Review of Cathay Pacific Economy Class – Perth to Hong Kong to Seoul
Ground Staff in Perth
We arrived two hours prior to departure time. Having checked-in online, we joined the short Bag Drop queue. There were staff members in place to make sure you were in the correct queue and to hand out departure immigration forms. The staff member on the desk was very professional, but also friendly, and efficient.
Immigration and Security in Perth
Immigration in Perth is very speedy now with the Smartgates in place. After scanning your passport, you get your photo taken, and then you’re done. There were no queues when we went through.
Security was also streamlined in the last airport renovation. It’s a much bigger area with better flow through traffic.
Departing from Perth
We had a short wait to board. Plenty of seating available at Gate 51 within the new expansion part of the airport terminal. Again, the Cathay Pacific ground staff were impressive. They clearly explained the boarding procedure prior to the commencement of boarding, and then controlled who boarded when — Rows 65 to 75 meant exactly that.
The plane from Perth to Hong Kong was an Airbus A330 and seemed to be a newer model. We had a window/aisle “loveseat” pair, so avoided rubbing elbows with strangers. These seats had a fairly good recline, but given the tight pitch, this meant your forward neighbour appeared to be on your lap when they maximised their recline if you didn’t. This also mean that your monitor was in your face unless you also reclined into the lap of the person behind you.
The staff onboard were excellent — very quick at distributing meals and drinks.
The biggest plus was the IFE (inflight entertainment). An excellent and extensive selection of fairly recent Western movies viewed on a touch screen.
The biggest minus was my IFE. The screen kept turning itself on while I was trying to sleep (this was a red eye flight). That’ll teach me for not bringing an eye mask.
We were fed twice on this leg: a supper and a light breakfast. Both of us pre-ordered special meals, which arrived much earlier than everyone else’s meals. I ordered the Gluten Intolerant meal. The supper included chicken with mashed potato and pureed peas, gluten-free bread, chickpea salad, chocolate cake and fruit salad. Everything was quite tasty, except for the bread, which had the texture and taste of a sponge.
Breakfast comprised the same bread, plain yoghurt, fruit salad, Not exciting, but acceptable.
Our descent into Hong Kong wasn’t too bumpy and our landing was smooth.
Transit in Hong Kong Airport
This airport is massive and impressive. There were enough staff around to direct us to our connecting flight. Unfortunately our short connection time meant no time for shopping or exploring.
After a short wait, the Cathay Pacific ground staff told us to start queuing to board; one line for business class / high-ranking frequent fliers, and one line for everyone else in random order. The staff handed out disposable rain ponchos “in case in rains”, which it didn’t. We were bussed to our planes location on the tarmac.
The plane from Hong Kong to Incheon/Seoul was also an A330, but appear to be an older model. The aircraft was equipped with old-style shell seating. The good thing about these seats is that no one will recline into your head space. Seat pitch is quite decent, until you decide to recline, in which case your seat slides forward, decreasing the pitch and highlighting the lack of lumbar support. The headrests had adjustable wings that provided something to lean on when snoozing. Snoozing featured highly in this flight after the previous flight’s disturbed attempt at sleep.
The IFE offered on this flight was the same content as the previous flight. This meant I could continue watching the last movie which ended upon landing with 20 minutes of the movie left to go. The screens on this plane were somewhat smaller and only semi-touch screen, working in tandem with a handset.
Breakfast was served on this flight. This Gluten Intolerant meal included chicken with eggs and potato, bread, fruit salad and yogurt. Tasty, except for the bread, which had a better texture this time, but still tasted like sponge.
Again kudos to the excellent flight crew. Thank you for handing out juice exactly when I woke up from my nap.
Descent into Seoul was smooth, but too hazy to take photos while landing.
Immigration and Customs in Seoul
It took awhile to get from where our plane was gated to immigration. Many travelators, a train and more travelators later, we joined the massive queue for foreign passports. Fortunately, the queue moved very quickly. The immigration process is painless: hand over your passport and entry card, take a photo and fingerprints, and you’re done. The time from joining the queue to entering the country took perhaps 15 minutes.
Our bags were on the carousel by the time we got there. Customs consisted of handing the customs form to a staff member.
Yes, I would recommend Cathay Pacific. The service is outstanding and the planes are generally comfortable.