CX 467 - 17 August 2012
Expecting a delay after Typhoon Kai Tak struck Hong Kong the night before, I decided to head out early for my 16:15 flight. As expected, I received notification the flight would be delayed beforehand, so I wasn't particularly bothered traffic was slow on the highway. My driver eventually conceded and diverted around the northern coast to reach Taoyuan an hour later.
The time was 15:30, and there was a long line at the check-in counters. Having checked in online earlier, I headed to the empty bag drop line, where I was directed to a counter immediately. I asked whether I could board any earlier flight, and was told there was a flight leaving at 16:10 that I could take, delayed from an earlier departure.
I was a bit surprised they could still accept baggage at 15:40 even though the flight was scheduled to depart at 16:10. My suitcases had exceeded the 20kg allowance by 10kg and the check-in agent wasn't going to let me through. I had offered to take one onboard as hand-carry, but that idea was politely rejected as the hand-carry limit would be breached. She then offered to give me a bag to offload some items. I politely explained it would be very hard to unpack some items out as I already had a backpack and a box of food to take onboard, and another loose bag would be a great inconvenience. After a few more exchanges, she let the bags through as it was time to close check-in for that flight. I scored a lucky break.
Terminal 1's check-in and immigration areas have vastly improved since my last visit in 2011. The renovations are nearly complete, and security now takes place before immigration in a bright and sleek hall. A Cathay agent walked around the immigration area looking for passengers, jotting down my BN number in the process. Perhaps my flight was full and they were looking to upgrade some late-comers? Or could it be it's too late and they're offloading my bags?
Boarding had not commenced when I reached the gate at around 16:05. There were two agents standing at the gate, but they were in no hurry to rush people in or calling out for boarding even though the sign above was flashing. Noticing a set of crew had just arrived for the flight, I went back out of the lounge to walk around for a short bit. One of the agents at the gate kindly accepted to mail my postcards, although she was in more of a chatting mood with her companion. Nevertheless, it was a nice gesture. Boarding would eventually take place shortly after.
Today's CX 467 would be operated by a brand new long-haul 777. I noticed the new J as I headed to my seat. Most of J was occupied by a relief crew. The exit row had plenty of legroom, but with the back of the plane mostly empty, I had lots of seats to choose from.
Only one magazine pocket is provided for the 3 seats in the exit row.
Notice the handset is stowed sideways.
The captain came on the PA and apologized for the delay. He had additional bad news that a runway in Hong Kong has closed, so our departure would be further delayed by 50 minutes due to congestion. The crew came by with duty free and water, and announced they would turn on the entertainment system so we can pass the time. With some time to go before departure, I walked around the back of the cabin to explore the new Y seats' features.
The televisions have gotten larger, and now employ touch-screen technology.
The table is made of 2 segments that can be collapsed. The seatback also has a small shelf to put small items, such as keys and phones.
The headrest is adjustable, although I couldn't find a way to lock it in place after extending it.
At 17:00, we were able to push back and get under way, which was an improvement from the announced 50-minute congestion delay.
We taxied and waited at the end of the runway for incoming planes to land. Then it powered up and roared down the runway. It was one of my loudest takeoffs in recent memory.
The weather wasn't particularly bad in Taipei that day despite a typhoon nearby. The sun was out in the morning and a shower started in the afternoon. But the ascent was fairly bumpy and it felt like a long 1-hour flight ahead.
It got a bit more stable after we flew above the clouds, although the winds were still fairly strong.
There was a huge selection of inflight entertainment - too much for such a short flight.
You can't expect too much legroom in Y. But the annoying entertainment box under seat A has magically disappeared.
Catering on this sector is one of the most disappointing for Cathay. There was no choice - only a sandwich and a drink.
An ad for the Shangri-La. I had problems booking their Shanghai location before as they had run out of rooms at my corporate rate.
I like the connection screen, which would normally also show the baggage reclaim belt. But with so many weather and runway delays today, everything has gone ad-hoc.
We arrived at 18:51, almost 2 hours behind schedule. The delay was understandable, as the weather and closed runway were out of the airline's control. The captain kept passengers informed, and the crew stepped in to make the delay more bearable.
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