Phuket International (HKT) – Hong Kong International (HKG)
Flight number: HDA265
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 (twin-jet)
Departure: 6:00 pm (local time)
Arrival 11:00 pm (local time)
Distance: 1486 mi
Seats: 18A, 18C (Business Class)
«Famous unknown airline»
You have probably already heard about Cathay Airways, but have no idea, what is it about, and we too. Cathay Dragon is owned by one of the biggest airlines companies, Cathay Pacific, which is catchy, but not reviewed enough because of its origin and flight destinations.
Cathay Dragon, being a part of Cathay Pacific is a national company of Hong Kong, which is a Special Administrative Region of China. It is one of the leading financial centres of Asia and the world in general. The company works on destinations in Asian Pacific Ocean region and has three types of aircrafts: Airbus A320, A321 and A330, which can be with or without First Class salon.
Our flight, operated by Cathay Dragon, or how it could be called Dragonair, was on board of Airbus A330-300. This airplane does not provide First Class salon, but it has a pretty big Business Class and Economy Class salons. We chose a Business to make an opinion about the company. Our flight was 3 hours, which is more than enough to determine the quality.
1. Airport time
The trip was started in Phuket International Airport, or to be honest, on the famous Mai Khao beach, where the airport is located. Near this airport on Phuket, there is a beach, where you can enjoy airplanes landings and taking offs, which is awesome! (follow the link, to see the our video review). After an hour of enjoying a spectacular views from Mai Khao beach we went to the airport for registration. Phuket is not very big airport, but sometimes there are big lines for registration and migration border because it is a popular tourist destination. We were on time and luckily did not meet big lines, so had time for a lounge.
1.1. Royal Orchid Lounge
Obviously, Cathay does not have its own lounge in Phuket Airport, so we were offered to visit THAI Airway lounge, which is called Royal Orchid Lounge. To be honest, it is very small and tiny, but we did not expected more, as we visited also Qatar one, which was the same size and quality.
This lounge was small, but clean and provided a buffet, which has even a couple of main dishes. The problem is that there are too many passengers of Business Class even in one Cathay Dragon aircraft, to be filled in that lounge. On our flight, Business Class salon was full, which mean 42 people (configuration of Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class is 2-2-2 in 7 rows), who would probably visit the lounge. There is simply not enough place for everybody, not saying about other flights and its Business Class passengers.
Also, there were no restrooms and passengers have to use public, which are right in the corner behind the lounge.
Actually, there was one more THAI Airways lounge, which should be identical to that one, just located near other gates, but we decided not to check it, as we came earlier and had a chance to find seats.
By the time it was full, we slowly went to our gate and the boarding started in a few minutes. It was on time and passengers in Business Class were slowly filling the salon.
2. Three hours
Right after we found our seats, which was not difficult, as we chose the last row, a flight attendant offered us welcome drinks. We chose water and one new drink for us, which contained rose. Yes, exactly rose extract and its pieces, what was interesting to taste. This was the first thing that distinguishes Asian Cathay from other companies by the choice of welcome drink.
Later the crew gave everybody refreshment towels, but not the usual hot cotton towels. It was just one-use napkins, which is often available in the Business Class salon lavatory. It is not bad, but not typical for a big company’s Business Class service. After the towels we were offered a menu and the captain of the aircraft informed about the taking off. About the drinks choice we did not think a lot and took champagne, which was later refilled just once, by the way. But this time, the meal story is a bit interesting. One of us decided to chose a vegetarian vegan meal in advance, making a booking on the web site. Sometimes companies do not have anything vegetarian in menu. It was our first experience with this company, so we decided to care about the meal of one of us in advance.
Firstly, the crew served us with a drink and nuts, which were also very unusual. One more thing that can distinguish this company is Asian taste nuts. Usually, airline companies offer either raw or roasted nuts, which could be plain or salty, but not in this case. Cathay Dragon provided us nuts with Sushi taste, containing even Wasabi pieces.
For the regular meal on this flight passengers were offered to try beef and salad as a starter and three choices for the main course: duck, salmon and pork. For dessert they prepared a choice of Haagen Dazs ice cream. What we liked is that they served both type of starters, when you can try all and for the main dish and ice cream, the flight attendant was passing by you with a stroller that you can see in reality what you want, not only by names in menu.
To be honest, it was a big mistake to order a vegetarian menu in this company, but who knew. In the regular menu they had a salad starter and salmon for the main course, which could be a good dinner for a vegetarian person. One of us left the plane hungry, as for a special menu Cathay prepared some vegetables, which were the same in two starters and the main course. The bad thing that it was awfully cooked. It just had no taste at all. Vegetables may be cooked in so many good ways, but not in Asia, as we understood. Asian taste probably differs a lot from our European, or they just do not know much about vegetarian food. Conclusion is very simple – we always learn from our own mistakes.
The flight time passed very fast, actually. We had all the necessary entertainment, comfortable seats that are adjustable for your convenience. Seats could be declined almost to horizontal position, what is very pleasant for such medium length flight, when you want to relax and watch one movie after a meal.
By the way, provided pillows and blankets were pretty good, as it was made from a quality material. Usually, blankets on board have fleece material, but there it was a type of wool, which is much more pleasurable. To say the truth, we were planing to work a bit during this flight, but the seats were so comfortable, salon was clean and nice, blankets were fluffy, that the atmosphere made us change our minds and enjoy the movie.
The lavatory in that A330-300 aircraft was standard. Nothing special or unusual. A normal size, clean items and all required amenities for three hours flight, which are cleanser and body lotion.
Our impression about the company was great. There were some moments, which were mostly untypical for us, rather than unpleasant. Here we mean the refreshment towels in the beginning, Sushi taste nuts and our own mistake with vegetarian meal. All the mentioned can not effect a positive impression and good opinion about the company. We liked the flight and all its components. In terms of service, the company works perfect, the same with comfort and organisation. A high mark to Cathay Dragon!