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- Tried & Tested
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- Tried & Tested
The review relates to my Dragonair flight from Hanoi to Hong Kong from where I was due to connect to London. The flight is a codeshare with Cathay Pacific. I arrived at Hanoi airport early, having allowed for holiday weekend (again) traffic which did not materialise. The queue for check in, even the premium line, was very slow but, after about a 20 minute wait, I was done and dusted with my case checked all the way through to Glasgow.
Immigration and security, however, were fast and painless and I headed upstairs to Vietnam Airlines rather soul-less lounge which is the Dragonair facility in Hanoi. The wifi works well so an opportunity to catch up with some work. A sort while later i received both a text and e-mail from Cathay to inform me of a 55 minute delay to the flight to Hong Kong, information not showing as yet on the board. Dragonair do seem to have an issue with timekeeping as this is the forth time in just three weeks that I have noticed this particular rotation to be late, each time by about one to one and a half hours. Hong Kong Airlines, due in just a few minutes earlier than Dragonair were also delayed by a similar amount. Given the time of the evening and HKIA’s increasing levels of congestion, I suspect that Dragonair need to look at their scheduling to take cumulative delays into account.
The aircraft eventually arrived in some 80 minutes late but the turn around was quite fast and we were soon boarding. The aircraft was old and relatively shabby inside and, in stark contrast to Hong Kong Airlines, legroom was poor and the seats uncomfortable. We took off about 70 minute late, with quite a few passengers peppering about connections, concerns that were met with blank smiles by cabin crew. Service commenced soon after we had leveled out and consisted of tasty looking Asian and Western hot options – which I declined.
We landed an hour late and taxied to the remote satellite (Gates 501-510 for those who know HKIA). Here we waited about 10 minutes for the airbridge to be hooked up (not just a LHR problem, DavidGordon10) before disembarking. There were Cathay staff to meet those of us with tight connections and ‘our group’, LHR and HEL were led downstairs to the bussing gate where we waited…. and waited….. and waited as the number of passengers from, incoming flights multiplied. I timed the wait at 25 minutes and when the bus came, no priority was given to those with connections and an all mighty scrum ensued. The girls responsible for short-connection passengers were helpless to manage the situation. This was diabolical and a disgrace to an airport I have always thought of as well run.
We transferred over to the main terminal and faced the same scrum at security with a large number of passengers squeezed into a small area, all with tight connections and, therefore stressed. Once through this melee, a rapid walk across the concourse took us to Gate 1 and I was able to join the last few stragglers boarding CX255.
Not a great experience from Dragonair. Flight was late – yes, it happens but with this frequency? Aircraft and its seating was nothing to be proud of. Ground handling, who ever’s fault this was, at HKIA, was slow and disorganised. But, hey, I made my connection!!