Cathay Pacific (MNL-HKG-JFK)

Cathay Pacific introduced new seats across all classes since last year and having tried its Economy Class seat on the trip to Hong Kong, I was fortunate to get a last minute upgrade to Business Class on the return to New York, thanks largely to my Marco Polo membership with the airline. Travel time is about 14 hours on this leg of the journey from Hong Kong aboard a Boeing 777-300ER, one hour less than it used to be with an Airbus 340-600 on the same route last year.

Check In - As usual, the NAIA in Manila remains congested. There's already a build-up of passengers at the Economy Class check-in counters but getting my boarding pass at the Business Class counter was a breeze.

Lounge - Nothing has changed at Cathay Pacific's Business Class lounge at the NAIA since the last time I visited it: the sofas are tired-looking and the whole interior desperately needs a make-over. I doubt though if Cathay will spend money for refurbishment if ever they will move to the still non-functional NAIA 3. That's the big question. I couldn't wait for the flight announcement so I went down to the main departure gate - again, this is one that packs people like sardines. It resembles more like a waiting area for a bus terminal than a decent airport terminal. C'mon, seating arranged classroom-style?

Fast forward to the lounge at Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok: I have 4 hours of lay-over so I decided to spend a good deal of it in Cathay Pacific's two lounges. My arriving flight from Manila was so close to The Pier that I immediately went there, took a shower and ordered a bowl of wonton noodle soup. I lingered a bit and browsed on magazines, surprised to find even the current issue of The Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Bulletin in the shelves. Got out of The Pier and walk into the wide wide expanse of the terminal until I reached The Wing at the other end. I personally like The Wing as it has gorgeous views of planes taking off or touching down.

Boarding - The gate for my New York-bound flight is just a few steps away from The Wing so I wasn't really in a hurry mode. By the time I handed my boarding pass, the gate agent changed my seat to Business Class, seat 21D. Of course, it's a welcome change. As this is a night flight leaving at 7 p.m. and arriving in New York the same day at 10:25 p.m., I planned to stay awake so I'll catch up on my regular sleep once I'm back in New York(and help combat jet lag which is worse on flights from east-to-west).

The Seat - With the revamp in seating, Cathay Pacific opted for the herring-bone (or diagonal) arrangement for its 58 Business Class seats, giving all passengers an uninterrupted access to the aisle. Seat pitch - lying fully flat - is now a stretchy 78 inches while the width is a bit narrow at 20 inches. There is a high partition between seats, so I practically don't see anyone's head while I'm seated. Some passengers felt too hemmed in by this but for me, that enclosure gives more privacy. There's a 15" personal TV with noise canceling headseats but I find the resolution for watching movies not very optimal. Overall, the new seat is an improvement to their previous angled-flat seating arrangement.

The Flight - We were pushed out of the gate 7 minutes before 7 p.m. and was airborne shortly thereafter. Pre-dinner cocktails were offered once the seatbelt signs were turned off. Aminity kits (featuring Murad products) and the menu were handed out. Like what I do on long-haul flights, I brought my own slippers for use in the cabin - I am always shocked to find others walking to the lavatory only in their socks! Dinner trolley came and for starters, I had Smoked Duck and Cured Italian Ham along with the green salad. My main course was a brilliant Sauteed Sea Bass cooked Chinese style. After being filled with so much food, I politely refused when the flight attendants came with the dessert trolley. There's plenty of movies to watch post-prandial but I ended up snoozing for the next 8 hours - oh well, there goes my plan to sleep once I set foot in New York! I awoke to find hot towels being distributed and another meal service underway. This time, I had fresh fruit for starters and chose the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms for the main course. I fell for the dessert: Chocolate Mascarpone Cream Cake with Mango Coulis. I played with the in-flight entertainment, surfing between video games and TV shows until I got bored.

The Arrival: We got into JFK on time but once we passed by immigration, baggage handlers on the ground took their sweet time delivering our cargo to the carousel. It took half an hour for me to stand there and tap my toes while waiting!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...