Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Cathay Pacific & British Airways SYD-HKG-LHR - plus a few colonial era memories and photos

Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:19 pm

Sector one

Route: Sydney to Hong Kong
Flight: CX110
Reg: B-LAL
Type: A330-300
First flight: April 2011



CX110 leaves at 0730, so it was a very early and quiet train to Sydney International.

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For whatever reason my flight had been booked using a ‘BA’ codeshare, which meant I was unable to manage my booking or check in online. I’d phoned Cathay’s telephone helpline to confirm my meal request and try to secure a seat. I specifically wanted a window seat because Sydney to Hong Kong flights go over the outback which I enjoy watching. The staff could not have been more empathetic but explained that unfortunately they couldn’t help.

There was a small queue at Cathay Pacific’s check in desk and it seems the help staff had done more than they let on. Not only was my meal all confirmed, but they’d requested me seat 59A, an emergency exit window seat. Thank you!

Being 6am there was no security queue to speak of and exit formalities took no more than ten minutes.

Airside was uncharacteristically quiet.

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Slightly to my dismay there was an announcement that the 0730 departure had become an 0830 one. I passed the time with a bit of photography

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My name was called at the gate, unfortunately no upgrade, they just wanted confirmation I was happy to carry out emergency exit duties.

As you can see below my seat had ample leg room and thankfully today there were no bassinets in use. Although the toilets were nearby, the queue didn’t cause a disturbance, unlike my recent SQ A380 flight.

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Take off was towards the west and we headed more or less straight out over the Blue Mountains before turning towards the north west.

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The crew leader came to confirm my special meal and stopped to ensure I was aware of all the other vegetarian options. I’m not vegetarian but have to be careful of some meats, so I just think it’s safer to order vegetarian when on long haul flights. The crew leader then explained every vegetarian option Cathay Pacific offer so I can have more variety on future flights. It was a nice gesture.

About an hour later the first meal service arrived, which would have been breakfast were we on time. My tray had an orange juice, bottle of water for the flight, bread roll, a pretty bad curry, fruit salad and a yoghurt. Overall the meal was disappointing, it is hard to make a flavourless Indian meal but somehow Cathay managed to.

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To see out of the window in 59A I needed to recline my seat, so I waited until the first meal service was over. By that time we were flying over North West Queensland and later Arnhem Land.

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By this time most of other passengers had shut their blinds and gone to sleep. Personally I think that’s a dumb thing to do on a day flight because it will make jet lag much worse, especially as the time difference between Sydney and Hong Kong is minimal. Anyway, someone complained about the open blind, so the cabin crew came over to me. They explained someone had complained, but if I wanted to keep watching the view they would go back and tell my fellow passenger to wear an eye mask. Congratulations to the crew, she handled it very well.

Her reverse psychology worked so I decided to shut the blind and explore CX Studio, unfortunately this intro was about the best thing on offer

https://youtu.be/m3FJoXQwlZQ

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I really couldn’t find anything to entice me and opted to listen to some music.

About two hours outside of Hong Kong a second meal was served. It was very similar to the first, except this time we were offered a hot drink. I opted for green tea, which I figured would be good on Cathay, I was right. My seat mate decided she wasn’t hungry and offered me her desert, which I politely accepted.

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Unfortunately as with the first meal, it was completely flavourless, which is unusual for Indian style food on a plane.

I was unable to take any photographs of our landing because of the window position, but it was smooth.

As I had seven hours before my connecting flight, I decided to see if I could visit Hong Kong city. The passport lady didn’t seem to care and off I went into town.

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These brief few hours brought back memories of when I was teenager and Hong Kong was still a colony, about 25 years ago.

I really remember this Cathay TV add from the time, which stuck in my mind then and now - it seemed so modern and worldly at the time. I chuckled when I saw the very deliberate "Rolls Royce" shot of the engines and convertible. Back in those days Hong Kongers would proudly tell visitors they had more Rolls Royce motorcars per head of population than anywhere else in the world, ain't it weird the stuff one remembers?!?! https://youtu.be/ZgYddtwHlpU

Also, here is the Cathay Pacific Kai Tak arrivals video from that era, does anyone else remember City Check? https://youtu.be/Ztr_xR3EiUQ How things have changed, I guess the new world got old.

Cathay 747 and apron at Kai Tak
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Victoria Peak Tram Terminal, rather less developed than today
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This water has all been reclaimed and is now land containing the conference centre
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Kowloon
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New Territories
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Needless to say life is very different now.

Sector two

Route: Hong Kong to London Heathrow
Flight: BA032
Reg: G-XLEH
Type: A380
First flight: May 2015



Having already checked in, it took no more than 10 minutes to go through exit formalities. I had started to feel quite ill and headed to the gate, which fortunately was the first one by security. An A380 sized queue had started to form, this was ‘British’ Airways after all.

I’d been on G-XLEH on one of my Singapore shuttles when I was commuting back and forth, but this time I had to keep walking back into economy. Luckily I had used my status to get a window seat upstairs, which gives a large space under the window where there is a storage bin.

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The upstairs World Traveller cabin is quiet and neatly presented.

The seat was very comfortable with a power outlet underneath and a USB in front.

After a long take off roll we lumbered slowing upwards, flying over the harbour which gave great views, punctuated by cloud. Our path went more or less dead north towards Mongolia, before crossing into Russia, heading to just north of St Petersburg and then down through the Baltic towards England.

I was feeling extremely unwell so took sleeping tablets and stomach tablets which completely knocked me out. I recall a stewardess brought me a meal but I declined apologising as I was unwell. I woke up about 90 minutes from Heathrow.

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The cabin crew were already serving breakfast and I took a Full English. They seemed very disorganised and confused by what was happening, which is disappointing. Sorry I didn’t get a photo, but breakfast had scrambled egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and hash brown. There was also a yoghurt and a tub of orange juice. Coffee followed. To my surprise it was all very nice.

We landed over Central London before a smooth landing.

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We docked at T5C which meant a journey on the shuttle to T5A where passport control was fast, in part because I made sure to be by the train door nearest to the escalators.

I jumped onto the Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus, which was spookily empty. I bet few people have ever managed to snap Piccadilly Circus without a single soul in it.

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Conclusion

All of my interaction with Cathay Pacific’s staff was very positive, they were polite and good at problem solving which I appreciated. However the food and entertainment were disappointing.

My time in Hong Kong was wonderful, I have happy memories of spending time there as a young teenager and it was nice to be back. For some odd reason the Star Ferry is still one of my favourite things.

The BA A380 is a really nice aircraft that’s quiet and comfortably configured. To get over ten hours sleep in economy is pretty good. To my surprise the breakfast was nice, even if the service seemed to be in a muddle.

Compared to my recent flights with Virgin Atlantic & Virgin Australia on the same sectors http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1399911 these established players remain quite competitive.
 
toby25
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

Re: Cathay Pacific & British Airways SYD-HKG-LHR - plus a few colonial era memories and photos

Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:11 pm

Very nice TR, I really enjoyed reading it - especially the old photos of HK. I remember Kai Tak (although was only a small boy) and seeing the planes land overhead. I didn't realise Kai Tak only had about 5-6 gate bridges so I was lucky each time I flew out of there on BA to use a gate bridge.

Such a long lay over - did you not consider flying with EK or QR with a shorter connection time?

I always find it weird that airlines within the same alliance cannot help with things like seating, special meals and baggage. I am due to fly MAN-LHR-AMM with BA and RJ and cannot get a definitive answer on baggage allowance! OneWorld really needs to start getting its act together to make the passenger journey more seamless.

I am surprised you found CX entertainment lacking. I found it very good, BA on the other hand is mediocre.

How did you found the seat storage compared to BA / CX?

Cheers
Seriously dude! I swear!
 
mdavies06
Posts: 502
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:28 pm

Re: Cathay Pacific & British Airways SYD-HKG-LHR - plus a few colonial era memories and photos

Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:51 am

Thanks for the TR. It must have been a long day fortunately you got some rest on the second leg.
 
Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: Cathay Pacific & British Airways SYD-HKG-LHR - plus a few colonial era memories and photos

Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:31 pm

toby25 wrote:
Very nice TR, I really enjoyed reading it - especially the old photos of HK. I remember Kai Tak (although was only a small boy) and seeing the planes land overhead. I didn't realise Kai Tak only had about 5-6 gate bridges so I was lucky each time I flew out of there on BA to use a gate bridge.

Such a long lay over - did you not consider flying with EK or QR with a shorter connection time?

I always find it weird that airlines within the same alliance cannot help with things like seating, special meals and baggage. I am due to fly MAN-LHR-AMM with BA and RJ and cannot get a definitive answer on baggage allowance! OneWorld really needs to start getting its act together to make the passenger journey more seamless.

I am surprised you found CX entertainment lacking. I found it very good, BA on the other hand is mediocre.

How did you found the seat storage compared to BA / CX?

Cheers


Thank you I'm glad. The flight was booked at short notice and clashed with school holidays, so all airlines had poor connections. Agreed OneWorld lags behind others in terms of working together. In terms of storage, the exit row coupled with tiny A330 bins was a bit limited for storage, but the A380 upper deck with window bin storage was better. However it is an untypical comparison I suppose.

mdavies06 wrote:
Thanks for the TR. It must have been a long day fortunately you got some rest on the second leg.


Thank you, pleasure. In retrospect it was a long day, but doing a combination of my favourite things, so can't complain.
 
CXB77L
Posts: 2612
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:18 pm

Re: Cathay Pacific & British Airways SYD-HKG-LHR - plus a few colonial era memories and photos

Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:52 pm

Thank you for posting this trip report. I grew up in Hong Kong in the 1980s, and this brings back a lot of memories for me - particularly the CX arrival video. I remember those tiled floors, the yellow signs and the bright orange check-in desks at Kai Tak, as well as the scenes from Hong Kong back then. I loved it.

I've also just recently been to London. You must have got in very early, because I have definitely never seen the tube so empty.
Boeing 777 fanboy

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