Flight Review: Cathay Dragon A320 Economy Class from Hong Kong to Hanoi

Flight Review: Cathay Dragon A320 Economy Class from Hong Kong to Hanoi

Flight Information
: February 7, 2018
Flight No.: KA299
Route: Hong Kong International to Hanoi Noi Bai
Airline: Cathay Dragon (Dragonair)
Type: Airbus A320-200
Registration: B-HSI

After arriving in Hong Kong and spending some time in one of the Plaza Premium lounges at the airport, it was time to continue the trip with a flight to Hanoi onboard a Cathay Dragon A320.

Hong Kong Airport Departures Board

FIDS in the transfer area.
Hong Kong Airport Transfers

Transfer area of Hong Kong airport.

Making My Way to Hong Kong Airport’s North Satellite

Since my flight was departing from Hong Kong airport’s North Satellite concourse, first, I had to make my way there. The main building is connected to the satellite (gates 501 to 510) with a shuttle bus that departs from a stop next to gate 511, one floor below the main departures level.

Hong Kong International Airport Terminal

Heading from the main terminal to the North Satellite.

The ride itself is fairly short, as the concourse is located just across a taxiway. In fact, it took us longer to let a Singapore Airlines 777 park before we could get on our way than it took us to actually ride across the tarmac.

Hong Kong Gates 501 to 511

The bus left from a stop near gate 511.
Bus to Hong Kong Airport North Satellite

The building across the tarmac is the North Satellite.
Waiting for Singapore Airlines to Cross

Singapore Airlines 777 taxiing to its stand at the main terminal.

On the North Satellite side, we were dropped off on the ground level next to a couple of Cathay Dragon aircraft still wearing the old Dragonair livery. The gates area was located a short escalator ride away.

Dragonair Aircraft

Arriving at the North Satellite.
Cathay Dragon Aircraft

Cathay Dragon aircraft parked at the North Satellite.
Hong Kong International Airport North Satellite

Inside the North Satellite.

Boarding the Cathay Dragon A320 in Dragonair Livery

While the flight was scheduled to depart at 6:05PM, around the time I got to the satellite concourse, I also received a notification saying that it had been delayed to 6:30PM. As such, I settled at one of the counters with power outlets (power adapters were placed on it as well), and worked for a bit.

Boarding Cathay Dragon Flight

Passengers boarding a different Cathay Dragon flight.
Power Outlet at Hong Kong Airport

USB and power outlets in the terminal.

Boarding for the flight started at gate 505 at 6:20PM. And, while waiting in the line, one of Cathay Dragon’s staff went around the queue to check and stamp passengers’ boarding passes.

Gate Area

Passengers waiting in the gate area.
Boarding in Progress

Boarding in progress at gate 505.
Gate 505

Final call for flight KA299.

Not long after that, I had my boarding pass checked and walked down the jetway to board the aircraft that would take me to Hanoi. While the flight was operated by Cathay Dragon, the A320 was still wearing the livery of its predecessor – Dragonair.

Cathay Dragon Airbus A320

Cathay Dragon Airbus A320.

A long queue in the jetway.
Cathay Dragon A320

View of our aircraft through the jetway window.

Cathay Dragon A320 Cabin and Economy Class Seats

The first thing that struck me after boarding the plane were the overhead bins. Besides being quite large, each of the bins featured an LED indicator showing whether the bin was properly closed or not.

Separately, just like Cathay Pacific’s 777, the Cathay Dragon A320 featured unique tray tables that I haven’t seen on other airlines. While the tray table was steadier than the typical ones, it couldn’t be moved back and forth.

Cathay Dragon Overhead Bin

Overhead bin LED indicator.
Cathay Dragon Tray Table

An unusually shaped tray table.

The seats themselves were fairly comfortable slimline seats covered in cloth. While the overhead bins looked brand new, that couldn’t be said about the seats which showed a lot of wear and tear.

And, the legroom was a bit on the tighter side.

Cathay Dragon A320 Seat and Legroom

Legroom – notice the wear on the seat pocket.

A Delayed Departure Out of Hong Kong, Bound for Hanoi

Going back to the flight itself, the cabin crew distributed pillows during boarding.

In the meantime, around 6:45PM, the captain apologized for the delay caused by late arrival of the aircraft from its previous flight. And, also mentioned that the first officer would be the one actually flying the aircraft and that the flight would take one hour and forty-five minutes.

Then, at 6:50PM, the doors were closed – and another fifteen minutes later (or exactly one hour behind schedule), we were pushed back.

It took another twenty-five minutes of taxiing and holding until we finally took off into the dark Hong Kong skies.

StudioKA: Cathay Dragon’s In-Flight Entertainment System

The seatbelt signs were switched off at 7:36PM, at which point the crew started preparing for the meal service.

In the meantime, I took a quick look at Cathay Dragon’s in-flight entertainment system, StudioKA. While on some of the airline’s aircraft it is accessible through the seat back screens, on aircraft that don’t feature them, it can be accessed via wi-fi.

That was the case with my flight as well.

While during boarding an announcement was made a couple of times that iOS users would have to download the StudioKA app, it was of no use given that I didn’t have mobile Internet access.

Instead, I wished they made that announcement in the terminal so that I could download it using the airport wi-fi.

Still, I could do everything with the system except for watching videos which required the app. As for StudioKA’s content – it seemed to virtually be the same as the content of Cathay Pacific’s Studio CX.

StudioKA Welcome Screen

StudioKA Movies

Watching movies required an app.
StudioKA Map

In-flight map.

Cathay Dragon’s Shorthaul Economy Class Meal Service

Even though the flight itself was less than two hours long, a hot meal was served. What is more, there were two choices – chicken with pasta and pork with rice.

I went with the former, and it was quite good.Especially so compared to the disappointing meal on my flight from Narita to Hong Kong.

The main came on a tray together with fruits, cookies, and water.

Cathay Dragon Economy Class Shorthaul Meal

Chicken with pasta.

After the meal, coffee was served, and some passengers ordered specific drinks. For those that did not, only water was served.

Landing at Hanoi Noi Bai Airport

With the meal service finished, the cabin crew did a quick pass through the aisle with an in-flight sales flyer. And, shortly after that – at 7:41PM Vietnam time, we started descending.

Cathay Dragon Airbus A320 Cabin

Cathay Dragon A320 economy class cabin.

At 8:11PM, the cockpit crew asked the cabin crew to sit down for landing, and ten minutes after that – at 8:21PM – we landed at Noi Bai airport. The moment we landed, some passengers started standing up before being told by the crew to sit down.

We parked at our gate at 8:28PM – more than one hour after the scheduled arrival time.

From there, it took me another thirty minutes until clearing customs and meeting up with the driver I had pre-booked to take me to my hotel in the city center. More about that in the next installment, though.

Cathay Dragon A320 Economy Class Hong Kong – Hanoi Summary

In spite of the slightly worn down seats and not the best legroom, the Cathay Dragon A320 provided for a comfortable-enough ride from Hong Kong to Hanoi.

That said, I wish an announcement was made at the gate about StudioKA – as I would have loved to have tested watching a TV show or a movie streamed onto my iPhone through the system.


Click here to read more Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flight and lounge reviews


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