Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
BA027 London – Hong Kong
- Memo to Self: Stop looking at Booking Engines Late at Night
- Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425
- Zürich Night Stop – “Zürich Dayrooms”, Senator Lounge
- LX1952 Barcelona to Zurich
- A Free Tour of Barcelona
- Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge
- BA027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong (THIS SECTION)
- Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
- One Time Exception: Macau with TurboJet
- GhettoIFE Special: Images of a Fragrant Harbour
- Lounging Around Hong Kong Airport
- BA026 Hong Kong to London Heathrow
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge, BA484 London Heathrow – Barcelona El Prat
- Barcelona Switch, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport
- Run like the wind, LX424 Zürich – Birmingham Airport, Homeward bound
- Avios? Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!
Time to get back to flying… but can BA do a good job on the long haul run?
Leg 4: BA0027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport
British Airways, 37K (Exit Row), World Traveller (Economy)
35 Tier Points Earned, 11958 Avios (5,979 Base + 5,979 Tier bonus)
- Set 1 http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/29/lhr-hkg-ba27-1.html
- Set 2 http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/30/lhr-hkg-ba27-2.html
Boarding the plane, I was welcomed at the door, and directed down the right hand isle. My seat wasn’t hard to find – Past Club World and World Traveller Plus, and the first row of World Traveller.
The aircraft looked in great condition – and if I’m honest – like any other 777-300ER that I’ve been on. Except this one had slimline seats. I’ll get on to them later… trust me. Meanwhile, where I was sat, I indeed did have a friend which would impede my legroom – the exit slide.
Ok, it’s not the end of the world, but it meant care leg manoeuvring when stretching… and yes – more space than AA and WT+. As for a window… I had a wall.
And the nearest window was behind me or the exit door
As this was mostly a night flight, I wasn’t that bothered. It’s still nice to have a window nearby though. In terms of the overhead panel, it was just lights – no overhead air nozzles.
Oh well. Whilst I like the nozzles for my own directed air, they’re not the end of the world. Other little seat features was the existence of power under my seat and a USB Charging port. All good things.
As boarding continued the crew came around and said hello, talking about pain in the back about the train being broken. They seemed a friendly bunch – I’d check in on that later…
Soon enough those of us in exit rows were asked to deploy our screens (after I had worked out how to) to watch the safety demo.
Thales i5000 system. I’ll get onto that in a bit…
The safety demo played as the crew took their positions for the demo. After the demo, the screens were stowed as we begun pushing back. Now I’d love to tell you what runway we took off from, and which direction, but there’s a minor problem. Yes – the no window issue.
But on the plus side, you’re spared my take off and landing videos 😉
Soon enough, we were airborne and into the night sky, making for Hong Kong. After the IFE system was activated, it’s time to explore this Thales system to see what it can do,
Here’s some shots of it in action:
The system is categorised into useful bits – films, TV, music, BA and of course, the map.
Exploring the TV Section
Exploring the Map Section
The map section was one of the most fun I’ve used. Fully interactive and fully pose-able where you wanted it to be – a great learning tool and a great thing to watch when there was nothing else to watch – which when I tend to fly it’s what I reach for. However the BA system had something on it. CONTENT! An airline which actually has content which I like. A good mix of drama, comedy and films.
So, this marks a first for a very long haul flight in Economy for some time – NO GHETTOIFE IFE SYSTEM!
Yes, I’ll lay bets you’re mostly not in shock. More like I’m in shock that an airline has actually thought about its IFE system and delivered it with a usable interface and matched it with content. Top marks.
As I settled into a long session of watching 30 Rock, the drinks trolley came pass. Regular viewers who know I topped up on Champers earlier shouldn’t be surprised at the following picture.
The crew offered me a strong Vodka and cola one off the bat. I took one Vodka bottle and popped in my pocket, whilst diluting the other vodka down with cola. Yes. I drown my vodka. No, don’t look at me like that.
And touch trolley and head to the galley…
The meal followed shortly there after. I can’t remember the choices, but I went for the Chicken option – was Chicken Pad Thai
Pad Thai – with a little helper on top (as the Pad Thai contains milk).
The Pad Thai underneath
Moose – Skipped.
Job done- Note the Map in the background.
Ok, a big plus to BA here – they label their first service meals. Whilst for most of you who travel, labelling will only interest you from a calorific viewpoint at best, for those who travel with allergies – this is a big plus for me (I’ll talk about special meals on the way back). The Pad Thai itself was hot, noodley and had a fair bit of chicken. The pasta was fresh and edible too. Wine was offered during the service (shortly after meals were distributed), and the wine was passable – it wouldn’t win any awards, but it was cold and drinkable with the food. The breads were instantly forgettable and the desert… was skipped. A reasonable spread for a first service.
Clear down was completed in a reasonable time and the cabin was dimmed after duty free sales were conducted.
After this point I reclined my seat a smidgen, put The Big Bang Theory on and closed my eyes. It took a bit, but eventually I got to sleep.
After waking up a bit stiff (and sore bottomed), I had found a good 6 hours of the flight had gone on sleep. This is a darn good thing – alcohol makes me a tiny bit silly and a lot sleepy. Whilst slimline seats are nice in theory and can give a bit more leg room, they are hard work on a backside. The best I could do was to place the cushion under my posterior to give a bit more padding for all it was worth. The headrest seemed to work quite well – although it was only adjustable up and down as opposed to adjustable wings – on the plus side this provides a reasonable “cushion”.
Anyway, with a bit to go before the flight, breakfast was served. I went for the English Breakfast option.
The breakfast whilst it looked unappealing actually wasn’t that bad. The orange juice was drinkable, the yoghurt untouchable. The hot breakfast was Ok – the egg wasn’t that bad (well – decent eggs in the air don’t tend to exist in my experience), the bacon wasn’t that tough (and not burned – two good things) and the sausage was non-offensive and warm.
A drinks service followed, and the black coffee was warm, black and tasted of coffee.
Not a bad service at all really.
As breakfast was concluding a message flashed up on the IFE:
Duty free ending soon!
Meanwhile, people where drawing blinds. The person on the end of my row opened a blind and this is what was outside.
The view from my seat.
Soon enough the 40 minutes to land notice was given, and the queues for the two lavatories started to swell. Joy. They disappeared at the 20 minutes to landing, and the crew came round for the final clear down, before strapping themselves in.
Before I knew it, the plane touched down at Hong Kong. I then knew it because some of the condensation on the overhead system that had built up decided to empty… on top of my head. The poor flight attendant tried not to laugh, and as soon as we had cleared the active runway, she reached into the toilet to get me a few tissues to dry myself with.
Well – it woke me up I suppose.
When we came to a standstill at the gate, the flight attendant gave me a few more tissues as well as apologies aplenty, and explained what had happened. I was fine with it – what can you do? Whine and fill in forms? Not me.
Cathay Pacific Tails. Yep. Hong Kong.
The bongs went off, and a thank you to the cabin crew, and it was time to go… all the way through World Traveller Plus, Club World and First, exiting the plane at door 1L
Overall: A very reasonable service for a 12 hour flight. The food was good, the staff were excellent and were communicative whilst offering a good product. Whilst a 777 releasing condensation ontop of me isn’t a good thing, a good member of staff watching out and reacting in the best way possible is a good thing.