Hello, Flight-Report.com community, and welcome to my latest whirlwind adventure to Asia, featuring a healthy dose of Cathay Pacific First Class, a bit of Business Class and First Class with JAL, and brief experiments with Porter Airlines economy class and Delta regional jet.
PD945 - YTZ-BOS - 9/17/2018 - Q400 - Y - Check it out here CX811 - BOS-HKG - 9/18/2018 - 777-300ER - F - Check it out here CX903 - HKG-MNL - 9/19/2018 - 777-300ER - F - You are here JL742 - MNL-NRT - 9/20/2018 - 787-9 - J - Coming soon JL6 - HND-JFK - 9/21/2018 - 777-300ER - F - Coming soon DL5366 - JFK-YYZ - 9/21/2018 - CRJ-900 - F- Will be summarized with HND-JFK
Background & Booking
There’s not a lot of background to this one, and booking was covered in the previous sector, so let’s get right into it!
Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
When I head back up to the seventh floor, the entry tot he First Class part of The Wing is looking much more welcoming that it was a few minutes earlier. I hand over my lounge invite, and in I go.
It soon becomes obvious that I’m the first person in here, providing me a unique opportunity to grab some rather pristine lounge shots.
The lounge starts with the Champagne Bar, with Louis Roderer, Perrier-Jouet, and Henriot Rosé on offer. We’ll visit you again soon.
Moving on…. some workstations with iMacs and printers.
The main hall of seating options.
Unlike the “nestled away” Pier, The Wing is open to the terminal around it
A bar with a variety of options.
Another couple of workstations.
The buffet area — although with the sit-down restaurant just steps away, this doesn’t get all that much action. (Even later, when people are actually in the lounge.)
Some reading materials, and the FIS.
More reading materials, this time in a little “library” corner.
And now, I stop in at my first big stop at The Wing — The Cabanas. I ask if any are available with something of a laugh, knowing full well I’m the only soul in here right now, and I’m quickly shown to Cabana #2.
The cabanas are delightful little escapes, totally isolated from the world — a generous space with a bath tub, a shower, a working desk, a WC, and a couch that makes a perfect daybed.
I take a nap for about half an hour, and then enjoy an airport bath — always a favourite! — and then putter at some work for a while, spending a bit longer than the “recommended” 90 minutes. I don’t feel bad about it though… early bird gets the cabana and all that.
Back outside, and it’s a little brighter outside than it was before — and a little busier than the lounge was earlier. In fact, there’s quite a crowd.
A few minutes later, I am able to bid adieu to B-KQM, my ride over from Boston, who’s continuing her journeys with a trip up to Beijing and back.
About 9:15, the lounge is starting to clear out of the early morning bank of departures, and I decide it’s time for Breakfast Number Two of the day, so it’s off to The Haven, the sit-down restaurant in The Wing.
I’m quickly shown to my seat, and a menu delivered. I believe the catering in HKG lounges has switched again, with Plaza Premium getting the axe, and catering giant Sodexo brought in. The menu looks quite similar to my lat visit, under Plaza Premium’s reign.
The dining room is pretty quiet at this hour, and I order myself the Wonton noodles in soup.
It’s brought by quickly, along with some orange juice.
There’s also a buffet along the back wall of The Haven, but I decline to check it out. After the soup, and a pot of tea, I’m happy with where I’m at for now.
But there’s still room for champagne! It’s off to the champagne bar while things are still quiet, where I give all three bottles on offer a little sample. First the Henriot, then the Perrier-Jouet, and finally the Roderer. While obviously the Rosé is noticeably different, it’s nice to have back-to-back “tastings” to be able to compare and contrast more than my limited palate can usually accomplish. In the end, I’d give my top ranking to the Henriot, the Roderer in second, and the Perrier-Jouet bringing up the rear. Though all three are quite nice.
Alright, having gotten my bath, nap, eat, and drink on, it’s time to head out and hit The Pier, so it’s out into the wilds of the terminal itself.
It’s about a 15-minute walk, but I arrive at the escalators down to The Pier.
Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge HKG
Downstairs, my boarding pass is scanned and stamped, and I’m inside Cathay’s newest First Class lounge. The Pier has such a… different… feel from just about any lounge I can think of, feeling like a very large and very upscale house. It spreads out off both sides of this long hallway with very cool decoartions.
Various “living rooms” in this house.
Some office space.
A dining room.
And even a bar.
But my first stop here is the bedroom — as I ask if any of the day suites are available. And, indeed, they’re almost all empty. The day suites are kind of the ying to the Cabanas’ yang — a completely different take on the ultimate in privacy and tranquility in an airport. They’re more focused on private lounging and napping than The Cabanas, feating a great arrival-level view right out onto the gates, which makes for some great views of activity on the apron.
Okay, so not right at this moment.
But it is entertaining to watch landings not too far away.
After a while, I do get some action right in front of me, as a EVA/Uni Air A321 pulls in from Taiwan and I watch all the activities around it.
It occurs to me at this point that I didn’t get “the corporate shot” in this flight-report — but the WiFi is fast and easy to connect to in both Cathay lounges.
Having lounged for a while, it’s already getting close to 1:00 pm, and I’m starting to get hungry. So it’s off to the Dining Room, which is busy, but I’m shown to a seat and offered a menu.
I end up ordering an old favourite — the dan dan mien noodles — and something I’ve not had before, the Waygu cheeseburger.
Up first, the dan dan. Very good, although not as spicy as I remember them being last time around. Still, very satisfying.
And then the cheeseburger. This was a very popular offering — a vast majority of the peope around me ordered it, and I can understand why. It’s very good — juicy and tasty. Check it out the next time you’re in the lounge, for sure. I was asked how I wanted it done, and asked for medium well because it’s a burger, but it still came out quite tender.
A little dessert? Well, I wasn’t planning on it, but why not. I request the summer berry ice cream, and it’s promptly delivered. It’s also excellent.
Quite satisfied, I have some tea to round out my meal. The service is both restaurants was, as before, excellent, with a very “team” service approach, where everyone does everything as needed. As a result, I was assisted and served by six or seven different waiters during my meal here.
Having eaten, I putter for a while in the lounge, before noticing that it’s about 15 minutes to my scheduled boarding time. Checking the FIS in the lounge, my flight is the only one within the next three hours that doesn’t have a gate posted. Hmmmm… I wonder if that’s a good sign?
I decide to head out, to stretch my legs for a bit, and to see if the FIS outside the lounge have any different intel.
Boarding time (eventually)
Long story short: the answer is no. The FIS outside the lounge does not have any additional information.
So I wander for a while, and after checking in a few times, it finally updates (a few minutes after boarding time) to Gate 63, which is, coincidentally, right outside The Pier.
It’s pretty obvious why they haven’t rushed to post the gate for this flight. Unless our pilot’s Wonder Woman, we ain’t goin’ nowhere anytime soon.
A few minutes later, the gate signage confirms that we’re going to be a few minutes behind schedule.
Right on our original departure time of 4:35, look who’s being towed in — why, it’s B-KQG, which arrived from Paris this morning, being towed over for our flight, I suspect as a last-minute stand-in. It’s good to see her, though — for a while, Flightradar24 had been suggesting this flight would be operated by a 777-300 non-ER, which of course, has no First Class cabin.
Almost as soon as the plane is pulled in, the crew climbs aboard from their bus. Another flight with the old livery — I’m not at 4 flights old livery, 2 flights new livery with CX. Oh well…. could have been worse. Could have been the notorious CATHAY PACIIC plane.
About ten minutes later, they begin the boarding process, and after a couple of wheelchair passengers, I’m on my way to Manila. If ExpertFlyer is to be believed, I'll be alone in First Class for this flight, making it just the second time I've had an international First Class cabin all to myself.
The Flight Report
Flight: CX903 From: Hong Kong (HKG) To: Manila (MNL) Date: 9/19/2018 Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER Registration: B-KQG Seat: 1A ATD (STD): 17:42 (16:35) ATA ( STA): 19:24 (19:10)
As I’m heading down the jetway, I can hear the flight attendants talking amongst themselves. “Oh, here comes Mr. Hometoyyz.” So either my suspicions are correct and I am alone in the F cabin, or my reputation somehow precedes me on an airline with whom I have a grand total of six flights under my belt.
At the door, I’m greeted by name by Linda, one of the two flight attendants working F on this class (for a pretty unbeatable 2:1 FA-to-pax ratio), and shown to my seat, 1A. Although actually, had I been thinking, I would have sat in every seat in the cabin for at least a minute or two. Just because I could!
I’ll skip much of a rundown on the features of the seat, since I just did that in my last flight-report, which you can check out at this link, should you need to know the basics of the CX F seat.
“Hey… anyone mind if I take my shoes off? No? Okay then!”
The A side of the plane is preferable for the solo traveler, as only the two A seats open onto the left-hand aisle, and this wall provides nearly complete privacy.
Not much worth seeing out the window. Just a hint of the Air India 787 net door.
Gigi, the other First Class FA for this flight, introduces herself next, and offers a pre-departure beverage. I ask for some champagne and some water, and it’s delivered. They’re pouring a different champagne here, which I presume is the new Regional F champagne, but I don’t catch its name. It’s nice, though.
Up next, Linda pops by with headphones, and with arrival forms for the Philippines. Two of them, actually.
And next, she’s back with a hot towel for me to refresh with.
And now, the menu, which is pretty impressive for a 720-mile flight. Note the champagne offered in the air is the same Deutz as was offered on BOS-HKG — so I have no idea what that on-ground champagne here was.
Boarding is quick — looking back at J, it’s pretty light too, so I suspect this isn’t exactly a packed aircraft — and we push back at 5:20. The captain (another Aussie, naturally) apologizes for the delay, saying it was due to a aircraft swap, as expected.
As we taxi, Linda takes my order for dinner, and I go with the lamb, because I love lamb.
After about a 15-minute taxi, we’re lined up and off. Goodbye Hong Kong. I hope it won’t be long before I see you again!
I actually nod off for a few minutes while we climb. When I wake up, the window shades have been pulled, and Gigi asks what I’d like to drink. I ask to try the Oriental Breeze, one of Cathay’s signature drinks. It’s served with the usual Cathay nuts mix, and is an interesting taste… kind of like a liquid Sweet Tart.
Once I’m awake, Linda asks if she can set my table “if I’m ready.” I’m going to have to be ready, because I’m pretty sure if I’m not ready soon, I’m going to have to take my meal in a “to go” bag, considering the length of this flight.
The appetizer is out first. It feels odd, for some reason, to be having fruit before the meal when it’s not at breakfast time.
The fruit plate is very good, though.
Bread basket — I just try the garlic bread, and it’s a dry, under-garliced disappointment.
Even on this short segment, I warrant a Bon Apetit note. Nice.
The main is up next. The veggies are nothing worth mentioning, and the potatoes are just okay, but the lamb itself is quite delicious and very tender. Not quite as good as my EK F lamb from a few years ago, but still very good.
By the time dessert is served, we’re already on our descent into Manila. The pana cotta is great, and the chocolate bar is very good as well, but extremely rich — I'm only able to have a few bites.
Because I’m hoping to get to bed as soon as possible after landing in Manila, I decline coffee after dinner, but do accept some chamomile tea. I barely get to drink any of it, though, because we’re on final descent into Manila.
We touch down at about 7:21, just over 10 minutes after our scheduled arival. Hooray for padded slots!
Arrival into Manila
The airport isn’t super-busy at this hour, so it only takes me about 20 minutes to get through immigration and get landside at NAIA’s Terminal 3.
Fortunately, I’ve booked a room at the Belmont Manila, which is just across the road from Terminal 3, and connected by this bridge, called Runway Manila.
It’s been a long day, and as soon as I’m in my room, I quickly drift off to sleep, the Cathay Pacific portion of my journey complete.
Thanks for joining me for this lounge-report with just a touch of a flight-report attached to it — I hope you enjoyed it, and join me for the JAL portion of this trip in the near future.
Cathay Pacific The Pier - First Class Section
Hong Kong - HKG
Manila - MNL
This day was all about the lounges, and Cathay’s hometown lounges are world-class, a great way to spend some time — although I probably could have done with about three hours less and got into Manila a bit earlier.
The flight itself was excellent as well, and getting F service was a bonus — I would have been happy with J had F not been available, but getting great Cathay F service from Linda and Gigi was certainly the cherry on this particular ice cream sundae.
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