Browsing Tag: My Review

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER preparing for a Test flight at Boeing's Everett Factory - Photo: Mal Muir |

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER preparing for a Test flight at Boeing’s Everett Factory. Image: Mal Muir.

If you need to travel between New York and the Canadian west coast, there are just a few choices.  Your main options are Air Canada or WestJet, which both operate direct flights between New York and Vancouver.  Another option is flying a US-based airline (like United or American) via one of their hub cities.  But what if you have a nice chunk of points to burn and want to get the best bang for your buck? Sure, you could redeem for Air Canada business, but that would just be like flying any other US airline in the front cabin.  What if you could get a truly unique experience for the same amount of points as any other redemption? Well you can, with an unexpected airline.

Cathay Pacific Airlines (CX), based in Hong Kong, operates four daily flights between New York’s JFK Airport and Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport.  However, one of those flights has a layover in Vancouver.  The last flight of the day (CX889) makes a stop along the way and Cathay Pacific has “Fifth Freedom” rights between New York and Vancouver.

What is a Fifth Freedom flight?  It’s where an airline is allowed to sell tickets on a flight between two foreign countries as part of a service connecting their own country.  Confusing, right?  In layman’s terms it means that if, for instance, the airline needs to make a fuel stop mid-route or something similar, then it can sell a ticket from that stopping point to the end destination.

Cathay Pacific’s flight from New York to Vancouver is unique in that those in premium cabins get all the standard international service items, despite the fact that it’s only a five-hour flight.  So even though I was flying a transcontinental flight JFK-YVR, I still got the multiple-course meal, amenity kit, and even pajamas.  All the standard items you would get as though you were flying Cathay Pacific for a 14-hour flight.

Photo by Andrew Vane.

People picking up their bags. Photo by Andrew Vane.

This Story was Written by Andrew Vane for

Although not filled with the glory of a wide-body international flight typically experienced by others, any opportunity to fly commercially always brings a smile to my face. Getting to fly, no matter the distance or aircraft, is what being an #AvGeek is all about! To quote a childrens book titled “Railroad Toad” by Susan Schade and John Buller (that I used to read to my children): “Give me a ticket to anywhere, the farther the better I don’t care!”

Well, that opportunity rolled around again for me. This time, I got to fly for business from my home city of Charlotte, North Carolina to the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Up one afternoon and back the next is all I had time for with this trip.

To give you some background on Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), in 2012 it was the eighth-busiest airport in the US and had more domestic flights than New York’s LaGuardia and Kennedy combined. As a major hub to US Airways (soon to become American Airlines), the airport has grown from three small crisscrossing runways in the 1960’s to four long runways capable of handling an A340-600 or Boeing 777. CLT officials are also planning to give the longest runway a 2,000 foot extension at some point in the future. Hmmmm. My last fortune cookie said “I see big things in your future” so perhaps someday an A380 will grace CLT.

A Virgin Australia 737 at Melbourne Airport - Photo: Mal Muir |

A Virgin Australia 737 at Melbourne Airport – Photo: Mal Muir |

As an Australian expat, I will often have an opportunity to commute back to Australia for special events.  This trip was one of those times.  I got to head to Australia to attend a friend’s wedding (congrats Stuart & Michelle!) and thankfully it meant that I could combine a number of things together: a trip home to see friends and family, the wedding (obviously) and a mini mileage run with Virgin Australia to re-qualify for my gold status.

Though I had already re-qualified on points, I still had four segments required on Virgin Australia operated aircraft. As an AvGeek, I always look forward to these types of adventures.

The All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner Arrives back to San Jose Airport, ready to turn around for it's flight back to Tokyo Narita - Photo: Mal Muir |

The All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner Arrives back to San Jose Airport, ready to turn around for it’s flight back to Tokyo Narita – Photo: Mal Muir |

This is the first in a multi-part series covering my trip from Seattle to San Jose to Narita to Hong Kong and back home as a ANA Ambassador. Note that my flight was provided by ANA, but all opinions are my own. 

Departing from San Jose’s Norman Y Mineta Airport (SJC) could not have been more of a breeze.  The weather was perfect, the check in area was quiet and security lines were nonexistent.  It was a great way to start off my flight to Tokyo.

I was about to embark on All Nippon Airway’s (ANA), first 787 service out of the US since the infamous grounding .  With boarding passes in hand, I was escorted to the gate by a member of the airport staff  where we could photograph the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner.

After being joined by other media, we grabbed the arrival photos from the sterile corridor and then headed up to the lounge.  The “Club at SJC” is the new lounge that opened the day prior to the first service that ANA operated out of San Jose back in January.  Unless you’re a business class guest (or Star Alliance Gold member) flying the one and only ANA flight out of SJC, the lounge will cost you an entry fee.