Tried & Tested

Cathay Pacific B747-400 Economy Class

30 Jun 2011

Check-in I arrived at the Hong Kong Station of the Airport Express at 0925 for my 1120 flight and it was the usual smooth and fuss-free procedure that I have always loved about the city’s in-town check-in facility. I pondered having a quick breakfast at International Finance Centre mall before boarding the train but decided that I would do that at the airport.

Boarding After I had gone through immigration, there was less than 30 minutes left before the gate was scheduled to close (listed as 1055 on the boarding pass), so I thought I’d just eat on the plane. The cabin crew did not offer to hang my suit bag up for me until I made a request – something that rarely happened when I flew CX before. Skipping breakfast turned out to be a mistake. For reasons unknown, there were still people boarding way after 1055 and the flight did not take off until 1143. I was starving.

The seat I was at 48C, an aisle seat in the middle of the plane, right at the wings. It was one of those seats with a fixed rear panel so the passenger in front of you cannot recline towards you or rock your table. The design also allows more legroom. It was a blessing in my case as I had a rather hyperactive (grown-up) fellow in front of me who kept getting in and out of his seat throughout the flight. And it was also comfortable for my 181-cm build. But I have to say that if the flight were longer than five hours, my spine would start to hurt. Although the airline claims that you can still recline in this seat, it felt more like I was sliding down. At the “reclined”position, I was completely slouched. There was a flap raising up to support my lower back but it was far from comfortable. 

The best part of the slight was the AVOD in-flight entertainment system. Because of the fixed seat-back panel the screen was always kept at a comfortable distance from my eyes. Unfortunately my earphone socket didn’t work too well and I had to hold the plug into the jack to hear.

The flight Half an hour after takeoff, I finally had some peanuts to munch on. But it wasn’t until after 1300 that the meal trolley finally came to my seat. Perhaps it was because I was too hungry, the chicken with rice tasted very good – the meat was tender and complemented well by the brown sauce, and the summer squash and whole garlic cloves provided a good balance.

The Moselland Riesling (kabinett), though, was too sweet for my taste. After some Häagen-Dazs ice cream I finally regained the strength to play with the entertainment system. I found a lot of new features, including a selection of short “insider” videos about various destinations produced by the InterContinental hotel group. Curiously, my destination was set as “Manila” so I had to manually chose Singapore. I also tried the currency conversion function before I started watching Black Swan. All in all the flight was uneventful. 

Arrival Although takeoff was late, we managed to touch down at Changi before the scheduled arrival time of 1505. Disembarking was smooth and I was out of Changi and on a taxi by 1528.

Verdict I won’t skip breakfast next time I take this flight but in general I had a pleasant experience. The seat served me well in this occasion but I wouldn’t want to negotiate it on longer routes. 

Reggie Ho

Plane type B747-400

Seat configuration 3-4-3

Seat pitch 32in/81cm

Seat width 17.45in/44cm

Seat recline 6in/15cm

Price Internet price for a return flight in mid-July starts from HK$2,550 (US$328)


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