Cathay Pacific Flight Review: Manila to Hong Kong (Round-Trip)

Whenever I fly out of Manila, I'm usually one of the handful of early passengers to check in. But this time for my trip to Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific, the line was already snaking several times over by the time I arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.



naia terminal 3
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Even the web check-in line provided no relief, which is just as well for me. I tried twice to avail of it but I kept getting a "service unavailable" message so I had to contend with the regular lines.

cathay pacific ninoy aquino airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I then asked one of the staff why service was crawling. She attributed it to an unusually large number of passengers. But looking around, I think the number is just average for a world-class airline like Cathay Pacific.

After checking in, I proceeded to the travel tax counter as I booked my flight online. While paying, I asked if I could pay the tax first to save time before checking in. Although it was possible, they said they prefer that I check in first.

All in all, it took me almost an hour to finish the pre-immigration process while suffering from the non-functioning air-conditioner. NAIA!!!

In contrast, immigration was quick with a lot of counters opened and segregated to Philippine passport holders, foreigners and senior citizens & PWDs. (The air-conditioner there was a lot cooler but still not sufficient to stand the summer heat outside.)

cathay pacific manila airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
While waiting for my flight, Singapore Airlines announced that underneath some seats at its gate were Easter egg tags that led to (unstated) prizes. This was the very first time I heard of an airline conducting a parlor game which I think is nice and helpful to while the time away. Too bad the same did not occur with my airline at that time.

cathay pacific manila airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN

cathay pacific 777-200
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Boarding was on time and orderly with the seat numbers for queuing carefully observed. Those who tried to jump the line were asked to wait for their turn.

I forgot that there was an option for premium economy when I booked my flight but my regret lasted for only a nanosecond as I saw how comfortable and spacious my economy seat was.

cathay pacific 777-200 cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
We had our own in-flight entertainment (IFE) which I used to watch some TED talks and documentaries. The volume was kind of erratic with some shows insufficient even though it was turned all the way up.

cathay pacific manila to hong kong
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I like how the IFE offered more than just entertainment, giving gate information for those with connecting flights.


cathay pacific snack
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Blankets were offered for free and a snack of chicken and egg turnover and mango juice were served after take-off. The food was neither here nor there---not great but not terrible. Duty-free shopping was introduced with a 15% discount for those spending at least HK$2000. I thought I would pass.

cathay pacific 777-200
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
When it was almost time to descend, the pilot announced that we would be using another terminal because of the Easter rush in Hong Kong. (If our Easter holiday in the Philippines starts from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, in Hong Kong, it starts from Easter Sunday to Tuesday so Hong Kong International Airport was busier than usual.)


hkia
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN

hkia
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I expected immigration to be very busy but there were only half of the usual lines. I guess the rush meant people were rushing out of Hong Kong. But no matter how fast the process was, luggage retrieval was still faster than in Manila as mine was already waiting when I came out. Paging NAIA....


SO LONG, HONG KONG!

hong kong airline city check in
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
What I love about flying Philippine Airlines and Cathay Pacific is that they have counters at the in-town check-in. You get to check in even before reaching the airport, giving you time to enjoy the city more on your last day.

hong kong check in for airlines
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
For more information on the in-town check-in service, click here.

hong kong airport shuttle
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It takes a little under an hour to reach the airport from Hong Kong Station.

hkia
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
hong kong international airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
HKIA’s free internet is usually fast and reliable but when I tried using one of the computers here, I could not figure out how to log in. The screen wouldn’t budge and the guy there was too busy to help me out so I just took out my iPad.

hong kong international airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
This is one guy who’s clearly ready to make the waiting time worth his while.

hong kong international airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
As soon as the ground crew uttered the first three words of their boarding announcement, people started lining up real fast. I thought I would never see the end of the line and I wasn’t the last one to queue up!

business class cathay pacific
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
The seat in the business class which, alas, isn’t where I belong. Moving on….

economy cathay pacific
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
One can’t be bitter though about being an economy passenger at Cathay with its amenities.

cathay pacific 777-300er safety card
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Departure was delayed by 30 minutes for reasons I can’t remember now. While waiting, one of the attendants came up to the person seated two seats from me asking him to store his hand-carry in the overhead which was already full. She managed to tuck it still but minutes later, when the compartment was opened, the hand-carry fell out. Good thing it landed on the floor. This prompted the owner to mutter under his breath the possibility of somebody getting injured.

cathay pacific in flight entertainment
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
 But that was not any of my business so I turned on the IFE and was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite shows, “Midsomer Murders.” I was busy enjoying the show so much that I didn’t mind the turbulent start of the flight. The discomfort came from the show actually with a brief nude scene. Call me prude but I was embarrassed. Didn’t think something like that would be allowed on a flight where children are present.

cathay pacific meal
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
The snack this time consisted of chicken adobo wrap and mango juice in an earth-friendly packaging. I enjoyed the juice more than the food where the chicken played hide and seek with my taste buds.

cathay pacific 777-300er cabin
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
The crew was very attentive and professional, as to be expected but they were kind of loud when talking to the passengers and each other.

cathay pacific in flight entertainment
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
A neat feature of the IFE was the option to watch what’s going on outside the plane. Upon descent, I switched from the usual TV shows to watch our plane land on a drizzly summer night.

cathay pacific manila airport
Copyright photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Immigration clearance was quick but the waiting time for our luggage to come out took some time. Upon descending the escalator, a Cathay staffer was there to assist us. I would have appreciated him all the more if he didn’t sound and look tired as he mumbled, “Cathay Pacific.” He stretched his arm and finger weakly to point the way. How weak? They didn’t even reach higher than his elbow.

I noticed that the first set of luggage that came out was from a connecting flight from Los Angeles, USA. I could tell because they were marked with a US address. While waiting for my luggage, I was standing close to the carousel until I found myself being pushed back with people who inserted themselves. When they trickled out, I was back at the front but new passengers started crowding me out. They didn’t even budge to give me space either when they saw me pulling my humongous luggage from the belt. They only moved when I sneered, “Excuuuuse me!”

Over-all, I enjoyed flying Cathay Pacific which wasn’t something totally unexpected. The only reason I have not flown with them for ages was because I have always assumed our local airlines were always cheaper. They might be but not all the time as I was able to book this flight with rates that were competitive for as long as my schedule was flexible. Actually, it may not even be right to say the rates were competitive because the seats were bigger and more comfortable, I had IFE, I had free snacks and I had free use of a blanket. This is real value for hard-earned money. Thank you, CX! And thank you, my PFN editor, for suggesting it!

---THE PARANOID TRAVELER---

12 comments:

  1. Welcome to my country!

    Remember to always fly with Cathay Pacific instead of Cebu Pacific. You will always be a happy customer riding with them.

    Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sooo love Cathay Pacific. Will always fly with them!

      Delete
  2. Oh here comes the cebu pacific diva again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh here comes the bakla boy again

      Delete
  3. wait is that CX's food nowadays? we used to have meals before... that was just economy too...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mr Hong Kong, do you really lack the intelligence to understand not everyone can afford to fly on CPA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure they can afford. Do you also lack the intelligence to know the difference with CPA? If we speak Airlines, you can refer to the world's pathetic LCC carrier, CEBU PACIFIC or the wonderful, award-winning Airline, CATHAY PACIFIC.

      Delete
  5. The 777-200 does not have Premium Economy. Only the 777-300ER, 747-400, A340-300, and select A330-300 have it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mr Hong Kong, your last comment fails to make sense. Please explain intelligently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. You are too DUMB like that anon below me who can't read for shit. Cebu Air Pethetic is the world's #1 LCC and Cathay Pacific is better. Spend the extra money and fly Cathay Pacific.

      Why is this pathetic airline even flying to my country? YUCK.

      Delete
  7. You are DUMB DUMB DUMB, Hong Kong

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are DUMB DUMB DUMB AND DUMBER, Pinoy boy.

      Delete

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