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Old 28th November 2014, 10:58 PM   #1
yflyer
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Default CX New Regional J to HKG

I had not planned to write a TR for this flight.

It started out as a run-of-the-mill CX/KA trip to China (SIN-HKG-PVG v.v.), with my first sector in the early morning, on CX650 SIN-HKG, an A330 service.



I knew what to expect, having flown CX/KA to China several times before.

The dreaded fixed-shell Y seat, which was tolerable on a three and half hour sector like SIN-HKG, but not for much longer than that.





I was planning to sleep if I could, or work if I couldn’t.

But CX had other plans for me. On my first flight on CX in several months, my boarding pass was rejected at the gate with a beep. The agent smiled, and wrote a new seat number on my Y boarding pass…

An Op-Up!

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Old 28th November 2014, 11:00 PM   #2
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Despite a very early start to my day, I suddenly felt very, very awake…

I boarded the A330, which was configured in a two-class layout with the Business cabin in front, and the remainder of the plane configured for 2-4-2 Economy.



When I first entered the front cabin, I felt a little confused.

My most recent premium cabin experience on CX was their longhaul 77W J product, with the wonderful Cirrus lie-flat J seats. And yet, when I entered the front cabin of the A330, it looked nothing like that. Just several rows of dark green/turquoise seats arranged 2-2-2. Is this the J cabin? It looked more like premium Y to my eyes.

Then it dawned on me that this was the new CX Regional J product…

But never look a gift horse in the mouth. Compared to fixed shell Y, this was paradise…



This was also a fixed shell design…





The seats, made with metal and faux light coloured wood had a solid, high-quality feel.


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Old 28th November 2014, 11:00 PM   #3
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The seat could be reclined using electrical controls.



Here is the seat in upright position…



And this is the fully reclined position…



As you can see from the picture, this is not a lie-flat design, not even slanted lie-flat. It offered “recliner” or “la-Z-boy” type recline and comfort. A lounger rather than a sleeper.

It looks clear that CX’s idea of regional J is quite different from SQ’s, and is geared more towards short haul journeys than the 7 or 8 hour sectors that some of SQ’s regional J-equipped planes fly.

I know regular SQ flyers would be aghast at this disparity, after all SQ Regional J is slanted lie-flat…a much better proposition for a good nap. But perhaps CX’s route network does not require this…it would be interesting to hear what regular CX flyers to say about the differences in approach.



The footwell on the CX Regional J seat is not particularly roomy either. If you think SQ’s Regional J has slightly limited legroom, you would not be too pleased at what CX offers either. More on this topic later.
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Old 28th November 2014, 11:01 PM   #4
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The tray table has two settings: extended and folded for drinks…



And fully extended for meals…



There are holders for phones. Just right for iPhone 5’s. But forget about sticking your Samsung Galaxy’s or iPhone 6+’s in there…



A/C power with universal plugs…



Seats came with soft pillows. Blankets were distributed later.

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Old 28th November 2014, 11:02 PM   #5
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Hot towels were distributed…



As well as pre-take off fruit juice…



The table on the armrest was not wide enough to hold two drinks…


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Old 28th November 2014, 11:03 PM   #6
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We pushed back and taxied to runway 02C for take-off, right behind an SQ A330.



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Old 28th November 2014, 11:04 PM   #7
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The IFE on the large, wide, touchscreen was the excellent Studio CX system, with full AVOD.





The remote was in the armrest, but as the screen was a touchscreen, I hardly touched the remote during the flight.



The headphone jack was a regular headphone miniplug. My regular iPhone/iPod headphones worked fine.


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Old 28th November 2014, 11:06 PM   #8
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It was time for breakfast service.



Menu for the day, with three choices of main…








More juice before breakfast…



Fruit to start (Croissants and other types of bread were offered from a bread basket).



Followed by cereal…



I chose the beef with noodles, which came in a large ceramic casserole…



…together with a very elegant pair of wooden chopsticks.



The noodles were tasty. The beef was on the dry side, but overall I enjoyed the dish, especially when the Guilin style chill sauce was added.



My seatmate had the Western style egg omelette and lamb sausage, which looked very appetizing.


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Old 28th November 2014, 11:07 PM   #9
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There were good views of the coast of Vietnam and Southern China as we flew towards Hong Kong…



The Rolls Royce engines on the A330 about to ingest one of the many islands along the way…



Cabin ambience was fine, although the layout meant that you didn’t have the same level of privacy as CX’s longhaul J…


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Old 28th November 2014, 11:07 PM   #10
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More on the seat…

It was a very comfortable seat, but did not break any new ground in terms of space or form. Comfortable but a little conventional and unexciting.

When reclining, the seat base moved both upwards and forward, while the seat back reclined and moved lower.



This is the seat in fully reclined position...





To be frank, I had expected any new J product introduced in recent years to have more recline than this, even for a regional J product.

And to add to that, with the seat fully reclined, it was not possible for me to get out of my window seat to head to the restroom without my seatmate either getting up, or setting his seat perfectly upright.

By contrast, the new QF J product that will be introduced at the end of this year is far more innovative – a fully flat design, with more usable table space and storage, and the ability to remain partly reclined during take-off and landing.

Apart from the mediocre recline, I found the footwell quite cramped as well.



In 1500 posts, I’ve shied away from infringing on SQflyergirl’s trademark legshot, but there’s always a first time, and this really does convey the amount of space (or lack there-of) in the footwell. I’m not tall, and my feet are not large, and yet, they had barely enough room to move, when the seat was fully reclined.



So I would have minor reservations about flying in this seat on longer regional sectors, and even on short red-eye flights.

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Old 28th November 2014, 11:16 PM   #11
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It was smooth flying most of the way, and we approached HKG on schedule, where the CX A330 chased it’s own shadow down to a smooth landing at Chek Lap Kok.






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Old 28th November 2014, 11:23 PM   #12
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Overall impressions?

A good, rather than an excellent, new regional J seat, which I would be happy with on a daytime sector like SIN-HKG, but one which would not be in the same league as other leading J products if this were a red-eye or a 5 or 6 hour sector like SIN-DEL or SIN-PEK.

I would not imagine this product being competitive on a longer sector like SIN-DXB or SIN-SYD (Not that CX flies any of those routes…). Comparing this with what SQ offers, I would rate SQ’s current regional J product as superior in almost every way.

On this short 3+ hour SIN-HKG sector though, the seat was fine, and CX inflight service and catering were very very good – what you would expect from a leading airline.

On the whole, I was delighted with my overall flight experience. I believe revenue pax in J would have been pleased with the flight as well.

I do think CX needs to work harder on the next iteration of their regional J product if they want to keep up with what the competition, though.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by yflyer; 28th November 2014 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 29th November 2014, 06:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
When I first entered the front cabin, I felt a little confused.

My most recent premium cabin experience on CX was their longhaul 77W J product, with the wonderul Cirrus lie-flat J seats. And yet, when I entered the front cabin of the A330, it looked nothing like that. Just several rows of dark green/turquoise seats arranged 2-2-2. Is this the J cabin? It looked more like premium Y to my eyes.
That just about sums it up. Their latest long haul JCL product, and their F, is fantastic and right up there with the best. However, this is woeful and is basically a PE product. I have flown it a few times this year and if you are looking to get any sort of sleep then you're struggling.
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Old 29th November 2014, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Overall impressions?
I would not imagine this product being competitive on a longer sector like SIN-DXB or SIN-SYD (Not that CX flies any of those routes…). Comparing this with what SQ offers, I would rate SQ’s current regional J product as superior in almost every way.
I would hardly call it a J product... More like a decent PY one.

To be fair SQ's definition of "regional" does stretch the envelope quite a bit. When it was introduced along with the A330s they were intended for Australian and Japanese routes which are quite a bit longer than CX's definition of "regional". For flights of similar length CX would send their long-haul planes with the fabulous reverse-herringbone seats.
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Old 29th November 2014, 08:43 PM   #15
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thanks for this yflyer. i'm actually contemplating this exact CX J from SIN-HKG, and then onward on PE to US. Now that you have detailed this, I'm thinking a bit harder.
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