Review of Cathay Pacific flight Hong Kong Tokyo in Economy

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX504
Class Economy
Seat 51C
Aircraft Boeing 777-300
Flight time 04:25
Take-off 13 Jul 23, 09:05
Arrival at 13 Jul 23, 14:30
CX   #2 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 511 reviews
starvelk
By BRONZE 1619
Published on 20th July 2023

Introduction


Airfares to Japan have been notoriously high since the borders of Hong Kong reopened in September 2022. Even though we missed Japan, the airfares to Tokyo were too high for us to book a trip on.
However, prices for round-trip Tokyo tickets were surprisingly low during the very start of the summer holidays. Therefore, we decided to book our first ever post-Covid Japan trip on Cathay Pacific to Tokyo. Having not been to Japan for 5 years, this trip was a blessing to me.


Routing


Airport


We arrived at the airport around 75 minutes before our flight and proceeded to the business class check-in counters. Seen below is a replica of the 1910 Farman Bi-plane, the first ever plane to fly in Hong Kong (nicknamed "The spirit of Shatin").


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Despite the queue being slightly longer than usual, we were checked in within 10 minutes and got our boarding passes.


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The security line, however, was a total mess. It took us nearly half an hour to get through due to the insane crowds and slow pace of the baggage scan. Passport checking was fast as we used the electronic gates, saving us significant time.
We just did a brief walk around the airport and in no time, we were allowed to board the aircraft at gate 24.


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My flight today is operated by B-HNK, a whopping 23.8-year-old 777-300 (non-ER). These 777-300s, despite never being popular around Asia, are highly valued by Cathay Pacific due to their high capacity for intra-Asian routes. Cathay has a total of 17, with 8 of them still in storage in Alice Springs. These units feature 42 seats in business class and 396 seats in economy, making them extremely useful for high-demand short routes like Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei.

Notice how B-HNK has a special livery, "The Spirit of Hong Kong" (香港精神號). The plane was presumably chosen for the livery due to its registration carrying HK. The body of the aircraft has bauhinia flowers (the flower representing HK) and special patterns, though the interior is nothing to write home about. Also, notice how the sky bridge is in the background (which I introduced in my CX418 review to Seoul)


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Again, these LCD displays which are simple yet elegant are my favourite.


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Seat and Cabin


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My seat today is in the forward economy cabin out of the 3. Walking along the aisle, you can really feel how many economy seats are on this plane.


Seats are arranged in a 3-4-3 layout (since 2018 for more revenue) with dark green furnish, looking very stylish. Even though they're not double-padded, they provide wonderful support and felt a lot more comfortable than the A350-900 ones (which felt like sitting on a piece of cardboard in comparison). Well done Cathay Pacific!


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 These seats also come with an adjustable headrest, which makes them quite comfortable for sleeping. I got better sleep on the 777s than the A350s. 


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Legroom is at a comfortable 32 inches and width at a quite sad 17.3 inches due to the 3-4-3 configuration. The width didn't bother me though. For better comparison, I am approximately 175cm tall.


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These planes feature a 9-inch IFE screen. Why only 9 inches on a recently refurbished aircraft you ask? It is because Cathay refused the screens from the older configuration, which happens to be 9 inches.
Since they essentially feature last-generation technology, the screens were slightly laggy and low resolution. However, it was still totally usable and fine for regional flights, which this plane serves. The ER variant got new screens as opposed to the non-ER counterparts.


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Good selection as usual! However, do note that since this is a regional aircraft, TV shows will feature fewer episodes. (eg. Family Guy has 8 episodes on the A350s but only 4 on 773. Side note: Cathay won the Skytrax award for having the best in-flight entertainment in the world in 2022.
From this picture, you can also see the USB-A port for charging. Power sockets are also present under our seats.


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The moving map for the flight. Fully interactive again, something I really appreciate.


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There's even a pilot view for avgeeks like me to check the airspeed and altitude of our plane.


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Before I forget, all CX planes feature wifi now. I didn't use the wifi but know that it is reasonably priced based on time. US $9.95 for 1 hour, $12.95 for 6 hours/full flight under 6 and $19.95 for the full flight if your flight takes more than 6 hours. 


View from the window (all window pictures kudos of my sister for taking them for me)
RIP the dirty windows even though this unit just got pulled out of storage in April 2023. Opposed to the A350s, I found everything inside to be in perfect working order and clean.


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Since May, Cathay finally brought back in-flight magazines! I enjoyed the pages introducing the fleet and passenger network of Cathay.


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Interesting how they included the 777-9X in the magazine also.


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We ended up pushing back 4 minutes early, though that didn't mean we arrived early. Stay tuned for more! 


After a pretty lengthy taxi (10 mins), we took off from HKG at 09:21 HKT.


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The toilet was kept very clean. Appreciate the efforts of the cabin crew!


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Food and Drink


I got my meal 1 hour after takeoff. The 777-300s have 3 sections of Economy seats, with service starting from the front to the back for each section respectively. Each trolley was only manned by 1 FA so service got a bit slow at times. However, being in the 2nd last row of the 1st section, I found the times to be respectable.

I had an option between eggs with sausage and chicken with noodles. My friends flew on the same route a few days before me and told me the chicken noodles are horrible hence I chose the eggs. 
There was only 1 round of drinks which came with the food. I went for an orange juice. (Sorry for the blurred photo)


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The eggs had a very weird taste (seemed like they have been microwaved for 30 minutes) though the sausage was good. Love how there were bits of onion in the sausage, making it the highlight of my meal. The potatoes were soggy though the bun and fruits were acceptable. Overall, I expected a tad more than this.
I do appreciate the metal cutlery though.


The lights were dimmed after the meal service.


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I felt a bit sick towards the end of the flight and decided to have a bit of Panadol. When I asked for a bottle of water (since cups of water are usually obtained from the water tank and are dirty), the crew offered me a cup since they didn't have bottled water. I find it unacceptable that not even bottled water is offered, with cost-cutting being evident.


Service


The cabin crew on this flight were friendly and accommodating. They walked through the cabin multiple times to collect trash from passengers after the meal service so that people who ate slower could also get their trays collected asap. However, they disappeared after the meal service though I did see them respond to call bells actively.

They also did not greet my dad/offer him water as a Gold member, as opposed to my Seoul flights in January.

Side note: The seatbelt sign was on for nearly the entire flight due to the rough air along our flight path. People still got up to use the toilet and the crew didn't stop them from doing so.


Landing


We flew past Mount Fuji on our approach to NRT.


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Flew in via Chiba


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We landed at 14:25 JST with the actual flight time being 4 hours and 4 minutes due to extremely strong headwinds. Since the block time of the flight is only 4 hours and 25 minutes, we ended up arriving at gate 65 4-5 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time. We still arrived earlier than all other airlines departing at around the same time as us though, since the 777 handles headwinds better.

Cathay A350 in the distance!


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Last shot of B-HNK before it heads back to Hong Kong via Taipei as CX451.


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Despite others saying how bad the queues at NRT can get, we got through the entire security process within 40 minutes and were off to start our journey in Tokyo with the Tokyo Wide JR pass on the NEX. However, if we arrived last among the entire batch of planes flying from HKG-NRT that day, the security situation could be a lot worse.


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Stay tuned for my tourism bonus in the review of my return flight!

See more

Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.3/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Meal/catering6.0

Hong Kong - HKG

9.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access10.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.5

Tokyo - NRT

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.5
Services9.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Overall, it was a decent but unmemorable flight on Cathay Pacific. I caught good sleep and enjoyed some movies with the state-of-the-art cabin + IFE system, though the meal service left a bit to be desired. Cost-cutting is evident, with the absence of bottled water and frequent flyer greetings bothering me the most.
As the world's 8th best airline in 2022 according to Skytrax, I walked off the plane feeling slightly disappointed.
Cathay reported a huge profit for the first time since 2019 and finally issued long-awaited bonuses to staff. Hopefully, they can use the money they have earnt to invest in the meal service.

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Tokyo (NRT)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 19 avis concernant 6 compagnies sur la ligne Hong Kong (HKG) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Cathay Pacific avec 8.4/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 4 heures et 7 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 632539 by
    Dor BRONZE 117 Comments
    Looks like you had a very good experience!
    A wide body on 4 hours flight with modern IFE, a full meal and good legroom.
    I would fly on this aircraft from TLV to HKG without any issue on standard economy seat.
    • Comment 632559 by
      starvelk BRONZE AUTHOR 39 Comments
      A similar seat type is also installed on the ER variants for long-haul flights and I would feel comfortable flying them long-haul as well!
      To be fair, flying in Asia is always a treat compared to flying elsewhere. You get so much more compared to intra-European and US domestic flights!
      CX is still my favourite and I do hope they'll have an amazing post-covid lookout!
  • Comment 632813 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6858 Comments
    Nice review! A very good regional product. I really don't like 3-4-3 Y on 777s on long-haul flights, but for a regional flight it's totally fine, especially with good legroom, IFE, and a meal service.

    Thanks for sharing!

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