The airline with the best average rating is Cathay Pacific with 8.4/10.
The average flight time is 12 hours and 18 minutes.More information
Loadings and Aircraft Information:
Business Class: 100% (as told from the cabin crew that there are actually 10 overbooks!)
Premium Economy Class: 95-100%
Economy Class: around 90%
I left home around 3.5 hours prior to the flight and took the airport express to HKG. It took me less than half an hour to reach the airport. Despite the pandemic, the security checks prior to entering the airport is still being enforced, passengers will need to present their flight ticket that is within 24 hours of departure for documentation check, accompanies are granted in together with the passenger with the discreet of the security staff.
It feels so strange when I stepped into the departure check in level, unsurprisingly empty and it feels really quiet. With less than 10 Cathay flights leaving that night, the check in counters are almost empty. All Cathay Pacific check in counters are consolidated to Aisle B, with First Class check in still operating as usual with individual pods. On the regular check in desks, extra protective measures are implemented to protect the safety of the passengers and the sound staff.
After a quick documentation check, my boarding pass and lounge invitation were printed and to my surprise, I was invited to use The Wing First Class Lounge, as the Business section is closed due to the service consolidations as told from the check in ground staff.
When I walk towards the lounge, I found all of the duty free shops and restaurants are closed or under renovation, perhaps due to the shortage of passengers and flights daily. The airport has a very oddly feel of being a ghost town.
After waiving goodbye to my family, I went pass security swiftly and quickly went to the lounge for some food as I did not have my dinner that night.
The South security station (which is close to the Cathay Pacific check in desks) is closed in HKIA as of 20 SEP 2020, and all passengers are to go through security in the North section. There will be quite some walking in the airpot due to the consolidation of services. Do factor in a bit of an extra time if you tend to arrive at the airpot close to departure time.
I entered the lounge though the main door on the 7th Floor (Level 7), and the staff warmly greeted me and brought me to the dining room as requested. All the staffs in the lounge are wearing masks and gloves as extra protective measures.
The dining room is really cozy with soft lightings and a nice ambience. The tables are spaced to ensure social distancing and the capacity is limited as well. When I sat down, a friendly staff brought me the menu for tonight and wow, there are some really great choices.
I ordered a simple fruit platter and the oven baked pork chop rice, as well as a glass of cathay delight. The presentation was sweet but not overly extravagant, the taste will epic and it surely cured my hunger.
After the quick fix in the dining room, I went for the famous Cabanas in the Wing. The staff kindly leaded the way for me and as I enter the cabana, I was truly amazed by the airiness and the design. I feel like I am actually in an resort hotel room, the sofa was amazing and I had a quick dip in the tub to relax and rejuvenate before the long haul flight.
Tonight's flight is schedule for boarding at gate at 23:15. Unlike some carriers, Cathay Pacific still uses the normal way for boarding with priority passengers (after assistance required passengers) boarding first. The boarding was really efficient, despite a slight delay of 5 minutes from the schedule boarding time, the ground staffs are able to get all the passengers on board swiftly, the plane also even departed from the gate early.
Upon sitting down at the seat, I was offered a pre-departure drink of orange juice or water (served by the crew on a tray for passengers to choose from), I believe passengers can still order specialty drinks, but this consolidated service is introduced perhaps because of the reduction in crew numbers (4 instead of the standard 5 crews in the J cabin). The crew also came along to take orders for the dinner service as well as the preferred choice of beverages for the post-take off drink service. As heard from the PA, Premium Economy and Economy passengers are served a single choice of hot main with multiple bar services.
All day snacks menu:
After take off, dinner is served quickly, around 1 hour into the flight to allow passenger to get to rest faster. Prior to dinner, the crew served the first round of drinksI pre-ordered the Hainanese Chicken with Rice on Cathay's website. The presentation is good and everything is served in one tray, but you can still order extra items from the menu and the crew will bring them to you. This dinner is superb, tasted really good, on par with the standards of local restaurants.
After dinner, I went straight to bed. It is also notable that, due to a reduction of crews onboard, the service is slower than usual, with me sitting in the front of the cabin, I am lucky enough to being served first and ended my meal at an earlier stage. With a rough guess, it took around 2-3 hours to complete the whole supper service, which is quite a huge chunk of time compared to this flight.
Cathay now offers duvet and mattresses on long haul business class, it was really comfortable and it is not a difficult job for me to have a very pleasant 6 hours of undisturbed sleep.
When I woke up, it was around 2.5 hours until touchdown and I enjoyed a morning movie with a cup of lemon tea to start my day. I was soon served breakfast, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours prior to landing, which I ordered on my breakfast card with some moderations for a wonton noodle. It tasted really good and the flavour is incredible. On the down side, the wonton noodle is smaller than I expected, I then ordered a pastry set from the menu to fill my belly.
Our flight touched down half an hour ahead of schedule in London Heathrow Airport. As per the COVID-19 situation, Heathrow has now consolidated services, and our flight is parked at Terminal 2. With our plane parked in the satellite B gates, there is a long walk to the immigrations area, I treat it as a nice morning stroll in the empty terminal. As we the first plane that arrives in T2, the immigration officers are still in their offices for briefing and passengers waited in the passport line for 5 to 10 minutes before 2 officers came out to process immigration work for a near 350-seat plane. Luckily, I was able to use the e-gates as I enrolled in the registered traveller services which costs £70 a year (£50 to renew). However, no one checked our PLF upon arrival.
At the baggage belt, most of the priority bags already arrived, I quickly collected my bags and headed out for the central bus station to catch my coach. The whole process from immigrations to out of the terminal was just under 10 minutes, which is really impressive.
Here is a picture of how empty the baggage hall in T2 are in the early mornings.
It was yet another fantastic CX flight to London. In Hong Kong, the lounge was exceptional, with the ambience being airy and modern, the staffs are really friendly as well. For the seat, I has a bulkhead business seat, which doesn't really special about seat pitch and personal space. On the down side, I find the leg space to be very slightly smaller than other seats, perhaps due to the curvature of the plane in the front. If I were to choose another time, I would probably seat further back in the middle of the cabin to strike a nice balance between service times and airiness. The IFE system is amazing, with movable and controllable maps, high definition screens and cameras. The movie selection was amazing, very up to date and consist of a wide range of choices. The service is also impeccable, minus the slightly slower service due to the lack of crews on board. I had some nice chats with the crews in the galley after breakfast and we all had a great time. The wifi is priced at around USD20 for full flight duration with 6 hours or more, which I think is quite reasonably priced, but as it is a night flight, I did not try out this service.
Another surprise for me in this journey is how actually the efficiency in LHR improved, perhaps because of the lack of flights? I was really impressed that I could leave the airport within half an hour from deplaning.
To conclude, I can definitely say CX did an exceptional job to keep their services under the difficult COVID-19 situation and the extra safety measures down also made passengers feel safe. This trip is surely one of my best experience in the air. Well done Cathay!
It is very sad to see how COVID crushed the aviation and tourism industry. Hope everything will become better in the coming months and things can start to return to normal.