Qantas QF128 HKG-SYD Premium Economy Trip report Back in November 2013, it was about time for me to book my tickets back to Sydney for University. I had a look at the prices between Cathay and Qantas, Qantas seems to have the better deal, especially in Premium Economy. After not having been on a Qantas flight for over 4 years, I thought it might be nice to give it ago and especially having heard great reviews of the Qantas Premium Economy service. (Photos were taken by Nikon D600 and a Samsung Galaxy Note 3) Flight Details: Departure Info:
Before the flight, I was really lucky that one of my friends had kindly guested me into the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge – The Wing. Before going into the dining room, my friend and I immediately went to the reception of the Cabanas to let them know both of us shall be heading in there within 30mins. The friendly attendant took note of that and helped us reserved them! Great service!
The food options at the dining room were pretty decent, a very nice roast beef buffet and with a lot of other dessert options. My friend and I decided we both go a la carte. As we sat down in the dining room, the waiter immediately asked us what we would like to drink. Both of us opted for a glass of Champagne. After he came back with the glasses of champagne, he took our order for the food. Out of the options, we both also opted for the Mushroom Risotto.
The mushroom risotto was fantastic! Perfectly seasoned and rice was al dente and generous servings of whole fresh mushrooms.
After dining at the dining room, we both headed to the Cabanas, which for me since it was the first time for me to visit the First Class section of The Wing was the part I looked forward most to.
The Cabanas are really a great place to have some quietness and relaxing time. I really loved the design of the Cabana, simple, elegant and very modern. Spending time on the bath tub was the part I really enjoyed most, I could have just lied down there, browse my mobile phone there for a whole day if I had the time! The shower inside was also a great one, the rain shower really felt like it was raining, and the water pressure was excellent!
The sofa inside the Cabana
The bath at the Cabana
After spending about 45 mins inside the Cabanas, my friend and I met outside of the lounge ready to board the almighty A380 which would take me to Sydney. Boarding was very organized; First, Business and Premium Economy passengers were allowed to board the aircraft first. Before boarding, there was the usual secondary security check for LAG items, which is always the part I hate most.
The obligatory shot of the FID showing the flight No.
As I boarded the Aircraft, the manager, Heather along with another flight purser welcomed me onboard. When Heather took my boarding pass, she immediately said, “Mr. Leung, Welcome abroad, your seat will be on the right side the aircraft.” I was very surprised that the manager greeted everyone with their last name, which is a very nice touch!
Walking to the premium economy cabin, I must the say the seats look welcoming, and very comfortable and it was very comfortable indeed! I immediately saw, a legrest for every seat in Premium Economy! WIN!!!! It would be a great flight for sure! As I sat down, one of the FA’s came with welcome drinks, which included water, sparkling wine, orange juice and apple juice. I opted for the orange juice.
After all passengers have boarded the aircraft, Captain Richard made an announcement welcoming everyone onboard the “Qantas A380 Service QF128 with Service to Sydney” and announced that it would be a flight with smooth conditions.
At the scheduled time of departure, Captain Richard made another announcement, saying that pushback would have to be delayed for around 10mins, as it was a busy time of the day and ATC was not ready yet to give our flight pushback clearance. At the end, we pushed back at 1955 local time.
Takeoff was very smooth and nice. After reaching cruising altitude, the crew immediately sprung into action! Heather, the manager of this flight came to personally greet everyone in the Premium Economy section onboard, and I had a quick chat with her. She was very friendly and nice. They served dinner as quick as possible so that people could maximize their resting time. The menu included:
Green Leaf salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chicken Wu Xi Style with Steamed Rice, Choy Sum and Carrots
Slow Braised Pork with Cider Cream Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Cheese and Biscuits
FIX Coffee, Dilmah Tea
As the FA came to me, she first put a table cloth on the dining table and she said “Good Evening Mr. Leung, we are really sorry we have ran out of the Pork option, would the chicken be okay for you, I can tell you that the chicken is also very nice!” As I already had the chicken option in mind, it worked out perfectly for me xD.
The main dish for dinner.
All I can say was this was one of the best airplane meals I had ever!!! The chicken was very tasty, rich saw, flavourful and succulent. The side choy sum was perfectly poached which was while it was crunchy, at the same time, it was soft. During the meal, the two crew working in the PEY section walked up and down four times to do wine refill’s for those who wanted it! Now this is good service! In no time, the crew came back to collect the meal trays. The FA offered me coffee or tea. “Mr Leung, would you care for any coffee or tea?” I replied and said “Would it be possible to have some hot chocolate?” She replied” Certainly Mr. Leung, I will be back with your hot chocolate in a second.”
After not being on Qantas for over 4 years, I must say, the hot chocolate was still as tasty as the one I had on my last Qantas flight, flavorful and rich in chocolate!
While sippin the hot chocolate, I had a play with the entertainment system. It does have a very nice collection of Movies, TV shows and music. But to be honest, nothing really interested me much, so instead, I went to sleep. The seat recline was indeed very nice, 8 inches of recline added with the built in footrest made the journey very comfortable!
Cabin Shot of PEY:
One and a half hours before landing into Sydney, breakfast was served.
Choice of Continental Breakfast
Seasonal Fruit Platter
or Hot Breakfast
Citrus Fruit Salad
Scrambled Eggs, Chicken Sausage, Roasted Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach and Tomato
FIX Coffee, Dilmah Tea
The FA said “Good morning Mr. Leung, we are sorry that we have ran out of the continental breakfast option, would you like the hot breakfast as an alternative?” I replied “Sure, the hot breakfast sounds great!”
The hot breakfast option was so far the BEST hot breakfast I have had onboard and really, beats the other airlines I have been on. The scrambled eggs, were well seasoned, fluffy and soft, really, the best scrambled eggs I have ever had onboard an aeroplane, and does certainly beat some luxury hotel’s breakfasts. The portion was very generous, as you can see in the photo the amount of potatoes given.
Before Descending into Sydney:
40 minutes before landing into Sydney Airport, Captain Richard made an announcement giving passengers an update of the flight progress and weather update. “Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning, hope you all have had an enjoyable flight so far. We are now about 40 mins away from Sydney airport and we shall be commencing our descent into Sydney International Airport in a couple of Minutes. The weather in Sydney is fine, with the local temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. There is a time difference of 3 hrs between Hong Kong and Sydney. We hope you enjoyed our Qantas service and on behalf of myself and the rest of the team, we thank you for choosing Qantas today, and we hope to see you again onboard in the near future.”
The descent into Sydney was a bit bumpy, as Captain Richard has previously said that there was a large area of thunderstorms around the Brisbane area, no problem, at the end it wasn’t that bumpy. Touchdown at Sydney was perfect! Very smooth. We then taxied into Gate 10.
My final comments:
This flight has got to be one of the best flights I have had in recent years, because of the VERY AMAZING Qantas crew and Service. Each time a meal was served, I was personally greeted by first name and ultimately, the crews were so friendly and nice and while they were setting up the tray, they were really trying to engage with the passengers. Also the amazing food onboard also was a highlight of this trip.
Qantas vs Cathay Pacific Premium Economy.
It’s a no brainer, for sure, Qantas WINS HARD!!!!! They do really deserve to win the best Premium Economy Award on the Skytrax Awards in previous years. Qantas really treats their premium economy more like a real Business Minus product, while Cathay treats it really more like an Economy Plus and the reason I say this is because of the small touches that Qantas has on their service, for example, a table cloth which is placed on the dining table and a real cloth napkin. Cathay does not give out table cloths at all when serving PEY passengers nor give out real cloth napkins, instead their napkins are just really thicker paper cloths. Also on Qantas, real glasses are used when serving beverages, and both the breakfast and dinner were both served on a glass casserole ceramic dish. Cathay only serves beverages on a plastic cup which is the same as the normal economy class and also only uses a casserole ceramic dish only on the main meal, for example lunch or dinner if two meals are to be served during the flight, the other meal eg. Breakfast/refreshment is the same as what you get in Economy Class, a tin foiled meal. Also as I have previously said, the crew, which were fantastic I’d say made the whole experience a very nice one, they were more interactive, unlike Cathay’s crew which basically serves you the meal and moves on to the next person, most of them don’t seem interested. I can tell that Qantas has dedicated two flight attendants to take care of the premium economy section, which I believe made the service even better, while on Cathay, they don’t really dedicate a member of crew to take care of the premium economy section. Qantas does proactively offer wine refills during the inflight meal, while Cathay, this was not seen at all. Furthermore, Qantas, was cheaper than Cathay. I think that Qantas’s Premium Economy was worth every penny extra between the difference in normal economy, and its not what you paid for is what you get, its really double of what you get!! When checking prices, I noticed that Qantas’s Premium economy is cheaper than Cathay’s , I saved atleast 1200HKD for choosing Qantas. After this experience with Qantas, I would say compared to Qantas, Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy is a rip off and is really not worth it at all for the tiny extras you get onboard. Overall, Qantas really has the best premium economy service over Cathay, instead, Cathay had really got a long way and has got a lot to learn from Qantas. The only downside was Qantas’s entertainment system’s selection is not as broad as Cathay’s.
Photos on my previous Cathay PEY flight also to Sydney for reference:
As you can see, on Cathay PEY all beverages are served in a plastic cup
The second non-main meal on Cathay is served in a tin foil, rather than a Ceramic Casserole Dish, and no table cloth was distributed.
Really looking forward to the return trip in June! Stay tuned for the return trip report!
Thanks for reading my trip report, I hope you have enjoyed.
Cathay Pacific The Wing - First Class Section
Hong Kong - HKG
Sydney - SYD
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