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CA PEK-HKG in F, UA HKG-SFO in New C

CA PEK-HKG in F, UA HKG-SFO in New C

Old Aug 5, 09, 1:59 am
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CA PEK-HKG in A330 Domestic F, UA HKG-SFO in New 747 C

Last week I flew to PEK, in UA C. This I assume has been covered many times before so I will spare you. I was in seat 9H on the 777 (no row 8 in C) tons of legroom, service was great. Old config.

After a few uneventful business days in Beijing, I flew to HKG on CA (Air China). I should note that I was in the Haidian District of Beijing, and the newer 4 Points Sheraton was actually a pretty good value at $70 USD a night including the western style breakfast buffet- a decent hotel if you are traveling to Beijing, and are in the Starwood deal.

This is the first trip report I felt compelled to post, mostly due to rarely seeing anything reported on Air China premium cabins- so here goes. Bear with me as my analytical/economist mindset sometimes gets in the way of my creative powers. I'll try to keep it brief and informative.

Upon check in at PEK, I was offered an "upgrade" at the StarAlliance Gold counter for $250 USD approx. I politely declined- as a general rule I never burn cash/miles/upgrade ammo on CA upgrades.

I proceeded to the AirChina Business/First lounge and had a decent curry and a cold drink before heading to the gate- I took the speedy golf cart as my gate was at the other end of the terminal and it is only 10RMB ($1.50). It's pretty fun whisking through the terminal- beats walking!



It was a bus gate, and boarding had already started. I waited on line and when I got to the GA he scanned my BP, pauses, takes a sharpie out and scribbles on my pass- and waves me through. I didn't think much of it until I was on the bus and had a look- he crossed out my original seat (35J) and wrote 13A on the pass. I knew it was an A330 but had no idea the config.

Once on the plane, the FA looked at my pass and steered me left- into F! Jackpot. I've flown CA a bunch and never in any cabin other than Y so I was mostly curious.

The seats were pod-esque, maybe resembling an early generation "suite" type of config.



They served champagne, very polite and service oriented. The AVOD was a bit on the smallish side I thought, compared to UA's screen size in the new config. Always interesting is the "nose" camera choice- especially when still on the ground and seeing the tug in line to tow you to taxi position.





The seat wasn't quite lie flat, and had 2 sets of controls. One with preset positions, and then under the armrest was a more customized control. Overall quite comfortable really.





The food wasn't too bad. They served an appetizer selection-sorry I took a big bite out of the bread- whoops!



Also the main course of a BBQ flavor mystery meat (pork I think?)- and a very strangely clear but quite tasty soup- maybe clam or mushroom. Small fruit plate for the finale.







All in all, a very nice flight with good service. I watched a movie (Charlie Wilson's War- pretty dated AVOD selection) and the AVOD worked well.



On to HKG!

The report begins with one of the best Red Carpet Club's in the system IMHO. It seemed especially crisp to me. There were a few people in suits who were perusing with the staff, perhaps some UA brass or RCC brass on inspection or training? At any rate, the club was clean and had as much food out as I've ever seen at an RCC. I was welcomed with much fanfare at the desk?! I was thinking maybe I had found my way to the wrong lounge?!

Here are a few pics of the club. Generally other than it usually feeling a bit hot/stuffy, HKG RCC is a decent place to kill an hour or two. I think the stuffiness is due to the high glass ceilings allowing the heat from the glass and terminal to make the open second floor a bit of a sun deck. Good food and drink selection was plentiful and varied, don't think like the SilverKris SQ in Singapore- but pretty good and GREAT for an RCC.










There are always some cool views of the International Terminal planes from the windows-



The UA 747 new configuration was really nice for the HKG-SFO flight. This is the first time I have gotten into the new seats for this long of a flight. I got about 6 hours of sleep in the flat position, and it was more comfortable than I thought it would be. Putting the armrests into the lowered position is absolutely necessary for sleeping. I am 6'0 tall, and I fit pretty well in the lie flat.



The first course was hot smoked salmon and smoked duck slices with wasabi mayonnaise along with fresh seasonal greens and a creamy coriander caraway dressing.



For the main course, I chose the pan seared filet mignon with porcini mushroom jus over the chicken piccata or the miso marinated halibut. The filet was perfectly cooked, and delicious accompanied by potato herb ragout and Kenya beans with pumpkin. Very nice. Of course all accompanied by a nice red wine, Andean Malbec 2007 Mendoza. The FA's kept drinks topped up for the entire meal.



I then watched a movie and the AVOD worked really well. I was feeling a bit tired, so I set the seat for "flat" and I slept for about 6 hours. I should note that I was in a rear facing seat, and the 2 or 3 degree of natural incline from the forward motion of the plane made for good sleeping in the flat position. I'm glad my head wasn't below my feet and would choose rear facing again.

When I woke up, the sunrise over the Pacific was awesome. Of course, pictures never do justice but it was like a 30 minute symphony of colors and I did try to take one shot with my blackberry...



I'd upgrade on CA more often if I thought I could have that level of service, and the new SuiteDream seats on UA were fantastic.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by JSlo; Aug 5, 09 at 5:02 pm Reason: slight title change at suggestion
JSlo is offline  
Old Aug 5, 09, 5:11 am
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Very interesting, thank you.
Can I ask whcih of the configs of the A330 you were on?
Air China has seatplans on its website, but I can't see one with F
http://www.airchina.co.uk/en/managem...maps.html#b747
many thanks
Tom Otley is offline  
Old Aug 5, 09, 6:56 am
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Nice report. Always nice to be reminded of the HKG RCC, it gives hope for the less desirable domestic locations.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 7:01 am
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Thanks for the report. It is always good to hear about some of the lesser reported on carriers.

The F section of the RCC at HKG is pretty nice too and has its own showers so that you don't have to queue up with the Biz crowd.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 10:08 am
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Thanks for the report. We are traveling on the new C configuration on Friday so I am always looking for reports including them. Can I ask what seat you were in and what you thought of the deck you were on (upper or lower)?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 5, 09, 10:41 am
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Very nice report indeed.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 10:52 am
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Nice TR. Thanks for doing this. It was good to see what Air China's business sections are like, since there are very few TR's on this. I think the food you had on the UA HKG SFO flight looked much better than the food I had on the FRA-SFO flight, even though the menu items were similar. My food was nearly inedible. It was good to see the RCC also since we rarely see that HkG RCC. Thanks for posting!
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Old Aug 5, 09, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by janehoya View Post
Thanks for the report. We are traveling on the new C configuration on Friday so I am always looking for reports including them. Can I ask what seat you were in and what you thought of the deck you were on (upper or lower)?

Thanks!
Yes, I was in seat 15A UD, which was great. The win was the side compartments as these seats have practically zero storage. The loss was having to climb over 15B while she was sleeping. I managed it but it's definitely a "step-over" if they are in the lie flat position. I generally prefer UD on the 747.

As to which config on CA, try this link. SeatGuru is listing it as "business" but it is a 2 cabin plane- I would definitely call it Y and F. Y was the same old CA Y.
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Air...A330-200_B.php
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Old Aug 5, 09, 12:46 pm
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Nice summary.

You were in CA's C (or regional two class F if you wish to call it that way).

A three class international F is quite different. Perhaps you should note it in your post to avoid confusion.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 3:45 pm
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Nice TR. I think calling it F is fine. The Chinese name for the service was probably "Tou Deng" which translates to First Class. The Chinese name for Business Class is "Shang Ye."

Same for U.S. domestic flights -- lots of "first class" this and that even though it's only two-class domestic F.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 4:20 pm
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Great report. I need to try the new C and F class on United soon!
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Old Aug 5, 09, 5:01 pm
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
Nice summary.

You were in CA's C (or regional two class F if you wish to call it that way).

A three class international F is quite different. Perhaps you should note it in your post to avoid confusion.
Noted, thanks.
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Old Dec 15, 09, 8:25 am
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Great Job!

Great review my friend! Looking forward to taking some of those flights soon! See ya in BKK.
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Old Dec 15, 09, 8:06 pm
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Great TR thanks for posting. Well done getting the free upgrade.

Cheers Larry.
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Old Dec 17, 09, 12:13 am
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Nice to see this TR resurrected. Biscuet, right on man. Fun flying with you PHX-DEN the other day. I'll be BKK or CNX late Jan.
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