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Cathay Pacific First Class: BKK-SIN (w/pics)  
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 18971 times:

Route: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Int. - Singapore--Changi Int.
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight Number: CX713
Aircraft: Boeing 747-467
Registration: B-HUF
Seat: 01K (First Class)
Distance: 876 miles
Duration: 1hrs 58mins



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We arrived at the airport at around 10am after what can only be described as a heart pounding taxi ride from our hotel. Our cab driver pulled away from our hotel and when taking a detour around some slightly unsavoury neighbourhood said he'd only take us to the airport if he could turn the meter off! Then a few minutes later he was telling us how poor he was and that one night at our hotel would cost the same as his monthly wage etc etc. It really wasn't shaping up to finish off well and I try hard to be a very vigilant and conscious traveller. Most worringly when we were on the expressway to the airport he pulled over onto the side of the road without saying anything and got out of the car and ran behind a bush! I was expecting him to bring round a gaggle of his mates to rough us up or something...fortunately it was something much less sinister. A call of nature  biggrin  After reaching the drop off point with heart rate at about 180 beats per minute I handed over our pre-arranged price and got into the safe haven of the airport as soon as possible!  biggrin 

The premium Cathay check-in desks were quite empty and as the agent brought up our reservations I asked if the flight was showing the new First Class seats. He smiled and said it was  Smile After getting the last minute substitution on our LHR-HKG flight I was really looking forward to trying out the new seats. The agent handed our boarding passes and lounge invitations and told us how to reach the Cathay Pacific lounge in concourse D. Outbound immigration was efficient enough but it was a long LHR-like shopping mall hike to get to the stairs down to the rather cosy Cathay lounge, nestled downstairs away from the shops. Despite being small it had a few internet PCs and selection of dim sum and drinks. As we'd skipped breakfast this was required  Wink

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Cathay Pacific Business & First lounge in Concourse D

I had remembered Airpearl's report on the new CX F seat from a couple of months back which had said that there were two lounges that Cathay had at BKK so looked them up on the internet. It seemed one was in Concourse G which was quite close by...ridiculously close by! You could almost see one lounge from the other! The concourse G lounge was quite a bit bigger but provided the same facilities as the one in D. Neither were busy by any stretch so I presume AOT were doing a 'buy one get one free' deal on lounges...

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Cathay's second Business and First lounge in Concourse G

I had a couple of the BBQ pork buns to carry me over until boarding but gave up on the second one due to the extra dressing of hair which had been inadvertently (hopefully!) added to one of them. Delightful  thumbsdown 

We used the internet to pass the time until 11.20am when we opted to head down to the gate. As we hadn't passed security yet that was the first hurdle to cross although it wasn't much of one, for me at least. There was no line at all (Maybe Economy passengers go through security elsewhere) but this didn't stop my wife getting her bags turned over because of a pair of legal nail scissors.

The gate set up at the new airport is a bit odd. From the level where security is you drop down a couple of ramps and then do the passport/boarding pass checks before being herded into a pen large enough for a 747 load of passengers. We waited near the plexiglass door where we due to board for the simple reason that there were no other seats.

One announcement was made and a line of about 300 people formed in a nanosecond in the hope they'd be able to board the aircraft just outside the window. In my brief experiences of Cathay Pacific I didn't think it was worth joining the line as a First Class passenger so held tight. Before long other passengers who seemed to be attired as one should be in the a premium cabin joined us. Blackberrys in hand, donned in sportsjackets with boarding pass sticking out of an outside pocket somewhere on their bodies  Wink

About twenty minutes later a Cathay agent stood near a second plexiglass door into the hallowed jetbridge and holds up a sign for passengers in rows 54-70 to line up there and a large number of the passengers move over to the newly formed line. This is quickly followed up (relatively, compared to geological time) with another person holding a laminated sheet for Business and First Class. That's my call and a group of us head out through the door behind the member of staff. Whilst all this was going on I was watching the comings and goings of the staff between the jetbridge and the gate area and did feel bad for the Cathay staff. At the front of the original line was a girl with her parents who tried to rush through the door EVERY TIME IT WAS OPENED! Good God, what's wrong with some people?? The family were told maybe six times that the flight wasn't boarding yet and within three minutes there were trying to sneak through the door!!

Anyways, down the jetbridge to 1L and as I pick up my rollerbag I can see the one thing I was dreading, an overhead bin above seat 4K. The new Cathay seats don't have overheads so I knew once again we'd had the last minute substitution. Sigh.  Sad

The purser Alex escorts us to our seats and talks with us for several minutes, another crew member brings us a tray of champagne and they finish by telling us we are the only passengers in First Class on this flight  bigthumbsup  It was odd because I'd looked up the flight on Cathay's website the night before and it was showing as full! (There was someone in 4A but we were told he was a CX crew member shuttling down to Singapore and he didn't seem to get any service!) Alex offered to fetch some newspapers and magazines whilst another member of the crew came and introduced themselves and talked to us about a whole manner of things from the new First Class seats, to our trip. Sometimes on empty flights the service goes down the tubes in a 'Since you are the only passenger hit the call bell if you need anything' way. This was certainly not the case on this flight, it was as if we were royalty or something!

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A glass of the Cuvee William Deutz Brut 1998 and some H2O

Right up until pushback we were chatting with the staff and they were bringing us drinks and knick knacks. As we headed out to runway 19L menus and wine lists were brought round and due to there being no wait for takeoff we perused them as we headed out over the coast en-route to FL370.

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Departing Bangkok

Alex came round and asked about cocktails and I took him up on the offer going for an 'Oriental Breeze' off the menu, 'a sour-plum tea and cranberry juice based non-alcoholic drink with honey and fresh lemon juice and a hint of rose water'. Very refreshing it was too  Smile The lead cabin attendant for this flight (she was wearing red  Wink) came and introduced herself and said what a pleasure it was to have us onboard and said she'd heard we were on a round the world trip etc etc. They obviously talk back in the galley  Wink

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The soon to be replaced First Class cabin on the 747

Alex popped round again asking when we wanted to have lunch and whether we were going for the Thai inspired chicken curry or the veal. Despite being curried out from our stay in Bangkok we decided to carry on with it. We also asked for the meal service to begin as soon as possible, and within about fifteen seconds we had tablecloths and a table layout each!!

We started off with a prawn dish but the best part for me was the bread basket I'd neglected on my previous two flights. The garlic bread was sensational! Now usually I'm the first person to criticise inflight catering but this was as good as any I've had.  thumbsup 

http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/5763/dsc06146fe3.jpg
Timbale of potatoes prawn pesto and olive

Laura, our most visible member of the team came and spoke to us for some time before our chicken was ready. It was a real pleasure to talk to someone who was so keen to impress and thoroughly enjoyed the passenger facing aspects of their job.

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Chicken with coconut lemon grass sauce steamed jasmine rice and sauteed mixed vegetables

The chicken was unremarkable but despite the small amount, rather filling. I really didn't think I'd be able to stomach dessert. Alas Laura had other plans, saying it looked really delicious and she'd bring me a slice of it, if I didn't want it I didn't have to eat it.  Smile

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Praline vanilla gateau

When it arrived I was glad she talked me into it, it was truly excellent. Starters and desserts are where airlines usually excel in my opinion, not shackled to the cooking methods one is restricted to when airborne. This certainly was an example of that. If I wasn't completely full I'd have had another three pieces  biggrin  Just when I thought I was full Laura rushes back with a box of chocolates leaving my wife and I to pass them between eachother while she excuses herself. Apparently some help is required in the back cabin but we still had Alex on hand to help us out if necessary.


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A brief interjection of 'view' heading down east of Malaysia

A couple of minutes later she returns once again to talk some more saying she had found one of the Business Class attendants to cover for her! We talked some more, about our trip, personal lives, Cathay Pacific, our disappointment at missing out on the new seats again  biggrin 

As we prepared for our descent into Singapore Laura and the red suited lady return with a nice bottle of red wine (Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2001, 4eme Cru Classe to be precise!) with compliments of Cathay Pacific. They thanked us for flying with them, wished us good luck for the future and our trip and looked forward to seeing us onboard again soon.  bigthumbsup 

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http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/7945/dsc06154oe3.jpg

Descent pictures

As we descended a bit more became visible, a relatively thin strip of Malaysia off to the right with plenty of islands and secluded beaches, then the dozens and dozens of container ships as far as the eye can see that tell you that you are nearing one of the world's busiest ports. We do a complete 180 southeast of the island, pass through a brief yet heavy rainstorm and then land on runway 02C. From there it was a short taxi to gate 44 and we said our final goodbyes to Laura and her team as they held back all those Business Class passengers to ensure our safe passage into the terminal building.

Verdict: Absolutely couldn't fault the service. If someone wanted to start an airline and see how First Class service should be done with a personal touch then this was it. OK, so this went a little beyond would could be considered service but it was the attitude of the Laura in particular that shone. Nothing seemed too much trouble, I felt she'd had completed my tax return for me if I'd asked nicely!! Without being too subservient she was there to make our flight as best as she possibly could have done, and pulled it off with a beaming smile to boot. Kudos  thumbsup 


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHenkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 18937 times:

Nice report! Look forward to spending some time in CX First when I get to Asia for my RTW in January. Hopefully they all will have the new F cabin by that time.

As always it looks like Asian carriers (and lounges) outperform the rest of the world (like they do with hotels for example). I remember my times at the HKG Pier and Wing lounges fondly.

Have fun on the rest of your RTW and I hope you get to fly them again (in the right cabin).



Wherever you go, there you are!
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18643 times:

Excellent report!

Cathay Pacific will never fail to please in my opinion. They are one of a few group of airlines that strictly adhere to high consistency levels of service, and your report further proves it  Smile


Thanks a lot for sharing!

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8501 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 18341 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great follow on report, though shame you yet again missed out on the new seats, not having much lick here!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Most worringly when we were on the expressway to the airport he pulled over onto the side of the road without saying anything and got out of the car and ran behind a bush! I was expecting him to bring round a gaggle of his mates to rough us up or something

- So funny, did give me a good laugh  Smile

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Sometimes on empty flights the service goes down the tubes in a 'Since you are the only passenger hit the call bell if you need anything' way

- My father had this experience on an EK flight, he has vowed to never fly them again after 2 poor flights - his only ones with them too!

Regards

Mark



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User currently offlineTriple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 738 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 18089 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
We arrived at the airport at around 10am after what can only be described as a heart pounding taxi ride from our hotel. Our cab driver pulled away from our hotel and when taking a detour around some slightly unsavoury neighbourhood said he'd only take us to the airport if he could turn the meter off!

When they do this or try to bargain with you, you need to say, "meter, meter." I found that out after my first trip to BKK



Have you kissed a 777 today?
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4747 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 17508 times:



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Our cab driver pulled away from our hotel and when taking a detour around some slightly unsavoury neighbourhood said he'd only take us to the airport if he could turn the meter off! Then a few minutes later he was telling us how poor he was and that one night at our hotel would cost the same as his monthly wage etc etc. It really wasn't shaping up to finish off well and I try hard to be a very vigilant and conscious traveller. Most worringly when we were on the expressway to the airport he pulled over onto the side of the road without saying anything and got out of the car and ran behind a bush! I was expecting him to bring round a gaggle of his mates to rough us up or something...fortunately it was something much less sinister. A call of nature

Boy... You have some BAAAAD taxi karma there.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
I had a couple of the BBQ pork buns to carry me over until boarding but gave up on the second one due to the extra dressing of hair which had been inadvertently (hopefully!) added to one of them.

Hahahahaha... It is little additions into the ingredients that make them so delicious!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
A glass of the Cuvee William Deutz Brut 1998 and some H2O

Wow... a little too early in the morning for that, no?

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
The soon to be replaced First Class cabin on the 747

Very hard to believe this product is almost 10 years old. It still looks good but of course it pales in comparison to the new PCL.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Chicken with coconut lemon grass sauce steamed jasmine rice and sauteed mixed vegetables

Hmm... Strange. What you had I suspect is Tom Kaa Gai. It is supposed to be served as a thick soup and not gravied like what is presented. Perhaps it was the short flight time that warranted such a presentation? Was it a rushed service that fact that it was a multi-course meal on a short 2hr flight?



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineReadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3187 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17360 times:

Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.
Does it really pay them to use a 747 on a two hour trip, guess Y must be full.



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2793 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16943 times:

Great trip report! Sorry to hear that you have a substitution once again, especially in first class... third times a charm though  Wink

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 16897 times:

More comments  Smile Thanks for your responses

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 1):
Hopefully they all will have the new F cabin by that time.

I hope so. I was warned on Flyertalk about the infamous Cathay substitution, even safe routes like LHR aren't safe  Wink

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):
- So funny, did give me a good laugh  

My wife and I look back now and laugh about it. It is experiences like that which add to the rich tapestry of travel...However at the time I was sweating buckets. I'm pretty vigilant when I travel but this time around I've have bet $100 it was going to end badly.

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 4):
When they do this or try to bargain with you, you need to say, "meter, meter." I found that out after my first trip to BKK

You think I didn't try that  Wink

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
Wow... a little too early in the morning for that, no?

Is it ever too early to have a glass of good bubbly?  Wink On CX the crew do always ask whether you'd like a glass of champagne at boarding (specifically), however, in this case a tray of glasses would brought to us and we felt almost rude to turn a glass down. Besides it was gone midday  Wink

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
Hmm... Strange. What you had I suspect is Tom Kaa Gai. It is supposed to be served as a thick soup and not gravied like what is presented. Perhaps it was the short flight time that warranted such a presentation? Was it a rushed service that fact that it was a multi-course meal on a short 2hr flight?

Anything but...We were the only two in the cabin and were asked when we'd like to eat. It tasted like what was on the menu...or maybe the bubbly had pickled my tastebuds  Wink

Quoting Readytotaxi (Reply 6):
Does it really pay them to use a 747 on a two hour trip, guess Y must be full.

This flight operates an unusual route, HKG-BKK-SIN-HKG I believe. The other direct flights from HKG-BKK/SIN are all on regional aircraft.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineMike89406 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1458 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 16781 times:

I am always impressed by your world travels and frequent trips to England and back. I had the priveledge of flying Air UK beofre they went under NCE-STN excellent service in economy they had hot towels and tea before landing. Me and a couple of friends stayed in a downtown London student hostel and we managed to visit Buckingham Palace, Kesington Palace etc.. and see all the other wonders the city.

But I digress I am fascinated by Asia and many big cities over there. I was able to travel around Asia as a military brat kid in the 70's and look forward to taking my wife on some adventures myself.

Regards Mike


User currently offlineMaxisno1 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2007, 213 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16605 times:



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
I had a couple of the BBQ pork buns to carry me over until boarding but gave up on the second one due to the extra dressing of hair which had been inadvertently (hopefully!) added to one of them. Delightful

No glamor left in flying? What nonsense!  Wink

Another wonderful trip report! Sad to hear that it isn't the upgraded cabin but I suppose the service makes up for that!


User currently offlineDavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2305 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 16289 times:

As always a great TR! It is nice to know good air service exists! I will be interested in your view on the upgraded F cabin when you eventually fly it.

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 16233 times:

Compliments on a fine series of TRs.  thumbsup . At some point, we are going to have to get to the point - how does it all compare with BA F, despite a lack of bacon sandwiches?

Cheers  Smile


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 15532 times:



Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 9):
But I digress I am fascinated by Asia and many big cities over there. I was able to travel around Asia as a military brat kid in the 70's and look forward to taking my wife on some adventures myself.

My wife is one of those military brats...although most of her time was in Europe. Glad you enjoyed your experiences of my home country.  Smile

Quoting Maxisno1 (Reply 10):
Sad to hear that it isn't the upgraded cabin but I suppose the service makes up for that!

Absolutely. I was disappointed not to get the new cabin one of the two segments it was supposed to be on. The service on this flight was exceptional and one I won't forget in a long time  thumbsup 

Quoting Davescj (Reply 11):
I will be interested in your view on the upgraded F cabin when you eventually fly it.

Eeeevvvveeenntttuuaalllyyy! Maybe next time I'll wait until all CX's 747s are converted  Wink Judging by my luck I'd end up with the one aircraft with old seats otherwise  biggrin 



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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