Flight Report : CX 104 Melbourne - Hong Kong

Here is my previous flight coming in from Auckland the night before.

Skybus charges a fairly steep 19 AUD one-way fare to the airport, with no discounts for booking a roundtrip or online. On the bright side, they provide city centre hotel transfers from their terminus at Southern Cross. I asked my hotel to pre-book a pick-up at 11:30am so I didn't need to haul my luggage on board the free trams. The shuttle arrived on-time with only 1 other passenger on board. In 15 minutes, we reached the bus bay at Southern Cross, but on the wrong side of the departures area. No luggage trolleys were available, and I had to haul my bags up the ramp, cross to the other side, and then down the ramp on the other side. This was not efficient at all and I had hoped they could move the drop-off closer to the airport-bound buses.

Skybus runs both single and double deckers on this route at high frequencies. From the time I got off my shuttle to arriving at the actual airport bus' queue, 2 buses had already left. I got a single decker today, which filled up quickly and departed at 11:55.

There was not much traffic at this time on a weekday and I got off the bus at the arrivals level of the international terminal within 30 minutes. Why they don't drop people off at the departures level is a mystery.

The international terminal is very functional in design and is showing its age. Cathay has many counters in one row, although the Business Class line was longer than the Economy line today. Check-in was efficient and the agent also gave me a departure card to fill out as well as the express line invitation.

I explored the other airlines operating out of here, including the dreaded Jetstar check-in kiosks and DIY bag drop machines behind them. They were all empty though.

The lack of natural light gives this terminal a dreary look.

I didn't see a dedicated express line at security, and the wait took a while, which was not helped by an Etihad crew that jumped in (there was no crew security line either). Immigration was a breeze afterwards with no wait and I used the automated gate with no human intervention to exit. You then drop off your completed departure card in the plastic boxes afterwards. Do they even police everyone has completed a departure card? I could easily see the personal information of the other cards in the box already as well.

Looking at the international departures board, there actually aren't that many flights out of here compared to Sydney.

I headed to Cathay's dedicated lounge for a quick lunch. It was disappointing. There were plenty of seats available, although simply-designed and nothing like even the 2nd last set lounges in Hong Kong. The food selection was a bit pitiful. There were 3 bamboo containers of har gow, potato balls, and something on sugar cane sticks. Next door are the typical spirits and drinks as well as 1 type of glass noodle salad, fruits, small cheese plates, nibbles, and cup noodles. There was no soup and no noodle bar. The clean marble bathroom was probably the lounge's highlight.

A boarding announcement took place in the premium lounge when boarding started to remind us to be on our way. The gate area is functional as well, still dark like land-side.

Being up front today, I wasn't so concerned the type of aircraft anymore. My seat would have both window and aisle access.

Spotting here is not as fun as in Sydney though.

Like in Sydney, only 1 bridge was used to board today, so it took a while as the backlog of people dissipated to let me get to my Business Class seat up front.

Goodbye, grey Melbourne!

Typical Business Class service in the air starts with nuts and a drink, followed by a full meal.

The duck is a consistently good starter. The crew also brought a basket of fresh warm bread for us to choose.

The main was a bit underwhelming though, and far less presentable than the appetizer course. But this is nothing new. While it looks small, when put together with all the other courses, I get stuffed.

As I enjoyed the aerial views outside and my stomach filled up, I couldn't resist the cheese plate and dessert at the end.

Not long after the meal service, Australia's northern coast passed. The sun was starting to set so it was time to relax in the comfort of my lie-flat seat.

I've amassed a big collection of Cathay's amenity kit bags over the years. I prefer the zipper ones most as they are re-usable.

For a flight of some 9 hours, I was bound to get hungry again. I picked the beef brisket noodle, which came with a good serving of Chinese vegetables.

I couldn't resist another dessert though.

I'm quite fond of this "new" Business Class seat with the forward-facing herringbone. It is comfortable with plenty of legroom to stretch, although the sleeping position still feels a bit awkward due to the cushioning sticking out. But for today's afternoon flight, it is more than sufficient.

Cathay offers a solid hard product with good service on board. I get stuffed on the plane although the main course can always be better presented. After 9 hours, I thought the flight was a bit short and I wasn't so eager to get off the plane!

My other Australia - Hong Kong flight reports :
Sydney - Hong Kong on Qantas 127
Sydney - Hong Kong on Qantas 187

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