I write trip reports for a hobby, and like to think that I get better over time. This report was written in March 2015, and falls in the oldie-but-not-so-goodie category of trip reports – blurry photos taken with an iPhone 5, and a not-so-useful content focus.
I’ve left the post up for aviation nuts who like any and all reviews, though for those looking for a review: the Dragonair brand was discontinued in 2020, so check out this post for Cathay Pacific’s A330 economy class.
Comfort 5/5 Service 3/5 Amenities 3/5 Little things 3/5 Meals 4/5 Overall 4/5
At first I wanted to take Air China on the return leg for the adventure factor, but Dragonair’s packages don’t include codeshare flights, so we were stuck, again, with Dragonair. Great. 🙂
Dragonair flies out of Shanghai Pudong’s Terminal 2. We took an Uber to the airport, and arrived the airport at about 5.
Shanghai Pudong’s Terminal 2 is stunning. With pretty broken power ports and a long wait at immigration, I’d say that it’s one of the least practical airports out there (in stark contrast to Kaohsiung International Airport), but at least it’s gorgeous.
We quickly found the Dragonair check-in area, and as we had done online check-in (and just secured seats 55H and 55K), check-in was a short process for us, and we went straight through immigration. We were assigned gate D69, just a few minutes from the immigration area. (It isn’t my first time passing the number 69 in an airport this year… 😛)
Boarding started for business class passengers at 18:15, and five minutes later they let us in. I get the separate queue since priority boarding is important for business class passengers and there’d be less a wait for the price they paid, but why do they open the economy queue only ten minutes before takeoff? I was at the start of the line, and the economy cabin was completely full by the time I boarded.
Dragonair Pacific Flight 891
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Origin: Shanghai (PVG) Gate: D69 Dep: 18:30 (18:50)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 68 Arr: 21:05 (20:55)
Duration: 2 hr 35 min (2 hr 5 min)
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A330-300
Seat: 55K (Economy Class)
Dragonair has 265 economy class seats situated at the back of their A330 (there are only 230 in the new version with Dragonair’s new first class, but they’re configured similarly). Both cabins are identical, except that there are less seats at the back of the rear cabin due to the curvature of the aircraft.
Once again we had the new economy seats on our flight, which have become my personal favourite economy seats in the air.
It was, I believe, a full cabin, and we made our way to the very back of the plane, where I selected the last two seats in the cabin.
I’d say that these two are actually two of the best seats in the plane, as you don’t have to worry about anyone behind while reclining. There’s a fair bit of space behind the seat (even though the recline still only goes back six inches), and the toilet is pretty far behind, so it wasn’t as much of a “disturbance” as I expected it’d be.
I love having a full cabin view, and this seat more than delivered. This was my first time on a new Dragonair aircraft – the airplane is nine years old, in stark contrast to my inbound flight, which had an aircraft that was ten years older. Grumble!
Traffic outside was uninteresting – there was only a Qantas A330-300 outside the window. Looks like the hopes of watching the sunset were demolished.
While I’ve reviewed the new seat extensively on the flight to, I’ll recap it here. The seat is a pretty ergonomically designed seat – there’s a recess in front of the seat for writing utensils/phones, the seat is equipped with a USB port and a power port under the seat, and the seat is really plush and has ample legroom.
The safety video soon played. I don’t think I’ve said, so, but Dragonair has one of the most boring safety videos I’ve seen recently, which sucks, because they’re a great choice for mainland-Hong Kong travel.
I found a rather low quality version of the safety video on YouTube.
Soon we pushed back, and slowly we got to the runway, where we were first for takeoff.
The cabin lights turned on after we got into the air, when I immediately reclined my seat.
Shortly we were asked for meal orders. Interestingly, unlike the outbound, there wasn’t a menu, which I was fine with.
I picked the pork, which was cooked perfectly but tasted a bit odd. It wasn’t presented any better than the inbound and didn’t taste as good either, actually rather ketchupy. I was surprised that they nailed the meat though.
The meal was served with bread and an appetiser – at least it wasn’t corn bread. 😉
Ice cream was served after the meal, and it was soft, and melted to just the right temperature.
I turned on the airshow after the meal, when we were right over Ningbo.
There were really cool views of Ningbo as the night was surprisingly fogless/cloudless, but I couldn’t take a photo as the cabin lights were turned on.
It’s worth noting that while the service was pretty bad, in which they were indifferent, I felt like it was slightly better than on the service there. They didn’t smile, they certainly didn’t talk to us, but at least we had all our food served efficiently, and I was served last in the cabin.
I visited the bathroom after the meal, which is impressively sparkly, similar to Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A330 bathrooms.
Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Bathroom
It’s annoying when a mirror is dazzling in an economy bathroom, because I have the urge to take a photo of it, but because in order to not have my face or my amazing phone case in it, I always have to kneel down to take the photo from above, and a flight to Hong Kong from the mainland doesn’t exactly float my boat in terms of toilet cleanliness. 😉
I watched The Fault in Our Stars after the meal. Okay, I know I’m weird, but it really just felt like a simple storyline with cancer thrown in. I was pretty underwhelmed, but I’m happy I watched the movie.
We approached Hong Kong a bit after the movie finished. While I’ve landed in Hong Kong dozens of times, the view never gets old, as far as I’m concerned. However, even with the cabin lights dimmed, I couldn’t take a decent photo due to the darkness.
There was a little traffic, including two Emirates A380s and one Air France A380 parked together. Sweet!
We did see a rather exciting United 747-400 next to us as we parked by the gate.
Bottom line on Dragonair Economy Class
Great seat, great food, lacking amenities, acceptable service, and a great value for it all – I’d say that Dragonair should be the better pick for flights to/fro from China, though I’d like to make sure by trying the other airlines as well.
Bottom line on going To Shanghai For Books, Parks and The New Economy
We had a blast on the trip. Dragonair’s new Economy Class impressed me on the whole, I got to familiarise with the Hyatt brand, and Shanghai itself was just culturally stunning, while being relaxing at the same time. I mean, the only hiccup was not being able to go with my parents.
All in all, I’d redo the trip.