Summer has come to a close and it was time for me to fly back to the UK for my university studies. Cathay Pacific is by far the largest airline to operate between Hong Kong and the UK, with 5 daily flights to London/Heathrow and a new 4-weekly service to Manchester lined up for December 2014 (I would be sampling the new MAN flight when I fly home for Christmas), so as always, they would be my choice of airline. However, the demand between these two places have been so great that all the London flights are seeing load factors of over 90 % for most parts of the year, and tickets are extremely hard to come by. It took numerous phone calls with the agent before I could get my hands on a Premium Economy ticket for mid September.
Before the flight, I liked to check out the Seat Alert app and see whether the flight was full. I was scrolling down the J class section and by chance saw one empty seat. (I must stress – the one and only one). In all honesty I never thought of getting the upgrade for a London flight, as a typhoon was fast approaching and I was expecting many people from the later CX255 would want to change to my flight. But I called the Marco Polo HK office anyway and it was 45 minutes before someone got on the phone. I asked, and after a quick check on the system, the person on the other side of the line actually confirmed that an upgrade with miles was available! Surprise Surprise!!
I happily handed over 20,000 miles and within minutes my new itinerary was issued:
How lucky was that!
I quickly picked up my luggage and went down to the airport express station. Hong Kong was expected to be hit by Typhoon Kalmaegi and the Observatory had forcasted gale force winds. I had my fingers crossed as I boarded the train to the airport.
The journey was smooth as usual and I was at the check-in counters in just under half an hour.
My boarding pass and lounge invitation was issued in no time.
Plane spotting and lounge
There weren't many people when I got through security, and I was past that in 5 minutes. By that time, the no. 3 Strong Wind signal has already been hoisted and the no. 8 signal was expected to come up at 22:40.
To my horror, the other midnight London flight has already been delayed to 0300, but my flight was still showing nothing…
I then did some plane spotting before walking to the lounge:
Swiss International A340-313X HB-JMK (New company livery)
One of the last few CX 744 remaining, B-HUI
Singapore Airlines B777-312ER 9V-SWP, operating the 5th freedom SIN-HKG-SFO SQ002 service
Finnair A340-313X OH-LQD (Unikko livery)
… and when all that's done, typhoon signal 8!
I hurried down the terminal to the new CX lounge, dubbed The Bridge:
The reception area is unmistakeably CX with its Italian Carrera marble bench and backlit wall,
and turning left or right is a comfortable seating area
I've not given myself a lot of time to explore the lounge, so just a quick bite from the buffet area
Looking back at some of the larger dining tables and the coffee bar
The signature Solus chair
I was out of the lounge with only 10 minutes before the boarding time.
A quick snap as I run back to gate 2
Boarding was swift and without incident.
My ride of the night: B-KPR
Most of the Business class people were on the plane when I stepped in, and the crew was in a hurry to get things sorted for departure. The captain came on the PA and said they're fighting to get clearance ASAP to avoid a big delay.
The cirrus seat was as comfy as usual, and it should be very familiar to all of you who has flown CX before
The control panel
Our flight pushed back (kind of) on time at 2356, but ATC made us wait for 30 mins at the holding point of runway 07R. The wind was really starting to pick up, gusting to over 35 knots, and our aircraft was constantly shaking as we waited.
Take off from the runway was swift, as the GE90-115B engines were put on max thrust. After flying through some horrible weather, we soon reached our cruising altitude of 36,000ft.
A late welcome drink:
and Cathay Delight to go with my dinner. For those of you who don't know, Cathay Delight is a non-alcoholic cocktail with a mixture of kiwi and mint. Highly recommendable for all F and J class passengers.
Dinner was a choice of Roast Chicken and a famous Chinese dish called Lion Head (which essentially is just spiced meatballs).
Despite all the criticism CX's catering has received, I found this meal extremely enjoyable, much to my surprise.
Another shot of the Lion Head dish with Tom Hanks playing Captain Philips
Desert came in the form of Summer Berries with Ginger Syrup. There's no better way of eating it than with… Summer Berries Haagen-Dazs
And it's goodnight after that!
Sleeping in the cirrus seat has proven to be very easy, and I managed to sleep till two hours before landing, when I was woken up for breakfast. The breakfast service was even more elaborate than dinner, which came in three (four for me) courses
First some fruits
The western selection was Poached Eggs with Pork Sausage served with Spinach and Potatoes.
I asked the friendly male FA whether anything in the Chinese selection was left. He came back with some Fried noodles and Fish congee. The congee was absolutely restaurant standards and the noodles was fine too.
With the long breakfast service complete we're just 30 minutes away from Heathrow.
The captain came back for weather updates and forecasted a foggy London. The approach was reasonably short by Heathrow standards and we touched down just 11 minutes behind schedule. Not bad for a flight that departed from a typhoon and into a congested and foggy airport.
Some cockpit shots after docking into stand 323
And that's it! Thank you so much for reading. Comments are most welcome.
Cathay Pacific The Bridge
Hong Kong - HKG
London - LHR
Once again a very very satisfying flight with Cathay. One of the things that used to prevent a perfect CX flight was catering and I'm extremely glad that the airline has taken steps in improving this. I really hope that Cathay would keep this up network-wide.
But otherwise, it was a normal, high quality flight. Every element from the pre-flight MPC service agents to the inflight attendants was spotless. The J class product on the B777 is truly a joy to fly with and I very much look forward to my Manchester flight in December
0 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".