Regional CX Flight to Hong Kong from Jakarta

CX 718 Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK – Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG
25 August 2010
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 0820-1410
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 0832-1407
B777-200 B-HNA
Seat No: 39J

This trip was for my first leg of my trip to Shanghai to visit my cousins and of course the Expo 2010 held in what is perhaps the world’s fastest growing metropolis. Purchasing the tickets from Cathay online, I did my online check-in 48 hours before the flight and was pleasantly surprised as I got bumped up to Business Class for my Dragonair flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Though that meant I got separate seats from my brother who was travelling with me to Shanghai. With the Marco Polo Club account from Cathay Pacific, I queued up under the dedicated line for members and was provided lounge invites for Jakarta and Hong Kong. First stop was thus the Premier Sky Lounge at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. I find it one of the better airport lounges other than Garuda’s Executive Class Lounges which serves great Indonesian food. Besides being the lounge for Cathay, it also serves holders of premium credit cards issued in Indonesia which means it is kept busy throughout the day.

Premier Sky Lounge
Magazines and coffee at Premier Sky lounge

I had time to grab a light breakfast along with a cup of coffee, while getting a couple of magazines to read on the plane. There was a copy of CNN Traveller and Fortune Magazine which were available to guests. I headed out towards the gate which was a short walk from the lounge and boarded at around 8 am. The gate for boarding closes at around 8.20 am and the plane was 90% full, and with my brother who was travelling with me who got a window seat, I settled for a middle seat with a passenger headed to China on the aisle. Inflight reading materials onboard the plane was excellent as usual, with the great Discovery magazine still looking fresh given that it’s already the end of the month. Legroom was decent, and the older seats were more cushy compared to the thinner fixed back seats on some of the B777-300ERs which serves the Jakarta-Hong Kong route on some days. It has to be noted that given a choice, I do prefer the newer planes which are cleaner, more modern and fe els more spacious.

Cathay B777 Economy Class Seat
Economy class seat pitch on Cathay’s B777-200
In-flight Materials
Inflight reading materials onboard the flight

What led me to prefer the 777-300ERs are their larger LCD screens like the one on SQ’s new A380s. The regional 777-200s have puny old screen which are really lousy, and the reclining seat backs can really make it more claustrophobic. The smaller LCD screens also meant there wasn’t any AVOD during the flight which wasn’t that great since it was close to a 5-hr flight to Hong Kong from Jakarta. No amenities were also provided for economy class passengers which showed the cost-cutting measures by Cathay and thus it wasn’t long before pullback took place. Since Jakarta isn’t a really busy airport, take off was completed at around 8.32 am.

LCD Screen in Economy Class Seat
LCD Screen in the Economy Class seat

However, with our seats located on top of the wing, there wasn’t much to see of the take-off scenes from Jakarta. Service after take-off was alright though not as polished as my recent experience on SQ between Jakarta and Singapore.

View of the Wing
View of the 777-200 wing

Around an hour after take-off, flight attendants started serving brunch, and there was a choice of chicken with rice or noodles with corned beef and black bean sauce. Both meals were served with a fruit platter comprising of watermelon, honeydew and papaya, a packet of shrimp crackers, one cup of yogurt and a muffin filled with jam. There was also a packet of chilli to go along with the food, perfect for Indonesians! I have to say the corned beef tastes absolutely awful and made me regret my choice, though my brother says the chicken was good. Meal service was a bit slow compared to the usual Cathay standards and the lacklustre meal made the flight less memorable.

Economy Class Meal - 2
Economy Class meal – Noodles with corned beef in black bean sauce
Economy Class Meal - 1
Alternative meal – chicken with rice

I was able to watch 2 animations – Shrek Forever After and Disney’s Bolt during the flight, though it wasn’t as enjoyable watching these movies as there wasn’t AVOD and due to the small screen size. The rest of the flight was smooth sailing and had little turbulence to speak of. With clear weather expected in Hong Kong on the day of our arrival, passengers were treated to a beautiful scene of the mountainous islands surrounding Hong Kong’s International Airport. It was a great way to land at Hong Kong during clear weather and no other carrier does it better than Cathay, I think in showing the city island to new visitors!

Mountain near HKIA
Mountain seen near landing at HKIA

Disembarkation from the plane was orderly and not as disorganized as those on Indonesia’s domestic flights. Hong Kong’s Airport arrivals area also provides great views of planes parked on the tarmac. Since Hong Kong isn’t my final destination, I headed out to the transit area with my lounge pass for the Wing and the Pier :). While I wouldn’t say this is the best Cathay flight for me, it showed me the perks of status flying, being a Marco Polo Club member and entices me to continue my flights with Cathay and oneworld carriers whenever possible. The Boeing 777-200s by Cathay, though, needs to be refurbished or sent to the scrapyard as it doesn’t really hold its age against invigorated offerings by the regional carriers of Asia.

CX 718 from Jakarta
Cathay’s 777-200 that brought us to Hong Kong
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