Having arrived at the gate earlier since it was a train ride away at the other end of the terminal, I had some time to spot the various wide body jets serving Hong Kong. As I have always mentioned, Hong Kong is one of the best airports for plane-spotting with the large windows.
CI679 Hong Kong International HKG – Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK
Airbus A330-300 B-18310
Gate 60 Seat 7K
Boarding commenced around 1620 with elderly passengers and families getting priority before business and Sky Priority passengers. Upon boarding, I noticed this was an older pre-renovated A330 working the flight. I had booked myself and my Dad on the same seat for the return trip since it was another day flight.
Flight had relatively high occupancy with plenty of people queueing for Economy class while Business class seems to be half full. The older Economy class seats has more cushioning and remains comfortable to sit on for five hours.
Below the armrest, there was a button to recline the seats and for the pop up monitor. The drawback of the older seats was the older style remote and inflight entertainment system which has a lower resolution.
Welcomed onboard by the purser with a glass of juice and a packet of snacks before pullback, and this was something different for this flight which we did not receive previously.
After pullback, a relatively short queue for the runway meant we bypassed the new A350 operated by Cathay before taking off. The direct route of ascent meant we were up to cruising altitude quickly.
Cabin crew went off to work immediately once the seatbelts sign are turned off. Inflight service started with snack and beverage as both me and my Dad got more of the tasty rice crackers that is given out onboard China Airlines. This came in handy while enjoying the inflight entertainment.
For the first half of the flight, I started watching Hong Kong movie ‘Peace Breaker’ and that passed the time somewhat since it was a pretty good movie. As an Asian airline, there was plenty of Asian movies in the inflight entertainment so it was enjoyable for me. Dinner was served about an hour after take off and because there was no menu, the choices was between noodle with shrimps (虾仁面) or stir fried chicken with onions with rice (葱爆鸡饭).
While I picked the chicken dish, my Dad got the noodle dish as a comparison and because he was not too hungry. On the meal tray there was a bowl of potato salad and dessert of coconut lime mousse cake. A small bread roll is included with a small canister of water. As always coffee and tea was offered after meal.
After the meal service, I continued watching the entertainment system until about an hour before our arrival when the cabin crew distributed customs form for travellers.
It was sundown by the time we landed in Jakarta without incident and the short flight was over just like that. As this was a relatively full flight, there was no opportunity to spread out but the inflight entertainment system occupied me just as well. Disembarking, we passed by the Business class cabin once again and it really shows the age of the cabin. If I was seated in Business class, I might have been disappointed with the older seats as the cabin looks pretty worn. But in Economy class, the main point of difference is just in the entertainment system.
Once again, the additional care by the purser onboard and the service onboard during meal service and the access to the wonderful Sky Team lounge in Hong Kong meant taking this China Airlines flight was a great value for money considering the cost of the ticket which was IDR 4 million (~$280) for a round-trip flight.