Review: Northbound Hop – KA 437 Kaohsiung to Hong Kong A330-300 Economy Class

Introduction
KA 432 HKG – KHH 333 Y
Ferry Ride Cijin Scenic Area to Gushan Ferry Pier
Toong Mao Evergreen Hotel Kaohsiung
Exploring Kaohsiung
Jinzuan Night Markets
Exploring Tainan
Toong Mao Kao Shang Ching Hotel Kenting
Exploring Pingtung County
Kenting Street Night Markets
International Terminal Kaohsiung International Airport
KA 437 KHH – HKG 333 Y

Comfort 4/5 Service 4/5 Amenities 4/5 Little things 4/5 Meals 3/5 Overall 4/5

I realized that this was B-HLL, the plane that had an emergency landing at Hong Kong in 2010, which put this flight up to a queer start.

Dragonair Flight 437
Friday, May 16th, 2014
Origin: Kaohsiung (KHH) Gate: 22 Dep: 15:05 (16:15)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 25 Arr: 16:35 
(17:45)
Duration: 1 hr 30 min (1 hr 30 min)
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A330-300
Seat: 48H (Economy Class)

We boarded through the second door. Peeking towards Business Class, they had the new business configuration, so with excitement I turned my head right, hoping to finally get the new economy on a route. However, we had the shell seats this time.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

As I mentioned earlier, shell seats on Dragonair was a first for me.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

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Our seats

The plus side to shell seats is that they have entertainment. StudioKA was loaded into the seat (much to the surprise of reader Jason), and it was working on the ground too – very queer. 😕

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class entertainment

Much to my annoyance there was a power plug this time, as I wasn’t expecting one and subsequently hadn’t brought my charger.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class power plugs…damn

What really confused me was that the cabin lights in our cabin were dimmed, and all the windows were closed. Now, the crew did come by to open the windows, and the lights eventually turned on, but this is as unprepared as flights get.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class legroom

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class cabin before takeoff

After the rather rushed boarding sequence the ground personnel were called off the aircraft and the door closed. At that moment the safety demonstration played, we pushed back and the crew came by to open all the windows and accept pillow requests – all at the same time. What the…?

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Pushing back

Also, the rows 50-56 were cleared out, since apparently all the seats “had a problem” – it definitely wasn’t the entertainment (I touched a screen of one of the seats which was working), so what was it?

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Pushing back

Unlike the outbound when we started taxiing about five centuries twenty minutes after we pushed back (I guess partly due to the drop down screens), we immediately started taxiing to the runway. The safety video was the same as the outbound, using the new economy seats and the new regional business class seats (which were actually featured on this flight).

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Views upon taxiing

At the runway we were number one for takeoff, which I guess isn’t surprising since we were basically the only widebody at the airport during that time. The views upon takeoff were gorgeous, and featured views of downtown Kaohsiung and surrounding areas.

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Views upon takeoff

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Views upon takeoff

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Views upon takeoff

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Views upon takeoff

Shortly after the seat belt sign went off I visited the toilet, which was outdated compared to Cathay’s refurbished A330 (but was identical to the A340).

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Toilet

There was the crucial thing, of course;

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Toilet air nozzle

…and there were a lot of scratch marks, which isn’t surprising given that the plane has probably not been refurbished in fifteen and a half years (apart from the business class seats – and maybe the economy seats, I’ll get to that later).

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class toilet

As usual on Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, the toilet featured Nobility amenities.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Nobility amenities

The StudioKA system was extensive, though my biggest beef with it is the lack of movies. I don’t like Two Broke Girls nor do I like Two and a Half Men (maybe I’m watching too many movies and not enough TV here? I don’t know), so I just cuddled up to Moondial, a novel by Helen Cresswell, for the better part of the flight (my seatmate was watching Two Broke Girls and wanted the window closed so staring out the window wasn’t an option).

The meals were soon passed out. (Well, if they didn’t give the meals out “soon”, then they would run out of time.) There was only chicken rice along with packaged orange juice, none of which were phenomenal, but not bad either. The sauce along with the chicken seemed too starchy, though.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class meal

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class cabin upon meal

However my biggest beef with the flight is the seat. When I leaned back abruptly, the tray table on the seat behind would fall, along with the cupholder. I’m pretty sure that this plane was holding this configuration for quite some time, which is confusing given that Cathay had the regional configuration on the flight before it was given to Dragonair in 2012, and Cathay Pacific had older regional configuration seats before 2012.

Also, the seat was easily “squishable” – what?

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class seat flexibility

But I think I summed up Dragonair’s reaction in this tweet and this post:

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Impressive.

After a few minutes the flight attendant came round with tea and coffee, and the person in 47K requested Coke. The flight attendant asked “anyone want some Coke?” comically, and I accepted the offer. However I downed it before I could take a picture, but is a picture of Coke mandatory? I have pictures of Coke with my meal here and here already…

Service was quite good. There was nothing phenomenal about it, but the flight attendants were certainly on top of their game. It wasn’t personalised at all (not that I would expect it to be in Economy), but there were no hiccups or flaws either.

The captain announced our landing exactly an hour and ten minutes behind “shed-jewel”, and we started descending towards Hong Kong Airport. The sun was beginning to set right then, which came for some nice views.

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Cabin upon landing

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Views upon landing

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Views upon landing

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Views upon landing

The views got progressively better as we descended (along with the sun). For some reason StudioKA stayed on. Too bad it’s not StudioCX (which has movies)…

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Views upon landing

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Views upon landing

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Views upon landing

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Views upon landing

While I’ve landed in Hong Kong for the umpteenth time and have landed in Hong Kong during daytime for a few times as well, there’s nothing more warming and welcoming than landing at home, in my opinion.

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Views upon approach

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Views upon approach

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Views upon approach

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Views upon approach

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Views upon approach

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Views upon final approach

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Views upon touchdown

As soon as we touched down we were thanked for taking the flight. It’s been a while since I’ve been at Hong Kong Airport at six o’clock, so there was some pretty interesting traffic going on.

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Views of the tarmac

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Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300, South African Airbus A340-300 and Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300

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Views of the cargo terminal

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Views of the cargo terminal

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Traffic upon taxiing

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Qantas Airbus A330-300, Swiss Airbus A340-300

We parked at gate 25, but my eyes were set to the beautiful Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 next to us.

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800

As we deplaned, we walked through the business class cabin, and I took two clear photos of the new business class. It looked okay. I also snapped a picture of a China Airlines Boeing 747-400 along the way.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class

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China Airlines Boeing 747-400

Overall, from the vacant rows 50-56 to the unpreparedness of the cabin to the shell seats on Dragonair to the unsteadiness of the seats, this was a really odd flight. Not that it was unpleasant by any means, but it didn’t really feel like I was flying.

This trip was great. All the places I visited were at least somewhat interesting, and 90% of those places were awesome. The hotels were ultra cheap but nothing to complain about. I’m sorry I’m completing this a month and two days after I came back, but I guess I’ll have to manage my time better in the future should I be writing more trip reports of this length.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Northbound Hop – KA 437 Kaohsiung to Hong Kong A330-300 Economy Class”

  1. What a coincedence! I flew B HLL to Kaohsiung… Apparantly, it’s sistership B HLG is also fitted with the Cathay Pacific interior. My seat was not much better than yours… The seat did not recline! It seemed as if was stuck in place… The entertainment handset did not detatch at all… Dragonair… Your standards are slipping!

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