Review of Cathay Dragon flight Shanghai Hong Kong in First

Airline Cathay Dragon
Flight KA809
Class First
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 02:10
Take-off 24 Apr 19, 21:30
Arrival at 24 Apr 19, 23:40
KA 67 reviews
By 1241
Published on 17th July 2020

Hey guys, before starting today's flight report, please also check out my flight reviews on YouTube as Marco Polo Club Flyer and my flying shots on my Instagram at cxka_ken!
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Today's flight report is on a Cathay Dragon's flight from Shanghai Pudong to Hong Kong in First Class. Cathay Dragon, which used to be called as Dragonair, is fully owned by Cathay Pacific as a regional arm. Due to operational reasons, starting from May 2019, both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have suspended most of their short-haul First Class services, with the exception of flights between Hong Kong and Beijing, and Hong Kong and Tokyo Haneda. So, I was lucky to be able to board onto this flight with full First Class service a month before the new arrangement.

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Shanghai, as China's major economic hub, is a city which Cathay focuses a lot on. And therefore, the Cathay group operates a total of 15 flights a day between the two megalopolis - Hong Kong and Shanghai. 3 of the flights are operated by Cathay Pacific, while the rest are by Cathay Dragon.

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As a First Class passenger, I am of course entitled to the First Class Priority Check-in counter. The ground staff at the man recognised me as it wasn't the first time he helped me check in at Shanghai. He greeted me with hello and helped me printed out my boarding pass and lounge invitation quickly. I didn't have any bags to check in and he reminded me that the Cathay lounge was still under renovation and therefore, I was invited to the China Eastern Airlines Lounge.

The lounge also welcomed Priority Pass members… so you can imagine how "good" the lounge could be… There was nothing worth mentioning as it was crowded and the food was not edible at all.

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I left the lounge after a short stay and proceeded to the lounge gate nearby D73. Boarding hasn't even started. I placed my suitcase at the First Class queue, waiting to be the first to board!

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At the check-in counter, I asked the staff about the loading and he told me there were only 2 passengers in First Class, but as Business Class was overbooked, it was expected to bump 2 passengers from Business to First. However, in the end, there were 6 upgraded passengers and the whole First Class cabin became full! :(

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I was the first to board and the First Class cabin was empty. Cathay Dragon First Class product was introduced back in 2014, and it looks almost identical to Cathay Pacific's long haul Business Class seats. Cathay Dragon has a total of 26 Airbus 330-300, and only 6 of them have the First Class cabin. It looked great for just a 2.5-hour flight!

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The First Class cabin was managed by the Inflight Service Manager, as well as two Flight Pursers. One of the pursers came to ask for my drink preference, and I asked for a bottled water. Unlike Cathay Pacific, no Evian water was served on Cathay Dragon. Instead, a local Hong Kong brand - Bonaqua was provided. She returned to me with a set of amuse bouche, which I have already forgotten what it was and how it tasted. But I was still impressed with Cathay Dragon for providing amuse bouche on such a short flight as it was something that we couldn't find on her mother airline - Cathay Pacific.

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It should be a dish comprising of a cherry-tomato and two shrimps. Looks good, huh?

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On Cathay Dragon, hot towel was something that could only be found in First Class.

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Soon after pushing back, we were on the runway and were cleared for take-off!

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As I have to emphasise again, this was a really short flight for a long course-by-course First Class dinner, and therefore, the Inflight Service Manager (ISM) came immediately to the cabin to distribute the menus after the seatbelt sign went off. The menu looked the same as that on Cathay Pacific, except with the green brushwing being replaced by a red one.

On Cathay Dragon, two menus were provided in First Class - the Asian Menu and the Western Menu. The former usually has more main course options while the latter usually only has one.
Something that caught my attention was that the ISM came to me first for taking my meal orders. There's often a hidden rule for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon - Meal orders are usually taken according to frequent flyer tiers. Normally, Diamond members of the Marco Polo Club (and Oneworld Emerald members) can choose what to eat first. Although most upgraded passengers were Diamond members of the Marco Polo Club, perhaps the ISM knew that I was a full-fare passenger, she came to me and took my meal orders first. This was something I appreciate as sometimes, crew on Cathay Pacific would serve the higher-tier members first even they were upgraded :(
P.S. I was a Gold member, which is one tier lower than the Diamond tier. 

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Although the design of the menu wasn't an a la carte one like Cathay Pacific, the crew were always willing to help you mix-and-match dishes from the Asian Menu and the Western Menu. For appetiser, I asked for both the Chinese dish and the Western dish. The ISM asked me which one I would like to have first, I told her just serve everything together to save time. You know, separating the Chinese dish and Western dish would be somehow quite troublesome for the crew on this short flight. The three crew were rushing between the galley and the cabin throughout the whole flight.Th

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The Western appetiser was a Crab Bisque, while the Asian one comprised of two dishes - a soup and a "drunk" chicken snack. All tasted fantastic.

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You will know how rush the crew were by seeing them collecting the finished dishes immediately after seeing me finishing them, and soon after, here came the main course. I opted for the "rice with two dishes" option. In the crew community, it is called the "兩餸飯" in cantonese.

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The two dishes were the "Golden" shrimp (salted egg York) and beef dice. Both were delicious. Cathay Dragon always does better than Cathay Pacific in terms of catering, especially the Chinese dishes.

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And finally, it was dessert time. I order the Asian dessert, which were three coconut milk-based dessert. It was served with a box of pralines. The ISM saw me keep on taking photos on the meal and she came to me and asked if I would also like to try their Western dessert as it would look great for photo-taking. I said yes, if it wasn't too bothersome. She told me not to feel worried as the crew were free with most passengers finished their meals. Great service, wasn't it?

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And here we have the Western dessert. An ice-cream with some fresh fruits that was cutely plated. As promised, it really looked beautiful in the photo, and yes, it also tasted great!

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Another shot!

After the meal service, the ISM came and chatted a bit with me when she returned me my flight log. She asked if I travel frequently as she was surprised to see so many flights recorded on my flight log. I also thanked her and her team for delivering the complicated service efficiently and flawlessly.
After the short conversation, the ISM returned to the galley and prepared for the descend.  

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Around 25 minutes to midnight, the Airbus 330-300 (B-HYQ) was on its finally approach into Hong Kong International Airport.

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It wasn't surprising to see the stairs….. Cathay Dragon jets are often parked at outer bays when they return to Hong Kong late in the evening. So expect a short bus ride back to the terminal when you arrive on Cathay Dragon at late hours.

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The flight could be described as perfect, except this - First and Business Class passengers didn't have their own bus and the bus only departed when it got full. So you can guess how long I have waited until the bus left the jet to the terminal.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Please give me a like if you liked it. Also, do not miss my YouTube channel and my IG account for flight review videos and travelling shots!
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Chao for now!

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See more


Cathay Dragon

Cabin crew10.0

Lounge #77


Shanghai - PVG


Hong Kong - HKG



Cathay Dragon is really doing awesome on its regional flights. It's really quite disappointing that there are no more First Class services on this route... But luckily, we can still experience their First Class luxury on flights between Hong Kong and Beijing. Looking forward to flying with Cathay Dragon again in the soon future, after COVID-19 is settled!

Information on the route Shanghai (PVG) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 19 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Shanghai (PVG) → Hong Kong (HKG).


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

The average flight time is 2 hours and 42 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 558881 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 5283 Comments

    This is an incredible meal service for such a short flight. The cabin looks very nice but it's indeed a bit weird to share the exact same seat as CX long haul aircraft.

  • Comment 559321 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5796 Comments

    Great report with beautiful photos! It is somewhat confusing that Cathay Dragon's F is the same as CX's Long-haul J. It would be less confusing if CX didn't run long-haul J-equipped a/c on regional routes, but they do. So you can connect from a CX 330/777 in J to a KA 330 in F and have the exact same seat. For a regional First class, KA's cabin is perfectly good. In comparison, American Airlines use this same seat for premium Transcontinental First class between JFK and LAX/SFO, where it's perfect for 5-6 hour flights.

    Regarding the catering, it seems perfectly adapted to regional First class as it is well differentiated from regional J catering. Looks I'm hungry ^^

    Thanks for sharing!

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