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April 30, 2017 / oneworld82

Dragonair (Cathay Dragon) SYX-HKG in Business Class (KA J, A320)

Sad to say, our vacation was coming to an end. Despair not though, as one of the highlights – my journey back home on Cathay Pacific and American Airlines first class – was yet to come. It was very hard to bid farewell to the Ritz-Carlton Sanya. Boy, Yalong Bay is stunning!

Anyways, after a plentiful and excellent breakfast, we checked out and took a taxi Sanya Phoenix International airport. Sanya doesn’t see lots of nonstop international flights yet, but I am sure that will soon change as the destination gains popularity among foreign tourists. The airport is still quite small, but a brand new terminal is under construction.

After going through security, we checked in at the Dragonair desk. There was a person in front of us at the business class check in, but as soon as the economy class desk became available we were called in to check in. After figuring out who was going where we were handed out our boarding passes together with lounge invitations for Sanya and Hong Kong. Surprisingly, we were granted access to the arrival lounge in Hong Kong – impressive given that this was a very short flight.

We then proceeded through immigration and security, and we were quickly admitted to the main departures hall – basically, a large room with a few gate areas. Next to one of them there was a booth dedicated to pick out articles purchased at the CDF Duty Free Mall in Haitang Bay (among others). We were a little nervous about the whole process at first (since we had never experienced anything like that before), but we were glad to see that everything was delivered in order once we got there.

As we had about 30 minutes to kill before boarding, we proceeded to the only lounge at the airport, that is also a Priority Pass lounge. We were quickly admitted into what was a fairly small lounge, but very interesting indeed. Next to the entrance there was a table with drinks and snacks, and the a circular area that opened on semi-enclosed seating areas. The partitions between areas was made by nice wooden screens, and the chairs and tables were all made of wood as well – we are talking of nicely finished wood here. Also, each seating area had interesting ivory artworks (hopefully fake).

We had a cup of coffee and a coke, and before we knew it we had to board our plane. It’s interesting to note that a group of travelers (that stayed at our same hotel) joined us in the lounge, and they made up 80% of the business class cabin of our flight. All of them – although they had very big breakfasts – indulged in snacks and instant noodles – maximize your free food I guess 😉

Before we knew it , it was time to board. The crowd was 90% Chinese with a few surfers from Taiwan – they tanned skin was a sight in itself. After scanning the boarding pass we had to walk outside for 2-3 good minutes before getting to our bus – the construction work to the terminal impacted logistics a bit, but nothing terrible.

Our A320 was waiting for us on the tarmac. This was my first flight on Dragonair (now Cathay Dragon), and I was excited about it.

The business class cabin was  particularly large – 5 rows on a 2-2 configuration for a total of 20 seats. The seats were comfortable and they reclined in an angle lie-flat position – unnecessary on a 1h30m flight but a good touch nonetheless.


The flight attendant came by to pick our jackets up and to offer us a drink before departure – I got water and Thuy orange juice. The cabin quickly filled up with the same folks that “followed” us from the Ritz-Carlton. Newspapers were offered as well, and once boarding was completed we started taxiing on our way to the runway.

Business class was equipped with Studio X IFE – Cathay Pacific’s signature system and definitely nice for such a short flight. The selection of movies (especially Asian ones, if you’re up to some subtitles) and tv shows is rather extensive, and it’s certainly hard to get bored.

A menu was distributed for lunch – surprisingly, they not only offered food on board (contrarily to our China Southern flight) but they also had options – one can’t help but being impressed.

Shortly after take off lunch was served, all in one tray. I chose the pork meatballs – served with rice and veggies – which was alright (not bad, yet not memorable). My wife’s salmon, on the other hand, was very good and we enjoyed our meal with a couple glasses of champagne.

I watched some Family Guy while eating, and before we knew it we were landing into HKG. The view over the city we got was spectacular, as the whole city was covered in smog, creating a very scenic view.

Once landed we made our way through security and collected our bags, since Thuy was on separate tickets. Now, she was supposed to have a three hour connection to her AA flight to LAX, but unfortunately her flight had been delayed till midnight (my flight was at 1am). The other issue was that the check in counter for AA was already closed, so that she could not re-check her baggage. We really wanted to make our way to Hong Kong for a last dinner, but since we had luggage we did not know what to do. We went to the arrivals lounge (for some reason CX grants you access even on such a short flight), and we regrouped over a glass of orange juice. The lounge is btw quite small but functional, with a limited spread of food and drinks – plus some showers – nothing really fancy.

In the end, we decided to just stay at the airport, which meant we had to sit for 7 hours in the Wing lounge – first class section of course. Not a great use of our time, but it could have been better. In reality, we wanted to have dinner and then leave the airport to go downtown, but leaving the airport was a true hassle and so we gave up and stayed in. Too bad.

All in all, our Dragonair flight was short but once again showed us the quality of Cathay Pacific even on short haul flights.

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