Review: Cathay Pacific

The Airline

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong’s flag carrier and one of the members of the ‘Oneworld Alliance’. Cathay was founded in 1946 and was initially based in Shanghai however the two owners an American and Australian moved to Hong Kong where the airline was further established. It was said the that the owners though of the name ‘Cathay Pacific’ in the bar at ‘Manila Hotel’.

To date (2018) Cathay Pacific has a strong fleet of 146 made of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

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Brief

I often use Cathay Pacific in some of my travels to the Philippines and back, this route stops over and changes in Hong Kong International airport as it is not direct, meaning two flights are taken each way. Apart from the flight duration and meals both journeys to Hong Kong and the Philippines have similarities, both routes usually use the 777-300 with identical products and services inflight.

At the airport

Hong Kong international airport terminal 1 is Cathay Pacific’s home and main hub. It is a massive structure where arrivals is situated in the ground floor whilst departures a few floors above. The airport incorporates isle type sections in the check-in desks and Cathay Pacific uses three of them (isles A-C from my memory).

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Aircraft and Flight

Cathay Pacific is one of my most favoured airline for longhaul flights to and from Asia as it gives desirable experiences for a relatively competitive price all year round. Furthermore the airline flies from London Heathrow to Hong Kong about five times a day, whilst Hong Kong to Manila six to seven times a day  so your preference in departures, arrivals and transit times range from a multitude of choices. Moreover the airline has consistency in their products and services which is great for frequent travellers who just want confidence in their flight.

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As the two routes trips I make have a few differences ive decided to write these under two different posts please click to see:

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific is a reputable airline worthy for a frequent flyer with a medium budget who wants to fly with the confidence in his or her flight, although not highly amazing their consistency in products and service is applaudable. Cathay Pacific is not my overall favourite airline but is my preferred carrier when travelling long-haul into Asia. Their seats are comfortable and gives me everything I need to ensure maximum comfortability. Whilst the meals small they were undeniably delicious and you can taste that they didn’t go cheap in their ingredients. Furthermore their staff are friendly and do their jobs to the very best of their ability, there are no loud personal conversations whilst in front of customers.

Overall Cathay gets and has always got a thumbs up from me. A plausible airline that is affordable and brilliant in its operation.

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Reference:

https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/travel-information/airport.html
https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/about-us.html
https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_GB/about-us/about-our-airline/history.html

Photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/115391424@N05/albums/
https://www.flickr.com/people/130961247@N06
New Cathay Pacific livery on B-LAJ
https://www.flickr.com/photos/seabirdnz/38772727491

 

Travelling around Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a modern city with up to date transportation just like other large cities around the world. The city includes undergrounds, trains, buses and taxis, most often used was the MTR which serves stations very near to all the points of interests in Hong Kong.

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Sheung Wan Station

Hong Kong’s rail, subway service or “MTR” serves various routes within Hong Kong and even across mainline china, it also offers connections to and from the international airport (airport express). Just like the London Underground’s Oyster card, Hong Kong has the Octopus Card, and you can use this to top up credit to use on journeys from one place to another. MTR offers Tourist Octopus Card which can be bought at any station, and if there is value still left on the card, the remaining value can be refunded at the airport. The MTR railway network has 10 commuter lines and connects nearly all of Hong Kong. It is comfortable and reliable, I have not experienced any delays. Part of the MTR company the Hong Kong buses looked packed and was difficult to understand so as a tourists I opted not to take them.

Taxis is difficult at times, they operate just like any other taxis around the world but has extra charge for the number of luggage’s and other conditions. Furthermore the language barrier is a little tough as all my experiences in communicating with the drivers have not been easy. However unlike other taxis around the world I think that the drivers are relatively friendly, honest and safe. There was no funny games such as no change for notes (all change was received to the penny). I have used Hong Kong’s taxis and have not had a problem in the slightest, all drivers have been very fast though.

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Tsuen Wan

As Hong Kong was also a territory of Britain in the past, driving is also on the left. So renting a car wouldn’t be too difficult to do. Just keep in mind other road user’s attitudes can differ.

Reference

http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/our_network_introduction.html

Review: Cathay Dragon

The Airline

Cathay Dragon (formerly known as Dragon Air) is a subsidiary and sister airline of Cathay Pacific. Just in the past 2 year in 2016, Dragonair went through a rebranding phase, re-naming to Cathay Dragon and giving their livery paintwork the same brush wing logo as Cathay Pacific in order to align the two airlines. However although both liveries have a similar appearance Cathay Dragon is coloured red whilst Cathay Pacific kept its green exterior. The purpose of the rebrand was to align the two companies giving passengers easier seamless connections to each others network, although Cathay Dragon (DragonAir) is still operating as a separate airline.

 

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Dragon Air ‘s Old livery design

 

Brief

Hong Kong > Hanoi (Noi Bai)

We have used Cathay Pacific in many occasions  but taking Cathay Dragon (or Dragonair) last year in October from Hong Kong to Hanoi was a first. There were many similarities to the service but each had their own personality.

Aircraft and Flight

Although still operating as two separate enterprises, sister companies Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon gives the impression that they are under one strong brand. Even their website is now housed under one domain and furthermore Cathay Dragon uses the same facilities such as check-in (in Hong Kong airport) and lounges as Cathay Pacific’s.

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Getting on the aircraft was easy there was no delays and it was pretty empty (it wasn’t peak season) staff was also very friendly and allowed me to move seats once boarding was complete. The staff had similar uniform as that of Cathay Pacific, they wore the same red blazer (or looked the same) with the brush wing logo but their shirts were different as Cathay Dragon sported a black and red shirt whilst Cathay Pacific wear a white shirt with their logo printed across their shirt. The Cabin again was similar of that of their sister company, a touch screen IFE (entertainment system), USB charge point and more alike (however i believe it has since been modernised). The food was simple, it was only a short fli20171022_190752.jpgght so I weren’t expecting anything heavy. There were very nice fresh fruits, water, cookies and a rice meal. Soft drinks, tea and coffee is also served afterwards.

The flight was nice and comfortable, there was a little turbulence but that cant really be avoided. Blankets were available upon request and headphones were placed on our seats before boarding for our use. Again their staff was very nice and professional, they attended to my every needs and although it was late night they didn’t look tired and they were still full of energy

Conclusion

My flight with Cathay Dragon was very satisfying, it wasn’t too expensive and still had the feel of a luxury airline well deserving to carry the Pacific Groups name. Honestly I didn’t even know ‘Dragonair’ as a company let alone as a subsidiary of the Cathay Group, the rebrand in my opinion has been successful, I now know the company and the level of standard they regard. Although I’ve only been on the airline once I’m still very intrigued if they are consistent with other routes. Overall I am very happy flying with this airline and wouldn’t mind to fly with them again in future travels.

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Reference

DragonAir rebranding (https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_HK/about-us/press-room/press-release/2016/Cathay-Pacific-group-enters-new-era-with-rebranding-of-Dragonair-as-Cathay-Dragon.html)

Photo

Main Photo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/130275500@N02/28468552585/)
Old Dragon air livery (https://www.flickr.com/photos/30949611@N03/10498449363/)

Hong Kong

Type : City Break,Cultural
Best Date : October – December
Expense :  Medium – Expensive
Things to do Sightseeing, Shopping
Points of Interest: Victoria Peak, Temple Street, Disney Land, Tian Tan Buddha, Ocean Park, Avenue of the Stars, Ngong Ping 360 ect

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Central Hong Kong

Brief

Hong Kong is a small country which is independently governed, however owned by their motherland China. It is part of what they call the “one country, two systems” where mainland China allows Hong Kong to manage its own laws, a little bit like the United Kingdom with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A previous territory of the United Kingdom, used as an area for trade, much of its British teachings and culture still remains.

The Place

Hong Kong is a very interesting place culturally. It is a city that has both Chinese and British virtues. It is famous for its high buildings (light show’s), harbo20170401_172639urs, foods, markets and many more. Firstly in my opinion the more famous past time in Hong Kong whether a tourist or local is the famous night markets within Kowloon. Between two MTR stations ‘Yua Ma Tei’ and ‘Mong Kwok’  ‘Temple street Market’ starts at around 18:00 -19:00. However there is no formal time of when the stalls open as its up to the individual stalls into when they are ready. Complete with Food stalls often used by tourism, karaoke café, Tarot card readers, psychics, clothes stalls, toy stalls, souvenir, antiques, adult products and many more the market is desirable for all. The markets are very good as you get to haggle for prices, some enjoy this as it cant be done in other nations, however whether you get to haggle or not all products are considerably cheap anyway.

 

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Central Hong Kong

Apart from the many night markets , Hong Kong has plenty of other areas for shopping, one of the most notable is at Central Hong Kong, which has all the class and luxury shops. Central includes branded outlets like Ralph Lauren, Armani, Prada and many alike. The area is also home to the many of the landmark high rise buildings such as the Bank of china which is iconic around the world. Furthermore Central is also walking distance from the tourist attraction ‘The peak tram’ which climbs the scenic route to the ‘Victoria Peak’ which is itself one of the most best attraction in Hong Kong.

Across ‘Victoria Harbour’ is Tsim Sha Tsui where the ‘Avenue of the Star’ is situated. This bay side attraction mimics the Hollywood walk of fame and has plenty of visitors visiting. Tsim Sha Tsui also has the ‘Hong Kong space museum’ the ‘ Art Museum’ and many more.

Disneyland and Ocean Park is also very popular amongst the younger tourists. I haven’t  been to Ocean Park, however Disneyland always proves to be amazing. Like all Disneylands all over the world Hong Kong’s attraction has plenty to keep families busy for the whole day. Their famous daily parade and firework display is somewhat special to the Disneyland brand. However the theme park is highly aimed at the younger visitors, when I was there at 2013 all the rides where predominantly for the children and no bigger thrill rides for young adults. Anyhow this is a family theme park and there are few attractions for the adult as the 4d cinema, fireworks and a little more.

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Disney Land Parade

Overall Hong Kong is a fine place to visit, it is a small place but with big intentions in the tourism industry. There is more to visit in Hong Kong and ill be sure to be back for the other attractions I have yet to visit such as the Ngong Ping 360 and the Tian Tan Buddha. Furthermore Macau is also a popular visit from Hong Kong even if its just for a full day, a 1 hour Jetty ride is needed to go to Macau. (For more information on Macau Click here)

Transport

Getting There

There are various ways to get to Hong Kong with many different carriers from many different locations. Hong Kong’s main Airline is Cathay Pacific and it offers routes to and from many locations around the world. Cathay Pacific has flights to and from both Manila and London, the carrier offers 7 flights to and from Manila daily, 5 flights to and from London Heathrow and also a single flight from Gatwick daily. Getting to Hong Kong from Manila is also possible using carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Airasia all varying in prices. Carriers  British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also goes to Hong Kong with British Airways flying twice a day. However Hong Kong is very accessible from any region around the world.

Flying to Hong Kong from Manila is approximately  1 hour.

Flying to Hong Kong from London is approximately 13 hours.

In Hong Kong

I have been to Hong Kong twice now, I used a tour bus majority of the time on my first visit, however my second time was more independent to travel around.

Hong Kong is a modern city with the most up to date transports just like other large cities around the world. The city includes undergrounds, trains, busses and taxis, most often used was the MTR which serves stations very near to all the points of interests in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong Station

Hong Kong’s rail, subway service or “MTR” serves various routes within Hong Kong and even across mainline china, it also offers connections to and from the international airport (airport express). The MTR is just the same as using the London underground, connections, modes of payments and tickets. Just like London Underground’s Oyster card, Hong Kong has the Octopus Card, and you can use this to top up value to use on journeys from one place to another. MTR offers Tourist Octopus Card which can be bought at any station, and if there is value still left on the card, the remaining value can be refunded at the airport.

Other modes of transport are buses and also taxis, however I wasn’t able to use them on my trip. However I was advised that the octopus card was able to be used  on buses as well and even the tram to the Victoria peak.

As Hong Kong was also a territory of Britain in the past, driving is also on the left. So renting a car wouldn’t be very difficult to do.