Review of Cathay Dragon flight Hong Kong Beijing in Economy

Airline Cathay Dragon
Flight KA990
Class Economy
Seat 40K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 03:25
Take-off 05 Aug 11, 09:00
Arrival at 05 Aug 11, 12:25
KA   #32 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 64 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 3605
Published on 23rd November 2013
This is Leg 2 of this vacation in Mainland China:

Taipei - Hong-Kong (Cathay Pacific), in French there, in English there
Hong-Kong - Beijing (Dragonair), in French there, you are here
Beijing - Datong (Air China), in French there, in English there
Taiyuan - Guiyang (China Express), in French there, in English there (expanded with a tourist bonus!)
Guilin - Jinan (Capital Airlines), in French there, in English there (expanded with a tourist bonus!)
Beijing - Hong-Kong (Dragonair), in French there, in English there
Hong-Kong - Taipei (Dragonair), in French there, in English there

photo guizhou flights map Merged

This flight was sold as CX6888 (a extremely good omen flight number in the Chinese culture, where the number 8 is a symbol of happiness), this flight like all other CX flights to China was operated by its subsidiary KA. It is a so-called regional flight in local parlance, i.e. neither really international nor domestic, since Hong-Kong is part of China while keeping a highly specific status until 2047. HKG therefore lies outside the Chinese visa territory, and there is little difference in terms of immigration control with an international flight.

This FR starts after a quick security check, after coming in from TPE. Nobody can ignore that HKG is the hub of CX/KA: these five aircrafts all belong to the same group, with the KA A330 that I am going to board in the foreground.

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A short quizz: where is the intruder among these CX A330s ?

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This China Airlines 737-800 is going to fly back to Taipei, and take off just behind us.

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A sample of the planes I saw:

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A UA aircraft in Star Alliance livery

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They have self serve wheelchairs in HKG too, but they are not as high-tech as those in TPE.

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The boarding gate in TPE was a few steps away from the kids' corner, and guess what was in front of that in HKG? Another kids' corner, in front of a CX 747, where this blond girl and two Asian boys remind that Hong Kong is a world city.

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It will soon be time to board this A330, after the windshield has been cleaned.

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This is the economy class. I keep not liking much this set of colors for the seats and headrests, but this is only a matter of taste.

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The seat pitch is OK, and there are even electric plugs (75W maximum) here and there, but not everywhere, and not at my seat. This was the first time that I saw that in economy.

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Leaving the terminal, and spotting a couple of freighter CX 747s

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Reaching the runway, now number three for takeoff behind this Delta aircraft.

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And this KA A330 similar to ours

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They even give you a menu in economy on that medium haul flight! It was a first for me. On the right, this is the Chinese immigration form that I know by heart and which was distributed together by the FAs.

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The said FAs distribute a welcome drink (water / apple juice / orange juice). This too is new to me. This one, who handles my seating area is of course bilingual English / Mandarin, and I guess from his accent that she is also fluent in Cantonese, which has an official language status in Hong Kong.

This is my breakfast. It was simply delicious, vastly superior to the meal in economy on Chinese domestic flights, not to mention the standard fare in Europe. There is an 8g salted butter portion under the bread.

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A small card reminds that KA has been named Best regional airline for the second year in a row. I start understanding why.

Arrival ten minutes ahead of time at the boarding gate in PEK. This is a view of the J cabin; I was surprised to see that there were P seats too, but failed to take a picture.

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A view of PEK's Terminal 3: the gate is at the tip of the triangle devoted to the International / Hong-Kong / Macau / Taiwan flights, a healthy five minutes walk from the immigration which as usual is very quick.

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The sanitary checkpoint was jury-rigged here at the time of the H1N1 flu epidemic.

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We must then go down one level and take this people mover reaching the other end of the terminal, where the domestic flights, all the luggage deliveries and the access to the outside world are. Luggage was delivered very quickly.

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What is rather slow, as usual in PEK, is the line for the taxis: PEK is unfortunately far in terms of efficiency from SHA, but remains acceptable.
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Verdict

Cathay Dragon

8.9/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering10.0

Hong Kong - HKG

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Beijing - PEK

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

The Hong-Kong – China flights are quite expensive (many Hongkongese make significant savings by flying domestic to/from Shenzhen). But KA's services on board are top notch and I think that they have improved in the past years.

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Beijing (PEK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 12 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Hong Kong (HKG) → Beijing (PEK).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 4 hours and 10 minutes.

  More information

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