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CX 580/1 : Hong Kong - Sapporo in F with 9 Kids

CX 580/1 : Hong Kong - Sapporo in F with 9 Kids

Old Dec 30, 09, 7:53 am
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tokyo, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Dublin
Programs: CX DM
Posts: 864
CX 580/1 : Hong Kong - Sapporo in F with 9 Kids

As an early christmas present, we bought ourselves a J class CX holidays package - part of Cathay's business class specials promotion during the shoulder season.

This is in fact the first time I've paid to travel in J (previously it's either company paid or loyalty), so naturally we did a lot of research into ticket prices and a/c schedules to make sure we got the best bang for the buck.

We ultimately settled on a package to Sapporo in November :
- it cost HKD 11,000 per pax incl. tax and insurance (about HKD 2,000 more now)
- comes with a 3 nights stay at JR Tower - the most convenient and likely the newest hotel in town
- and 1 nite stay at a spa resort - which we declined as we didn't have enough days of annual leave ...
- we've always wanted to go after having visited osaka and tokyo a few times already

CX Holidays is actually quite sneaky with their business class specials advertising. On the web, they show a photo of the (inaccessible) first class lounge, and in print, they use the new herringbone J seats as backdrop when in fact most of the destinations do not even have regularly scheduled service by planes with the new seats. And some of the old J seats are downright yucky.

Sapporo (CTS) then is a brightly mis-priced exception :
- it is operated more often than not by intelligently mis-used 74A's (all retrofitted with new seats since Q3)
- it is a regional flight that's sold as a 2-class, meaning elite tier members have a chance of being seated in F
- compared to the regular J class fare to CTS ~ HKD 25,000 per pax, this is an absolute steal (this fare is from the I bucket, and of course earns miles)
- and versus the Y package fare, the J package is only HKD 3,500 more per pax.
- i believe this is the longest regional flight (?) operated by CX; with a just about right flight time of around 5hr 30min

Although the F cabin is shown along with the LD / UD J cabins at OLCI, all F seats were not selectable. However, a short call to MPC later we were assigned 1A and 2A. We would have preferred 1A and 1K, but 1K is already taken by someone else (who we later find out to only be Robert Kuok !!)

Identical twin big dull dulls waiting for their flight; the Boeing 747-400 serving us today is B-HOO.

Onboard B-HOO; the IFE is still being booted but the magazines and cushions are laid out. Bigger down pillows are in the cabinets.

This was taken shortly after take-off and before the AVOD system was activated. You can see the smaller kids who joined us on this flight - from left to right they have : fly dull dull, workout mug mug, little devil dull dull, workout dull dull, and butterfly mug mug. They are all seasoned travellers now (you can see some of their earlier reports on HKADB.com or on my homepage).

The two big kids sat with my friend LJ in seat 1A.

Notice even though we managed to nab the F seat, meals were of course still J ones. This is the appetitizer - duck breast something or another.

The main course was curry chicken with rice. To be frank, the quality of food in J has definitely gone downhill. Yes it's presented on nicer casseroles and with metal cutleries, but the food itself is not meaningfully different from an economy class meal. Still, the kids had a happy time eating, especially the two big dull dulls who enjoyed AVOD during the lunch.

LJ came by my seat for a chat after the dishes were cleared away. Hehe, I think he is keeping an eye on the super rich dude in 1K and checking what he is doing .... The companion seat in the F suite is acceptably comfortable.

Ah-hah !! There is still one difference between Y and J meals - haagan daz ice cream cups - and it's an important one for the kids ! Here are the kids huddling amongst themselves trying to decide on a flavor; the fruit plate receives not quite so much attention.

The big kids also receive their share of the ice cream !

Before long it was time to get our stuff ready for landing after a very smooth and enjoyable flight.

Just a couple of photos in Sapporo; this was taken at the JR Tower hotel restaurant where we had breakfast (included in the package price). Great view to to get your bearings before you start the day.

Another shot here of LJ in front of the Sapporo JR station; hehe, I do like my wide angle lenses.


The return trip is a few posts below.

Last edited by marcuslai; Jan 4, 10 at 6:49 am
marcuslai is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 2:21 pm
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Great report! Very lucky that you got to sit in the F section. I agree with you, the J main meals are pretty rubbish, I've had better in economy.

I thought that the photos were really truly excellent, first class. You are very lucky to have such empty cabins to take some of your shots. I'm never that lucky.
matthandy is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 4:21 pm
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Thanks for the report. May I ask you what camera you use?
DLATL777 is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 4:47 pm
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Lovely trip report

Definitely a lovely trip report to read in this holiday season!

CX Business Class meals definitely need some changes...

Carfield is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 4:54 pm
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Nice report and pictures.
elitetraveler is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
Thanks for the report. May I ask you what camera you use?
Appears to be a Nikon D700.
thecmg is offline  
Old Dec 30, 09, 7:12 pm
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sweet pictures.
aaron1262 is offline  
Old Dec 31, 09, 10:11 am
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Interesting that you would have option in CTS to choose either JL lounge or JPY1200, then it even mentioned in the JL lounge it has no food, no internet access, and no air-conditioner. They are really discouraging anyone to go to the lounge.
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Dec 31, 09, 11:01 am
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great tr with EXCELLENT pictures-what lens are you using with that D700? (24-70?) Either way, great stuff
whakojacko is offline  
Old Dec 31, 09, 4:01 pm
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I enjoyed your TR very much, thanks for posting.

Cheers Larry.
larrywilmot747 is offline  
Old Dec 31, 09, 5:06 pm
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Excellent trip report.

The J seats on your return aircraft seemed to be the new updated ones. I wonder if the 777-300ER or other planes will get them?
tapolo is offline  
Old Dec 31, 09, 5:19 pm
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Great Trip report and I love the kids!! Big kid are ya? I had a stuff bear like that on my last trip in F on Japan and he had his own seat and the flight attendants thought it was the cutest thing ever! THey offered him champagne/food/dessert too haha
JumboJetLA is offline  
Old Jan 4, 10, 6:47 am
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The return flight (needed to split becuase of FT's 20 image limit) :

Two short days later we were already doing OLCI for our return flight. Same deal as before - we had to call MPC to request a seat in the F cabin, all of them were blocked. This time we requested 4A and 4D. Given all the times I stand on top of seat 4D to take photos, I thought maybe I should sit on that seat as well and not dirty someone else's.

Some light snow at CTS; no biggie.

And here was a pleasant surprise at checkin. We were offered a choice a JPY 1,200 coupon for shopping in lieu of access to the JAL lounge that had nothing to eat, no air-conditioning, and no internet access. I think the choice's pretty bloody clear. We both opted for the cash coupons. (I believe the lounge was pre-immigration as well ... wth ??)

You can redeem the coupons at restaurants or at "Sky Blue" shops that are unhelpfully concentrated at the other end of the terminal building.

We decided the coupons would be great to buy "hand-letters" in the form of Royce Chocolate boxes. Each box retails around HKD 100 in City Super and the like, but only about JPY 600 here; not a bad deal at all.

Good thing we had space in our carry on for the unexpected chocolates. You can see the other kids are also hiding in the carry-on to sneak them pass immigration and passport control, hehe.

Finally, we were ready to head to immigration and security !

The first glimpse of the 747-400 that would be taking us home tonight as we headed down to the gate.

We are served on our return flight by B-HOV who has got a cute dusting of snow on his nose. The EVA a/c next to him is being de-iced, somethng B-HOV will soon need as well. If you check out at Airmancolin's flight report here (http://www28.discuss.com.hk/viewthread.php?tid=11244311) you will notice the CX and BR flights are using the same gates there as well; it looks like CX 580/1 and BR 116/5 have reserved gates here at New Chitose.

Once on board B-HOV, we chatted with the ISM who informed us the UD would be empty today !! Naturally we headed up here to check it out. Including LJ and me, there were three pax in the F cabin, and there were a handful of others in the LD J cabin.

This photo was taken during push back with the safety video showing; I believe this is the point where they ask us to turn off all electronic devices. And hence my camera had to go ....

But then I had to turn it back on when I saw the awesome cabin lights during the takeoff roll ! Now you know why I picked seat 4D ... the 後排中間位置 that's the best to enjoy the "lights show".

After taking off, the lights were brightened and changed color to orange which apparently signaled it was time for drinks and meal service.

I wasn't too hungry and only had the appetizer - prawns with asparagus. Again, the meals are nothing to write home about though CX's wine selection is consistently excellent. I always enjoy their reds. Incidentally, where are the kids ?

It turned out that the big dull dulls had led the rest of the kids to the upper deck to hang out, they probably wanted some time away from the adults. Of course they asked the ISM and FAs for permission to leave their ticketed cabin.

Here is another photo of the upper deck cabin; gotta love B-HOV's warm almost festive lights.

The kids were asked to fill out an in-flight survey. With the de-icinggiving them an extra half hour to roam the beautiful cabins, they had nothing but praise !!
marcuslai is offline  
Old Jan 4, 10, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by whakojacko View Post
great tr with EXCELLENT pictures-what lens are you using with that D700? (24-70?) Either way, great stuff

I used the 16 mm fisheye, and the 17-35 wide angle zoom. I regretted bringing the zoom as I used the wide end 99% of the time .. could have just used a 20 mm prime and saved some weight.
marcuslai is offline  
Old Jan 4, 10, 7:14 am
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Nice report and photos!
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