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Sunday 11 October 2015

Enjoying Hong Kong Airlines Premium Cabin (Part 3: TPE-HKG)

Welcome to my Trip Report on Hong Kong Airlines Part 3! 

For my part 1: click here
          part 2: click here
          part 4: click here

During my stay in Taipei

Time flies fast when you are on vacation and this is no exception. Met some nice friends along the way and I hope to return here soon. My heart seems to have gotten itself attached to this city!

One of the popular food stalls in Taipei, you can find this near Shida Night Market. 

This is Raohe Night Market - my favourite market among all. 

The folks queue up for this - very tasty! 

Taiwanese's popular Shaved Ice dessert 

This is one of Taipei's Metro Trains - very efficient and comfortable. 

Taipei Railway Station 

A popular Taiwanese Bookstore 

This is Danshui 

I recommend going there in the evening to enjoy the sunset and view of the surrounding. 

I took the ferry to the Bali Island opposite of Danshui. The ride cost only NT23$ and you can use your Easycard to pay. 

Not as crowded as Danshui. 

Welcome to Bali - don't get mixed up with Denpasar Bali in Indonesia! 

Enjoying the sunset at Bali 

Valentine's Bridge at Fisherman Wharf 

This is Shilin Night Market 

I recommend this place for good food! Its located at the market place, take the stairs to basement 1.

This is Miramar Entertainment Centre 

On the day of departure 

I have departed Taipei at this very early hour a few times and I can tell you I don't enjoy it at all. The reason why I chose the 8 a.m Hong Kong Airlines flight is because of the aircraft, Airbus A330-200 - 33V which is supposed to be the newer cabin and I wanted to give it a try. This aircraft operated only at this timing. Sadly, the aircraft type was changed to the A330-200 Old Cabin. Well, that's part and parcel of life for aviation enthusiasts! Anyway, I got up at 4.30 and took the bus to the airport half an hour later. I reach there around 6 and had some spare time left to visit the lounge. EVA Air has 3 lounges and for Hong Kong Airlines passengers, you can only use 'The Club' lounge located within the same area as the other two lounges. 

Making my way up the escalator to the departure hall.

Checking my flight's status - I won't mind a delay. 

Departure Hall - a familiar sight for me at Taipei Taoyuan Airport

Check-in was done quickly - no questions asked about my itinerary. 

Received my boarding pass for both sectors. I did my on-line check in a couple of days before. The good thing about receiving both boarding passes is that when I arrive in Hong Kong, I can leave immigration without worrying about my luggage. 

Reluctantly leaving Taipei, but I will be back soon!

After that was done, I made my wait to the air side. That would take some time as there were a number of flights departing around the same time as mine. 

The interior of Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2 Departure Hall

Look at the number of flights! That's why this airport is the undisputed number 1 airport in Taiwan.

Once I successfully pass through the immigration and security screening, I checked my flight status before making my way to the lounge. 

With signboards, it wasn't difficult to find the VIP lounge. As you can see EVA Air has 3 different lounges. The best I heard is the Infinity Star Lounge, I have to try that one day.

You can relax over here if you have no lounge access. 

'The Club' Lounge

I was required to show them the VIP lounge pass, as the Business Class boarding pass wasn't enough to gain access. Fortunately for me, the staff called up the Hong Kong Airlines check-in staff and told them to bring the VIP lounge pass over and with that, I was allowed to access this lounge. 

A stack of newspapers and magazines is available for viewing. 

The lounge is not big, but at this timing, it wasn't crowded, so plenty of seats to choose from. Free Wifi is available but the announcement of your flight would not be made. 

Some hot food and beverages were offered at this lounge, I needed that to kick start my day.

Cold drinks and beers were also available for transiting passengers.

Another view of the lounge 

You can see the other EVA Air lounge on the other side. 

My breakfast 

Got me a bowl of porridge with Taiwanese side dishes with a packet of Milk Tea. 

Got me the butter and chocolate cake and lastly the Yoghurt to satisfy my stomach. 

 I sat near this screen to monitor my flight. Seeing a lady nearby dozing off, I was tempted to do so. But I can't because if I do, I may jeopardize the rest of the flying trip! 

Once I was done, I headed out and thanked the staff before making my way to the gate. 

Overall, I find the lounge pretty basic and I don't want to be here if it gets crowded. The quality of food was acceptable, nothing to shout about but at least there is a decent range of food. As for the ambience, I find it quiet enough to get your work done. 

Time to say goodbye to 'The Club' Lounge. 

Do take note of this when you are planning to do some shopping. Make sure you check your departure time and don't forget it! Once the Captain decides to go off, your luggage will be offloaded and you have to arrange for another flight. 

Heading to the gate. It's at the other end of the terminal. 

Lots of shops along the way. 

Checking my flight once again, it was departing on time. 

Some interesting exhibits along the way. 

Flight route: TPE-HKG

Miles: 501

I spotted an interesting subject - China Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER (I will be flying on this aircraft in November 2015)

My ride: Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330-200 B-LNI 

Beautiful day for flying! 

Photo: Soos Jozsef

Photo: Hualiang Liao

Date of departure: 6th September 2015
Flight: HX285
Route: TPE-HKG
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200 (Old J Class cabin)
Registration: B-LNI 
Date of delivery: C24 Y259
Engines: 2 X PW4168A 
Delivery date: 30th June 2011 from Hainan Airlines
MSN: 1034 
Seat: 4A changed to 15A
Departure terminal: 2 (Taoyuan) 
Gate: D9
Load: 80% in J class
Duration: 1 hr 20 min 
Departure runway 23L
Arrival runway: 25R
FL: 380
Scheduled departure: 0800
Boarding: 0723
Push back: 0801
Take off: 0831
Scheduled arrival: 0940
Actual arrival: 0951

The boarding gate - a floor below the departure hall (airside)

Boarding time was called pretty early. It looked like we were departing on time. As usual business class passengers, passengers with children and Elite members of the airline's membership were allowed to board the aircraft first, while the rest had to wait. 

Making my way down the aero-bridge. 

Once I was on board, I was taken to my seat by a friendly crew. What caught my attention at once was the old J class product. Here are the photos. 

During my photography session, a pre-flight drink was served, I chose the Milk Tea drink. 

Taken from my seat

IFE system is stored at the hand rest area. 

At least in this old cabin, you get more privacy and space. 

Nice to have the cabin empty for a short period. 

The USB port and Powerpoint are located in a convenient area. 

The message control. Did you see a green light? That is for the crew to see if your seat is at the upright position. That certainly make their workload easier during preparation for arrival and departure. 

View from my seat. 

Ample legroom space 

Airline's safety card, Magazines, and headset are stored in front of you. 

Comparing this to the new cabin, which one do you prefer? 

Old J Class Cabin

New J Class Cabin

Back to the old cabin - I took a few more photos before the rest of the passengers came in.

Convenient for the businessmen in particular. I prefer this location than the ones located near the legroom area.  

I had 3 windows for myself. 

The divider to enhance your privacy when sitting beside a stranger. During takeoff and landing, it has to be removed. 

The reading lamp 

Since the flight was a short one, I didn't bother using the IFE system. In fact, no one was using it in the cabin. 

The remote control 


Setting up the tray table 

The tray is up and ready!

Looking forward to my 2nd round of breakfast!

What's inside the magazine holder? 

Airline Magazine 

Safety Card

The airline's fleet 

My flight experience 

Aircraft was pushed back on time, and we taxied slowly to the runway. As usual, the runway was crowded, so if you are flying in and out of Taoyuan, expect a delay until the 2nd runway is opened.

The cabin crew on this flight were friendly and professional, but lack of warmth. More on this on my last part of Hong Kong Airlines Trip Report. 

Once everyone settled down, the cabin crew did the usual departure checks and was seated before the takeoff. Once we were off, we made a few turns towards the South China Sea and headed towards the coast of Xiamen before passing by Macau then final approach to Hong Kong Airport. 

The ride this time was smooth and the seat belt sign was turned off not long after take off. For the crew, it was to be another rush job for them, especially for business class passengers. This set of crew looked more relaxed than my previous flight's. 

Not long after the seat belt sign was turned off, the crew came around with the napkin, that means one thing - food is on its way! 

The cabin crew came around to take our order and I can't remember what was the other choice since the menu was taken back after I told her what I wanted.

Another glass of Milk Tea! 

I chose the 'Dim Sum' option and it was average. 

Once the food tray was cleared, I went to stretch my legs a little bit. I took some Economy Class photos of this aircraft but funny, I couldn't find it on my computer. Anyway, here are some photos from airliners.net.

I was supposed to be on this Airbus A330-200 (First and Business Class configured aircraft) - Photo below

This is how the interior looks like 

Window shot photos 

Passing by China Airlines' maintenance hanger

Almost there now, the weather certainly looks great!

Take off in this beautiful weather, hardly a bump was felt during the lift-off 

Goodbye Taipei, I'll be back soon! 

Soon, we were over the water. The ride to Hong Kong was a short 1 hour 20 mins

The islands near Hong Kong soon appeared

Just a few more turns and we were on final approach

The familiar sight of Hong Kong appeared

A smooth ride into Hong Kong

Reclaimed land near the airport

Touched down and the reverse thrust kicked into action. We arrived slightly late due to the delay in take off at Taipei Taoyuan, so the airline doesn't get any blame for it.

A United Airlines Boeing 747-400 being towed to a remote parking lot

My rating:

Website: 5/10
Taipei Airport Experience: 7/10
Check-in staff: 6/10 
In-flight service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 7/10 
IFE system (I used this same system on my next flight): 6/10
In-flight meal: 6/10 
Cabin interior: 7/10 
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10 
Overall rating: 71/100


Overall, I prefer the old Business Class product over the new one, as the seat is wider and more privacy compared to the new Business Class, however, I prefer the IFE system on the back of the front seat. On the whole, it was a good experience trying out both products. I am not sure whether the airline would be standardizing the fleet to the new J class product for the Airbus A330-200, and if they do, I would probably pick the window seat the next time I fly with this airline's J Class. As for the EVA Air Lounge - The Club, it may be small and basic, but it has mostly what you need to get yourself ready for the upcoming flight. Compare this lounge to Club Bauhinia, I prefer the latter. Stay tuned for my last instalment of Hong Kong Airlines Trip Report (Part 4: HKG-PEK). 

Thanks for reading! 

For my other parts:

Part 1: Click here
Part 2: Click here
Part 4: Click here


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