The first step in the planning process was to lock up the flights over the Easter break – seeing that it would be peak season (for ex-HK departures) and that Cathay (the only airline flying direct to Adelaide) flies only 3-4 times a week. We got the right dates through some random searches. My mother got a lot of miles so I started out looking for award spaces out of the conviction that CX charges lots on flights leaving right on Easter’s Eve.
To my surprise, a Business Class ticket opened up and I snapped it right away – so there we are – South Australia for 8 days. My dad would fly Business, and we three in coach – tickets which we got quite easily (booked into class N, fare was ~HK$5,900 pp. +~$600 in taxes). Side note: my mother was feeling quite generous initially and offered to book us in Premium, but the return availability never opened up.
So, off we go: the flight to Adelaide is timed at 19:05 and we left for the airport quite early for some lounge crawling (me with my MPC Silver and my dad with his J boarding pass)…
The screens in the departure hall still features the old logo and design… I wonder when would they change it over seeing that the boarding passes have changed already…
First lounge: Dragonair G16 Lounge with its Fish Ball noodle soup – yum! My father opted for a Black Label on rocks while I went for a vodka tonic. Lovely start!
Second lounge was the Wing (near gate 1). It was a mixed bag. While the noodle bar was very good for more noodles (they were our dinners), they served champagne in a wine glass… clearly no appreciation for the liquid being stored in those majestic bottles and poured into this tasteless glass…
Veggie choice with some buns – it was so busy that food made-to-order warranted around 30 minutes wait. I do look forward to the MPC reform meaning less people would be able to access the lounge, but yet, I would lose my privilege too (seeing that I fly Star Alliance mostly)…
Cathay Delight and ice cream as desserts… I think I am growing to like this kiwi-based drink featuring in the premium classes in CX every other month (on the other hand, Oriental Breeze was not my thing, at all, see Day 8)
I was barely finishing up on my ice cream but my father was eager to see another lounge (I was not that eager, though, seeing that I have seen all the CX J lounges in December – see my in-depth reviews of them here)
So, to make my dad’s day and mine (as you will see below), the Bridge it is.
I don’t think the Bridge left a good impression in my mind last time, and judging from my first glance (the crowd), I doubted it would this time, too. But then, I discovered a secret gem that would keep me and my dad happy, at least for a while – the mojito from the bar!
The flight itself: CX173 HKG-ADL
Actual departure: 19:10; Actual arrival: 06:20 +1 (10 mins. behind schedule, forgiveable)
Airbus 330-300 (B-LAD)
Gate 69 today. Gates 69-71 were all Australian departure so Cathay blocked off the three gates and combined the security checks (secondary security checks are in order for flights to the USA and the land down under). Boarding commenced 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure time.
New boarding rules were enforced whereby Green card MPC members no longer gained priority boarding through Business class queue. Yet, it did not stop business class passenger asking the gate agent “Why do I have to queue up flying Business?” Indeed, A333 has a small Business cabin compared to 77W so… I am guilty too, for I board with my dad (flying Business) using my Silver privilege.
My seat today is 39A – bulkhead window seat. My TV was fixated on the wall in front of me.
Miraculously, two hot meal services were scheduled in this 8-hour flight. In my honest opinion, I would rather they do a cold breakfast to maximise the sleep. No point to send us to bed for just 3 hours… The dinner service took forever – because of the post-take-off drink services preceding it. But, the BBQ Pork rice today was executed very well, indeed. Thumbs up for CX Catering!
Seat comfort is lacking. I find the cushion lacks good support and the seat was quite narrow for me. I couldn’t sleep, at all, but managed to get some eye-closed rest for 3 hours before being waken up for breakfast.
Fun experience (with the PTV on the wall in front of you, thus further away from you) – my neighbour was watching whatever I was watching (so my screen was always 30 seconds to 1 minute ahead of hers…) – Two explanations: either she loves comedy (which is possible) or CX’s IFE is just too lame for her (i.e. she cannot find anything good and resign to watch whatever I was watching on her TV!)
Breakfast started 2 hours before landing – fair enough for a hot dinner, but… really? It’s 1 am HK time and we just had dinner at 9 pm. A continental plate would do.
Breakfast was less good but the eggs were not too dry. I liked the yoghurt, which was better than average. Would prefer pastries to bread roll, too. Nothing remarkable but nothing bad, either.
For the price I paid, I am quite happy with CX. It got me where I wanted to be in the least time and safely. On top of that, the bulkhead was a plus, being able to leave my window seat without having to disturb my neighbour was quite something. Dinner was excellent, too.
Yet, serving breakfast at 1 am HK time was ridiculous, and I can see everyone was not rested on the flight. (In J, it started 3 hours before landing – ridiculous!) The long-haul Y seats are quite bad, having flown in them in a number of times, including a return to LHR in bulkhead. SQ’s new Y is far superior in terms of comfort. IFE was okay – but having flown from LHR to HKG via SIN in J earlier that month, I was reasonably bored.