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Jetstar Starclass SYD-SGN; CX J SGN-LHR

Jetstar Starclass SYD-SGN; CX J SGN-LHR

Old Jan 11, 07, 5:44 am
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Jetstar Starclass SYD-SGN; CX J SGN-LHR

I have moved to London and thought I would take the scenic route and write a report about it , having previously made stops in SIN, BKK & HKG I figured it was time to check out SGN, especialy with the recent introduction of JQ on SYD-SGN, not to mention the very reasonabley priced J fares ex-SGN.

JQ 7 (SYD-SGN): Starclass customers have a dedicated checkin aisle and I only had to wait a few minutes to check-in, I had managed to get my baggage weight down to the mandatory 30kgs for *Class customers, which when you are moving country is no easy feat, QF elites do not get their extra baggage allowance on JQ so I was stuck at 30kgs. A sullen faced middle aged woman checked me in, without offering as much as a smile and, after a few teary goodbyes I was on my way.

I headed through the duty free maze that SYD has become to the comfort of the QP (Qantas Pub/Club for the uninitiated). I noticed that it really is starting to look a little tattered and several of the lounges had the fabric ripped at the corners, I actually overheard some people at another table saying they to had never seen it looking this bad, apparently QF are planning a new QP.

After having a few bourbon and dry's I headed down to gate 31 to board. There appeared to be no preferred boarding for *C, or perhaps they are called first and then they have to queue with everyone else and so I sat and waited until the queue had died down abit before boarding. Once boarded we were offered a pre-flight beverage and amenity packs were handed out. There were only 8 people in the cabin although the Y section looked to be alot fuller.

After our late departure the meal service begun. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the meal, it was very small and one of the worst meals I have had on a plane, it would be my understanding that QF would handle the JQ catering but the standard was well below QF international Y. I had a chicken dish which came with a salad. For dessert I had a chocolate cake which again left alot to be desired. I have always thought that rather than try to serve overly complex foods airlines in Y would do better to keep it simple. After the main meal service I checked out the personal entertainment console which is handed out. The movie selection was fairly boring which I think is more a statement about the garbage coming out of Hollywood than JQ. I settled on a re-run of The Simpsons which I must have seen a thousand times and then an episode of The Office. I was thankful I had bought a book to read. The noise cancelling headsets which are given to you to keep also seem to be of quite poor quality mine stopped working after about 10 minutes and had to be replaced and I saw several other pax requiring new sets. Also most seats did not have a copy of the JQ inflight magazine, while that doesn't worry me to much I'm sure advertisers who have paid to be in it wouldn't be to happy. One pax asked for a copy and the steward had to look all over the cabin before finding a fairly tattered one.

Before begin our approach we were offered a light snack a meat pie and chocolate. I thought the pie was fantastic and really hit the spot, of course with any pie things can get messy and one moist towelette just won't cut it. But I would not mind at all if QF stuck a pie warmer at the back of their long-haul flights to help yourself to inbetween meals.

One interesting point to note, for some reason with 1:40 left on the flight I was told that the bar was now shut, which seemed very strange.

Overall the general level of service was more like that you would find at a cafe rather than a restaurant, while it was friendly it did lack some professionalism that you would find on QF, and generally seemed to be abit more laid back.

Arrival into SGN was a bit chaotic, SYD had run out of arrivals forms so it was a mad scramble to try and fill your form out before everyone else, and the baggage carousels at SGN are so small that bags must be taken off the conveyer and placed on the ground so there is enough room.

I had mixed thoughts about JQ. Would I fly them again, probably, the price is right and for day flights they do just fine for me. But I would not call this a Y+ product its more like a LCC+ product. The food isn't upto scratch and the service is abit unpolished it would loose against other Y+ products on every count.

CX766 (SGN-HKG)

SGN is a fantastic city and I was actually disappointed in myself for not opting to spend a few days there. Its one the most 'buzzing' cities I have been to, sort of like Beijing on steroids, you can really feel it developing almost taste it.

After one of the more harrowing drives to the airport in which I was glad to arrive in one piece, I headed for the CX check-in. This was being handled by only one check-in agent and consequently was taking quite along time. After waiting for ten or so minutes without the line moving, a CX agent came to me and took my ticket and passport and went to check me in. When she returned I had my BP and invite to the VN first class lounge. In SGN all eligible pax (OW Sapphire/Emerald, J/F) receive an F lounge invite, but before you get to excited let me tell you that it is probably one of the worst F lounges around. While it has a good assortment of food I think the interiors were done by the Politbureau, it had three computers with an extremely slow connection and at one point the power cut got and the lounge attendants just shrugged and said 'don't worry it happens every 15 minutes or so'.

After boarding was called I proceeded to the gate and through the gate security into the holding pen to be boarded. J class pax were put into a seperate roped off pen to wait and boarding commenced fairly quickly.

Once onboard I was treated to the famous CX service. The J cabin director came around to each passenger with the menu and introduced herself. After that everytime she came around she would address me by my name without once using a cheat sheet, which always gets ^ from me. At no time was my glass ever empty, although I was only drinking the 'Cathay Delight' it was always topped up. Halfway through the flight the CSD came by and we chatted briefly she told me about how she had recently taken her parents to Vietnam and how much they had enjoyed it. On many airlines when the CSD comes to introduce themselves to you it can feel it a little laboured, but on CX it is usually IME/O genuine. Lunch was a smoked salmon entree followed by a choice of either dory with noodles or a beef dish. I chose the Dory and it was excellent, although I do feel in the food stakes QF is usually better than CX.

After the meal service and with only 50 or so minutes to the HKG the shades were shut and the lights dimmed...I thought it was a little odd, but managed to get in a sneaky 20 minute power kip.

Arrvial into HKG was all fairly straightforward. I had checked my bags though to HKG as I was planning on doing a bit of shopping between then and my flight to LHR.
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Old Jan 11, 07, 4:24 pm
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... One interesting point to note, for some reason with 1:40 left on the flight I was told that the bar was now shut, which seemed very strange. ...
Hmmm.. I did note that on my :-:Class MEL-BKK flights an announcement that the bar (down the back) was now closed was made with about 2 hours to go. However, service for me continued; I made my last drink order with about an hour to go. That was it however, as the seat belt signs came on with 50 minutes left due to tropical storm activity.
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Old Jan 11, 07, 10:01 pm
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Nice report Bensyd. Very interesting to get feedback about the *Class product. Any chance you will finish your NK post. That was great reading ^
Oh and good luck with your move to London.
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Old Jan 13, 07, 4:56 am
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Originally Posted by serfty View Post
Hmmm.. I did note that on my :-:Class MEL-BKK flights an announcement that the bar (down the back) was now closed was made with about 2 hours to go. However, service for me continued; I made my last drink order with about an hour to go. That was it however, as the seat belt signs came on with 50 minutes left due to tropical storm activity.
I was pretty surprised there was no announcement made either, but I did notice that about 10 minutes before that a FA had come around asking if anyone wanted a drink, I guess that was 'last drinks'.
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Old Jan 16, 07, 6:52 pm
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Out of interest what champagne, Wines and beer did the serve on the flight? Also do you know what they charge for the food and drink down the back of the plane?
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Old Jan 16, 07, 9:29 pm
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Excellent report thus far. Not so enamored w/ the sounds of Jetstar, but agree w/ you about Saigon. One of my favorite cities. Looking forward to the continuation on CX to LHR.
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Old Jan 17, 07, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by hobarthoney View Post
Out of interest what champagne, Wines and beer did the serve on the flight? Also do you know what they charge for the food and drink down the back of the plane?
I did not see any champagne rear its head the entire flight....I'm not even sure they had it, but to tell the truth I find champagne about as appealing as a trip to the dentist so i wasn't going to ask if it was available. Beer and wine seemed to be standard QF Y stuff, again making the point this is JQ with a bigger seat. I don't know about pricing down the back but I do know you can pre-order your meals for some small amount like $9.95, which makes you wonder why they dont just include it in the ticket.
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Old Jan 17, 07, 8:11 am
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CX251 (HKG-LHR)

After arriving into HKG, which is one of my favourite cities, at 330 I had plenty of time to kill and managed to get in abit of shopping down at Harbour City shopping centre over in Kowloon, before getting back to the airport about 815, quite exhausted. One thing that has always puzzled me about air travel is that even though your sitting down doing nothing for long periods you still manage to get tired.

Anyway back to the story. Checkin at HKG was a breeze as it always is with CX. And I was able to clear immigration and security and be sitting in the serenity of the CX Wing about 15 mins after I had arrived at the airport. For those of you who haven't heard Cathay's lounges at HKG are second to none, even their J side lounge would put many F lounges to shame. I was going to be meeting with a fellow FT'er who had been gracious enough to let me into the F side of the Wing so I was saving my appetite for then, in the meantime though I thought I might freshen up. The showers in the CX lounges are fantastic, obviously they have not been designed with water conservation high on the agenda and its literally like standing in a summer downpour, but they are the best shower I have ever used.

After my shower I headed back to the lounge got a drink and settled in with the paper. After 15 or so minutes my FT friend showed up and we went F side for dinner.

The food on the F side was easily the best I have experienced in an airport lounge (it is catered for by The Penninsula) it was a shame that I was very tired and not really in the mood for food, I was still on Sydney time at it was coming up on 1am. After dinner I was lucky enough to be able to make use of the Cabana's. These have a full bathroom with a bathtub, shower and then a deck chair by a pond sort of thing where you can kick back and while away your time.

Unfortunately before to long it was time to board. This particular flight (which also serves as a connection for pax travelling SYD-HKG-LHR) was completely sold out in Y and J but not to full in F, which had me hoping that I might get lucky and score an op-up but OW Sapphire's would be sitting well down the list in the J cabin, although I would like my chances in Y, so I missed out. I had read on FT that 251 has a weaker service than other CX flights because it is crewed by UK based flight crew, and having flown it I can attest that it is impart true. Don't get me wrong the service on board is still excellent and would put many other F cabins to shame, but it just lacked the personal service that I found on my SGN-HKG flight. There were no introductions and I was called Sir not Mr bensyd. This may have been a result of the higher load on this particular flight or it may have been because of the aforementioned reason. Either way, the first thing I was doing was going to sleep, and sleep I did.

I woke up 4 hours from London feeling refereshed after a very deep sleep. This gave me sometime to enjoy the IFE 'Studio CX', which has an excellent range of programs much better than QF IMO. Personally I find it difficult to watch full length movies and CX seem to have more sit-coms and hour long shows than other airlines which suits me fine.

Breakfast was served about 90 minutes from LHR and started with a yogurt or cereal, followed by an scrabbled eggs and bacon or a Chinese option. I went with the scrambled eggs and which were excellent, they were not overcooked and still had the slightest hint of runniness left in them, which is just the way I like them.

Arrival into LHR was 15 minutes late due to strong headwinds during the flight. Lucky for me in the UK I can choose which line (EU or Non-EU) I want to use and on this particular morning there would have been 200 people in the EU line and including me 8 people in the Non-EU line. I was through in 5 minutes to baggage reclaim. Bags came out fairly quickly and I was impressed that unlike some other airlines at LHR notabley BA, F bags did come first and then J bags.

Hats off the CX when they get their new seats this year, it will really be hard to choose any other airline, hopefully they will be starting a LHR-JFK flight sometime soon as well. Either way I will keep sending my business their way
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Old Jan 17, 07, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by bensyd View Post
A sullen faced middle aged woman checked me in, without offering as much as a smile and, after a few teary goodbyes I was on my way.
hopefully she wasn't too upset when you left... (joking) But in all seriousness, one thing our group noticed with our recent *class flight out of Sydney was how unhelpful the QF ground staff were when you showed your Jetstar BP. In the QP they couldn't tell us about delays ("that's Jetstar's operations, we don't know anything"), or at checkin they couldn't reseat us together (even though we had booked online together and reserved seats next to one another).

I also agree re the food. Even if its a cafe-style service, there is a better standard that could be achieved.
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Old Jan 18, 07, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by ecuatorianaDC10 View Post
hopefully she wasn't too upset when you left... (joking) But in all seriousness, one thing our group noticed with our recent *class flight out of Sydney was how unhelpful the QF ground staff were when you showed your Jetstar BP. In the QP they couldn't tell us about delays ("that's Jetstar's operations, we don't know anything"), or at checkin they couldn't reseat us together (even though we had booked online together and reserved seats next to one another).
I got the same "Thats Jetstar, you probably know more than us", when I asked at the QP whether or not my FF# had been loaded because it doesn't show up on your BP. Obviously there is some arrogance on the part of QF mainline toward their cousin.

The seating thing seems to be a problem with JQ reassigning seats alot, and because they pay no attention to status you can loose your seat as a WP to a NB flying for the first time
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