BT thoughts on aircraft type ..Back to Forum
The Lockheed Tristar L-1011 without doubt holds great memories for me but also it was a much loved aircraft by both pilots and particularly by Cathay Pacific who had the largest fleet of Tristar’s with at its peak 20 aircraft between 1975 and the last in 1995.
The Tristar was the backbone of the Cathay fleet from the mid seventies to late eighties and at this time I was building my business out of Hong Kong and had offices in Tokyo, Taipei and Sydney and needed to fly 4 or 5 times a week around Asia on the Tristar and down to Sydney on the 707.
Cathay was a small airline at the time but with a fast expanding network around Asia requiring a wide body aircraft in order to expand. They had decided to purchase the DC 10 but at the eleventh hour the British Government approached Swire / Cathay on behalf of Rolls Royce who were struggling at the time and whose engines powered the new L-1011 ( L ten-eleven). An advantageous deal was struck and Cathay ordered 2 Tristar’s. Over the next years they acquired 18 more; all second hand and mostly from the ailing US carrier Eastern Airlines although a couple came from B-CAL.
In the early days there was no Business class but Economy was pretty comfortable for a young cwoodward and later business class was introduced and I became a Marco Polo member in 1976 and often enjoyed an upgrade.
The air conditioning system was not designed for tropical conditions and in humid conditions (most of the time) the girls (very few male cabin crew then) were forever running around stuffing cloths into the vents to stop customers from being constantly dripped on. Another endearing quality of the ‘L ten-eleven’ was that in a moderately heavy landing some of the very lightweight clip in ceiling decorative panels used to fall onto the customers. No one seemed to mind much and I don’t recall any real bother. These days it would be rather different !
Cathay was a small airline and I was friends with many of the expat captains and enjoyed many a landing into Kai Tak on the jump seat. The Tristar was roomy and comfortable’ a great step forward from the previous generations of aircraft and I was sad to see the last one leave the fleet in the mid-nineties.
With the A350-1000 perhaps Cathay have found another ‘L ten-eleven’. I enjoy flying on it much more than anything for a long time, the noisy 777 or particularly the
clunky,gimmicky 787 with that widow black- out nonsense and suspect batteries.
Mid- week I have an afternoon non-stop HKG to Christchurch which with luck will be on the ‘1000’ which I will doubtless enjoy.
1 user thanked author for this post.10 Feb 2019
I have fond memories of the original 747-100 Pan Am and 747-200 Virgin. Climbing the spiral staircase at the front of the cabin seemed very special. Service was much better then, but I wouldn’t exchange the spiral staircase for today’s beds, and prices.
Agree with ghlotus about KL, but the special seat 1A is only on the 747 combi aircraft.10 Feb 2019
Alex, I was taken back many years by your reference to the DC-8-63 – the stretched Super DC-8 which was my introduction, in 1971, to long-haul travel on a World Airways charter from Gatwick to JFK with a refueling stop in Gander. The return from Dulles refueled at Shannon en route back to Gatwick. Returning to both Gander and Shannon many years later was fascinating, in many ways airports that technology has passed by – little had changed with huge terminal buildings with minimal traffic (especially Gander).
1 user thanked author for this post.11 Feb 2019
LOVE the A380 (though have only experienced Emirates) dnd the A350. Hate the B777 and found the 787 underwhelming. So few fights now on 747s, but every time I do I’m reminded of the space they offered. Overall I tend to prefer Airbus over f1 monza, especially narrow body. For Economy I also like the A330 in 2-4-2 over the 777 in 3-4-3.
Love it too!
1 user thanked author for this post.12 Feb 2019