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U.S. to Asia (mostly CX First, in installments)

U.S. to Asia (mostly CX First, in installments)

Old Jun 24, 02, 2:39 pm
  #1  
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U.S. to Asia (mostly CX First, in installments)

BOS-YYZ AA #4746 Y
YYZ-HKG (w. stop in ANC) CX #829F
HKG-TPE CX #406 F
TPE-KIX BR #2132 Y
KIX-NRT (not yet known)
NRT-HKG CX #521 F
HKG-LAX CX #880 F
LAX-BOS AA #222 P


6/22 3:15 PM AA (Eagle) #4746 BOS-YYZ Y ERJ-135
Well, not a good start…but it could have been worse. They couldn’t get the bathroom door on our intended plane closed and had to switch us to another. We departed one hour late, all-in-all not too bad. I’m not enjoying my seat in the Embraer but I tell myself that this will make me appreciate my CX flight all the more. I spent an hour in the Flagship Lounge in Boston before this flight…nice and empty unlike the usual evening periods I’m there with all my fellow LHR/CDG/LAX passengers.

AFTERNOON MEAL:
WINE
(none)

APPETIZER
(none)

LIGHT OPTION
(none)

MAIN COURSE
Pretzels or Harvest Whole Grain Energy Bar (new one for me, not bad!)

SNACK SELECTION
(none)
CHEESE SELECTION
(non)

DESSERT
(none)


6/22 11:30 PM CX #829 YYZ-HKG F A340 (Anchorage leg)
Well, this is the last time I connect through Toronto! I was disappointed to see that I had to clear immigration and then make may way through security again to get to my gates. I don’t know if this is usual but it took my 75 minutes to get through security and over to the BA lounge. They only had three checkpoints and were working very slowly. People were crammed in like cattle trying to get to the checkpoints and many were late for their flights. The security personnel didn’t know what to make of my CX ticket/boarding pass on AA stock. There was no gate printed on it and multiple personnel had to be consulted to ok me. This was worse than any of the security situations I saw last fall and I wasn’t even going through check-in in Toronto (got checked in at Boston). On top of that, I had to deal with a 5.5 hour layover that couldn’t be avoided. I guess all this is the price of getting the cheaper CX YYZ gateway rather than the more expensive U.S. ones, but next time I will think twice before subjecting myself to this. Anyways, I was thinking of going into Toronto for a few hours but I decided to plant myself in the BA lounge and get all my work done so that I could totally relax on the CX flights.

Everything about CX F class lived up to its billing. The CX Studio system worked perfectly, the problems some people had about disturbances from J class in the A340 did not come to pass, the sleeper seats were MUCH MORE comfortable than the cocoon sleepers I’ve had on AA’s 777s, and the service was perfect – not too intrusive but completely attentive. I had dinner, saw a movie, and took a short nap. The food was excellent, ordered “a la carte” and served whenever I pleased. My only minor complaint is that there is generally only one F class bathroom available and it is on the right side of the plane. People (like me) sitting on the left side had to cut through the galley to access it. There is a second bathroom up further on the left near the cockpit but access is generally not allowed. The FA's were good, however, about letting me use it when the primary bathroom was occupied. Future advice to other travelers on CX's A340 F class would be to sit on the right side of the plane.

APPETIZER
Iranian Sevruga Caviar and Fine Smoked Salmon served with Warm New Potatoes and Crème Fraiche

LIGHT OPTION
Mushroom Asparagus Soup
Teriyaki Chicken with Caesar Salad served with Caeser Dressing

MAIN COURSES
Medallions of Veal with Sauteed Portabello Mushroom Cream Sauce werved with Mashed Red Potatoes and Seasonal Parcels.
Rigatoni with Spicy Grilled Tomato Saude


CHINESE FAVOURITES
Steam Cod with Preserved Vegetables served with Egg Fried Rice and Stir-fried Pak Choy
Noodles with Wonton and Shui Gaw in Soup
Cantonese Style Chicken and Abalone Congee
Hot Pot Rice with Daily Soup
Lo-hon Vegetables with Bean Curd served with Steamed Rice

SNACK SELECTION
Vegetable Pizza
Smoled Salmon, Prosciutto with Melon orn Zucchini Parmigiana

CHEESE SELECTION
ICE CREAM
PRALINES AND COOKIES


I was awoken by the announcement of our approach to Anchorage – another problem with the YYZ gateway…I thought. But then I opened my shade and was greeted with a spectacular moonlit view of snow-capped mountains seemingly just feet below me! With the 2:00 AM Alaska June twilight, I have to say this was the most beautiful approach I have witnessed (followed by a sunset approach from the south over Boston harbor – not that I’m biased!). (Aside: this is probably a good subject for a new thread. What is the most beautiful/spectacular/interesting approaches in the world?)

Anyways, despite being annoyed at being awoken, I actually found the stop in Anchorage a welcome break to stretch my legs. They got everybody off the plane and through a passport checkpoint right outside the gate (a post-9/11 item I believe). We were then free to roam the surprisingly populated concourse (it was 2:30 AM local time!). I was told they get four flights a night so the duty free shops were open (do people never tire of shopping these places?) as was the snack bar. I didn’t check for a lounge as I was sure it would be closed.

More, later....
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Old Jun 24, 02, 3:04 pm
  #2  
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6/22 11:30 PM CX #829 YYZ-HKG F A340 (Hong Kong leg)
Nothing additional to say about this leg other than to note CX’s continued great service. I slept about 6 hours on this flight, watch a couple movies and had breakfast. I am a little disappointed in myself to note that on my second flight in CX F, I have already become a little jaded and am thinking that this level of service and accommodations is “normal”. The thought occurs to me that the space taken up by my first class seat is probably the equivalent of at least eight economy seats (4 “window lengths” times 2 across). This quickly revives my appreciation of this experience! Breakfast (served at my selected time) revived my appreciation too. Getting REAL toast and freshly made eggs is simply a treat that I have never had on an airplane. Yes, having this at my kitchen table would be no big deal but for some reason, it tasted 10 times better getting it 30K feet above the Pacific!

BREAKFAST

JUICES
Fresh Orange Juice, V-8 Vegetable Juice or Strawberry Smoothie Drink
Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Rasin Bran, Corn Flakes, or Rice Crispies
Low Fat Fruit Yoghurt

BREAKFAST DISHES
Freshly Made Eggs: Fried, Scrambled, or Boiled
Broccoli and Chees Egg Tart
Assorted Chinese Dim Sum, Pan Fried Turnip Cake served with Soya Sauce

ACCOMPANIMENTS
Grilled Canadian Ham, Turkey Sausage Patty, Hash Brown Potatoes, Grilled Tomato and Broiled Mushrooms

FROM THE BAKERY
Croissants, Muffins, Begels, Bread Rolls, and Fresh Toast served with Preserves, Honey, and Butter

A major highlight of this trip so far is my visit to the Wing after the flight. We arrived approx. 6:00 AM and I proceeding straight to a Cabana. What a treat! Perhaps my fellow CX world travelers who have been here several times will get a kick out the comments of a newbie like me but this alone justified my decision to take the CX route to TPE with the extra connection and all rather than an AA/EVA combo through NRT or SFO.

I’m not usually a bath guy but that deep tub drew my right in! After the long flights and connections, I spoiled myself with a bubble bath and sank! Accompanied by Bach/Handel/or something soothing, soaking in that tub with a cool soda in my hand, I became completely rejuvenated. I then spent an hour overlooking the “river” on the lounge chair, surfed the web a bit on the wireless connection, and then got dressed and headed out to explore. HKG airport was nice but I was a little disappointed to see the same retail outlets we are now seeing in every airport in the world. I took a stroll down to the other end of the airport (intentionally avoiding the tram to stretch my legs a bit) to check out the Pier.

The Pier was also a great place. I check out a day-break room for about an hour to compare with the Cabana. This is smaller than the cabana but is perfect for its intended use – a day-break. No bath facilities but this is a private room with a lounge chair, an LCD TV on the wall in front of me, and an touchscreen control panel at my left. The menu items on the control panel are as follows: Service (drinks, food, etc), lighting adjustment, air conditioning adjustment, blind open/close, alarm , TV on, TV channel, and TV volume. And, of course, a wireless internet connection that I had no trouble using. After my (second!) rest, I went over to the Pier restaurant and had some very tasty dim sum and croissants. Now, it’s off to my last leg today to TPE...(it's now Monday morning local time...I left Boston Saturday afternoon!)
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Old Jun 24, 02, 3:19 pm
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6/24 11:30 AM CX #406 HKG-TPE F A340
This is a short flight (1:15) but with the same accommodations as the long-haul YYZ-HKG flight. The FA’s promptly tried to ply me with food but I had had enough! They came right up to the edge of being too intrusive on their offers of food but backed off when they perceived I just want to relax and be left alone. They adapted well to my attitude however bringing me simply a glass of ice water and a bowl of fruit. This I welcomed. For this hour, I just reclined back and relaxed watching an old episode of Friends (yes, I admit it!) on the Studio system. We then landed promptly and I was off to my hotel. Next will be my economy flight on EVA from TPE to KIX. This will be an interesting contrast I think!

APPETIZER
Chicken Roulade and Marinated Prawns with Mango Salsa

MAIN COURSES
Lobster and Salmon with Lobster Sause
Braised Beef Brisket in Hunan Style

ACCOMPANIMENTS
Boiled Potatoes with Parsley, Steamed Rice, Mixed Vegetables, Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

DESSERT
Baked Ricotta Cheesecake served with Raspberry Sauce

BREAD BASKET
Assorteed Bread and Rolls

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Old Jun 24, 02, 8:39 pm
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After your wonderful report, I truly miss CX. Last time I flew them was last year. Oh well...,..
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Old Jun 25, 02, 7:18 am
  #5  
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That layover in YYZ is really inconvenient, isn't it? You'd think AA could throw us a bone and put in a 8pm or 9pm flight from somewhere in the eastern half of the US.

Glad you enjoyed the CX First experience. It's also one of my favorites.
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Old Jun 25, 02, 7:30 am
  #6  
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It wasn't really the length of the layover Plato90s, it was the difficulty in simply getting from my in-bound American Eagle flight over through Immigration and through Security and over to the lounge/gate. If I could simply step of the plane and walk over to the lounge, the ~4 hour layover would have been tolerable!

[This message has been edited by RKDuke (edited 06-25-2002).]
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Old Jun 25, 02, 7:43 am
  #7  
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Sometimes I wake up dreaming aboput CX FC!

Great reports. Any wine lists?

 
Old Jun 25, 02, 9:17 am
  #8  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by RKDuke:
It wasn't really the length of the layover Plato90s, it was the difficulty in simply getting from my in-bound American Eagle flight over through Immigration and through Security and over to the lounge/gate. If I could simply step of the plane and walk over to the lounge, the ~4 hour layover would have been tolerable!

[This message has been edited by RKDuke (edited 06-25-2002).]
</font>
You're coming to CANADA. It's another country.
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Old Jun 25, 02, 2:19 pm
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geo1004: sorry, I didn't keep the wine lists. I'll get the ones from my remaining CX flights posted later in this thread.

Guy Betsy: Canada is another country? Connecting through HKG or NRT or just about any other major international gateway does not involve the difficulties that connecting through YYZ involved. I suppose this is simply and indication that YYZ is more of a destination that a connection hub....
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Old Jun 25, 02, 3:33 pm
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These reports have me feverishly collecting AA miles for another CX FC trip to BKK next year, when I have yet to complete my first R/T this Dec.

The Flights and the right lounges might be becoming more important then the destination, as it is to so many on Flyertalk. Hence, the Mileage Runs, which I am avoiding without taking a few days to enjoy the favored destinations.

CX will be a delightful contrast to NW for the annualLAX-BKK Holiday trip.


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Old Jun 25, 02, 5:18 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by geo1004:
Sometimes I wake up dreaming aboput CX FC!

Great reports. Any wine lists?

</font>
Wine list from CX F:
1. Deutz 1995
2. Lynch Bages 1993
3. Gevrey Chambertin La Justice 1995
4. Taylor's St. Andrew Shiraz 1998
5. Henry Bouachon St. Joseph Roquebrusanne 1998
6. Louix Max Chablis Grand Cru 1996
7. Voyager Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 1999
Ramos Pinto Port (disappointing) and Hennessy XO (makes up for the port).
The Lynch Bages is superb but too young to drink. The Voyager Estate is an incredible wine (in fact Margaret River area is great!).

Business class list:
1. Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne
2. Louix Max Pouilly Vinzelles 1996
3. McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Chardonnay 2000
4. Mondavi Chardonnay 1997
5. Mecurey Domaine La Marche 1998
6. Chateau Fourcas Hosten, Medoc Listrac 1998
7. Dow LBV 1994

Overall an excellent wine list, well chosen with lots of scope and depth. The Deutz and Lynch-Bages are over USD 100 per bottle, so CX is not skimping on the wine budget (like some airlines). List changes monthly but the Deutz and Lynch-Bages are CX staples (thank goodness).

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Old Jun 25, 02, 5:29 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by RKDuke:

Guy Betsy: Canada is another country? Connecting through HKG or NRT or just about any other major international gateway does not involve the difficulties that connecting through YYZ involved. I suppose this is simply and indication that YYZ is more of a destination that a connection hub....
</font>
Sure Canada is another country. Japan and Hong Kong didn't have a 9-11 accident happened on or near them, which means security is arguably slightly less on the minds of people. Of course, they also don't have the threat of dirty bombs or anthrax everyday or two. A friend from Japan visiting us last month was totally puzzled why his camera (battery is dead) is considered a potential lethal weapon that the security absolutely won't let him pass for a domestic Montreal-Vancouver flight with that camera. He had to go back to the check-in counter and check that as a luggage or forfeit the camera. Had this happened in Asia, after some quick checks, they most likely will let you through, maybe causing less delays but more risky IMO.

I agree connecting through YYZ from the USA or other non-Canadian airports can be a hassle - but it all depends on the time of your arrival. Sometimes it's like a zoo but very often, it makes you understand why on average there is less than 3 people per KM square of inhabitants in Canada. In any case, Toronto by all definition is not a "destination" airport - unless, they somehow manage to win the bid for a Summer Olympic Games as they so desire. For your info, Toronto, is the 2nd or 3rd largest Star-Alliance Hub in North America. A hub is made for connections. If I can change one thing, I wish all pax connecting through Canada to go to a non-Canadian destination (e.g. LHR-YYZ-LAS or BOS-YYZ-NRT) do not have to clear the Canadian customs as they are simply connecting, not entering Canada. This is logical but not doable at this time due to the way the airport is designed.
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Old Jun 25, 02, 6:51 pm
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YYZ has always been like that, as people who live there can tell you. There has never been a sterile transit area, the way that most major airports do.

So it's not a reaction to 9/11.
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Old Jun 25, 02, 6:57 pm
  #14  
geo1004
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Thanks number-6!

With that wine list they might have a hard time getting me off the plane
 
Old Jun 25, 02, 10:37 pm
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by number_6:
[b]
Originally posted by geo1004:
Sometimes I wake up dreaming aboput CX FC!

Great reports. Any wine lists?

</font>
Wine list from CX F:
1. Deutz 1995
2. Lynch Bages 1993
...Overall an excellent wine list, well chosen with lots of scope and depth. The Deutz and Lynch-Bages are over USD 100 per bottle, so CX is not skimping on the wine budget (like some airlines). List changes monthly but the Deutz and Lynch-Bages are CX staples (thank goodness).

number_6:
Glad to discover another fan of Deutz! But I'm curious ... at over US$100/bottle, can I presume that you are referring to either the 1995 "Amour de Deutz" or the 1995 "Cuvée William Deutz"? Deutz's two other 1995 cuvées should sell for about half as much.

(edited to correct problem in quoting previous post)

[This message has been edited by bbinchi (edited 06-25-2002).]
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