Cathay Pacific 416
Hong Kong (HKG) – Seoul Incheon (ICN)
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Depart: 4:30PM, Arrive: 9:10PM (next day)
Scheduled Duration: 3 Hours, 40 Minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Hong Kong, we love you. After five great days in Hong Kong, it was time to head to Seoul. We got our bags packed up, and we headed to the airport via the free shuttle from the hotel to the Kowloon Station Airport Express stop. The convenience began there. Cathay Pacific actually has check-in desks at the Kowloon Station so you can check your baggage at the airport station, rather than having to go on the train to the airport. With all of the baby baggage, plus the baby himself, I can’t begin to express how convenient it was to check in for our flight right there.
I booked our tickets via Alaska Airlines: 50,000 points for one-way to Asia in business class, with a free stopover. Thus, our stopover was actually Hong Kong, and the next trip to Seoul would finish our ticket. We were booked on an Airbus A330-300, and from looking online, it appeared that our seats would be pretty much the same that we had on the SFO-HKG flight. No problem with that!
In any case, we went from having **so much freaking baggage** to traveling light, as we hopped on the Airport Express train to the HKG airport. We planned to have a quick stop in the lounge for a bit, before boarding our flight.
Everything at the airport was pretty uneventful, but I do find the interior of the main ticketing area of the Hong Kong area to be quite beautiful.
Our son was getting tired and cranky, but beside that, we had our boarding passes, we went through security, and we proceeded through immigration. Oh there was one small bummer. We have been pretty excited to get little Zachary his first passport stamp, only to find out that Hong Kong doesn’t stamp passports anymore. WEAK! Instead, we got some silly little slip of paper inside of our passports. Of course I realize that as we move deeper into electronic interchange of information, the idea of a passport stamp actually gets dumber and dumber, but for the sake of our son getting a stamp, we wanted one!
We opted to skip the train and take the long hike to Cathay Pacific’s “The Bridge” business class lounge. After our Din Tai Fung lunch, we were happy to get the extra steps in. Traveling with a baby can be tiring, and as soon as we got to the lounge, I decided “screw it” in terms of writing a blog post about the lounge. I’d rather just relax for a bit and have a couple drinks. Katy and I got to relax. Zach got to nap.
Even though I don’t have a post to dig into details, I must say that the Cathay Pacific “The Bridge” lounge is one of the nicest business class lounges I have ever visited. There’s a great selection of food, and it’s all spread out nicely the lounge, which is very large. There’s a section of dumplings. The bar had nuts and cookies. Near the bar there was a section of fried plantains. It’s also in a great spot for plane spotting.
As Zachary took his nap, Katy and I enjoyed looking at some of the planes out there, trying to figure out which premium products we had been fortunate enough to sample in the past: Emirates, South African, United, Singapore, etc. They were all there. It also gave us the chance to look at some other airlines like Thai and British Airways, premium products that we have not yet been able to experience.
I had a selection of dim sum and fried bananas. Katy had something similar, and Zachary took a snooze, careful to hold one pacifier in his hand while sleeping, in case he should drop the one from his mouth.
We made our way to gate 70, all the way at the end, and it was time to board almost right after we arrived. We got into the business class line, and it was really nice for a gate agent to look at us like we were crazy and bring us right to the front of the next line over, which was dedicated to family boarding. First ones on the plane! Of course, before she boarded the plane, I asked her to take a picture of us :-).
Boarding the plane was rather uneventful, and just like our previous flight, we reserved the bassinet in advance. The bassinet is so clutch. Again, as we boarded, the flight attendants were pretty excited about the baby, making faces and noises at him. He reacted well, giving big smiles and giggles back. While this A330-300 has a slightly different configuration than our previous plane, it has a similar setup for bassinets, with snaps for them to click into the bulkhead.
For our longhaul flight, Katy and I had the two middle seats, which worked out great. For this one, those two seats were booked. Katy had 11K, the first seat in the window on the plane, and I had 12G, the seat diagonally behind it in the aisle. I took a couple pics of the cabin, and it did look pretty identical to the one on our previous flight.
Boarding was quick and easy. Again, our awesome stroller fit right above us, just like a rollaboard would. Katy and I each got a couple toys and pacifiers, and we played with Zachary to entertain him until it was time to take off. For safety reasons, they don’t install the bassinet until after takeoff. On Cathay, the infant has to be using the special seatbelt extension during takeoff and landing. It’s basically a seatbelt that attaches to the adult seatbelt. See below. He was pretty into it.
Again for my pre departure beverages, I went with champagne. And when it ran out, I asked for another.
After a couple beers in the lounge and two champagnes on the flight, I was sufficiently relaxed. Since Katy would take off with the baby, I was in charge of playing with him right now. The flight attendants helped by making funny faces at him every time they passed.
After take off, nuts and drinks were served. I had another glass of champagne and a Coke Zero.
Meanwhile, our son didn’t feel like sleeping. The passing back and forth game that we learned from our previous flight continued. We passed him back and forth, doing our best to keep him entertained so he wouldn’t disturb other passengers while also not over stimulating him, as we would like him to go to sleep soon.
This game of putting him in the bassinet, pulling him out when he cried, playing with him, and then repeating went on for the first 30 minutes of the flight. Eventually though, we triumphed over the child, though, by playing the classic game of peak-a-boo!
After a long war waged via peak-a-boo, we were ready to enjoy our meals in peace!
We started out with an appetizer of duck and herb terrine with kipfler potato and tomato. If you want to see the menu, click here (1) and here (2). It was pretty good, as I’ve gotten used to with Cathay Pacific business class.
There were three options for the main course, and Katy and I both chose the same: spare ribs. I was tempted to go with the bibimbap, as my previous in-flight bibimbap experience was disappointing, but I figured that I was about to spend 5 days in Seoul. I would get my fair of bibimbap there.
The spare ribs were good, but not great. I’d call it a conservative flavoring, if that makes sense. They just tasted pretty average. There were no interesting spices or flavors.
After the main course, they came down with a cart of fruit and cheeses. I skipped the cheese and went for fruit.
The mango was especially ripe and juicy.
After the fruit serving, it was time for ice cream! The tray of Haagen Dazs ice cream came down, and I was pretty giddy.
I was ready to go with my favorite Haagen Dazs flavor, Belgian chocolate, but then I spotted Bananas and Cream… Interesting… Should I go with my classic favorite? Or venture out with Bananas and Cream? I decided to go with the classic. Let’s not get too crazy up in the sky, eh?
I love those moments in time where just at that very moment, everything in life is perfect. My wife is engrossed in a movie just a couple seats away. My son is sleeping soundly in his bassinet. And me? I have a brand new serving of Belgian chocolate ice cream with a fresh pour of champagne. I’m doing just fine.
It’s just under three hours from Hong Kong to Seoul, so after finishing up my ice cream, I checked out the interactive map on the in flight entertainment. 484 miles away, 1 hour and five minutes to go. I had just finished up Mean Girls. Okay wow how have I not seen this movie before? Haha it’s pretty ridiculous.
Landing was uneventful, and that wrapped up our Alaska Airlines award tickets on Cathay Pacific. It was my first time flying Cathay Pacific, and I can’t wait for my next one! We went outside in ICN to wait for our bus to the Intercontinental Grand Parnas.
Oh… and Zach got that first passport stamp :-).