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Flying Cathay Pacific or Dragonair in Business or First Class to Hong Kong? Lucky you, not just because you'll be kicking back in bigger seats on what is a very long flight, but you're heading for one of our absolute favorite places in the entire world. Sure, Hong Kong is excellent, but we're talking about the airport itself!
Cathay Pacific, being the flag carrier and largest airline at HKG, takes huge pride in their elite lounges. Airside, we've already toured you through the premium playgrounds that are The Wing, The Cabin and The Pier, but there's also one sweet little secret lurking on the lower level of the arrival hall, outside security. It's simply called "The Arrival."
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Not everybody can fly in Business Class, and that goes double-time for First Class, so with all this year's announcements of new business class seats, we're thrilled to find that an airline has slipped an Economy Class upgrade into the mix. That airline is Cathay Pacific and you should know that the new seats in economy are going to make a heck of a difference. Why? Because they are totally different from the old design andhere's the kickeryou'll have to sit in them for over 13 hours on Cathay's longest routes, so you better like 'em.
The old seats, for those who haven't had the blessing of sitting through a 17-hour flight in them, had a fixed back which meant that while no one was reclining into your lap, you essentially slide down to recline. The pressure was on what we fondly call "the butt bone," and you could kiss feeling in your bottom goodbye for half the flight.
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Premium Economy is hot, there's no doubt about that. It feels like almost every international airline is widening the seats, adding extra garnishes to the in-flight meals and cooing about deeper reclines for passengers willing to pay more than economy, but not so much as business class.
The latest airline to join the Premium party, Cathay Pacific, is also the one where ponying up the extra cash for extra cushion may make the most sense; the flight from New York to Hong Kong is a whopping 16 hours, after all.
Well we've flown it many times, mostly in Economy but also in Business and, now, in Premium Economy. Want to try it out yourself? ENTER HERE, into our contest to win a roundtrip (valued at $4,000) from the US or Canada to Hong Kong, in Cathay's new Premium Economy class.
Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty:
In-Flight Entertainment / Garuda Indonesia / Garuda / Indonesia Travel / Food Travel / CGK / DPS / HKG / SYD / JED / → All Tags
...And we're not talking in-flight food, but off-flight food.
Did you know that in-flight entertainment systems can be more than just an avenue for catching up on episodes of 30 Rock or Gossip Girl? Well, on Garuda Indonesia, there's heaps of information in a very well stocked seatback TV.
When we perused the offerings to watch some television on a recent Garuda flight, we found more than just Bahasa-language sitcoms. Since we don't speak enough of the language to even get one wise-crack, we opted to go deeper into the pages and pages designed to keep passengers happy until final approach.
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This is Part 2 of our flight videos. Check out the JFK-HKG leg here.
We got pretty lucky. When we originally left New York for Hong Kong weeks ago, we landed at HKG during sunset, and it was a lovely welcome to a stunning landscape. Now, on the return to New York-JFK, we found ourselves again facing into a reddening horizon, which painted the skyscrapers of the distant downtown as milky blue silhouettes.
Cathay Pacific's flight CX 840 leaves Hong Kong just past 4pm, arriving to JFK some 16 hours later around 8:30pm the same day. We had two afternoons to enjoy, and enjoy it we did, using the time to watch the entire second season of Downton Abbey and finally getting around to watching the movie I Am Love.
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**UPDATE: CONTEST HAS ENDED**
"I'm going to Hong Kong."
Practice saying it. You have our permission to modify it to "I'm going to Hong m*thaf*ckin' Kong." They're five simple words and yet speaking them means you're about to jet into one of the world's most complex and colorful cities. Never been to Hong Kong? It's time. Been to Hong Kong before? It's time to go again. And we'll take you there.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's official airline and one we personally get excited to fly, has just introduced Premium Economy to their long-haul fleet and we've got a ticket to give away!
It's a super easy contestno video pleas or written essays requiredjust be psyched to fly 16-ish hours in comfort for free, to the other side of the world. Enter here:
The Little Things / Airlines / Cathay Pacific / HKG / SFO / Airline Lounges / Business Class Travel / First Class Travel / Food Travel / Hong Kong Travel / → All Tags
In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.
The Little Thing: Cathay Pacific's Dan Dan Mien noodles served in all of their airport lounges.
For China and Hong Kong-based flyers on Cathay Pacific, stepping onboard the aircraft means the start of a journey home. If you're flying in Business or First Class however, that feeling comes even earlier, when you're in one of Cathay's own airport lounges and ordering the Dan dan mien from the Noodle Bar.
Dan dan mien is a spicy noodle dish flavored with chilli, peanut, scallions, pork or chicken, sesame oil and soy, plus a few more ingredients here and there. Aside from being a staple of Sichuan cuisine, it's a staple in Cathay lounges and something for which frequent flyer's mouths start watering the moment they flash their boarding passes to enter a CX space.
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We're typing this while sitting at a bar, a bar overlooking half of the apron and one of the busy runways at Hong Kong International Airport. The view is unparalleled, a frequent flyer sweet secret, and it's only found on the upper level at Cathay Pacific's Business Class lounge The Wing.
The Wing itself is nothing new, but the layout and amenities of the place have recently been totally revamped, updated and kitted out with designer furniture, power outlets where you want them, and classic Asian touches like towering bamboo stalks. Even before the renovation, The Wing ranked as one of our favorite airline lounges in the world. Now, with the addition of a cozier lower level, a "Coffee Loft," and sexy wire Eames chairs, our heart starts racing at the thought of spending a few hours within its walls.
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Countries love to put dead people and big monuments on their currency; it's just a thing, Costa Rica's badass shark bills being an excellent exception. That said, we fully admit to flipping over bills in the hopes that something fresher, newer will be featured. Hong Kong (a "Special Administrative Region," not really a country) currently takes that prize, as we just today noticed that the rear of some of the 500 HKD bills ($64.45 USD) feature Chek Lap Kok/Hong Kong International Airport.
It only makes sense for Hong Kong to place HKIA so prominently; they built a whole island to house the freaking thing and the documentary on it"Extreme Engineering: Building Hong Kong's Airport"is a must-Netflix show. And don't get us started on the infamous aviation heritage of HK. Two words: Kai Tak.
You know, we were just going to Instagram this and call it a day, but our dinner this evening in the Arrivals Hall at Hong Kong International Airport deserves so much more than that, especially when we're talking about a dish named "Twisted Donut Ricesheet Roll."
Now, we thought we knew Hong Kong Airport's food offerings pretty well, until we noticed a little side counter to the left of the larger Burger King. This place, Ocean Empire, is a small branch of a large Hong Kong-area chain. They specialize in congee, but the bilingual menu drew our attention to other items, and we saw it: the twisted donut thingamabob.
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What will 50,000 British Airways miles (pre-Avios) and a little over $300 in taxes get you? Well, for starters, an economy seat on Cathay Pacific flight CX 831 from New York-JFK to Hong Kong-HKG. It'll also get you a few more flights around Asia and the long return leg, but for right now let's talk about the magic of the JFK-HKG jaunt.
Before British Airways devalued their miles by switching to the new Avios system, we made a feverish call to their award booking center. Our prime goal: get a seat on this flight, one of our favorites, which takes 16 hours to deliver you from the metropolis of NYC, up over the North Pole, down to the bright lights/big city of Hong Kong. The timing is perfect; depart NYC in the early afternoon before rush hour, and arrive to HK in the middle of sunset the next day. Surely if you could dig through the center of the Earth from New York, you'd emerge in HK.
Here's the video we shot just the other day:
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International DJ, frequent flyer extraordinaire and Jaunted contributor Max Graham drops his thoughts on hanging out in Turkish Airlines' flagship lounge at Istanbul-Atatürk International Airport recently:
Flying from Hong Kong to London this past month, I stayed loyal to Star Alliance and chose to fly Turkish Airlines, which meant a stop in Istanbul and a visit to their large flagship lounge. Right away I was very impressed with the entry system. It goes like this: you scan your boarding pass and, if you're allowed in, turnstile-like doors automatically open. This eliminates the need to wait in line while someone manually checks your boarding pass and keys in your frequent flyer number. It's the future!