After a few days in Hong Kong — one of my favorite destinations in Asia — it was time to continue on to Chiang Mai. I’d never been there before and was looking forward to a slightly more authentic version of Thailand than what I’d found in Bangkok. I was also apprehensive about the political situation, given that the military coup occurred just weeks before. It turned out those fears were way overblown.
Trip Report Index
- Trip Report Introduction: Taking My Sister to Asia for Two Weeks
- Review: Cathay Pacific First Class SFO-HKG (Last of the 747s)
- Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (after Renovations)
- Revisiting the Old, and Finding New Favorite Activities in Hong Kong
- Review: Dragonair Economy Class to Chiang Mai (HKG-CNX)
Either way, we got to begin our trip at The Wing, where Cathay Pacific has one of two first class lounges at Hong Kong. (You can read more about Cathay Pacific’s many lounge options in this article I wrote for LoungeBuddy.)
Visiting The Wing before Departure
Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s regional carrier, and I booked us a couple of seats using 7,500 Avios points per person. My Executive Platinum status with American Airlines entitled us to use the first class lounge before departure — a great perk considering many other alliances only allow access to business class lounges for their top tier members.
The Wing is located on the upper level immediately after clearing security. We headed down the escalators to the duty free shops too early and needed to turn around to head back up. But once there it was relatively easy to find. We were welcomed in, our baggage was stored, and we made our way through the lounge to explore.
I’ll leave that review for another time. We visited The Wing three times on this trip, but suffice it to say that every time we were nearly late for our flight after having too much fun in the Champagne Bar! 😉
Dragonair Cabin and Service
For a short flight in an all-economy configuration, Dragonair is actually quite impressive. But then you would expect that given the reputation of its parent company. We asked the lounge agents to let them know we were on our way as we left, and that message appeared to get through: there was an agent waiting for us at the gate to rush us onto the last shuttle bus to the remote stand.
The cabin was clean, and the legroom was perfectly sufficient. But as usual, I was stuck in the back. I obsess over my seat assignments on domestic flights but somehow never pay attention to those on international flights. I’m always sitting in the back. (I once flew Spanair on a half-empty flight, and even though I was the only Star Alliance Gold member on a half-empty plane, I ended up in row 25.)
Taxiing to the runway we got some great views of the new terminal under construction, and soon enough we were in the air.
Katherine was pretty excited about getting free booze in economy class on such a short flight. We even got a meal that wasn’t half bad: a few pieces of overcooked dim sum, dragon fruit, watermelon, and imported beer.
Then there was the survey. I’ve never gotten a survey on a U.S. or European flight. I’m not sure if it’s an Asian thing — it’s not my first survey on an Asian carrier — but I do think it’s a better idea than email surveys. I’ve got nothing better to do than fill out a four-page booklet, whereas at home I could not care less about deleting another piece of spam.
The flight was scenic but uneventful. I think that’s what I noticed first about Chiang Mai: it definitely didn’t look like Bangkok. But I’ll leave that story for the next post.