11th February 2014 at 10:59 #576315
Anonymous11th February 2014 at 10:59 #576316
Bangkok – Hong Kong
We had checked in online at cathaypacific.com but when we reached the ‘checking confirmation’ page there was no option to print boarding cards instead just a note to proceed to Island M at BKK. Our hotel recommended we allow extra time to reach the airport due to political protests going on in Bangkok but we had an uneventful taxi run and arrived at the airport three hours before departure. Cathay had three Business Class desks, one for Premium Economy and three for economy. The whole area was very quiet with no lines. We were issued our boarding cards, departure immigration fast track passes, lounge invitations and had our bags tagged. We proceeded to the fast track departure point and again it was very quiet (as was general passport control which we could see to the side). Laptops out and we were through in minutes.
We had been given lounge invitations for the Cathay lounge at D concourse. When we reached that lounge the dragon redirected us to the Cathay lounge at G concourse as the D one was closing shortly. The two lounges are less than 90 seconds walk from one another. Cathay’s amazing lounges in HKG do not extend to BKK. It is fairly small, ageing furnishings and has limited food and drink. There is wifi which was fast and a few macs. Annoyingly there are no washrooms in the lounge. Why Cathay doesn’t just consolidate the two rather poor lounges into one good facility I don’t know. Fortunately the Qantas lounge is directly opposite and the BA lounge right next door (which was closed at this time due to BA’s flight now being a morning departure) so we popped over to the Qantas lounge. We presented our boarding cards and the dragon welcomed us and let us know there would be no calls for the Cathay flight. The Qantas lounge was very nice. Large, sleek, plenty of lounge and bar seating. The wifi was fast, there were plenty of power points, one Mac station and showers. The buffet station had a decent range of food and drinks including some hot options (massaman chicken curry and teriyaki chicken drumsticks). We lost track a bit of time and before we knew it our gate was closing in ten minutes. We quickly gathered up our things and fortunately our gate was very close by.
Boarding was done via two airbridges one at door 1L for Business and door 2L for Economy. We were warmly greeted by name at the door and directed to our seats. We were fortunate to have an aircraft configured with the new longhaul seat on our short flight today. Having flown in the same cabin to Australia last year I can confidently say it’s my favourite Business Class seat. Having a look around and further down the aisle the flight only looked about half full. We were offered a pre departure drink of champagne, water or OJ which was followed by hot towels. Immigration cards were also distributed at this point. The in charge crew member then came and introduced herself to us and had a short chat. This is an area where Cathay is always consistent – I’ve never been on a Cathay flight where this hasn’t happened. The captain came over the PA to introduce himself and give us some brief information on our routing and expected weather. We pushed back a few minutes early and were airborne soon after.
Which seat to choose:
The great thing (IMHO) about the new Cathay seat is that whether you are travelling solo or not there is no ‘to avoid’ seats. There are ten rows in all with seven rows in the forward cabin and three rows in a mini cabin aft of the doors two galley. The configuration is 1x2x1 so all have direct aisle access and even the two centre seats are cleverly angled to give maximum privacy if travelling solo. If you are travelling as a couple in the middle seats there is a button that actually moves the entire seat forward so you can see your neighbour. The seat reclines to a flat bed that doesn;t require any contortionist positions to sleep and everything else has been well thought out. There is plenty of storage space and cubbyholes. Universal PC power points and USD ports, two over head reading lights above each seat. IFE is via a large screen which flips out from the side and is controlled by either the touchscreen or remote.
After take off menus and wine lists were given out. The meal service then started and Cathay seems to do it slightly different to most airlines (on this configured aircraft anyway). Instead of starting from row 1 on both A and K aisles and working towards the back on this flight they did a ‘horseshoe’ service. I noticed they did the same on my flights to and from Australia last year. Starting at 1A, continuing down the left hand side rearwards then crossing through the middle galley and coming back towards the front to finish at 1K. First to arrive was a trolley with the meal trays which contained the duck starter and our water glasses were poured. Bread was also offered. A second trolley closely follows with the drinks. Following behind this is a third trolley which had the three main options on display so if you couldn’t make your mind up by looking at the menu you could just wait and see what’s on offer. I had seafood Tom yam which was delicious washed down with the South African Shiraz. Our glasses were kept topped up by the ever present crew before out trays being cleared away. Soon tea, coffee and Hagan Daz ice creams were offered from the trolley. The mood lighting was set to night mode and I had a look at the IFE. The IFE on this aircraft is cathay’s latest offering of its ‘studio cx’ system with a large IFE screen that springs towards you when released from its side stowage and is switched on after take off and switched off before landing. Noise cancelling headsets are already plugged in and waiting to be used in their own little stowage. Unfortunately the whole IFE offering was not available on this flight. I did plan on watching a movie but only tv programs and music were available. Saying that there are hundreds of tv programs to chose from (including whole box sets). It was getting late and I ended up nodding off. I woke up when the seatbelt sign was switched on for approach and the cabin crew were coming around with glasses of water which was a nice touch.
The crew were good. What I notice about Cathay crews is they seem to have a good balance between the younger crew – that while enthusiastic and youthful can get visibly stressed when the flights are busy – working alongside the older more mature crews that offer an air of grace and calm no matter how busy the flight is. We were addressed by name throughout the flight. We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule and were fortunate to be allocated a parking bay close to immigration.
Starter: Thai BBQ duck with lychee salad
Main: Stir fried chicken with cucumber in sweet bean sauce and rice.
Slow cooked pork fillet with red wine sauce/gratin potato
Seafood tom yam with steamed rice
Wines: Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne
Saint-Veran Pierre Andree 2011 Burgundy
Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Zante’s Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012
Fleurie Cuvee Prestige Les Chambards 2011 Beaujolais
There were long lines at immigration as it was close to midnight and only a few counters were open for the few flights still arriving. Our flight obviously arrived just after another and unfortunately there is no Fast Track at HKG (although you can sign up for the ‘frequent visitor’ scheme). It took us around thirty minutes to clear immigration. At least by the time we were through our bags were waiting for us. We swiftly exited and within minutes were in our room at the Regal Airport Hotel.12th February 2014 at 03:15 #576317
FYI CX always switch off the movies on their shorter routes, presumably on the basis that you really don’t have time to watch a 2-hour movie on a 2.5-hour flight!12th February 2014 at 08:58 #576318
Yes that makes sense I guess.
Though I wonder if it has more to do with licensing fees to play movies on certain routes. For example at BA on shorthaul routes, BA only has paid for a license to show films on the ATH/DME/LCA/IST routes. If you happen to be on say a Kiev or St Petersburg flight on an IFE equipped aircraft under no circumstances can the films be played.
You are fortunate to have such a great home carrier 🙂12th February 2014 at 09:02 #576319
Well, yes, I suppose licence fees may be an issue too! To be honest, that was at the back of my mind when I wrote the comment. However, since CX don’t have IFE gate-to-gate, and given the various announcements, you would probably only get 1.5 hours viewing time on the HKG-BKK run and most films nowadays seem to be longer than that! And at least on CX there are plenty of TV options, at least on the newer craft. I haven’t had one of the old planes with no AVOD for quite a long time, but I suspect there are still a few knocking around, although with the rollout of CX’s new regional product I hope they are not much longer for this world!12th February 2014 at 09:08 #576320
The range of TV was absolutely amazing Ian. We were fortunate to get a long haul configured aircraft but tbh I would have preferred to have one with the new regional kit to check it out 🙂12th February 2014 at 09:13 #576321
The new regional setup is pretty nice, and certainly an improvement on the old version, with one exception – the table is rather wobbly, and not completely flat (it is in two halves, with one folding out towards you to form the nearer part of the table, but they don’t align properly so there is a ridge in the middle (if you follow me). It’s okay for eating, but trying to use a laptop on one would be really irritating really quickly, I suspect. The recline motion of the seat is also a bit disconcerting at first – the whole seat base rises up and angles before sinking down into what I believe is called a “lazyboy” position. It’s actually very comfortable, but certainly feels weird to me!13th February 2014 at 02:47 #576322
I recently flew Cathay Business HKG-NRT and, as expected, was well pleased. The seats, which seem to be the same as AA use on their 777 300’s, are very comfortable indeed. Attentive service and bonzer tucker, as they say in Cloncurry.
The new HKG Bridge Lounge is a pleasure. Worth the trek, even though my gate was closer to the Cabin Lounge.
In comparison, Thai’s domestic lounge at BKK is a disappointment. 36C outside and they don’t have any beer. Managed to down a couple of frosties on the flight up to CEI to compensate.
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