this was one of the late departing flights out of Terminal 8. Anyways, by the time I got to the airside, I was amazed with the design!
The Big Apple
American Airlines logo evolution
Some duty-free shops
A really cool sculpture at the terminal. From New York to the world!
Terminal 8 Departures at JFK is quite massive, and has more variety in regards to shops and dining options compared to Terminal 7. I was quite impressed with the move!
Once I was done exploring the terminal, I headed to the American Airlines Flagship lounge, where the elevators are located a few meters after security
A cool portrait of the Empire State Building
Another portrait, but this time of Rockefeller Center
Shots of the lounge
I eventually found a seat facing the tarmac
Overall, the Flagship Lounge was fairly descent in regards to seating and atmosphere. Before entering the lounge, I heard this lounge was renovated and recently re-opened. I have to say, it did look astonishing!
The only thing I have to complain about though is the catering, where the choices are quite limited and unappetising. I guess the saving grace would be the beverages, where there is a wide variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
More seating area. There wasn't a lot of people at the lounge during the time of my flight. I guess we were the only departing flight out of the terminal.
Since I had plenty of time prior to the flight, I decided to sit back, relax, eat, listen to music, chat with my friends, and surf the web using the free WiFi
Before I knew it, I realised it was time to board the plane.The walk to the gate was quite long as it was at another concourse at the terminal.
The journey consisted of going through an underground tunnel consisting of escalators. I guess that's my only con about the terminal
Plane to HKG: B-KPH
The underground tunnel with a lot of advertising for the new Star Wars movie
Heading towards gate 47
Honestly, it was not that bad of a journey to the gate
Gate 43-47 area
The boarding process was really smooth this time!
Time for yet another holiday!
Heading down the aerobridges
Well, time to board!
Some pre-flight information: Date: 24 December 2017 Airline: Cathay Pacific Flight Number: CX 845 Route: New York (JFK) - Hong Kong (HKG) Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER Registration: B-KPH Distance: 8066 miles Scheduled Departure Time: 12:55 AM Actual Departure Time: 1:18 AM Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:40 AM Actual Arrival Time: 5:31 AM Flight Time: 15 hrs 45 mins Departure Gate at JFK: 47 Arrival Gate at HKG: 3
Main business class cabin
My seat: 25K, along with the inflight controls
View from my seat
The legroom on the Boeing 777-300ER
Pre-departure drink: Orange juice
I am ready for the next 15 hours!
What I found a little weird was that the captain did not make any pre-flight announcement or any kind of welcome. The only time I heard him was when he instructed the cabin crew to be seated for both takeoff and landing, and yet again 30 minutes prior as well as preparing the cabin for arrival.
Regardless, we were able to pushback from the gates after approximately 20 minutes, which was the quickest I have ever seen from JFK!
Crystal Geyser water bottle
One of the reasons why I like departing out of EWR was primarily because of the on-time departure because from what I've previously experienced at JFK, there are constant delays due to heavy traffic at the airport, which can heavily disrupt travel plans.
However, I was able to set some views prior to departure
Mood lighting changes in preparation for takeoff
Two windows all to myself! ;)
Visiting the old quarters (a.k.a. Terminal 7)
Passing by Terminal 5
Menus were then distributed as we were still taxiing towards the runway
Menu for today's flight
Taxiing to Runway 31L, with the view of the Lower Manhattan skyline in the distance along with China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER B-18052 also on its way to the runway serving as CI11 back to TPE
Surprisingly, we took off at 1:18 AM, which has been the earliest departure I've been a part of at JFK!
Heading towards Connecticut
Peace out, America!
To cut to the chase, the choice of entertainment on this flight was quite disappointing in regards to my usual TV comedies
At least I was able to watch a few episodes of New Girl
Another view of the inflight controls
A slight change towards the mood lighting
After approximately 10 minutes, the crew came towards the cabin taking drink orders as well as setting the tables for the dinner service.
Perrier, a.k.a. my standard drink!
Table setup including the appetiser, fresh berries, and garlic bread
This time, I opted for the light meal option as I wasn't feeling that hungry as I had dinner prior to leaving the airport. IMO, this is not the proper way to serve soup, especially for a 5-star airline like CX. This was a disappointment. Nevertheless, the soup was actually pretty good.
I was done in 20 minutes when the crew courteously cleared the table for us and then distributed hot towels as an end to the dinner service along with the subsequent mood lighting change
Once the dinner service was over, I headed to the bathroom with the standard J sink
At that point of time, I switched to the inflight map to find out our current location
Afterwards, the mood lighting switched again until it led to complete darkness, giving it the perfect environment for passengers to rest
After looking for more programs to watch during the flight, I came across with La La Land, which is one of my favourite movies. I must say, it did make up for the missing inflight entertainment
I watched a bit of of the movie before I ultimately decided to call it a night
Heading towards Greenland
Only 12 more hours to go!
Within less than 5 minutes, I was able to set the seat in a fully flat position with the duvet all nicely spread out. Before I knew it, I was sleeping on one of the comfiest business class seats in the world!
I woke up after 8 hours upon discovering that we already were heading close towards Mongolia. I woke up realising that I was craving for something to eat. So, I requested one of the flight attendants for the wonton noodle soup, which is nothing but a CX classic! As always, I added a Perrier to go along with it.
I eventually went back to finishing La La Land. After all, it's one of my favourite all-time movies
The high life in the sky! ;)
Another round of Perrier!
The noodles taste a lot better with the chilli sauce. It really brings out the flavour!
I then continued to watch La La Land once I was done with my noodles.
It wasn't until 25 minutes later when the cabin lights came back on and I was handed a hot towel, which was about 2 hours from arrival.
Orange juice for starters
Table setup including fresh fruit and a croissant
I ended up watching yet another movie onboard this flight, Hidden Figures. It is yet another Oscar-nominated movie which I believe deserves more praise and acclaim.
Blueberry Greek yogurt
Above central China
For the main course, I chose the Singaporean fried noodles. It was good, but the chilli sauce was definitely the saving grace.
Hot towel to end the breakfast service
My seat after 14 hours
Cabin views, with mood lighting yet again
Once I got back to my seat, I decided to continue watching Hidden Figures
After half an hour, I checked the inflight map again only to find out that we were already starting the descent towards HKG
That was also when the captain came back on just to say 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.
Final shots before landing
What I found strange was that there was no mood light change during the landing
We landed approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 5:31 AM. The taxi to the gate was quite short.
Actual flight route
Docking at gate 3
Mini business class cabin
Arrival into HKG
The walk to immigration was quite short as well.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER, B-KQH, which just arrived as CX883 from LAX
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900, B-LRC, which just arrived as CX676 from TLV
As always, I breezed through immigration, got my bag, and made it to the arrival hall within 10 minutes
Baggage claim area
As always, I was able to get my bag within 5 minutes
Making my way towards the arrival hall
I made it just in time for Christmas!!
Before heading back home, I went on to The Arrival lounge, which can be quite tricky to find as I had to go through Terminal 2
However, it was not a long walk from the arrival hall as I took a different way than I did the last few times
Entrance to The Arrival
Shots of The Arrival lounge
Afterwards, I made it towards the Airport Express
Airport Express interior
After less than 25 minutes, I arrived at Central/Hong Kong station, where I immediately caught a taxi afterwards and made my journey from there.
As always, it feels good to be back!! :)
American Airlines Flagship Lounge
New York - JFK
Hong Kong - HKG
Overall, this flight was better than from what I expected. In fact, I was surprised that there were some service enhancements from when I flew with them back in July 2017, which was quite a disappointment. Maybe it was the Christmas season, but I somehow enjoyed this flight on Cathay Pacific. The departure process from JFK Terminal 8 was actually better than I expected, especially with the terminal itself.
I found the crew much nicer than the July flight and the meal service was better as well. The only thing that I found discouraging was the way it was being served on, especially with soup in a cup. I found that to be a bit disappointing. Even though the entertainment choices were quite limited, especially with the lack of my usual shows, I was able to make use of the choices and watch some Oscar-nominated movies, especially La La Land and Hidden Figures.
Nevertheless, thank you so much for reading this trip report. I hope you've enjoyed it. Tune in next time for the next segment where I hope I'll be flying somewhere (which is going to be a huge surprise) along with the usual stopover in Bangkok!
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