3/9/08

Cathay Pacific (JFK-HKG-MNL)

OUR SHORT-CUT PATH FLIES ABOVE THE NORTHERN POLAR REGION

MY PRE-ORDERED LOW FAT MEAL

There are now three Cathay Pacific flights operating out of JFK, one in the morning, afternoon and evening. For today's flight to Hong Kong, I chose the morning departure which uses the Boeing 777-300ER. This is a non-stop flight which was introduced only last year along with the introduction of a new cabin layout across all three classes.

Check In: As I got into JFK about two and a half hours before the 9:15 a.m. departure, I didn't see long lines in the counters as yet. Even if I'm flying Economy Class, I checked-in using the Business Class counter since that's part of the privilege of Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo elite membership. Another treat: my 2 pieces of luggage were tagged with Priority Handling which means I'll be among the first passengers to be out of the luggage carousel in Manila after my connecting flight in Hong Kong. The agent also gave me my Terraces Lounge pass where I will be waiting for my flight.

Boarding: Passengers were already boarding by the time I reached the designated gate from the lounge. Again, I was allowed to expedite the process by going through Business Class queue which really was just me and another fellow.

The Seat: I had pre-reserved my seat during the booking process: knowing that Boeing 777-300ER has a three-seat-abreast configuration in the Economy Class, I opted for the aisle seat. I prefer window seat normally but only if there's one seat next to mine. I couldn't imagine saying a double "excuse me's" when the people seated next to me are already asleep. Here's a tip - check out these websites to see which seats on a particular plane are the best or which to avoid: http://www.seatguru/. com and http://www.seatexpert.com/. Cathay Pacific has unrolled its latest seats late last year on its flights to North America and gradually extending to all its fleet. There's a dramatic change in the Economy seats: the seat doesn't recline to the back, it slides forward instead which truly makes it more comfortable as you don't get the dandruff of the guy seating in front of you. Another big change is the inflight entertainment. Economy class passengers now enjoy AVOD (audio/video on demand) which is only available in Business Class on most airlines. Now you can watch movies/TV shows at anytime or pause/rewind/fastforward it at will.

The Flight: JFK, despite the latest report that there's been an improvement in delayed departures/arrivals since last summer, was congested with departing flights this morning. Our plane was pushed out on time but had to wait for an hour and ten minutes - how dreadful, even with the captain's announcement that the usual 16-hour flight time to Hong Kong will only take 14 hours and 30 minutes today as we fly above the northern polar region! Flight attendants quickly started the inflight service as soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off. For the first time, I've pre-reserved my low fat meal when I bought the ticket online. The beauty of it is that I get to be served ahead of everyone else eating the standard meal. By the time I finished my meal, the flight attendants were still busy serving while I got to use the lavatory ahead of that post-prandial dash for washing/cleaning. I so enjoyed the new AVOD inflight entertainment that I did a mini-Oscar festival right from the large 9-inch personal TV screen in front of me: I watched Juno, Atonement, American Gangster and No Country For Old Men.

The Arrival: Due to our late departure from JFK, we landed in Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok an hour late and leaving me only with an hour or so of transit time. I made a dash for The Pier, one of Cathay Pacific's business class lounge which thankfully was adjacent to the departing gate of my Manila-bound flight. I went straight to take a shower - and not to my usual fare of slurping down on their popular noodle soup - and I felt so energized again after that long flight.

Cathay Pacific's new Economy class seats definitely set a new benchmark for passenger comfort. While other airlines are caught by the cost-cutting bug, Cathay has made a significant investment in ensuring that even those in cattle class can still arrive in better shape.

5 comments:

  1. Hi! I am borrowing your image of the Low Fat meal to use in my blog. I hope you don't mind, thanks! Will link back to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zemien, it's fine as long as proper credit is given.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am taking this exact flight (at 9:15 a.m. from JFK)in January, 2012.
    The only difference is that I will connect in Hong Kong to go to Bangkok.
    I'm meeting a friend there, who will leave on a flight 11hrs ahead of me (Lufthansa EWR-FRA; then Thai Airways FRA-BKK).
    I'm jealous because I think he's got a much more scenic and interesting route (flying across Asia & the Himalayas) rather than the boring North Pole.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous1:58:00 AM

    Do you think I will have a problem making my connecting flight in Hong Kong with only 1 hr and 35 minutes layover time? It is not unthinkable that I could leave JFK an hour and a half late and miss my connection.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous,
    As long as there's no delay outbound or any weather disruptions, you shouldn't have a problem. But if ever there's a delay, Cathay's ground staff will take care of putting you on the next available flight.

    ReplyDelete

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