Flight Report : CX 161 Hong Kong - Sydney

I left ample time to check-in and enjoy a hot shower before my red-eye to Sydney. There was no line at all in the Business Class counters, perhaps a sign of more austere times nowadays. My bag was dropped in no time and I joined the long security queue that did keep progressively move. I guess most people were flying Economy today.

Having been to The Bridge before, I opted to go further to try The Pier, which is in the far-away 6X gates where Emirates' A380 normally parks.

I descended down the rather low-profile escalator entrance to be greeted by a big brown-themed entry area. The lounge stretches linearly along the terminal with several large dining / sitting areas. Showers were all the way at the end after quite a long walk. There were many different lounges along the way, some of which were quite empty. This contrasted to the perpetually-busy Wing and even Bridge. Perhaps not many flights were leaving from this part of the terminal today.

The shower attendant had a place for me right away and escorted me to one of many shower rooms along a long hallway. It was a bit on the small side but was spectacularly clean, stocked with large bottles of Aesop accessories next to the sink and also in the shower. Toiletry kits were also available. I bumped my shoulder and elbows a few times as I maneuvered my way into the shower. My only complaint was the coat hooks were not good at hooking up clothes.

The water pressure was great and after a short hot shower, I was refreshed and ready to eat. There was an unmanned drinks bar next to the shower room, and I caught sight of some juices and small bites displayed in a stylish way.

I chose the noodle bar, where I ordered a wonton noodle, a long-time signature dish in the CX lounge. There weren't many Chinese options in this section of the lounge, and the wonton noodle came in a smaller bowl than before. They were using more classy yet modern-looking dishes and bowls here, which were different from the standard, cold, hotel designs.

The downsized wonton noodle tasted better than before, and I continued exploring the Western lounge, which had a bit more food options and had a cafe feel, with bar seats and standing tables like in a drinking hole. I didn't want to get too full for my flight, so I passed and continued along the long linear lounge.

While the food lounges occupied the middle sections, comfortable chairs lined along the windows for great views of the tarmac activity. There were several types of lounge chairs, and none resembled the space-aged shell seats with tables in the Cabin. I was quite impressed with the green chairs in particular, which were very spacious and looked like First Class comfort. A small row of computers lined the other end of the lounge, which was empty tonight. I have never been to a Cathay lounge in Hong Kong that was so empty before, so it was a great photography exploration day for me.

Satisfied with my tour of the hardware, I returned back to the dining area to explore how extensive the food options were. Not too impressive though.

Boarding did not start at the boarding pass time of 8:50. I left the lounge at 8:40 for the long walk to the other wing of the terminal. By the time I arrived at almost 9, boarding had just began. I wasn't in a hurry to get on board anyway. The plane won't suddenly leave, and I have many hours to enjoy it ahead. They won't run out of overhead locker space in Business Class anyway.

Photographing this seat is a bit difficult with a lot of flaps here and there. Getting a full shot is quite difficult within the plane's confines. Nevertheless, it is a very nice seat that turns into a lie-flat. My complaint is it is not wide enough.

The crew came by with welcome drinks. They had my favourite - Cathay Delight. 10 years after I first tried it, this long-time special drink remains on the menu.

We left Gate 50 at 9:38pm, 8 minutes behind schedule, and roared into the night sky. Soon after, the crew sprang into action with the initial nuts service, which I paired with port wine.

I wasn't full from lounge food but I don't like to stuff myself excessively in the air. The seared scallop and seasonal salad starters were quite good. I ended up getting scallops and prawns for the main as well.

I managed to get a few hours of sleep and the crew woke us up about 2 hours prior to landing for breakfast service. I got the Chinese option. The noodles were absolutely disgusting, but the rest were fine. I always enjoy fresh fruits on all my flights.

Night had passed and it was a beautiful descent into Sydney.

On past flights, I favoured the left window to capture the skyline on final approach. I had a few successes already so I chose the right window this time to see the suburbs.

Welcome back to Sydney. Unfortunately, we suddenly stopped on the tarmac as we taxied into the terminal. The cockpit announced our gate was still occupied and the delay could not be quantified. I guess it was OK to be stranded in Business Class. I took this opportunity to photograph the water that the crew passed at the earlier part of the flight. We were given Evian water, not some Made in China water shown on another flight report I had read earlier.

I dozed off a bit and I think we sat there for 15-20 minutes.

The A330 is a great plane, especially its Economy Class configuration. I can't find them on Cathay's North American routes. I wonder if the A350 will creep its way to these Australian routes soon?

We ended up arriving 15 minutes behind schedule.

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