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Asia's World City - New & Old - British Airways First Class (w/pics)

Asia's World City - New & Old - British Airways First Class (w/pics)

Old Apr 6, 11, 7:55 am
  #1  
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Arrow Asia's World City - New & Old - British Airways First Class (w/pics)

Index to Genius1 trip reports

Introduction

Welcome to another of my trip reports, this time covering my flights to Hong Kong in British Airways First. As is usual with my trip reports, this will be photo-heavy and quite detailed in terms of lounges, onboard service and inflight product – these are the areas that interest me and what I look for when reading a trip report. My aim in writing a trip report is to make you, the reader, feel as if you’re sitting next to me (although not right next to me – this is first class after all!). Enjoy!

So, I was off to Hong Kong for a week’s break, staying in the InterContinental Grand Stanford. Taking advantage of the European BA sale in January, I purchased tickets ex-Amsterdam, and so my ‘main’ booking route would by AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS in Club World, upgraded to First with 80,000 BA miles thanks to a helpful BA Gold line agent. Being London based, it was necessary to get to AMS to start the trip, and so I booked a cheap BA flight to AMS early morning, requiring an overnight stay at the Sofitel London Gatwick. After having nightmares about Euro Chaveller, I promptly took advantage of the relatively cheap online upgrade price to Club Europe, also choosing to do the same for my return AMS-LHR flight at the end of the trip. This trip would thus earn 400 tier points, with 2 sectors in First (earning 120 TPs each due to the Club World base fare paid with cash) and 4 in Club Europe (40 TPs each).

Sofitel London Gatwick

The day before departure, I took a taxi from my London apartment to Victoria station. Upon arrival, I queued (a new concept for me) with the great unwashed at the ticket desks in order to purchase an anytime single ticket to Gatwick Airport station, travelling with Southern Railway. The Gatwick Express, rather pricey, represents only a ten minute time saving, and as I wasn’t pushed for time, I took the 40 minute Southern Railway option. Using a mainline service also enabled me to get rid of a leftover £10 compensation railway voucher I had received for a re-route and delay on Worst Late Western at the end of last year. The journey to Gatwick passed by relatively quickly (in standard class, no less – the 2-2 seating was a shock, I can tell you!), and soon I was taking the newly refurbished driver-less transit from South to North terminals, the stations of which are actually quite impressive now.

Emerging into the North Terminal, I backtracked down the short covered walkway to the Sofitel. There was no queue to check in, and I was warmly welcomed as a ‘special guest’ by virtue of my A-Club Gold membership. In fact, I was apparently so unique that I was called ‘special’ no fewer than four times during the check-in process. Perhaps the receptionist reads FlyerTalk. I was informed my room had been upgraded from a Classic (standard) room to a Superior room, although after enquiring, the complimentary internet was not available to me. I tried to negotiate staying in the standard room and having complimentary internet, but alas this was not possible. The check-in process seemed to take a good 5 minutes or so (with payment collected on check-in), but soon enough I was walking into a good-sized room on the 6th floor, overlooking the airport as requested. The receptionist had also given me a complimentary drinks voucher for use in the bar, and a 2-hour wifi access code for the lobby, although both went unused. I ended up paying £15 for 24 hours’ wired internet – speeds were good, although the LAN cable could have been longer.

The room was clean and bright, the bathroom in good condition, with a comfortable bed and soft chair. I liked the L’Occitane bathroom amenities, complimentary mineral water and the token ‘pate de fruit’ (although that turned out to be disgusting!), and it was good to see a shower screen rather than a curtain in the bathroom, although the shower was over the bath, which I dislike. I would much prefer to have a walk-in shower and no bath. The major downside of the room for me was the warmth, which did not seem to dissipate, despite having the air conditioning on the lowest 18 degrees setting constantly.


Superior room


Bathroom


View of the airport from the room

I settled in for the evening, enjoying the views over the airport, including three recently retired BA 757s, stripped of their markings and looking rather forlorn at the far side of the airfield. I did not, however, enjoy the rubbish quality picture on the CRT television – not exactly 21st century! Skipping dinner, I took an early night ready for my 04:30 wake-up.

Unfortunately the temperature of the room did not decrease much, but I managed a few hours’ sleep before taking a shower – the pressure was adequate, but the towels were a little hard, and the provision of only one flannel was a little stingy. I checked out at around 05:30 (no queue at this time of the morning) and made the short walk to the North terminal.

LGW-AMS-LHR, BA Club Europe (or LGW-LHR, Taxi)

The BA check-in area in Zone D has had a bit of a refurbishment, and now boasts smart LCD screens above the desks. I collected my boarding pass from the First desk (no queue), swiped a First bag tag (yep, absolutely shameless!) and headed through Fast Track security, which thankfully was fast. The slightly unfriendly security agent said my liquids bag was too big, and one item had to be disposed of to fit the remainder into the DfT-regulation bag… it’s honestly pot luck whether agents will pick you up on this, but I’ll admit I took a chance and it didn’t work. Oh well!

Through to airside I took the world’s slowest lift up to Level 4 of the Lounge Pavilion, the home of the BA Galleries First and Galleries Club lounges, both of which have been refurbished into a sort-of Galleries concept (the new furniture, carpet and lights are present, but the bars etc. are old style). Turning right, through the doors (complete with old ‘FIRST’ logo), I was welcomed into the completely empty F lounge and took a seat at the far end.


LGW Galleries First overview, looking towards the entrance





Soon a waitress appeared and took my order for a bacon baguette, which arrived promptly and was devoured with a glass of fresh orange juice. Here is the menu for LGW Galleries First;

--

Breakfast

Starters

Selection of plain of fruit yogurt
Selection of cereals

Bakery
Warm toast
Selection of pastries
Grilled bacon on white baguette
Sautéed mushroom and tomato on white baguette

Accompaniments
Orange marmalade, honey and preserves

Rest of the Day

Starters

Fresh soup of the day served with a variety of Continental breads
Selection of freshly prepared sandwiches
Selection of freshly prepared salads
Fresh vegetable crudités accompanies by a selection of dips

Cheese and Fruit
Selection of seasonal fruit
Fresh fruit salad
Selection of cheese with biscuits, celery and grapes

Afternoon Tea
Your choice from a range of tea sandwiches and traditional English cakes served with a pot of freshly brewed tea

--

As the lounge slowly started to receive more passengers for the first few European flights of the day, the receptionist came over to me and announced the ‘bad news’ that my flight to Amsterdam had been cancelled due to ATC problems in the Netherlands. Needless to say my heart skipped more than a beat at this point. Possibly the worst thing that could happen had happened – I wasn’t going to be able to get to the start of my ex-EU booking, and would therefore be unable to board the flight to HKG. As it transpired, however, the receptionist wasn’t sure whether AMS would be functioning properly at all today, meaning that I had a bit of negotiating power in allowing me to start the trip direct from LHR. A ticketing manager was called, and shortly a car was secured to take me from LGW to LHR, paid for by BA after a gentle reminder of my Gold status and First flight to HKG – a big well done to BA for this. I can’t stress enough how helpful both the manager and lounge agent were at LGW – ba.com/welldone completed!

Within 30 minutes the receptionist approached me again to hand me a £10 refreshment voucher (not really needed with lounge access, but a nice gesture nonetheless), and a friendly BA agent arrived to escort me through a side entrance through arrivals – a first for me, and very welcome! We initially went to the taxi desk, where they had no record of a booking to LHR, but soon enough my name was paged over the airport system, and we met the driver at the Airport Information desk. Thanking the BA agent, I followed the driver to his car in the short stay car park, and was rolling up at LHR a little under an hour later after a customary queue on the M25.

LHR-HKG, BA First

The driver dropped me at the far end of the terminal, and I made the short walk to First check-in in Zone J. I was welcomed (and recognised) by one of the Special Services team whom I have spoken with before, and escorted to an empty desk. My boarding pass was printed and I was on my way to Fast Track security (South) within a few minutes. The queues were, not unusually, pretty ridiculous for ‘Fast’ Track, and it took around 10 minutes to get through, with two scanners available for premium passengers. The normal lines looked equally busy, so I didn’t bother switching.

I felt a little pang of excitement, I’m not ashamed to admit, as I approached the guardian of the ‘magic doors’ to the Concorde Room (the doors which I usually mournfully glance at on my way to Galleries First). This excitement increased as I walked through the doors for the first time in almost three years and was welcomed by name at the reception desk into, in my opinion, one of the very best airline lounges in the world.

After depositing my roll-aboard at the luggage desk in the lounge, I headed first for the Concorde Dining area, and was shown to a table by the entrance to the area.


The entrance to Concorde Dining in the CCR

I ordered a full English breakfast (minus the mushrooms), with a glass of orange juice. The quality was adequate, but service had vastly improved since my last visit. Staff regularly passed through the lounge clearing empties and taking orders. After my full English, I opted for a pot of English breakfast tea, nicely presented on a china tray. Here is the breakfast menu available in the CCR;

--

Breakfast

Starters

Freshly baked croissants and Danish pastries
Toast, bagels, muffins and brioche
Selection of cereals, muesli and granola
Traditional porridge
Orange segments, grapefruit halves, freshly prepared fruit salad and mixed berries
Yogurt selection
Fresh fruit juice
Jams, preserves, honey and marmalade

Main
Traditional English breakfast featuring –
Sausage, bacon, mushroom, tomato and baked beans
Scrambled eggs
Kippers
Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
Eggs Benedict
Soft-boiled eggs with soldiers
Freshly prepared waffles
Selection of fresh bread and baguettes
Selection of chilled meats and cheese

Beverages
Traditional tea and speciality teas
Freshly ground bean-to-cup coffee
Hot chocolate
Selection of biscuits

--


Concorde Dining breakfast table setup


The butter had started to melt…


My choice of full English breakfast


Breakfast tea tray

Last edited by Genius1; Mar 18, 12 at 9:00 am
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Old Apr 6, 11, 7:56 am
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After breakfast, I took a seat in various spots around the lounge (not that I can split my body parts, but I did have about 10 hours in the lounge!). I ordered some drinks from the Concorde Bar, which were promptly delivered at my seat.
















Concorde Bar

Dumbledore (aka Sir Michael Gambon) entered the lounge at one point (alone) and headed straight for the Concorde Terrace.


Concorde Terrace




Fantastic view from the Concorde Terrace


BA 772

Approaching midday, the menus were changed for lunch, and I perused these for a while, deciding to eat lunch at around 13:00. Before this, I confirmed my 16:00 cabana booking at the Quintessentially concierge desk with a friendly agent, and booked a massage chair at the Elemis spa for 14:55 upon the Quintessentially lady’s recommendation.

I checked at the customer service desk if my flight had New First, but she was unable to tell as it was so far in advance of departure. Shortly thereafter, the agent came over to advise I’d been offloaded from the HKG flight! Yeah, fantastic work BA! Anyway, this mess was quickly sorted out with a lengthy explanation from me. It was a bit disappointing that some miscommunication had occurred between LGW and LHR, but the CCR lady (possibly Special Services, judging by the non-uniform), was professional and friendly throughout, and most apologetic about the whole fiasco.


CCR Board Room



At around 13:00 I wandered over to the dining area once again, was promptly escorted to a table and drinks orders taken. From the menu, I opted for ‘Farmhouse Chicken and Tarragon Pie’ (not wonderful, but the mash was tasty enough), followed by the ‘English Custard with Summer Berries and Clotted Cream’ (absolutely fantastic). Service was spot on – a different waiter served me for lunch, and he was excellent – better than in most restaurants. My experiences with breakfast and lunch in the CCR confirm my opinion that the SYD Qantas First lounge offers far better quality food, but that I do prefer the general ambiance of the CCR over the more crowded QF F lounge (which is nevertheless still amongst the best). I think I’ll email BA about the CCR food – it needs to be so much better for their flagship ground product. Here is the post-12:00 menu available in the CCR;

--

Menu

Starters

Soup of the day
Tomato and Mozzarella with basil on roast garlic crostini
Tapas platter

Light Bites
Bacon, lettuce and tomato on whole-grain bloomer bread
Toasted classic deli
Grilled chicken strip wrap with red Thai coleslaw and lettuce
Mature Cheddar with tomato, chilli and lime chutney, lettuce and tomato on a soft roll
British Airways signature burger

Salads
Chicken Caesar
Vegetarian garden salad

Main
Herdwick mutton Shepherd’s pie
Spaghetti allo scoglio
Farmhouse chicken and tarragon pie
English farmed salmon

Desserts
English custard with summerberries and clotted cream
Warm treacle tart with vanilla ice cream
English yogurt and raspberry smoothie with honey
British cheese trolley

--


Concorde Dining booth set up for lunch/dinner


Lunch/dinner table setup


Rather bland main course


Delicious dessert

A wander into the main departures concourse of T5A emphasised just how remarkably quiet and exclusive the CCR is – I felt very lucky, and even considered guesting in one of the passengers sitting at the bottom of the lounge escalators, but decided against it to avoid any embarrassing conversation. They were mostly wearing trainers anyway, and I even spotted a football shirt amongst the throng…

At 14:50 I made my way next door from the CCR to the Elemis Travel Spa, and after a short wait and filling in the health and safety form, I was being pummelled away in the ‘intelligent massage chair’. It was my first experience of such a thing – it woke me up more than relaxed me, which was great considering I’d been awake since 04:30 and needed to stay awake for the next five hours at least! The Elemis area features soothing music and changing mood lighting, which is actually quite relaxing, although the curtains do not give a great deal of privacy when you’re in the massage ‘room’. I’d never had any form of spa treatment or massage before, so have nothing to compare the Elemis experience with. I don’t really see the point of it to be honest, although it seems popular.


Mood lighting in the Galleries South Elemis waiting area

Last edited by Genius1; Apr 10, 11 at 5:48 am
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Old Apr 6, 11, 7:57 am
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After the massage, I checked with the customer service desk in the CCR once again, and was delighted to learn that my flight would have New First – fantastic! Large-screen IFE and funky electronic blinds here I come!

Checking with the Quintessentially desk revealed that my cabana was in use until my pre-booked time of 16:00, and so I whiled away the next half hour sitting opposite Concorde Dining at the bar stools (although not the ones actually at the Concorde Bar). A hot chocolate was ordered and promptly delivered – sadly not quite as good as my favourite Costa Marchmont Street (London) one! At this point I felt that I had become something of a fixture in the CCR, and the staff were going to find it hard to get rid of me…

I was escorted to my cabana just before 16:00, and was shown to Cabana 1, the largest of the three, which is equipped for disabled use (although done so in a discreet way). The cabana is basically an open plan living area with chair, footstall, side tables, desk chair, TV and mineral water. One can order from the CCR menu if they so wish, via a buzzer device on the table. Lighting is fully adjustable via a control panel. The attached washroom area was sufficient, although the pressure of the shower was far from good – equally, the water temperature fluctuated way too much and the noisy drain really is ridiculous. Also lacking were flannels – forgotten, or not provided?! I could have asked for some, but by the time I realised, I was already under the water… My final dislike was the low basin, I guess because of the disabled access, but this meant I splashed water unavoidably everywhere when shaving. In summary, the cabanas are OK for a shower and a quick lie down, but you wouldn’t want to spend too long in one (they are a little claustrophobic), unless you perhaps were with children. Yes, if you have children, definitely go to a cabana. And stay there. Especially if you’re on my flight in F with me.


Cabana 1, looking towards the washroom area


Looking towards the living area of Cabana 1

Exiting the cabana, I asked at the reception desk which gate my flight was scheduled for, and as predicted it would depart from T5B. The journey over to the satellite only took ten minutes from CCR to the T5B Galleries Club, and before long it was approaching 18:00, so I made my way back downstairs to Gate B43. This gate is equipped with dual airbridges, but of course as is usually the case at LHR with BA, only one was in use, attached to Door 2. I wonder whether they’ll still only use one airbridge when boarding their A380s… The gate area was quite crowded, but I found a seat right in front of the Fast Track lane, just as pre-boarding was announced for those needing assistance. Shortly afterwards, a general boarding call was announced for the rear WT rows and any premium passengers to board at their leisure through the dedicated lane. I wish shorthaul departures had Fast Track lanes – it would make the world of difference. I was the first person through the BP check and down the airbridge, to be greeted at the door by the CSD and welcomed by name before being escorted to my suite 2A in the nose of this 747.

Date: March 2011
Route: LHR [London Heathrow] (T5) – HKG [Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok] (T1)
Aircraft: B747-436, G-BYGA (1998)
Seat: 2A (First)


First impressions of the New First cabin were overwhelmingly positive –a quality look and feel, with good lighting and personal space. As I was shown to my seat, I made a comment about it being the New F cabin and the CSD asked whether I’d flown in the New First cabin before, to which I replied no. She then proceeded to run through a quick tour of the suite with me, highlighting the individual wardrobe and suite controls in particular. The two main F crew appeared at this point (one male, one female) and welcomed me onboard, commenting how they wished the ‘Prime’ seat was on all aircraft. As the CSD headed back to the door, the female F crew member (mainly serving my aisle) asked me whether I’d like a drink. Within a minute my requested glass of still water was delivered, together with a bottle for takeoff.


New F in the nose of this 747 G-BYGA




Suite 2K


Suite 1K

As I settled into my very comfortable suite, I noted all the new features of New F – the blue mood lighting, the new reading lamp, electronic window blinds, intuitive dial controls, large pop-out IFE screen, personal wardrobe, wider ottoman and nifty folding tray table (one side leather, the other smart black). The literature pocket is now at the side of the seat, containing High Life and First Life magazines, the safety card, sick bag and, most useful, a guide to the suite. On the ottoman were slippers and a blanket, with a cushion on the seat and bedding (including mattress cover, duvet and pillow) in the overhead locker. The central wardrobe between suites 1A and 1K has been retained, with a new magazine storage rack in the centre podium in front of 4EF. The F galley and washrooms have both been slightly refurbished with both having new wall coverings, and the latter having new lighting. Fans of the window in the forward First washroom will be pleased to note that it hasn’t been covered.


Legroom shot


Suite control panel and reading light


Suite control panel (left) and blind controls (right)


New two-window setup

As the cabin filled up to its full complement on this flight of 8/14 (occupied seats were 1AK, 2AK, 4EF, 5EF), the cabin crew checked on pre-departure drinks levels and soon distributed Anya Hindmarch amenity kit bags (filled with REN products) and sleeper suits (PJs).


Amenity kit and PJs


Amenity kit close-up


Amenity kit contents (photo taken in the IC Grand Stanford)


New lampshade in the washroom

Mr 1A was quite jovial about the accidental spilling of champagne over him by one of the cabin crew. A takeoff delay was announced from the flight deck due to overcrowding at the takeoff runway (pretty much a given at LHR), but the delay was only around ten minutes, during which time the safety video was displayed and I got my first taste of the new, larger, IFE screen – great size, but the IFE picture is low resolution, not putting the new high resolution screen to good use.

After a smooth takeoff and climb from RWY 09R, the CSD made a welcome announcement, gave a flight time of approximately 11 hours, and introduced the crew, noting that First would provide an ‘a la carte’ service, and all other cabins would be served a ‘hot meal’. Ah, the luxury of an international first class service. Shortly, the CSD made an appearance in the cabin and did the rounds welcoming each passenger by name individually, setting the tone for the rest of the service that was really very good indeed. BA’s crew can be hit or miss, but this crew was most definitely a hit.

As further drinks orders were taken and nuts delivered, I fired up the IFE and started watching the latest Harry Potter movie. Being quite a dark (literally) movie, the poor quality of the video feed could noticeably be seen. The movie itself was actually rather disappointing – I had been expecting more.




Excellent split-screen map view


Post-takeoff drinks and nuts

At this point, the menu and wine list was provided for my perusal – I had emailed You First who had sent me the March menu for the BA25, but despite still being March, the April menu was onboard this evening! So faced with new choices, I spent a little longer before choosing. Here is the Dinner menu for BA25 (April 2011), with my choices highlighted in red;

--

Dinner

Starters

Chicken liver parfait with West Country apple brandy
Croustade of mushrooms and quail egg with Hollandaise sauce
Cream of leek and potato soup
Fresh spring salad with your choice of balsamic dressing with golden rapeseed oil, blue cheese dressing or olive oil

Main
Lamb rendang with sesame-coated vegetables and jasmine rice
Wild turbot with cauliflower puree, buttered samphire and British clam vinaigrette
Free-range corn-fed roast spring chicken with bread sauce, fondant potato and spring vegetable parcel
Italian panzanella salad with petite Nicoise olives

Bistro Selection
Roast pork belly with apple cream sauce and broccoli
Warm salted beef and Swiss cheese on Manoucher bread with pickled cucumber and English mustard dressing
A selection of biscuits
A selection of cheese and fruit

Dessert
Pear tarte fine with cinnamon ice cream
Trio of coffee desserts featuring tiramisu, warm coffee fondant and espresso ice cream

Cheese Plate
Rougette
Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue
Quickes Farmhouse Cheddar
Banon

A basket of fresh fruit
Chocolates

--

Last edited by Genius1; Apr 7, 11 at 8:56 am
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Old Apr 6, 11, 7:58 am
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I opted to eat straight away, and so within 15 minutes or so my table was set with the ‘new’ service, featuring red water glass.


Dinner table setup

A choice from a basket of bread was offered, along with an undisclosed canapé plate – quite a tasty thing, but still none the wiser as to what it actually was.



The soup starter was delicious, possibly the best soup I’ve ever tasted, served with a fresh (but uninspired) side salad and further choice of bread.





The lamb rendang was very nice too, followed by an equally lovely coffee-inspired dessert trio.




Dessert, showcased on the leather folded table

A pot of English breakfast tea concluded the dinner service which was as good in quality as Qantas’s First offering, although BA do provide slightly larger portions (most welcome!).





The mood lighting was in full swing by now, and I lowered my electronic blind to reveal a funky blue effect, mimicking the roof and floor lighting of the F cabin. As I took my PJs to the (consistently clean) washroom to change, the male member of the cabin crew offered to make up my bed, and when I returned my seat had transformed into a 6’6” flat bed, made all the more spacious thanks to the lowering armrests in New F. After concluding Harry Potter, I switched the lighting to the lowest setting (all off except a faint blue light in the foot area, covered mostly by the reclined seat). However, the blue light in the centre of the cabin ceiling was on throughout the night, and really was most annoying. Apparently the new B77Ws are even worse, with two white spotlights at the rear of the cabin remaining on throughout the night in addition to the blue light. According to a Business Traveller article, BA are set to make a change to the software to allow crew to dim the lighting further, but how long this upgrade will take to come into effect remains to be seen.







The bed itself was very comfortable (plenty long and wide enough too), and privacy has slightly improved in New F over the older seat, with the ‘wings’ around the head area having been extended slightly. It would be good to see some sort of door to the suite, however, although this may prove a little too claustrophobic for some. After a few hours’ rest, I settled on watching The Social Network, a most impressive film that made for interesting viewing. I requested the rather refreshing breakfast fruit plate halfway through the movie, and this was promptly brought by a female cabin crew member who seemed to have relieved my ‘usual’ crew member. At the end of The Social Network, I was beginning to feel the jetlag a little, and dozed for another few hours before awakening to the sounds of breakfast being prepared in the galley.




Annoying blue light


The Social Network

Here is the Breakfast menu for BA25 (April 2011), with my choices again highlighted in red;

--

Breakfast

Starters

Chilled fruit juice
An energising fruit smoothie

A selection of yoghurts
A selection of cereals
Fresh seasonal fruit plate
A wide selection of breakfast pastries and rolls

Main
Traditional English breakfast of scrambled free-range eggs with grilled bacon, Irish pork and herb sausage, baked Portobello mushroom, hash-brown potatoes, black pudding and baked beans
Smoked salmon and scrambled egg burrito with cheese sauce
Blueberry French toast crumble with blueberry syrup

Beverages
Teas
Coffee

--



After changing back into something a little more civilised, during breakfast I listened to some of Taylor Swift’s latest album – I’ve not heard much by her before, but was impressed enough after the flight to purchase the album on iTunes. I enjoyed my fruit smoothie and gooseberry yogurt, but was not feeling up to a full English breakfast. Mr 2K clearly was, however, and seemed quite surprised at the arrival at his seat of an overflowing plate of unhealthiness!


Ottoman in the morning light (still very narrow)


The usual ‘almost there’ shot

Shortly decent had begun, and I requested a duty free bag from the crew in which I deposited my PJs and washbag (I had packed my rollaboard to full capacity, as I had not checked in any hold baggage). We arrived in HKG on time via RWY 07L, and taxied to Gate 19 at the main building end of the terminal.

Sensibly, all gates at HKG have dual airbridges, and both of these are always utilised for widebody aircraft. As such, we disembarked through Door 1L, with the crew holding back the Club World masses. The gentleman from 1A and I exchanged a little ‘you go first… no, you go first’ moment at the door, as he emerged from the ‘K’ side of the aircraft through the galley. The friendly female crew member who had mostly been serving me exchanged a comment along the lines of ‘so polite’, and with a thank you and a smile I departed the aircraft and embarked on the 5 minute walk to immigration. It took about 10 minutes to be processed through the Visitors channel, but once I had my passport stamped I was landside within two minutes.

The Airport Express is by far the easiest way to reach Kowloon/Hong Kong Island, and there is a ticket desk conveniently located to the right before making the final exit into the arrivals hall. After purchasing an excellent value HK$300 Octopus card, allowing for two Airport Express journeys and unlimited MTR/MTR Bus travel for three consecutive days, it didn’t take me long to find the clearly signed train platform. The journey to Kowloon Station took around 20 minutes, and thanks to no queue for a taxi at the extremely efficient manned taxi rank, I was checking in at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong only around an hour after landing.

Next: InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong and my time in Asia’s World City

Last edited by Genius1; Apr 10, 11 at 5:48 am
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Old Apr 6, 11, 8:31 am
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Great report so far! F looks like Cathay's new J class! Cheers
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Old Apr 6, 11, 8:35 am
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Nice work so far Genius1. BA need to sort out the catering in the CCR and onboard F badly.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 8:52 am
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Great report, very well put together, v envious.

^^
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Old Apr 6, 11, 9:06 am
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Excellent as always.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
The Airport Express is by far the easiest way to reach Kowloon/Hong Kong Island, and there is a ticket desk conveniently located to the right before making the final exit into the arrivals hall. After purchasing an excellent value HK$300 Octopus card, allowing for two Airport Express journeys and unlimited MTR/MTR Bus travel for three consecutive days, it didn’t take me long to find the clearly signed train platform. The journey to Kowloon Station took around 20 minutes, and thanks to no queue for a taxi at the extremely efficient manned taxi rank, I was checking in at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong only around an hour after landing.

Next: InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong and my time in Asia’s World City
For your return trip (or when you come back next time), you can always take the FREE airport express shuttle bus to/from your hotel to the MTR station and save yourself money/time from the taxi queue (if there is one).

http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/airport_ex..._free_bus.html

Cheers - nice report so far! ^ Enjoy HK - the best city on earth

-jeremy
kmfdm91 is offline  
Old Apr 6, 11, 9:25 am
  #10  
 
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Great TR, bet you must have been shattered before you got on the 747 having got up so early, to catch the non existant flight to AMS, and then spent 10 hrs in the CCR, at least you were away from the masses. Do not like the look of those blue lights, can imagine they can be quite off putting if trying to get to sleep, and also as you noted the ottoman is certainly still very small, much prefer the A380 ones. Anyway glad you had a good trip.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 9:40 am
  #11  
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Really enjoyed this Genius 1. ^^^^


I think my heart would have missed more than a beat or two with the LGW-AMS flight cancelled and then later on finding out you've been offloaded at LHR!

I have only ever been in the CCR twice and on each occasion (as one of the great unwashed) it was special. Yes there is an increased sense of excitement approaching them doors when you've not done it for a few years! A bit of miscommunication but SS seem to have sorted it. Thanks for taking the time to post and look forward to the next installment!

And no Mushrooms with a Traditional Breakfast?
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Old Apr 6, 11, 10:20 am
  #12  
 
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Have to admit that is a GORGEOUS cabin!

Thanks so much for your excellent trip report!
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Old Apr 6, 11, 11:39 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by maortega15 View Post
Great report so far! F looks like Cathay's new J class! Cheers
Far from it...Cathay Business Class likewise Air Canada widebody 'executive first' are narrow angle facing the isle (narrow) and geometrically even smaller than the old CX J or most regional widebody J; whereas the new BA First is similar to UA's or KA's First argonomically positioned towards the windows which is much much better and much more suite like.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 11:52 am
  #14  
 
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Great trip report! I'm really impressed that they didn't do any fuss over your ex-EU booking!
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Old Apr 6, 11, 12:19 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by mraquinas View Post
Far from it...Cathay Business Class likewise Air Canada widebody 'executive first' are narrow angle facing the isle (narrow) and geometrically even smaller than the old CX J or most regional widebody J; whereas the new BA First is similar to UA's or KA's First argonomically positioned towards the windows which is much much better and much more suite like.
I think the reference is to CX's new 2011 J rather than the current J coffins.

Great TR so far, G1, but I must agree with previous poster, no mushrooms on a full English
LGW GF will knock you up a bacon and mushroom bagette if you ask nicely. ^

Looking forward to the next instalment - (currently in CX F lounge waiting for tonight's CX256)
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