I was dreading the 5 hour flight from Bali to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific’ economy class. We got spoiled on our inbound flight and more so than myself, I was worried about my parents being comfortable. My brother and sister were going to be sitting in Business class. I had booked their flights using Alaska miles and it had to be in the same cabin they were flying home in. I arranged our transportation from the Conrad Bali to Ngurah Rai International Airport through the hotel. The fare was $50 for a van, which is much higher than what local drivers or even cabs charge. However, I wanted to avoid any potential hassles and deal with the hotel directly. Plus, this way I could charge it to the room and cover the cost with arrival miles (not to mention earn extra Hilton HHonors points).
There was luckily no traffic on the way to the airport and it was a beautiful day. After showing a security guard our itinerary, we were allowed to pass to the check-in area. Since my brother and sister were allowed four bags, which would be tagged with a priority label, my parents gave them their own bags to check in. The agent was nice enough to check us all in and put a priority tag on my bag even though I was flying economy.
The security line was exceptionally long but after about 30 minutes we were through and making our way through the Duty Free maze. We continued on through dozens of coffee shops, restaurants, and designer stores. It was very impressive for an island airport – especially when you compare it to the airports in Maui and Honolulu. After walking the length of the Great Wall of China, we finally made it to our gate. The flight was delayed by 30 minutes and the people who had lined up were now reluctantly taking their seats. There was a sectioned off seating area for business class passengers, which I found slightly absurd.
My brother went to check out the Cathay Pacific lounge. He came back 30 minutes later, saying the lounge was crowded and the food offerings weren’t that good. I suspected as much, with the huge crowds traveling that morning.
Eventually we boarded and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the seats: They had plenty of legroom and a shell, which allowed passengers to recline without impeding on the personal space of those seated behind them. I knew Cathay Pacific’s economy class seats were going to be more comfortable than your average seat on a US carrier, but this was much better than I had anticipated.
I got comfortable in the middle seat, though the cabin was a bit chilly. My mom asked a flight attendant for a blanket and her frazzled response was, “Yes, but give me a minute. I have a lot of things to do and it’s going to take me time to go back, get the blanket, and return.” I doubt it would have taken quite as long as it took her to utter that response. She was incredibly snippy towards all of the passengers…until takeoff. Once the plane was in the air, her attitude improved tremendously and she was much more pleasant to deal with.
I started browsing the IFE, which had the same sad selection as the other Cathay Pacific flights during this trip. Having exhausted my viewing options on the previous flights, I watched How to Get Away with Murder. I was instantly hooked and couldn’t wait to go back to the hotel to binge watch the entire season. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said of my dad. He’s not a complainer, but he was experiencing a burning sensation in his legs, which had me worried about pulmonary embolisms. He began walking around the cabin once the seatbelt sign was off and felt much better afterwards. This episode aside, I could tell this wasn’t the most comfortable flight for him. When I managed to book us all in Cathay Pacific’s first class product on the flight home, it was a huge relief.
While my dad was out for a walk, a large group of young French tourists gathered in the aisle so they could talk to their friends in the row ahead of us. They were unbelievable loud. Thankfully they went back to their seats when the meal service began. The options consisted of a chicken dish and pasta. The last time I had chicken on a plane, I ended up getting so sick that it derailed my travel plans for the next three days. So I decided to skip the chicken and went with the pasta dish instead. It resembled something from a Lean Cuisine packet – my least favorite microwaveable food – and it had that awful “diet” taste. It did filled me up. Plus, after eating bar after bar of Kinder chocolates before boarding, I was happy to eat some real food.
After we landed around 10:30 PM and got through immigration fairly quickly, I requested an Uber van while my family got their bags together. In Hong Kong more than anywhere else, Uber’s location accuracy was really terrible. The estimated arrival time was showing as 20 minutes. However, shortly after I requested a ride, the driver called to say he was 5 minutes away. Five minutes later he let me know he was outside Carpark 1.
Getting to the designated Uber pickup area is kind of a hassle. Past the immigration area, you go to the Carpark area which, if I remember it correctly, is straight ahead. Once you walk past the doors, you turn right then take an elevator or the stairs down one level. You’re going to end up in an open parking lot with a ton of cars lined up against the curb.
From here, you turn left and walk all the way to the end of the parking lot. You’ll know where it is when the line of cars is basically a blur in the distance. Our Uber driver waited there for a good 15 minutes and didn’t even turn the meter on until I got in and placed my bag in the trunk. He wasn’t allowed outside of that designated spot, so I went back to get my family and guided them to where our driver was parked. It may not sound complicated or stressful, but it was. Do yourself a favor and don’t split from your group – you won’t save time or make things easier for anyone.
Eventually we all got in the car and made the 45 minute drive to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The driver gave us tons of invaluable information on what to do and see in Hong Kong, along with some really interesting stuff about the local culture. Of course, I could have gotten some of this information from one of my college friends, who I learned had moved to Hong Kong. I didn’t know this the case until my last day (that’s what I get for never checking my Facebook timeline). I still had fun in Hong Kong and it’s good to know that if I do go back, I’l have a friend in the city.
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