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Saturday 19 September 2015

Enjoying Hong Kong Airlines Premium Cabin (Part 2: HKG-TPE)


*Aircraft photos are credited to photographers from Jetphoto.net and airliners.net. 

Welcome to part 2 of Hong Kong Airlines Trip Report!

This report is continued from part 1. I hope you are enjoying it so far. 

For my part 3: click here and part 4: click here

After arriving from Beijing about 30 minutes after scheduled arrival, I made my way to the transit area and rest for a while. Did the usual 'tweeting' and 'facebook' since I was deprived of them in China? You can use those blocked websites by purchasing a VPN password from certain websites. I decided not to since my stay was short and besides I could take a short break from them for a couple of days. 

The day before at the hotel in Xiamen, I did my online check-in for the next flight, Hong Kong to Taipei. 

After that, I had a couple of hours of rest at the transit area before entering the airside via security. 

This was where I rest.

Entering the airside at around 6 am. 

Passing by a couple of lounges along the way. 

Plaza Premium Lounge is quite popular. 

It was a pleasant walk in the early morning.

While heading to the lounge, I came across 2 aircraft that caught my attention. 

The Scoot's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 9V-OJE in the SG50 special livery. It was my first sight of her. 

I caught her later after leaving the lounge. 

Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777-300ER 'OneWorld' livery B-KPL 

After the brief spotting, I went to the Club Bauhinia - Hong Kong Airlines lounge located near to Gate 23.

Showed the staff my boarding pass and I was in. The staff kept me updated on my flight and its assigned gate during my rest at the lounge so I won't have to worry if I accidentally fall asleep.

Entrance to the lounge and there is a lift just beside it.

Nice collection of models of airlines using this lounge. 

The lounge is newly opened not very long ago, it looks pretty comfortable and modern. Not very big but I like the interior. 

You can view the aircraft from these seats. 

Food and Beverages are available. Not many passengers were at the lounge at that time.

Computers and magazines are available.

More seating area inside. Some of the seats have sockets for you to power your electronic devices.

Feeling tired? You can rest over here, at the corner inside the lounge. The staff would come once in a while to check and would wake up if your flight departure time is around the corner. 

Personal workspace is available 

Another view of the lounge 

Time to head over for some food. Checking out the choices, there is some hot food available such as 'dim sum', rice and meat.  

This is the beverage section. You are spoilt for choices!

Some nice warm snacks and sandwiches too. I am quite impressed with the food selection at this lounge.

There is also a coffee machine and hot water for your cup noodles. 

Overall, I like this lounge. I managed to spent around 5 hours on my return visit. The staff was friendly and helpful which made my experience even more pleasant. 

This was what I had at the lounge. 

The staff would provide you with wifi-password. The connection of it is quite good, you can definitely watch Youtube videos without lag. 

A nice warm cup of Ginger Tea is given to every traveller as a welcome drink. Tasted nice and refreshing. Together with it, I had the apple juice and my favourite Barbecue Pork Buns, Custard Bun and 'Siew Mai'.

Fried noodles and sausages for my 2nd round. 

At the lounge, you can enjoy views like this! 

Flight route: HKG-TPE

Miles: 501

The gate was about 10 minutes walk from the lounge, but I left slightly earlier to give myself some time. Gate 511 is a gate which requires us to take the bus as the aircraft was parking at a remote parking lot somewhere in the airport. 

Walking down to gate 511, it was my 3rd time using this gate. 

The queue started forming not long after I reached there. Fortunately for me, I could avoid it. However, there is no separate bus for the Business and Economy Class passengers, and all have to squeeze onto one bus. I am ok with it, but not sure about the elite travellers. 

The staff looked stress and somehow my boarding pass was rejected by the machine and the male staff went to investigate. He took around 5 minutes before returning and informed me that my seat's IFE system was not functioning, and he couldn't switch me to another seat as the rest of the seats were taken up. With that, I was on the bus with the other passengers. 

Boarding the bus took place around 35 minutes before departure time. 
Fortunately, the weather was good and I manage to spot some nice aircraft along the way there.

Date: 29th August 2015
Airline: Hong Kong Airlines (78th airline)
Flight: HX252
Route: Hong Kong to Taipei
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration: B-LNM
Delivered on 22nd March 2013
Configuration: C32 Y260
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce Trent 772B 
MSN: 1398
Gate: 511
Seat: 17A
Load: 100% in J Class
Duration: 1 hour 20 mins
Scheduled departure: 0930 
Boarding: 0855
Push back: 0952
Take off: 1020
Scheduled arrival: 1150
Actual arrival: 1146
FL: 370
Departure runway: 25L
Arrival runway: 23L 

My ride to Taipei: B-LNM 

It was a relief that a different aircraft was taking me there. I checked with Flightradar24 earlier the morning, B-LNP was on its way to Denpasar. 

The cabin crew was waiting for us and welcome us on board. One of them accompanied me to my seat. The first thing I saw was the non-functioning IFE system and I asked a cabin crew whether she could do a reset, she said she would and will check with me later. 

Some photos of the cabin, this time in daylight. 

The cabin is the same as my previous flight.

The combination of purple and red looks pretty nice. It is a good thing the pillow and blanket aren't red, otherwise, it would be too much for my eyes! 

The cabin crew in purple was waiting for other passengers to board.

More passengers were on board and the cabin crew's workload picked up.

'No electronic device' and 'Fasten seat belt' sign 

I was the only passenger without IFE system.

My source of entertainment - view of outside 

Photo of the Economy Class - it was almost full. 

In-flight experience 

One of the crew on this flight was outstanding, she paid a bit more attention to me after knowing that my IFE system was not working. Maybe my charming looks play a part? (Just kidding), she kept apologizing to me and offered me magazines and newspapers, I took the magazine option but after flipping it less than a minute, I was done. I had to convince her that I was pretty cool about it, only then she relaxed. A few other crews were average, they looked pretty stress throughout and hence the lack of smile and warmth from them. 

The Captain just like my previous flight kept us up to date with our flight's information, so we were aware of the delay and the choppy weather ahead of us. We were pushed back quite late, but somehow the pilot managed to make up time and for the first and only flight, we landed slightly earlier than the scheduled arrival time. 

What was served on this flight? 

Let's have a look at the menu. 

Different routes and timing offer a different type of food

I chose the Fried Egg Noodles with Carrot and Cabbage and for drinks, I had the Hong Kong Milk Tea once again. 

For the welcome drink, I had the juice - I can't remember what it is. 

My breakfast. As this was a short flight, only this was served. I find the noodles to be too dry for my liking and the 'dim sum' to be average. I kept the yoghurt to enjoy it during my stay over in Taipei airport while I ate the rest which included the bread and garlic bread and the cabin crew insisted me to take. 

Safety card is different from the previous aircraft I flew on. 

The cabin crew cleared the food tray quickly as the aircraft was soon on the descend and they had to prepare the cabin for arrival. Once the Business Class was done, a couple of them helped out the others at the Economy Class. Captain updated us that due to the single runway, traffic was heavy at that time and we were placed on a holding pattern, once we were out he would update us again but it shouldn't take long. 

After 15 minutes, we were cleared and was soon on approach to Taipei's sole runway. The other runway is closed for works and would only be opened at the end of the year. 

Here are some window shot photos I manage to take. 

Spotted Etihad's Expo livery Airbus A330-200 taxiing to its assigned gate.

Cathay Pacific's Airbus A340-300 raced with us to the runway, but we won the race. 

The wing and engine shot - taken after takeoff

Flying through Taipei in decent weather 

The descent was a bit rough. 

It is not before long after this view, we were on final approach and touched down at Taoyuan, 3 minutes early.

I keep this trip report short as most of the details can be found in part 1.

My rating: 

Hong Kong Airport Experience: 8/10 
Club Bauhinia Experience: 8/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
IFE system: 0/10 (Not working, not the cabin crew's fault) 
In-flight meal: 6/10 
Cabin interior: 7/10 
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 66/100


I find the service on this flight not as good as my previous mainly because of the duration of the flight which made some of the crew a bit nervous. One of them, on the other hand, was excellent. She was the only staff that came around to me and apologized for the inoperative IFE system. This is my first time flying on J class on this route, its a good experience for me to see how this staff work their socks off especially in a full cabin. They managed to do so well pretty well, without pressuring the passenger to finish off the food and that's the important thing. Another thing is some of the passengers declined breakfast and that made their workload lighter, so they should learn to relax. The Club Bauhinia lounge is pretty good, as I enjoyed my experience there. Great place to do your work, surf the internet, enjoy the food and drink and get some rest. The operating hours are from 0600 to 2300 (last HK airlines flight). Check which airline you are flying, you may be qualified to use this lounge. Overall, I find this to be a pleasant experience. 

Thanks for reading! 

For my other parts:

Part 1: Click here
Part 3: Click here
Part 4: Click here


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