So it’s back to Perth again to visit friends and family over Christmas. It’s been a good year but much change in my life – full of up’s and downs. These changes prompted me to do one thing – give another carrier a go!
Whilst I’ve been an avid Qantas fan unfortunately I feel like I’m beginning to see through them a bit. For me - national pride doesn’t really cut it anymore. I called Trailfinders whom I used for most of my travel requirements and I bagged a Business class return trip with either Emirates of Cathay – both of whom were offering specials when I booked (about 6 months ago). They each wanted around £2100 excluding taxes for a return J trip LHR-PER. Now, although the taxes are a bit steep and it was pushing the final quote to £2800, I still thought this was pretty good value seeing as Qantas wanted £2100 for Premium Economy return, and that would only be 2 sectors anyway as you’d have to go Y from SIN-PER and PER-SIN. Not good enough in my view. And then I was horrified to see that they wanted £4100 for a J return flight.
Anyway enough mental justification!!! My credit card reeling, my itinerary was confirmed:
17th December (this Report)
LHR-HKG CX 254 B777W 22:45 (New Cirrus Business) 11G
HKG-PER CX137 A330-300 22:50 (New Cirrus Business) 17A
Is it just my luck? Every year there’s something. Snow, Fog. And now the threat of a Cathay Strike! I followed the situation closely determined not to let it ruin my spirits. I can deal with no smiles (I’ve flown BA many times for work) ☺ and I can kinda deal with no Booze…Fingers crossed. Thankfully I got away from a drizzly dark London.
Check-in was a breeze in a rather hectic and retro T3, and we were through security having a glass of Champagne at The Caviar House in about 15 minutes. It’s my long-haul tradition, I think I’ve mentioned it before but it’s a nice and slightly indulgent way to start a journey.
I met up with a friend who was on the Qantas service to Singapore.
In between glasses of champers, she was praying that hear airframe wasn’t Nancy Bird.
“…babes don’t let it be Nancy Bird, no I couldn’t handle it, don’t let it be Nancy Bird, I don’t want to die…”
Thinking of how you all would be mortified at her statement I told her to get a hold of herself and that of all the A380’s in the sky I’d probably like to fly on that bird the most. It wasn’t Nancy, to her delight.
We said our goodbyes and my brother and I headed to the rather small Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge. Nothing amazing but clean, modern and efficient – exactly what you need to escape the chaos that is a busy T3.
Boarding the 777 I walked through the small but cavernous first class arrangement to my comfortable mini-cabin. I was sitting in the bulkhead seat 11G, next to my brother. We occupied the middle seats, perfect for travelling together.
As an airbus fan I have to admit I like the 777. There is no hydraulic barking, or high-pitched flap deployment to freak out Airbus Virgin’s. It’s solid as a rock. Comfortable. And reliable. And I was like a kid in a candy store as I hadn’t been on the 300ER before.
A pre-takeoff water was ordered and shortly after I was lifted effortlessly into a winters evening heading for warmer skies with hours of movies and Asian hospitality at my beck and call.
Food was generally very good. Served almost at midnight which was a little annoying but…I casually reminded myself that this wasn’t the end of the world.
To start I had the prawns with pancetta which was solid followed by pan-seared haddock with a korma risotto, a salad, all finished off with some fruit. No bread or pudding for me. On a health kick.
Service was slow to begin with but razor sharp, attentive and discreet. It was slightly robotic (counteracted on my next leg) but the crew made you feel like any request could be fulfilled. They did look pretty elegant (and dare I say it Sexy) in their red outfits, much chicer than the migraine inducing uniform’s of their competition. Ugh, I know I must stop comparing!
CX Studio had annoying ads to fast-forward through but entertainment was pretty good. Amenity kits were high quality, as were the noise cancelling headsets which were conveniently stationed in the side vanity cabinet. This meant to collecting headsets.
And so to bed. The seat is a marvel and provides you with all the horizontal and vertical space you need. Not many J seats out there where you can lie on your front comfortably or completely fetal without bumping into anything. Well done CX! The armrest that pops down gives at least another 8 inches and kind of seals the deal for me.
After 6 hours sleep I woke to a wonderful breakfast. Smoothie and omelet with lovely accompaniments. All served on crisp linen. The seatbelt sign stayed off the entire flight and before I knew it we’d started our decent into Hong Kong. Watching the landing via my tv was pretty amazing. I didn’t realize the 777 had a skycam of sorts.
I headed straight to the Wing for a Won ton soup. What health kick?
Here are some photos form the flight and lounges. An extremely satisfying first leg.
Dare I say it I think I might be at the start of a long and steamy affair with Cathay!
The new Business class seat details. Commonplace on most new CX reports!
Comfy pillow and duvet:
Menu (taken in better light conditions!)
Prawn Starter (apologies for light)
General cabin views:
Descending into HKG:
From my previous experience on flights to perth out of hong kong and Singapore usualy always involved a slight
downgrade in terms of cabin premiumness. From the old Qantas skybeds through to the even older Singapore purple business class – I was thrilled to experience Cathay’s new generation seats on this leg also.
HKG-PER A few hours later…
We wew amongst the last to board as we didn’t release we had to get a train to one of terminals! Gulp! There was no information about this at the lounge which was a little annoying.
The Leading flight attendant looked relived to see us and personally introduced herself which although quite rehearsed, was a very nice touch.
The girls on this flight were like hawks. Spotting anything that was out of place or needed clearing. It was very impressive. They gave you the service and attention you expected without being too over the top. A nice balance of hospitality, warmth and efficiency.
It was great to see no more herringbone on this sector which my brother actually really liked but I don’t think I’ve seen more haterd towards a specific product (through forums etc) – although come to think of it I have, the old fixed shell Y product!! That’s all hopefully in the past!
Flight was very pleasant. The beef dish I had was a little fatty but the flavor was there.
The breakfast however was sensational. I had been looking forward to my first dim sum breakfast on a carrier of this class for years. I was not let down. Though there was definitely room for one more dumpling in that dish!
People often complain about the standard of meal or the dish it is served in on Cathay in J. I think it’s practical, allows for ease of service and makes it easy to eat! In no way was the standard of meal comparable to economy.
The only hitch was that I could have sworn I heard the dreaded ‘3 chimes’ on this flight, I guess it must have been a smoke detector in the lavatory usually gets tripped when someone overdoses on the anti-perspirant. The flight attendant said I was very ‘alert’ then politely told me to go back to sleep, and that all was fine.
A graceful smooth approach into Perth followed by quick disembarkation and a friendly customs officer. I used my new Aussie passport and exited via a new facial recognition system in seconds. What planet am I on?
Here are some photos of this leg.
This is why we fly:
It’s dumpling o’clock!
The west coast! Yessss…
Thanks for reading. Hope it wasn’t too boring.
Here are my other previous trip reports from LHR-PER last year on Qantas:
LHR-BUSH: Tails On Qantas In Y & J (by marchie Dec 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
RE: A Skybed At All Costs! PER-LHR On Qantas In J. (by nethkt Apr 24 2012 in Trip Reports)