Date: February 7, 2018
Flight No.: CX501
Route: Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong International
Airline: Cathay Pacific Airways
Type: Boeing 777-300
Over the last two years, I reviewed Cathay Pacific Airways a couple of times including their last 747-400 flight as well as a pair of flights onboard the airline’s first class. However, this is my first time to review a regular Cathay Pacific economy class flight.
This flight from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong onboard the Cathay Pacific Airways non-ER 777-300 was the first flight of my trip to New York that was born thanks to Qatar Airways’ incredible business class fare out of Vietnam.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Checking-in at Tokyo Narita Airport
I got to the airport shortly before 8AM – with plenty of time to spare before the flight’s 10:35AM scheduled departure time. When I got to the check-in area, besides my flight, the check-in for Cathay Pacific’s previous flight to Hong Kong was still in progress as well.
As I was only traveling with hand luggage, I picked up my boarding pass from one of the automated machines and went to security. However, since it was crowded (the most I’ve seen at Narita), I decided to have breakfast first.
I left the restaurant and got into the line for security check around 8:35AM. From there, it took a surprisingly “short” twenty minutes to get through the security and then another five minutes to clear the immigration.
Once airside, I made my way straight to the satellite building as my flight was departing from gate 95. While in the past there used to be an automated train to take passengers from the main building of terminal 2 to the satellite, nowadays the two are only connected by moving walkways.
I didn’t mind the walk, though, as it offered nice views of some of the aircraft parked at the terminal.
While there is no Priority Pass lounge airside at Narita’s terminal 2, that was not a big issue as there was plenty of seating and power outlets. Since I had about one hour until boarding would start, I settled at one of the desks near my gate and worked a bit.
Since I went straight to the gate, shortly before 10AM, my name was called so that the ground staff could check my travel documents were in order. Some minutes after that, at 10:04AM, boarding started with business class passengers and status holders.
The rest of us was invited to board about five minutes later.
In the jetway, a selection of Japanese and international newspapers was available for all passengers to choose from.
Cathay Pacific 777-300 Economy Class Cabin and Seat
Onboard, I settled in 58D – a center section aisle seat – where a nice large (for economy class) pillow and a standard blanket were already waiting. Separately, a decent headset could be found in the seat pocket.
The seat itself was quite spacey given that Cathay Pacific still uses the harder-and-harder-to-come-by “3-3-3” configuration onboard its 777s. And, the legroom was quite good as well in spite of a small but wide IFE box placed under the seat in front of me.
Since the airline uses shell type seats, the recline wasn’t the best. However, it also meant that when the person in front of me reclined, it didn’t affect my space at all since the back of the seat was fixed – and instead, just the padding slid down.
The thing I liked about the seat the most was the large and sturdy tray table. It was as wide as the shell of the seat in front of me and provided for a fairly more comfortable workspace than traditional economy class tray tables do.
When it was closed, there was also a cup holder. And, when it was open, there was a power outlet.
Separately from the above, the seat back also featured the IFE screen and remote control, as well as a coat hook.
Cathay Pacific Airways Economy Class In-Flight Service
Around 10:30AM, we were welcomed onboard by the first officer who mentioned that the flight time would be 4 hours and 40 minutes. Another fifteen minutes later, the safety video was played.
We were pushed back at 10:45AM – ten minutes behind schedule – and we took off from runway 34L at 11:03AM.
A bit more than fifteen minutes after that, the seatbelt signs were switched off, and the cabin crew sprung into action. It took another fifteen or twenty minutes until the actual meal service started.
First, a wet tissue, a pack of peanuts, and a drink (Sprite in my case) were offered.
Then, almost an hour later, the main was served. A choice of chicken with potatoes or pork with rice was offered, and I went with the former. While the soba and bread that came with the main were decent, the vegetables of the main course were overcooked and the chicken was bland.
The main was followed by rock hard vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream – the highlight of the whole meal service.
During the meal and for the rest of the flight, I watched Young Sheldon – a spin off of The Big Bang Theory – and worked on some of the reviews I was falling behind on. While I will not review Cathay’s IFE here, you can read about it in my other review of the airline.
Later on, I also took a short nap…
Landing at Hong Kong International Airport
…from which I woke up when the first officer made an announcement saying that we were 180 miles out of Hong Kong and that we were expecting to land at 2:47PM local time.
The seatbelt sign went on shortly after that, at 2:20PM Hong Kong time. Around the same time, I started watching Back – a British comedy show. While I managed to finish the first episode, the IFE was switched off in the middle of the second episode.
Then, at 2:48PM, the landing gear was lowered, and at 2:50PM we touched down at Hong Kong airport.
Just five minutes later (and five minutes ahead of schedule), at 2:55PM, we parked at our arrival gate next to ANA and JAL.
I got off the aircraft and headed into the Plaza Premium Lounge which I reviewed before and so I won’t be reviewing this time around. Instead, the next installment will cover my Cathay Dragon flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi.
Cathay Pacific 777-300 Economy Class Tokyo NRT – Hong Kong Summary
Overall, Cathay Pacific Airways provided for a pleasant experience onboard the fairly quick intra-Asian flight. While the meal left a lot to be desired, other things including the seats were more than adequate.
That said, while I liked the shell seat (and the resulting large tray table) on a short daytime flight, I would have preferred regular reclining seat on an overnight long haul due to the increased comfort that the extra recline would provide.