The airline with the best average rating is Cathay Pacific with 8.4/10.
The average flight time is 3 hours and 37 minutes.More information
Hello, flight-report readers, and welcome to the third of six flights documenting a brief escape to Hong Kong built around a Cathay Pacific First Class award with Alaska.
This particular segment was booked on-the-fly, replacing a Delta business class award flying PEK-SHA-HKG when my Delta flight from Detroit to Beijing was delayed, ultimately cancelled and run as an extra segment the next day
I booked this flight from the Delta Sky Club at DTW on Monday morning, when it was looking more likely that my replacement DTW-PEK flight was going to get out on time.
Because there’s no way two A350s assigned to a flight could show up lame on consecutive days, right?
Considering it was booked just over 24 hours prior to departure as an international one-way ticket, it was reasonably priced, so I’m grateful is was available.
It’s kind of funny that the airline that was likely to go out of business just a few short months ago would end up saving this trip so I could fly their number-one competitor home.
… he had just arrived at the Cordis Hotel for a few hours of rest before finishing the journey down to Hong Kong.
We’ll pick the story up as I woke up from a nap. I’d set an alarm on my watch for 5:45 so I’d have plenty of time to catch the 6:05 shuttle back to Terminal 2. So as I came out of my post-sleep grog, I was curious how much time I had left before I had to get ready. So I checked my watch.
My post-sleep haze clears out very quickly, and I rapidly pack up the few things I got out during my brief stay, get myself together, and get down to the lobby in time to catch the 6:35 shuttle. I’m not going to have a lot of extra time, but between the airport being so empty earlier, and Terminal 2 not being that big a facility, I’m hopeful I won’t introduce yet another stumble into this trip.
The shuttle drops me off at about 6:50 pm, and after clearing the usual-to-China test for explosives residue at the door, I head upstairs to the departure level. Yeah, it’s not very busy here either.
At PEK Terminal 3, there’s a quick x-ray of your luggage before you can advance to the check-in area.
I find the HX check-in quickly enough, and it’s pretty quiet because we’re just about an hour and 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
In no time, I’m assigned seat 52A, have my boarding pass, and am on my way. There’s a sign at the check-in that offers apologies for the fact that the IFE system is “not working on today’s flight.” It omits the part after that should read “or any other Hong Kong Airlines flight, because we’ve stopped paying for the content.”
As was the case earlier this afternoon when I arrived into PEK, I have to fill out a short form about my possible exposure to coronavirus and travel to or from Wuhan before I can go any further. Temperatures are also checked.
There’s no lineup for security or for immigration, so even with the typically through Chinese security check that inspects every electronic item and cable, and ponders the hand sanitizer included in the Delta One amenity kits in my bag, I’m through and airside in about ten minutes.
I make my way to Gate 8, from which we will be departing tonight, and when I get there, boarding is already underway. So I join the lineup, and while there’s a bit of a wait before we start moving, soon enough we’re moving.
From: Beijing Capital (PEK)
To: Hong Kong (HKG)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
ATD (STD): 20:14 (20:10)
ATA ( STA): 23:10 (23:35)
For this flight, I’m in seat 52A, a window seat in the third row of the aft economy cabin. Although there are relatively few people in the aft cabin by the time I show up, 52B is occupied when I show up.
Legroom is perfectly acceptable. The seats are a bit hard, but good enough for most of the three-plus hours I’m seated in it.
We may not have IFE, but we’ve got a moving map that works. So there’s one advantage over the Delta One experience earlier today.
My view. With most of my flying being with Delta, and fortunately enough in either the premium cabin or Comfort Plus, it’s been a minute since I’ve had the “behind the wing” view.
Arrival forms are distributed as boarding wraps up — I always appreciate that.
The captain briefs us — he expects a smooth flight, and it sounds like he might be of South African origin based on his accent.
We push back a few minutes early, and the flight attendants do a manual safety demonstration. I guess although the moving map is functional on the seatback screens — and in fact video ads are shown once during boarding — the currently restricted IFE system won’t play the safety video.
Oh yeah, moving map, baby!
In contrast to my arrival into Beijing, it’s a very short taxi this evening, and there’s no one ahead of us for the runway. We end up taking off about 8:15 pm, just five minutes after our scheduled departure time.
As soon as the seatbelt sign is turned off, 52B takes off for an aisle seat in the centre section with an empty middle seat, so I’ve got the window pair to myself. Perfect! I sit back and relax, listening to some of my Tuesday morning podcasts, which had popped up in my podcatcher in the early evening China time. The load, at least here in the back part of economy, is probably in the 65-75 percent range. Most aisles are occupied, but there are some chances for passengers traveling alone to get some space.
Meal service makes its way to our cabin about thirty minutes after departure. Tonight’s dinner is a choice of chicken and rice, or beef with spaghetti. I end up going for the chicken and rice, and ask for some water and Pepsi to drink.
The salad seems fresh and tasty enough, although I would have chosen something other than Thousand Islands dressing if given the option.
The main course is actually really enjoyable. The chicken is tender, and the sauce has just a lowest-common-denominator hint of heat to it. I enjoy it quite a bit.
Dessert is what tastes like a pound cake with some apple and crumble on top — I suppose an approach to coffee cake.
Dinner settings are collected very quickly, and we’re done our meal just an hour after wheels up. I ask for a coffee from the flight attendant as she picks up my tray, ad it’s cheerfully delivered. It’s decent too, if a bit too much cream.
We’re making progress as dinner concludes.
After dinner, I check out the facilities — there are four of them clustered immediately behind door three, one on either side of each aisle. There’s nothing at all special about the lavs, but they’re clean.
With the flight about halfway through, I sit back, relax, enjoy my podcasts and do some work on my DTW-PEK flight-report and this one. It occurs to me that with all the on-and-off napping I’ve been doing over the last 24 hours, I’m likely going to have a long and awake night once I arrive into Hong Kong.
The lights are dimmed after dinner, and the cabin darkened completely shortly thereafter. Not surprisingly since it’s coming up on 10 pm, lots of passengers are sleeping.
We hit a tiny bit of turbulence about an hour out of Hong Kong, and the seatbelt sign stays on for the rest of the flight.
About 45 minutes before departure, the captain comes on to brief us again — we’re likely going to be a few minutes early, and it’s a pleasant 14 degrees this evening in Hong Kong.
Service ends with a flight attendant offering little cups of packaged water.
Yep, almost there.
It’s dark and cloudy, and we come in from over Macau, so there’s not a lot to see on the way down.
Touchdown at about 10 minutes past 11 pm.
We make our way over to the Midfield Concourse, from which HX operates.
And finally, we pull in to our spot.
Things are busy (compared to PEK T2 today) in the Midfield Concourse, but things move with the efficiency you expect from HKG.
Of course, arriving Midfield means you have to take the train to immigration because it’s not encouraged to just stroll across the apron. So downstairs I go.
I’m fortunate enough to arrive downstairs at the same time a train pulls in, so it’s only about five minutes later I’m heading back upstairs in the heart of the main terminal.
Immigration is pretty quiet at this hour — even with only a couple of agent serving the visitors line, I only have to wait for one passenger to clear before I’m admitted into the SAR.
One quick stroll through the baggage hall later, and I’m landside just thirty minutes after we touched down in HKG. Way fewer masks here in Hong Kong than in mainland China.
From here, it’s a short walk over the bus terminal, from which I’ll pick up a ride into Sheung Wan so I can chill at my hotel and spend the next day enjoying what Hong Kong has to offer.
We’ll leave the story at that for the moment.
Thanks for joining me for this second consecutive unexpected segment on this trip, and I hope you’ll join me for what will hopefully be a much smoother trip home, starting with “the main event” of CX F.
The seat was a bit harder than I’d like, but the service and catering were perfectly acceptable for an economy class flight of this distance. The IFE, of course, was a bit of letdown. But I suppose sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your business afloat.
And I’m glad they did because their business being afloat helped me keep this trip afloat.
But I’m bummed that I’m only getting a lousy 10 flight-report.com status points for PEK-HKG in Y instead of the 30 I would have racked up for PEK-SHA-HKG in J.
Hey admins… where do I apply for original routing credit?