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Review: Cathay Dragon A321 Economy Class (HKG-HAK)

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After arriving at the airport from the Airport Express, I headed straight to security and immigration – which was a breeze – and got myself some Hong Kong-style milk tea and some really nice Japanese food at the Qantas lounge. My flight was departing from the North Satellite Terminal, which meant having to spend more time getting to the gate.

img_2045Qantas Hong Kong Lounge Entrance 

A good ten minutes after the published boarding time, Business, Marco Polo Silver, Gold and Diamond as well as oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members were invited to board first. I was one of the first people to board the aircraft.


Cathay Dragon Flight 694
Friday, June 16, 2017
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 501 Dep: 14:15 (14:10)
Destination: Haikou (HAK) Gate: 18 Arr: 15:35 (15:25)
Duration: 1 hr 20 min (1 hr 15 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 35K (Economy Class)

I was welcomed by the friendly senior purser and was directed to my seat, 35K, which was an exit row seat.

IMG_9285.jpgCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Cabin 

The A321 has six extra legroom seats in Economy, all located at the third door. While 35 B, C, H and J all have a good amount of legroom, it’s 35 A and K you really want. These seats have extra legroom due to a crew seat. While some think it’s awkward to be seated directly across from a flight attendant, it’s (in my opinion) worth it for the extra legroom.

IMG_9315.jpgCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Seat 35K Legroom

During boarding, I noticed a flight attendant holding an elderly passenger’s hand while escorting the passenger to her seat, helping her get settled into her seat. I was really touched by the flight attendant. She didn’t seem annoyed at all about the passenger, and patiently held her hand as the passenger, who had mobility issues, made her way down the aisle. She also offered to reseat the passenger to a seat closer to the front of the aircraft to make boarding and deplaning easier. It was truly service from the heart. Kudos to her for being so fantastic.

The takeoff was uneventful – although we did encounter some rough skies on our climb out. Unfortunately, exit row seats on the A321 don’t come with windows, nor can you pull out the television during taxi, takeoff and landing, so I was stuck with reading my book.

IMG_9337.JPGCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Cabin After Takeoff

After take-off, I realised that my personal television was stuck in its position and refused to come up. It really sucks that Cathay can’t at least try to ensure that their seats actually work before presenting them to customers, because it is pretty embarrassing. The friendly flight purser tried her very best to get the television out, but alas, she failed. She told me to relocate to one of the empty rows at the back of the aircraft.

IMG_9322.JPGCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Empty Economy Seats!

Shortly afterwards, the “service” started. The flight attendants rolled a cart through the aisle with a bag which contained a bottle of water, some cookies and a chocolate bar. Honestly, this little meal bag just drives me absolutely insane. Is it really that difficult to serve a small but considered cold dish – like a sandwich? Also, don’t call it a day after tossing out a bottle of water. If there’s enough time to go through an entire meal service in Business Class, there’s obviously enough time to do a brief drink run.

IMG_9329.jpgEnjoy! Cathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Meal

IMG_9331.jpgCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class “Meal”

I spent some time toying around with the seat and getting some cabin shots. It’s worth noting that on the A321, passengers only receive around 31″ of seat pitch when compared to the A330’s 32″ (American has 32″ seat pitch and fits twelve rows between doors two and three, while Cathay Dragon fits twelve rows between doors two and three with space to spare for a bulkhead and a rear galley). While only a tiny difference, the seat was noticeably tighter and more uncomfortable. However, I can’t really complain – given I had 6 seats to myself.

IMG_9321.JPGCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Legroom 

The service on the flight was pretty good. The flight attendants were all very friendly, but I wish they had come throughout the cabin with extra snacks and cups of water throughout the flight.

I spent the rest of the flight enjoying the view outside and taking some cabin pictures.

IMG_9325.JPGCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Cabin 

IMG_9330.jpgCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Economy Class Cabin 

IMG_9333.JPGCathay Dragon Airbus A321 Wing View 

I returned to my seat for landing and fell asleep until we landed in a very sunny Haikou. Customs and Immigration was a breeze and we were picked up by a driver from the Ritz Carlton, where the next part of our journey began.

Bottom Line

Cathay Dragon offers a fantastic hard product on flights as short as these. The service was also typical Cathay – which is to say that it was excellent. The one thing that I would change is perhaps offering a more comprehensive meal offering. There is absolutely time to serve some cold food – such as a sandwich – on these flights.

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