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  • HKG-AKL-HKG

    HKG-AKL. (I’ll write about the return trip later)

    Date: December 2002
    Flight:CX 107
    Aircraft:Airbus A340-313X
    Registration: B-HXA

    While waiting for the 10-hour flight from Hong Kong to Auckland I got a chance to enjoy the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge known as “The Pier”. I was able to relax and enjoy a good tuna sandwiches and some other light snacks. All flights to New Zealand leave at around 9pm local time (1pm GMT). After a delicious bites and relax, it was not time to board the flight. Being the peak season and summertime in New Zealand the flight was full. Looking out the window I was able to catch the registration of this very immaculate A340, it must have been washed recently. It wasn’t long before I was sitting in the cozy cabin of the A340 again heading for one of my two home countries. I had the window seat at seat 12K, my father sat next to me in the aisle seat at 12H. This was the first time I had gotten the chance to experience the new Cathay Business class and I could safely say, it was great! The traditional business class seats were replaced by elegant pod-style sleeper seats which were by far more comfortable. I found that everything I could possibly want for the 10 hours was with me. This was also the first time I got the chance to experience entertainment-on-demand.

    Shortly after we pushed back from the gate to embark on our long journey South. The plane had been fueled, cargo loaded, doors closed, and pilots ready. Looking out the window I could see many other aircraft, mostly parked. Among them an EVA Air, two United’s, and more Cathay’s. While underway the flight safety presentation ran. For this flight, we’d be taking off on Runway 07R. Once there the pilots powered up for takeoff. I knew this would be a very long takeoff roll and I was right. It seemed to take forever to get airborne and we used up most of the runway. But then again, a fully loaded A340, what do you expect! After a long roll we finally rotated gently, slowly gaining altitude. The high pitch roar of the four CFM-56 engines at full-thrust weren’t powerful enough to give the A340 the runway performance of a 777 or DC-10. Because of this I was compelled to crack a few A340 jokes with my father. We always have these B777 vs. A340 wars just for the fun of it. Though I really like the A340, I always take the side of the B777. The view from my window was beautiful as we flew over the Tsing Ma Bridge with the city further ahead. Shortly after clearing the clouds the seatbelt sign was switched off and the in-flight entertainment system was switched on. I then took out the remote and relined my seat a little to enjoy the show. During the flight, I watched Friends, Austin Powers III, and Absolutely Fabulous. Dinner was served two hours into the flight. I enjoyed some delicious roast lamb with potatoes and some tea to drink. After dinner, the lights were dimmed and I was by then very sleepy. I reclined my seat further and got a good nights rest.

    When I woke up, we were an hour north of Auckland. It’s amazing how a long-haul flight can just whiz by! Breakfast had already been served while I was sleeping. It was a clear day with the occasional scattered cloud as we descended into Auckland from the north. We’d be taking the regular route over the harbor before banking west over the southeastern suburbs Auckland for finals to the airport in the southwest. The America’s cup was running and I could see the sailboats outside Auckland Harbor. By now it was about midday. I could see the entire harbor, the yachts, the city, the Sky Tower, the Harbour Bridge, and the general area where family lived. We touched down smoothly at Auckland International. Out my window I could see Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai, and Malaysian B744s along with a United B772ER and of course the Air New Zealand 767s and 737s. I was surprised to see that none of their 747s were at home base at the time of my arrival.

    We finally the aircraft via the second door where we went through the usual procedures of immigration, baggage collection, and who could forget, quarantine!

    All in all, it was an excellent flight. Well done CX!!!

  • #2
    nice trip report.
    Did you make a cabin shot of the new business class?
    Andy

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    • #3
      Thank you kindly.

      Unfortunately I didn't take any photos. I don't have a camera. Maybe I'll get a digital one for my birthday.

      Here's what the new seats look like albeit its aboard a 747. All 747s and most A340s have the new biz class.

      http://www.airliners.net/open.file/287775/M/

      Here's what the old ones look like. The 777s and A330s which are used on regional flights still have these old seats. Some A340s also.

      http://www.airliners.net/open.file/070349/M/

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      • #4
        Thanks for the nice report. Just another positive report on CX, they must really be a good airline. What a pity they stopped flying to Zurich.

        Regards,
        Peter

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        • #5
          And now for the return flight AKL-HKG

          Date: January 2003
          Flight: CX 108
          Aircraft: Airbus A340-313X
          Registration: B-HXN

          After an enjoyable holiday in New Zealand it was time to return to Hong Kong. After saying goodbye to family we went through immigration. It’s interesting; at AKL there are private check-in rooms for Star Alliance and OneWorld First and Business class passengers. Well, we made our way through the packed airport and went straight to our plane. We were running a little late. Upon boarding I looked out the window at the plane I would fly. It too was clean and immaculate just as the outbound trip was but its nose wasn’t painted! You can see pictures of B-HXN in the database to see what I mean. Another interesting fact was that this plane was also a former Singapore Airlines jet (9V-SJB). Well, this time my father was adamant on getting the window seat so instead I sat at 12H and he sat at 12K. The interior was the same as the flight out. It too had the comfy new Business class. It was a shame I didn’t get the window seat this time, I couldn’t take in the nice ocean scenery surrounding AKL. I was able to spot 2 Korean B744s, a United B772ER, a Thai B743, and a Malaysian B744 along with Qantas and Air New Zealand B737s and 767s. This time I got to see an NZ 747. It might have bee ZK-SUH I can’t quite remember, a former Varig jet if my memory serves me correct. Well, we taxied towards the single runway taking off in an easterly direction. As we powered up I couldn’t help but think how quickly the holiday went by and how I would have to go back to reality and Homework! Typical of an A340 it was a very long takeoff roll and a gentle rotate. We lifted off at about 2pm. We gained altitude slowly and shortly after getting airborne banked North (right) towards HKG. This flight would be a day flight, yay, a perfect way to spend a day!

          Here's what I mean by the nose: http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=36943

          After reaching cruising altitude the window shades were shut and the in-flight entertainment system was switched on. First I decided to watch a Friends episode. After that it was back to work as I got out my Catch-22 book. Great book, Ironic seeing that I actually was on a plane. I read that for what must have been about two hours making great progress. After taking a few notes on my reading it was back to the TV. Flicking through the choices I decided to watch Bloodwork. I really enjoyed that movie. After that I watched Goodness Gracious Me. Now that was the funniest comedy I've ever watched, it beats Harry Enfield by far! I thought it was so good I watched it twice. By that time the sun was beginning to set and dinner was about to be served. This time I had fish and rice. That was also really tasty. I think it was snapper with a curry sauce. Delish! Shortly after it was a little more Catch-22 before switching the TV back on to watch Absolutely Fabulous and The Simpsons. During the flight I also purchased a real nice model plane. It is the Herpa New Generation 1:500 Cathay Pacific 747-400 in the "Asia's world City" scheme (B-HOY). A great buy and would complement my 1:500 B773 (B-HNE) and 1:400 B744 in normal colors (B-HUI).

          It was around 9pm (1pm GMT). The lights were switched of so w could see outside. There wasn't really much to see aside from Ships at sea as we came in from the south. We gently touched down on Runway 07L. Thankfully we didn't have too far to walk from our gate to Immigration or else we would have had to of taken that train. Well, that concluded our flight as we disembarked the aircraft before going through immigration and collecting our baggage. From there it was another 40min drive back to home sweet home....

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          • #6
            Catch-22 is a great book. I read it when I was snowed in for 4 days. If you like that you shuld also read "Closing Time" the sequel to Catch-22. And yes nice review.

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            • #7
              Glad to see you had such a good experience on Cathay. We do try our best!!
              Have a look at my photos, including Kai Tak crazy landings!http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=460

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              • #8
                You do do your best. I've always had my best and greatest flights on Cathay. Unfortunately I don't remember enough of my christmas vacation trip to India to write a trip report about.
                "The Director also sets the record straight on what would happen if oxygen masks were to drop from the ceiling: The passengers freak out with abandon, instead of continuing to chat amiably, as though lunch were being served, like they do on those in-flight safety videos."

                -- The LA Times, in a review of 'Flightplan'

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for your kind words. This summer I'll be flying Cathay, American and British Airways. I'll be sure to report on those flights

                  And Greg, thanks. I'll look into that book.

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                  • #10
                    Nice report there Richard.

                    It was good that you got a flight on the ex-SQ bird too. What was the load like on the flight back?

                    Cheers,
                    Trent Wallace

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                    • #11
                      Thank you kindly. It was full both ways. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the economy class which I later found still has the old SQ seats. The Business and First classes were 100% Cathay though.

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