airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:23 pm

THE ticket may have been reserved almost a year ago – but you still don’t quite know why you’re going. All those rapidly depreciating miles accumulated over too many hours of tortured steerage flying should be rewarded with something wildly extravagant, you think. One idle Saturday afternoon you remember calling Cathay Pacific, suggest the farthest place you can think of, and they say the next available First Class seat is, ahem, next year in May. Can you make it? Who knows? In an impulse you say: yes please burn my miles – and the rest, as they say, is history.


<><><><><><><><><><>


And so here you are today at Hong Kong International Airport. Final destination: Miami, Florida. Why? Absolutely no reason at all.

transpacific on new First



This Cathay Pacific B777-300 just arrived from Kuala Lumpur as CX720 is how you start your day. As you didn’t have enough miles to redeem a ticket all the way from KUL, you fork out some dosh for a cheapish Y class seat on the short regional sector. The packed 3 hour-plus flight is so mediocre – too few crew, all of them junior, doing their barest minimum – you feel almost vindicated for abandoning CX. They have treated you well over the years, but now it’s time to move on… free at last from the shackles of airline alliances and their frequent flyer programs. What more fitting way to celebrate than at the indulgent end of the bus:




BUT first things first. There are some airports with good spotting, and then there is Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok – the airport designed for spotters. No other airport even comes close to its intoxicating mix of amazing airline variety, widebodies at every turn, and massive floor-to-ceiling glass walls with views that take your breathe away. You may think you’ve outgrown your spotting days, but count on HKG to convince you otherwise.



The main spine of the terminal building is a kilometer-long smorgasbord of planes set against a backdrop of misty green mountains and skyscrapers. Get off the moving walkway to your left or right for more than a cursory view. The photos here are just a small taste of 15 minutes of casual meandering.



This Cathay B744 is headed for Vancouver and New York this afternoon as CX 888. You can tell it’s one of the retrofitted versions (with new seats in F, J and Y) by the two blocked off windows in the forward cabin. The two windows just aft of door 1R are where one of the two First Class washrooms is located. (You’ll get to see one later.)



The first of three daily British Airways B744s from London has arrived. It will soon be towed to a remote stand where it stays parked for quite a while until its late night departure back home.



Taiwan’s China Airlines is one of the airport’s most frequent visitors and it flies almost every aircraft type in its fleet here. As large numbers of passengers connect onto mainland China-bound flights at HKG, these frequencies will fall once direct scheduled cross-straits flights are finally established.



Unusually parked across the runway from the cargo terminal (another massive aviation complex in its own right) is one of Cathay’s Silver Bullets. The P&W-powered version is increasingly common as CX takes delivery of more former SQ machines.



This A319 has just pushed back. China Southern Airlines is another regular at Hong Kong but how come it doesn’t sport the Skyteam logo?



An All Nippon Airways B763 (operated by subsidiary ANK) does its regular daily turnaround from Kansai. Next door is a company B744 which does the same from Narita. What’s the new construction in the background?



One of EVA Air’s latest purchases pushes back from its stand bound for Taipei. The lengthy body of the B773ER is clearly evident here.



Only one body is longer. A very gorgeous looking Qatar Airways A346 is being towed to a remote stand after discharging its passengers from Doha. Behind it, you spot a resting Air Canada B77L that plies the nonstop to Toronto.



A Lufthansa A343, just arrived from Munich, occupies the stand recently vacated by a company B744 that departed on the daytime service to Frankfurt. This machine will stay until late before returning overnight to Germany.



Such is the traffic at Hong Kong – with everyone flying in their largest or newest – that an ageing Malaysia Airlines B734 becomes an object of exotic curiosity. This classic is pushing back for Kota Kinabalu, next to an A332 of Jet Airways, a recent addition to the airport’s impressive list of customers.




<><><><><><><><><><>




THERE are two CX First Class lounges to choose from. The Wing is closer to the main departures area and a natural choice when departing from Hong Kong while The Pier is nearer the more remote gates. As you have already walked the entire length of the terminal and your flight gate number is still unknown, the latter’s a more obvious choice.





Your first visit ever to Cathay’s First Class lounge is a disappointment. It’s decent of course with lots of leather sofas but it is on the smallish side, and seriously lacks the wow factor. Compared to the spacious J Class portion of The Pier which you like very much, this supposedly more exclusive bit is actually less attractive, especially on a busy afternoon like this. The service is reluctant at best, sometimes downright surly. You have to constantly remind yourself this is “First Class” – because it sure doesn’t feel like it. You almost regret having recently experienced First Class on ANA because your expectations have been reset to stratospheric levels. And this subterranean cavern just doesn’t do it for you.





Time for a shower? Not really, but lacking anything better to do, you decide to check out the facility. It looks similar to the J class shower rooms. Again, decent enough but you had expected something more for the poshy end.





The only discernable difference between the F and J lounges is the sit-down dining room which CX calls The Haven located uptown only. A reasonably good selection of hot dishes as well as salads, sandwiches and noodles is on offer at the buffet table. Personally though, such formal places with hovering eagle-eyed waiters make you uncomfortable: you’d much rather spread out a newspaper while slurping up udon at the canteen-like J class noodle bar.



Although there’s very little natural light, the designers have cleverly played around with what’s available, adding “mood” to good effect. But there’s no more time to loiter – you find out CX882 departs from gate 4, as far away from this lounge as you can get at this airport.




<><><><><><><><><><>





Hong Kong to Los Angeles
Cathay Pacific Airways flight CX 882
Dep 1707 Arr 1430 (arrives 15mins late)
B747-400 B-HKU
5 May 2008




A LONGISH walk brings you to gate 4, one of the few “out-on-a-limb” gates at HKG that doesn’t afford a good view of the plane you’re flying on. You recognize the registration B-HKU as a former SQ machine and coincidentally, one you’d flown on before. Boarding in the busy gate area is already underway when you arrive, but you don’t worry: this airport does priority boarding better than any other. The separate premium queue is clearly marked, and as you approach, the ground agent notices your red boarding pass and promptly ushers you to the front of the line of Business Class passengers.



After a quick secondary security check, you’re aboard being warmly greeted at door 1L by cheerful and chirpy Tina, who accompanies you into Cathay’s plush new First Class cabin. You have been in this exact same cabin before: over a month ago, you received an unexpected upgrade on a short flight between Bangkok and Singapore that wasn’t completely satisfactory but today, the real test is to see whether CX fares better on a long-haul.

You settle in at your allotted seat 3K. It seems like you’re the only First Class passenger to have boarded so far, but you can’t be certain – the privacy screens ensure precisely that.



There must be some secret contest between CX and SQ to see whose frequent fliers have the most voluminous bottoms. Your seat is wider than you know what to do with, but thankfully it’s more comfortable than it looks in the upright position.



There’s no shortage of room to spread out. Whether you’re tall, wide or large, the CX First Suite will fully accommodate you with room to spare.



Of the nine seats in this cabin, the ones that offer the least privacy (that’s a relative term of course) are located right at the front. But they are also seem to be the best for couples.



In the interests of full disclosure, it must be said right here and now that you used to be a CX fan. It is not blind love or love at first flight, but it is the acquired variety that grows with familiarity. The top notch crews serving the premium cabins are a key reason for your affection for CX; they combine the formality of Asian hospitality with the right dose of genuine warmth, friendliness, confidence and professionalism. It’s a devilishly difficult balance to achieve, and although you occasionally see it on SQ or MH, it is on CX that this happens most consistently and naturally. (Many new recruits now serving in CX Y class are unfortunately so far off this mark that F/J and Y are sometimes like two different airlines.) To put it another way: if you like flying Asian airlines for the service but dislike servitude, then premium class CX would be your choice. But try it now before these wonderful crews retire – the new bunch has all the makings of a… hmmm, how does one put it delicately … pretty crap airline in the future.

And so that’s how you fell out of love with CX.



But of course, it’s harder to leave when you have crews like those in F today. They come personally to introduce themselves. Tina from Taiwan is a sunny character whom you’ve already met at the door, and alternates in conversation among three languages when you say you don’t mind being addressed in any of them. “It’s much more interesting that way,” she cheekily says in English, before slipping into Mandarin for your drink order and Cantonese when she brings you the menu. Dane, meanwhile, is from the Philippines and has the gift many Filipinos have of making you instantly feel like you’re already old friends on the first meeting: you chin wag about everything from CX’s controversial new J class seating to the Filipino obsession with shopping. Together, Tina and Dane make a fantastic team of the classic CX variety that made you fall for the airline all those years ago. It’s a certainty: you’ll have a great flight.



A Shanghai Tang PJ – medium should be just right for you, says Dane – is passed out together with a Victorinox amenity kit. Tina tempts you with another glass of Krug. They take it in turns to pamper you. Inflight manager Marion stops by to say hello and inform you about the flight time to LA: a relatively short 12 hours and 4 minutes. “Good tail winds tonight but it could get a little bumpy according to the pilots,” Marion adds. “And by the way, you’re the only one in First Class today. Enjoy!”

You guessed it’d be a light load when you saw no other seat selected at online check-in but you never even dared to hope for a cabin all to yourself!



A series of announcements by the captain first, that you’d be facing an air traffic delay and then a “minor” avionics problem that needed “a ten minute fix”, fail to dampen your mood. After all, you’re not in a rush to get anywhere. In the meantime, you take a couple more cabin pics without the distraction of curious fellow passengers. How satisfying indeed.  Smile



When CX882 finally gets going, it’s almost an hour late. At cruising altitude, the sun is starting to set and over Taiwan, you’re ready to dine.





Tina takes your dinner order and encourages you to “try everything”. Ah, so that’s why they have those extra wide seats. You start with a generous helping of caviar and balik salmon.



Then move on to the comfort of the leek and potato soup.



A salad you don’t remember ordering appears. It’s tasty so it must be tried says Dane. (And yes she’s right, it really is.)



CX does decent Cantonese food and so your meal now takes a decidedly easterly heading. Tina serves up the six treasures herbal soup.



Five courses on and bursting a little at the seams, you finally reach your main course of beef with cumin, vegetables and rice.



Passing on the cheese and dessert, you opt for some summer berries to finish.



Just as coffee is served, the promised turbulence starts to make its appearance.



Dinner is done. Shall we dim the lights? Since you’ve never owned a private jet, that question has never arisen before. But you take it in your stride: not yet you say – there are some things you need to do first. Like go absolutely mad with the camera in your private cabin. Here’s a small sample of the result…











It hardly needs to be said, but Cathay’s new First really is a very nice place.

With the cabin lights finally dimmed, Tina asks if you want your bed made. Although you don’t quite feel like bed yet, you say yes only to make things easier: there’s something about being the only passenger that makes you slightly uncomfortable. When all the attention of two crew members is lavished on you alone, you can’t help feeling having crossed into overly-indulgent territory. After you change into your designer Shaolin kungfu monk PJs, you find seat 3K already transformed into a comfy bed. You try watching a movie but succumb to luxury and nod off well before the end.





A bumpy night across the Pacific of light pitching and rolling helps sleep and you manage almost five hours’ worth. When you wake, the air has calmed, the international dateline is behind you and the sun has risen on a Monday again. The airshow channel reveals the routing taken overnight as an almost straight line from Japan to California, with landfall likely to be around San Francisco at the current heading.

Two hours to go, you change and freshen up in the washroom, which is quite the nicest and most spacious you’ve been to aloft. There are two identical ones like this for the use of First Class only – yes, that’s for you alone.







You’re a little disappointed you have had to unmake your own bed – what a spoilt snobbish bastard just one night of First Class has turned you into! This scares you a little: just as well you’re usually in steerage. Having over-indulged at dinner, you opt for a healthier breakfast.



Both Tina and Dane come round for a final chat before descent into LAX. You thank them for the wonderful experience and take some photos together. Marion brings an inflight survey form for you to fill. There are only praises to sing.





You get in mid afternoon 15 minutes behind schedule, which isn’t so bad. Parking at a remote stand next to a smart looking LAN B763, the First Class experience ends abruptly at the door and you’re unceremoniously bussed to the terminal. There’s no more authentic welcome to LAX.


<><><><><><><><><><>


an american intermission



THERE are already some very good trip reports on American Airlines on A.net. Writing another here about your return flights between LAX and MIA adds nothing more to the collective knowledge. Suffice to say that First Class aboard AA cannot even be compared to Business on CX, but put in context (i.e. if one lowers one’s expectations sufficiently as one must when flying in the United States), it really is quite good. Here are a few notable things to share:



Head-to-head: LAX American Airlines Terminal 4 is used by Qantas too. A B744 parked so close you can almost touch it excites you, but to most “normal” people it’s just another plane.



AVOD: It may be fiddly IFE but the Archos and Bose combination makes for a remarkably high quality audio visual experience on AA’s newest cabins.



Lunch: Just be thankful you’re being fed. A single tray sandwich meal in First Class is as lavish as it gets on a five-hour transcontinental flight.



Dessert: The highlight of the flight. Make sure you stay awake for the cookie dough ice cream.



Cabin: This is the new Business Class cabin fitted on AA’s international B763s but it already feels dated. It masquerades as First Class on this LAX-MIA flight.



Lounge: Try collecting everything available for free at AA’s premium Admirals Lounge in MIA for a still life pose and it’d look something like this.



Breakdown: A mechanical fault grounds this B752 that’s supposed to be flying you back from MIA to LAX. You get going on a replacement aircraft two and a half hours later, but it means you will miss your CX connection at LAX.


<><><><><><><><><><>


cathay pacific fails you

OBVIOUSLY someone has a cruel sense of humor.  devil  Your delayed AA flight from MIA deliberately taxies past the CX B744 that you’re supposed to be on, minutes before it pushes back from LAX for Hong Kong without you on board.



So what can you expect as a oneworld First Class passenger who has missed his connection? Apparently – nothing at all at LAX, one of the alliance’s most important stations. No one meets you with a sign at the gate (yeah, dream on); no one has a record of your missed connection at the AA gate; no one has booked you on a later flight; and no one knows what will happen to your mishandled bag. The most helpful comment is of the pass-the-buck variety and can be quite funny if only you were in the mood: “you should go to Cathay Pacific but they may be closed now.” So much for the rhetoric about oneworld “revolving around you”.

You realize that each situation is different, but surely can’t be blamed for comparing this AA/CX fiasco with a recent Star Alliance First Class connection between NH and TG at Narita that can truly be called seamless. The differences cannot be more stark.



Making your own way next door to Tom Bradley International Terminal, you do indeed find CX “closed”. The check-in desks are deserted and a sign asks you to come back at 8 pm. (It is now 1.45 pm.) A helpful SQ baggage agent at the next counter takes pity on you and tries to locate a CX staffer. While you wait, you call Cathay’s Marco Polo desk – apparently you’re still one of the airline’s more favored customers, though it hardly feels like that now – to rebook you on the next flight: CX883 departing at 11.45pm. This is done in an instant, but the Marco Polo agent has difficulty selecting your seat. “The system says there’s a configuration change, so I can’t do it now,” are the ominous words. You fear that can only mean one thing: you’d be getting an old configured plane in a last minute substitution.

A uniformed CX agent eventually appears. She doesn’t recognize you as the First Class passenger who missed his flight; makes no exclamations like “we’ve been looking all over for you!”; has no apology for not making an effort to meet your failed connection, doesn’t offer to rebook you, and doesn’t even thank you when you tell her you’ve done the rebooking for her. She checks your booking again and tells you to come back tonight to check-in. “We open at eight.” What? That’s it?
You want to know if CX883 is operated by an old or newly configured plane, but she assures you it is new; so you do not change to the later flight, CX881. Instinctively you feel she’s wrong, but a ground agent at LAX should know more about these things than you, right? (Well no, as you discover later.)
“What about my bag? I don’t know where it is, and it’s now incorrectly tagged…” you say. “Just come back tonight, we’ll retag it.” You know when you’re being fobbed off. Quite apart from the fact you’re traveling First Class, you’re also a transit passenger who’s involuntarily stranded at LAX for 10 hours. Shouldn’t they be concerned about what you’re going to do in all that time? At least won’t you be hungry? Why don’t you rest in our lounge? But no, there’s not even a hint of an offer: not even a cardboard box for you to lie on the floor. At this moment to CX, you’re more like an inconvenience taking up someone else’s valuable break time: we only open at eight, okay?

All this time, you have kept quiet, deliberately making no demands. You may have got something by shouting loudly and behaving badly, but that really should not have been necessary. It serves CX right that you’re doing something conceivably more damaging by posting what happened on a public forum.


<><><><><><><><><><>


Los Angeles to Hong Kong
Missed Cathay Pacific Airways flight CX 885
Rebooked on flight CX 883
Dep 2357 Arr 0540+2 (arrives 15mins late)
B747-400 B-HOO
12 May 2008

IT IS 9.30 pm. before you return to the CX check-in desk again. Another agent is manning the First Class counter. He doesn’t know about you or the whereabouts of your bag but “will look for it and deliver the bag tag to the gate.” Call it a hunch but you somehow don’t share his optimism. The delay has resulted in a bag that’s not only tagged for the wrong flight but the wrong destination too – with your original plan to overnight in Hong Kong shelved, you’re now having to make an immediate connection in HKG for KUL. The agent also confirms what you had guessed earlier: yes, you’re flying on an old configuration aircraft. How you hate being proven right on this occasion.



Your short, sharp notes to describe the check-in and departures area at Tom Bradley International Terminal – dark, dingy, sad, nasty – seem to be apt ones for almost everything that’s happened today. This is one of the world’s top international airports: isn’t it just lovely?



You are invited to the First Class Lounge that’s shared by the oneworld members using Tom Bradley. If ever there was an airport that needed decent premium lounges, LAX is it. Unfortunately the offerings are meager and some consider this among the nicest of the lot.



The lounge is crowded with Qantas passengers when you arrive but they quickly disperse as their flights are called. Apparently what you see here – essentially a longish space with seating for ninety – is a vast improvement over the lounges it replaced.



You used to be a little reticent at openly taking photos of other passengers you don’t know: it just seems a little rude. Tonight, you somehow don’t give a hoot.



Airline lounges are not where you like to spend a lot of time, even on the best of days. On one like today, the experience is positively stifling. This is the zen-like buffet area that you feel disinclined to visit, much less care what’s on offer. You leave not long after you take this picture.



Your nerves need some soothing. A touch of spotting helps, and being able to photograph the B744 you’d be flying on puts you in a slightly better mood.





The gate area is crowded and passengers over-flow into the next gate where a TG A345 is already boarding for Bangkok. The stark fluorescent lighting and insufficient seating combo is well in character with the rest of this delightful terminal.



Queues start to form well before boarding is called. There are more than twelve passengers queuing for First Class, defying the actual size of the cabin – while the one for Business Class is so long many think it’s the Economy Class line. It feels almost as exclusive as boarding an AirAsia flight.



You approach a gate agent to ask if your bag is loaded. What bag? You explain your predicament for the third time. A series of calls to the “baggage people” reveals that nobody quite knows what’s happened to it. “We’ll continue to look.” You’ve reached the end of your tether: what’s happened is totally unacceptable, you say. CX knew all about you and your missed connection since this afternoon! The agent senses you’re going to say some not so nice things about CX just as his First and Business Class passengers are boarding. So he decides to calm you down by rubbishing a fellow oneworld member: “It’s American Airlines, they don’t take much care about baggage. We have lots of problems with them.”

You wait for 10 minutes, and still nothing. Meanwhile First, Business Class and CX frequent flyer members have all boarded. From the sheer number of passengers whose seats are changed at the gate (almost every other one when you were looking), you estimate that close to the entire First Class cabin tonight comprise upgrades from Business Class, and that Business Class is filled with upgrades from an over-booked Y Class.

You are invited to board: the gate agent assures he’ll update you when he hears anything at all. You’re reluctant but also know that, short of making a nuisance of yourself, there’s nothing much you can do by standing around.



Boarding at door 2L, you walk past Business Class to the First cabin at the nose. Every seat you pass is already occupied. You’re seated right in front at 1K, one of the less private seats in the old configuration. After having flown in a new configuration cabin, your seat here feels a little “exposed”. The PTV screens also look tiny – they seemed so big before… alas how expectations have changed.

The dimmed lights appropriate at this late hour do not make for good cabin photos, but here are a few you manage to take after landing in Hong Kong. This is seat 1A, adjacent to yours:



This First cabin still doesn’t look too bad after more than 7 years in service. It’s just not nearly as nice as the new one.



The view of the cabin as seen from the nose. The old configuration seats 12 First Class passengers – this is cut down to 9 in the new.



Cathay Pacific has one last chance to redeem itself: inflight service. And in this respect, the crews on CX883 do not disappoint. It’s been a bad day, but the warmth of welcome alone makes you certain the worst is over. Nancy, who’s Filipina, comes personally to introduce herself and welcome you aboard, saying you look like you could do with a very tall glass of champagne. Her colleagues, Cita, also from the Philippines and May from Hong Kong, also stop by to say hello; as does inflight manager Helen. It looks like another good team in command of the front cabin tonight.



It’s getting perilously close to departure time and still, no news of your bag. You go back to the galley to let Nancy know, and a few minutes later, a gate agent is bouncing his way to your seat to say your bag has now been loaded. You’re so thankful you forget to ask him for the tag, but by the time you remember, the doors are closed and CX883 is already pushed back for departure. (Yes, you may have guessed: the story of the bag has not ended yet.)



It takes you a remarkably long time to settle down. While most of the other passengers in First want to quickly get horizontal after take off, you’re starving! You missed dinner tonight and are too hyped up to sleep, so the best option for you is to sit back and enjoy a long leisurely meal. No need to rush: Hong Kong is a distant 14 hours 17 minutes away.



You start with the caviar but this time, the serving is rather miserly.



A delicious scallop and shrimp salad to follow…



You opt for a Chinese favorite: hot pot rice with lap cheong as your main course, accompanied by jasmine tea





And finally, coffee and ice cream to finish. Service is unrushed, and as good and friendly as any you’ve experienced on CX; by the time you sip your cappuccino, the LAX fiasco is nothing but a fading, distant nightmare.



Three hours into the flight, you decide it’s time to call it a night. Every other passenger in the cabin is already fast asleep. Cita comes round to make your bed, and you ask to be woken up for breakfast.



The sleep is decent, as it always is on a flat bed in First Class. You awaken three hours out of Hong Kong – CX883 is now closing in on Beijing and heading directly south. The routing taken overnight is more northerly than usual at this time of year: northern Alaska, the Russian Far East and into China.

Spotting you’re awake, Nancy offers breakfast. Your appetite is still in top form. Fruit, toast, energizer drink and coffee to start:



Abalone and chicken congee to follow…



Helen comes round with a comment card after you tell her a little about your experience at LAX. You start writing but soon realize you’re never going to be able to fit everything that went wrong within the one page of the form. Instead you decide this trip report becomes your de facto comment form – you have provided CX the link to this page.

Arriving 15 minutes later than scheduled is not a problem – you have three hours before your connection to KUL. You thank the First Class team for the great service. You can’t help feeling a little melancholy: it could be years before you fly on CX First Class again, if it even happens. To all intents and purposes, this was the very last time. You will miss those wonderful crews!




<><><><><><><><><><>


DESPITE traveling in Y on your next flight, you are invited to use CX’s First Class Lounge at HKG. You choose The Wing this time. At reception, you ask the CX agent (she looks a bit sleepy but who could blame her: it’s 5.55 am.) to check that your bag, for which you don’t have a tag stub, is headed on the same flight as you to KUL.



Not surprisingly the lounge is quiet and empty this time of the morning. You have your choice of sofa. This area of the lounge overlooks the departure gates that CX calls its “favorites”.



The views from the balcony make a spotter out of anyone. The morning light gives everything a fresh glow.



A quieter sanctuary within the lounge known as The Library has a more “indoor” feel.



A decent sized dining room serves a choice of western and Chinese breakfasts from the buffet. A second breakfast this morning? Why not?



Time to freshen up. Frequent CX fliers rave about The Cabanas: you now finally see what the fuss is all about.





It is ages since you took a real bath… how could you resist?



You’re fresher now: fed, bathed and cleaned. And time for a reality check. As you leave, The Wing receptionist is apologetic but a fact is a fact: nobody can locate your bag, she says. It’s not at the HKG baggage reclaim, or at your connecting flight. There are doubts it was even loaded on your flight at LAX. No, surely not! “But we will continue searching. Please check at the gate again.”

Your flight is parked more than one kilometers’ walk away at gate 62, which is just as well. You don’t want to think about the real possibility that your bag could be permanently missing: no better activity than some more spotting right now…



Singapore Airlines flight 001 en route from San Francisco to Singapore has been a daily event for years. Some speculate this could be an A380 before the year end.



A Qantas B744 is pushing back for London… close by, fellow antipodean Air New Zealand is also headed in the same direction in an all-white B744.



A Northwest B744 soon heading for its Narita hub. It looks rather stunning here.



A host of CX tails ready to leave in all directions during the regional morning rush hour.



One of the planes leaving the CX fleet this year is this A346. It will be replaced by a growing fleet of B77Ws.



You finally reach the gate. An agent already knows about you. “We don’t think your bag has been loaded in LA, but we’re still waiting just in case it shows up,” she says. But when you tell her the CX gate staff at LAX assured you it’d been loaded, she starts: “Sometimes they…” She stops mid sentence.
“They lie to passengers?” you ask. She smiles uncertainly, and keeps a diplomatic silence.

As you board and settle into your steerage seat, you are already resigned to the fact that your bag could be permanently lost.




<><><><><><><><><><>


N.B. More than two days later, a surprise phone call from Malaysia Airlines, CX’s baggage handling agent at KUL, informs you that your missing bag had been located. It made it home after all.
 
User avatar
foppishbum
Posts: 848
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:20 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:45 pm

Wow, the new First Class suite looks sweet (pun intended,  tongue  ). Sometimes they offer cheaper price than CI or BR from SFO / LAX to TPE with one-stop at HKG. I should try CX long-haul service next time (maybe not in F cus I'm cheap LOL!).

foppish bum
TPE X LAX X NYC :airplane:
 
jmy007
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:18 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:25 pm

Thank you for the delightful report!
Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
 
davescj
Posts: 1277
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:18 pm

Absolutely one of the best and most entertaining TRs I have read for a long time! Thanks for posting! the pics are great!

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
toby25
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:48 pm

wow your report is amazing, i love your writing style, very entertaining!
im quite shocked at the treatment you got at LA, i would have stressed out. what did you do for 10 hours? seems LAX is more like a construction site, what are they doing there? seems CX at LAX looks like a shambles!
what is that at the front of the cabin that shiny flimsy thing, is it a mirror in front of seat 1k? brilliant pictures, ive never been in an airport lounge before it seems quite....neutral!!
im glad you got your bag back.
CX cabin crew seem to be 90% filipino, the CSD on my LHR flight was from Philippines too!!! anyway glad everything went ok!

Toby
Seriously dude! I swear!
 
Globetraveller
Posts: 353
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:36 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:16 pm

Airpearl, your report is a true masterpiece. I do not think I have ever enjoyed reading a report as much as this one: it is entertaining, insightful and very well written. Congratulations.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
with everyone flying in their largest or newest -- that an ageing Malaysia Airlines B734 becomes an object of exotic curiosity.

I have lived in Malaysia for a long time and this is just what I would expect MH to do!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Shall we dim the lights? Since you've never owned a private jet, that question has never arisen before.

Hehehe... Now that is truly something you do not hear every day. Lucky you!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
you change and freshen up in the washroom, which is quite the nicest and most spacious you've been to aloft.

Wow. Talk about a bathroom with a view!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
It serves CX right that you're doing something conceivably more damaging by posting what happened on a public forum.

I really do not know how you managed to keep your cool during all of the events at LAX. I would have gone completely ballistic towards the end. I mean, one or two problems are understandable, but this was just abysmal.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
It feels almost as exclusive as boarding an AirAsia flight.

Hehehe... I sure know how un-exclusive that feels.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
So he decides to calm you down by rubbishing a fellow oneworld member: "It's American Airlines, they don't take much care about baggage.

Another reason why I would never fly Oneworld. This has just never happened to me in Star Alliance.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
DESPITE traveling in Y on your next flight, you are invited to use CX's First Class Lounge at HKG.

How come? Did the CX staff show some pity? Or is this a special deal for transiting F passengers.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
"Sometimes they..." She stops mid sentence.
"They lie to passengers?" you ask.

Mmmm... Nice one... You really burned that agent. Hehehe...

I really like how you use a very different perspective in your trip reports. ('You' instead of 'I'.) You really are a very skilled writer. Well done.

Regards,
Globetraveller
 
AFKLMLHLX
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:49 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:48 pm

This is probably one of the best trip reports I have ever read! I love your prose! It sounds a little snooty but it works! As I was reading this trip report I was listening to "The Look of Love", a song which kind of sets the atmosphere for first class service.

However, I still am shocked about the treatment which you received on the return. I also think that CX's old F seats are horrible! They are lie-flat but they just look aweful. The fabric looks so cheap and it just looks like a mat and has no design to it. I think CX's new cabin is so luxurious and glamourous. There could be a little more color tone in the cabin as it looks a little too white but other than that, CX is a fantastic airline when all goes right. Their Y service definitely trumps most US airlines.
 
User avatar
SOBHI51
Posts: 3961
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:32 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:02 pm

Very nice trip report.Excellent pictures.Really bad experience in LAx glad your luggage made it 2 days later is better than nothing.
I would not bother writing to airlines.Did that few times with SQ and i get is a letter or e-mail with the usual B&^%^$#t sorry etc... we promise to do better ....Hope to see u again soon....bla bla bla.And i was a full fare paying pax in F.
Thanks god for A.net you always can blow your steam here.
I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
 
Kent350787
Posts: 1129
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 12:06 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:55 pm

Thanks for taking the time with the TR - a great read, and some lovely scene setting shots. All added up to a great story.

Thanks

Kent
 
SXDFC
Posts: 1993
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 6:07 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:09 pm

Great Pictures that one shot of the bed layout made me want to take a nap!

Also is that an AA A300 - at LAX? =O
 
User avatar
Vio
Posts: 1565
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2004 5:23 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:27 pm

Wow... What a well written report, with fantastic photos. It felt as if I was travelling.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
And by the way, you're the only one in First Class today. Enjoy!"

You guessed it'd be a light load when you saw no other seat selected at online check-in but you never even dared to hope for a cabin all to yourself!

Wow! How cool is that? It's like having your own private business jet... Wide body business jet..

I'm really sorry you had to go through all that at LAX. I can't believe the indifference the CX workers had toward you. Speechless. So what did you do while you were there?

Anyway, thank you for the report. It was a breath of fresh air.

Vio
Vancouver, Canada
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
Oasis
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 10:53 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:46 am

Haha, I love the way how you made this trip report seem as if it was US that were flying and not just some other person sharing their experience. Surely one of my most favorite trip reports. Aside from the awesome writing style, your pictures are amazing too. I would love to read more trip reports from you.

Anyways, I'm glad you got your bag back, and you managed to get a taste of american aervice :P
Aeroflot can fly Moscow to LA, I bet your airline can only fly half way
 
phileet92
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:37 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:08 am



Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 5):
Airpearl, your report is a true masterpiece. I do not think I have ever enjoyed reading a report as much as this one: it is entertaining, insightful and very well written. Congratulations.

must agree 100% with Globetraveller. i can't wait to see those new CX seats myself this summer. but of course ill be flying in steerage. have always enjoyed your TRs. keep them coming! Its probably one of my wildest dreams to fly in one of those new CX First Suites.

-phileet92
 
triple7man
Posts: 717
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 1:36 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:48 am

Your TR with pics made me feel like I was right there. HKG is one of my favorite airports although I haven't been there for 7 years. I want to go visit their Skydeck in Terminal 2.
CX is known for their service...I've only flown them a few times LAX-HKG-LAX in economy class, but it was excellent...in my opinion it rivals the first class service on US carriers.
But the treatment you got at TBIT was appalling. Several years ago CX had the motto of "Service straight from the heart." You certainly didn't get it on the ground at LAX.

How did you spend the long layover at LAX? I know they've been remodeling TBIT, but I'm not sure where the lounges are.

LAX is probably my favorite airport in the US for spotting...with all the heavies going to Asia. I love walking through TBIT, because you feel like you are in Asia, with all the people checking in and going to places like NRT, HKG, TPE, SEL, BKK. Although secretly when I see all the long lines I'm glad I'm not trying to fly out of there!
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
nate1879
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:26 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:22 am

You have a way of writing that makes me want to give you all of my airline miles just to read more. BRAVO! I believe this is my favorite trip report...I like your writing as it reminds me of my candid, informal, yet formal style of prose.

Since I finally joined, I look forward to sharing my first TP soon...US Airway, oh my!
over a million miles and counting from TYS
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:37 am

Hey guys, thank you ALL for reading this bloody long thing, and leaving your comments. It's been a couple weeks since I returned, and have since been busy on other things. When I eventually start to revisit my notes to write this TR, it's amazing how the feelings and emotions of the day came flowing back - I actually ended up yesterday feeling quite flustered and pissed off when I finished! haha

Anyways, just to respond to specific q's...

Quoting Toby25 (Reply 4):
im quite shocked at the treatment you got at LA, i would have stressed out. what did you do for 10 hours? seems LAX is more like a construction site, what are they doing there? seems CX at LAX looks like a shambles!



Quoting Vio (Reply 10):
So what did you do while you were there?



Quoting Triple7man (Reply 13):
How did you spend the long layover at LAX? I know they've been remodeling TBIT, but I'm not sure where the lounges are.

I already had a mental plan of what I could do in LA when I realized I'd be stuck - thankfully I did have someone to visit, and crash out for a couple of hours nearby. Knowing this allowed me to keep my cool! Still, the very indifferent CX treatment at LAX was quite unacceptable.

They are doing work at TBIT that's probably long overdue. Not quite sure what they are but they look cosmetic rather than anything structural like adding gates. Check-in being a mess is one thing, it doesn't get any better after the TSA checks. The lounges are upstairs in the secure area, reachable by an elevator. Apart from this oneworld lounge, there are a few shared lounges I've seen in some other TRs.

Quoting Toby25 (Reply 4):
what is that at the front of the cabin that shiny flimsy thing, is it a mirror in front of seat 1k?

It's CX's attempt at Chinese brush stroke painting... really!

Quoting Toby25 (Reply 4):
CX cabin crew seem to be 90% filipino

haha..well, not quite - they used to employ crews from many Asian countries but the policy changed course dramatically a couple of years ago apparently because the HK government wanted CX to employ local HK'ers. In my opinion, that's when the service at the back of the bus started going downhill. That's why you now often find many non-HK senior crews serving in F and J, and HK crews in Y class. But the policy has recently changed again with CX recruiting in places like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 5):
I have lived in Malaysia for a long time and this is just what I would expect MH to do!

Another MH fan, I see  Wink

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 5):
Another reason why I would never fly Oneworld. This has just never happened to me in Star Alliance.

I had a fantastic experience on ANA F earlier this year - I didn't think I'd get that type of service again here but I was just shocked at the lack of care. Nobody gives a damn.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 5):
How come? Did the CX staff show some pity? Or is this a special deal for transiting F passengers.

As a Marco Polo member (for now), I was anyway entitled to the J class lounge. But I didn't think the F Class lounge was open to arriving transit pax... so the invite's a total surprise. It could be pity on their part.

Quoting AfklmLHLX (Reply 6):
It sounds a little snooty

One has, after all, traveled First, hasn't one? Hahaha
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:55 am



Quoting SXDFC (Reply 9):
Also is that an AA A300 - at LAX? =O

That's MIA, not LAX.

Quoting Nate1879 (Reply 14):
makes me want to give you all of my airline miles just to read more

All offers accepted hehe
 
AirlineBrat
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:40 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:00 am

This is one of the best trip reports I have read in a while. As said by others, your writing style makes it a pure joy to read. A true page turner although your misadventures here in the US reminded me of reading a Steven King novel. The photos are amazing. A++++

After flying on Asian carriers, I have a hard time flying on US carriers. On the most part, they are pathetic.

I forwarded a link to this report on to my father who retired from UA somewhere around 20 years ago if I remember. I think he will enjoy it.

cheers

Airlinebrat
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
 
Ryanair!!!
Posts: 4127
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:28 am

Airpearl,

Another masterpiece of a report from you. I have come to expect nothing less...

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
They have treated you well over the years, but now it’s time to move on… free at last from the shackles of airline alliances and their frequent flyer programs.

GASP! Shudder... Where are you moving to? SQ?  Wink

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
BUT first things first. There are some airports with good spotting, and then there is Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok – the airport designed for spotters.

As I have mentioned in my previous trip report to HKG, this airport is an aviation enthusiast's wet dream. It is truly an amazing airport and one of my favourites.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
As large numbers of passengers connect onto mainland China-bound flights at HKG, these frequencies will fall once direct scheduled cross-straits flights are finally established.

The question is when will that happen? For now, Taiwanese and Chinese carriers dominate the traffic in HKG.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Such is the traffic at Hong Kong – with everyone flying in their largest or newest – that an ageing Malaysia Airlines B734 becomes an object of exotic curiosity.

LOL! As much as I love MAS, this photo illustration and your story angle just makes the airline seem so sad... Wait a minute, they ARE a sad bunch!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Many new recruits now serving in CX Y class are unfortunately so far off this mark that F/J and Y are sometimes like two different airlines.

Actually, SQ faces the same problem as well. The glam-factor associated with being a stewardess is fast fading and it is getting increasingly hard to hire passionate individuals who can deliver the goods. Nowadays, you get a lot of girls who just want to see the world for a few years and off they go.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
“Good tail winds tonight but it could get a little bumpy according to the pilots,” Marion adds. “And by the way, you’re the only one in First Class today. Enjoy!”

I can relate, although not First Class. I had the pleasure of being the only pax in Golden Club once (BNE-KUL) and had not one, not two but three ah mois fussing over me! Sadly that has never happened to me again.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Then move on to the comfort of the leek and potato soup.



Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Tina serves up the six treasures herbal soup.

My goodness... 2 soups? 六宝药菜汤? Is that it? Hahahahaha... Lovely...

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
You’re a little disappointed you have had to unmake your own bed – what a spoilt snobbish bastard just one night of First Class has turned you into!

You don't say!!!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Suffice to say that First Class aboard AA cannot even be compared to Business on CX, but put in context (i.e. if one lowers one’s expectations sufficiently as one must when flying in the United States), it really is quite good.

That is not a very fair assesment now, is it?  Wink

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
This is the new Business Class cabin fitted on AA’s international B763s but it already feels dated.

Sadly this is what happens when you can only afford to play catch up. I am being reminded of Malaysia Airlines again and the energy spent on hyping up the introduction of the new premium classes, only for it to look like a previous generation offering.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Your delayed AA flight from MIA deliberately taxies past the CX B744 that you’re supposed to be on, minutes before it pushes back from LAX for Hong Kong without you on board.

There is something very poetic about this...

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Your short, sharp notes to describe the check-in and departures area at Tom Bradley International Terminal – dark, dingy, sad, nasty – seem to be apt ones for almost everything that’s happened today.

Ah... The controversial TBIT. Lots have been said, and I agree 100% or more about every assessment of this dung-hole. It didn't help one bit that you were departing at a very busy time frame where all the Asian heavies are embarking on their trans-Pacific flights.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Nancy, who’s Filipina, comes personally to introduce herself and welcome you aboard, saying you look like you could do with a very tall glass of champagne. Her colleagues, Cita, also from the Philippines and May from Hong Kong, also stop by to say hello; as does inflight manager Helen.

The Pinoys win hands down when it comes to making you feel at home, followed very closely by the Thais and the only reason the latter loses in scores is their poorer command of the English language. It seems to come so naturally to them and you can be talking about the Yellow Pages for all you care!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
they used to employ crews from many Asian countries but the policy changed course dramatically a couple of years ago apparently because the HK government wanted CX to employ local HK'ers. In my opinion, that's when the service at the back of the bus started going downhill.

I used to remember CX from the good old days where they would proudly proclaim they have flight attendants (oops... sorry, STEWARDESSES) from 10 Asian lands! Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The explorer Marco Polo used to be a pseudo mascot for the print ads with the network depicted as stars in the skies. Ah, I remember the 3 green stripes fondly and I was a frequent flier of the L1011 Tristars.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
Santhosh
Posts: 543
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 5:14 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:16 am

Congrats its a beautiful trip report.

Regards
George
Happy Landings :)
 
User avatar
fbgdavidson
Posts: 3870
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:01 am

Magnificent! Your writing style makes it a joy to read! The only thing I didn't like about it was it rubbed it in that I've missed out on new CX F seats due to last minute substitutions twice in the last couple of weeks!  biggrin  In the meantime I'll enjoy new First vicariously through your reports  Smile

One of our flights though my wife and I were the only passengers in F and the service was nothing short of sensational. Certainly along the lines you describe!

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 5):
How come? Did the CX staff show some pity? Or is this a special deal for transiting F passengers.

I think it is a oneworld thing. BA also allow connecting inbound F passengers to use lounges that a departing First Class passenger would. A couple of weeks back I got use of the Concorde Room at LHR even though I was flying Club Europe because I had arrived in First from Dubai.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
coolfish1103
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:36 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:11 am

Excellent trip report... at least your bag returned!

I try to avoid transits between airlines in alliances cause they often mishandle your bag. Airlines that are not in alliance but actually work together often deal with your bag at a much better service.

LAX is a horrible airport... I wonder what will happen after the so-called remodeling.
 
Elite
Posts: 2297
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:31 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:26 am

I loved this trip report - I read all of it! Glad to see you enojy CX's new cabin and that the cabin crew were up to par. Sorry about the lost baggage... hopefully your next CX F journey (hopefully soon) will be even better.

Elite
 
N787ZZ
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:22 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:36 pm

Wow. Awesome trip report!  Big grin

It's sad that America's gateway to Asia is an absolute dump.  Angry
 
ronerone
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:35 pm

Wow!

Fantastic report Airpearl!

I would love to try long-Haul new F on CX  Smile .. and a WHOLE cabin all to urself!!!!

As expected, CX delivered top-notch inflight service!

It is clear from your report that it is the ground handling at LAX that is an absolute mess. Perhaps CX is not fully at fault here, but yes partly so indeed.

Furthermore, LAX (and MIA) is one of the least favored US airports.

Is this the end of your MPC loyalty?

Thanks a lot for sharing this great report!

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
homadreaming
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 5:53 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:22 am

I seriously enjoyed reading this trip report, it is very well written, shows an interesting face of CX, and answered my age old question why is it so important to offer premium service that is actually Premium (the intro paragraph says it all). The parts involving anything LAX, MIA, AA, US of A...(sigh) was just too depressing and I believe what makes this report so good is the harsh contrast between what has become of Civil Aviation in the US and the rest of the world, in this case very ironically a contrast between US and China...Hope CX people actually take a look at your trip report, and realize its so easy to become (no pun intended to AA fans) AA...
 
Econojetter
Posts: 356
Joined: Thu May 24, 2001 11:24 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:29 am

Can't believe I nearly missed this report. Better late than never. Excellent as usual. I'm sorry to hear about the suspense and trauma you had to endure; glad it all worked out in the end. Each time I watch my bag ride the conveyor belt at check-in, I make a mental note of the stuff I have in it and think, "Dear stuff... maybe it's adieu this time..."

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
to move on… free at last from the shackles of airline alliances and their frequent flyer programs. What more fitting way to celebrate than at the indulgent end of the bus:

No more FFPs? I am paying my dues in steerage now (and trying to play the FFP game, which means fewer flights on interesting airlines) hoping that I will get to experience First at least once...
If the world hasn't ended by the time that happens, I'll post a report.
 
Santhosh
Posts: 543
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 5:14 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:38 am

airpearl

It was an amazing report as I really enjoyed reading it. Especially the way you have put whole thing together is awesome. Looking forward to see more of your Trip reports in future.

Regards
George
Happy Landings :)
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:15 am

.
.
Guys, thank you all for more of your comments, and glad you liked the TR.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 18):
GASP! Shudder... Where are you moving to? SQ?



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 24):
Is this the end of your MPC loyalty?



Quoting Econojetter (Reply 26):
No more FFPs?

Hmmm... I am trying to be non-alligned. The free trips are nice but I'm bored and a bit disillusioned with alliances. Instead of choosing airlines by their alliance and ff programs as I have in the past, I now decide based on price, value for money or whimsy. This has put me on some pretty interesting airlines of late - Roni, my experience on Etihad to London last year was a direct result of this - I otherwise would have chosen CX and could probably afford only Y class at that. Of course, I will fly CX again, it's just not anywhere as frequently.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 18):
HKG, this airport is an aviation enthusiast's wet dream.

Haha Ryan... what a way to describe it!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 20):
The only thing I didn't like about it was it rubbed it in that I've missed out on new CX F seats due to last minute substitutions twice in the last couple of weeks!

Oops, I am sorry to hear that! Glad that you at least had some great service.
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8301
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:35 am

Superb report, loved the wrighting style, really excellent!

A great selection of pictures throught, loved the spotting pix from Hong Kong, can't wait to go back there again, place is superb!

The pictures from the AA flight go to show what a contrast there is between US carriers and true quality airlines.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
And so here you are today at Hong Kong International Airport. Final destination: Miami, Florida. Why? Absolutely no reason at all.

- At times, one of the best reasons to travel.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Cathay’s plush new First Class cabin

- Lovely, looks superb, shame they managed to mess up with the new J configuration.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
you take a couple more cabin pics without the distraction of curious fellow passengers. How satisfying indeed

- Must have been a great feeling  Smile

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
you change and freshen up in the washroom, which is quite the nicest and most spacious you’ve been to aloft. There are two identical ones like this for the use of First Class only

- Wow, huge!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
A uniformed CX agent eventually appears. She doesn’t recognize you as the First Class passenger who missed his flight; makes no exclamations like “we’ve been looking all over for you!”; has no apology for not making an effort to meet your failed connection, doesn’t offer to rebook you, and doesn’t even thank you when you tell her you’ve done the rebooking for her. She checks your booking again and tells you to come back tonight to check-in. “We open at eight.” What? That’s it?
You want to know if CX883 is operated by an old or newly configured plane, but she assures you it is new; so you do not change to the later flight, CX881. Instinctively you feel she’s wrong, but a ground agent at LAX should know more about these things than you, right? (Well no, as you discover later.)
“What about my bag? I don’t know where it is, and it’s now incorrectly tagged…” you say. “Just come back tonight, we’ll retag it.” You know when you’re being fobbed off. Quite apart from the fact you’re traveling First Class, you’re also a transit passenger who’s involuntarily stranded at LAX for 10 hours. Shouldn’t they be concerned about what you’re going to do in all that time? At least won’t you be hungry? Why don’t you rest in our lounge? But no, there’s not even a hint of an offer: not even a cardboard box for you to lie on the floor. At this moment to CX, you’re more like an inconvenience taking up someone else’s valuable break time: we only open at eight, okay?

- What a shame and disaster for CX, a complete don't care attitude.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
This First cabin still doesn’t look too bad after more than 7 years in service. It’s just not nearly as nice as the new one

- Hmm, just goes to show how nice the new on is.

Thanks, loved the read  Smile

Regards

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
karan69
Posts: 2728
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:57 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:17 am

Excellent and very well written trip report, your writting style reminded me of the narration of one of the Season recap serials of the drama LOST, very well indeed

And i totally agree with your view about HKG , and thanks for giving us the insights on alliance mishaps feel real sorry for what you had to go through

Karan
 
planecrazy2
Posts: 573
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 1:40 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:23 am

Thanks for the amazing report and great pictures. Your writing style is superb.
United Airlines - Worldwide Service
 
User avatar
alaskaqantas
Posts: 856
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:12 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:15 am

AMAZING REPORT!!!! I feel like Im just reiterating what everyone else has said, but you well deserve it. I know at the end of this summer when Im flying BA F from the US-Africa I would be soooo pissed and would show it if any of this happened to me.

I had wanted to book my flights on CX F just so I could get the new seats but with the Olympics in Asia it was hard to find space. maybe next time on my NZ-LAX route I'll go through asia on CX!!

Once again, amazing report and I am so sorry about TBIT, I hate it as well, its a shame of an airport.
Did you ever hear back from CX as to the whole rubbish that went on during your return trip?
~Cheers-
~~Kyle H.
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
 
ronerone
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:33 pm



Quoting Airpearl (Reply 28):
my experience on Etihad to London last year was a direct result of this

Hopefully you will fly Etihad again, and experience their new 'Inspired Service'  Smile If the service i recieved on my last EY flight to JFK was the older generation type, then i cannot wait to try this new one  Smile

I think you are a few steps ahead of me, as i am still anchored to my FFP's, but with only a few deviations here and there.


But what about the perks? upgrades? free tix etc? Although as far as MPC is concerned, you have to plan years in advance for flight redemptions etc.

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
buck3y3nut
Posts: 824
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:38 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:11 pm

Excellent trip report. Great pictures, great detail and fun factor was also awesome Big grin
thanks a lot for writing the report and sharing it with us...

Just a quick question though, did you hear back from CX after you sent them a link to this trip report? I'm sure they must have been apologetic at least the way a First Class passenger got treated at LAX...
 
mockney
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:44 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:35 pm

Excellent trip report! What more can be said?

I believe fgbdavidson is correct, if you're on an international arrival in business or first and connect to a domestic in economy you get the use of the business and first lounges on oneworld. Though, what's available in the lounges is variable from carrier to carrier!

I arrived at Miami from Heathrow on AA and missed my onward connection and had a five hour wait. The agent at the desk in the Admirals Club said how sorry he was about my journey and then gave me two vouchers for drinks in the lounge. Maybe if I'd been delayed 24 hours they might have given me 3!

Wonder how AA passengers react when they visit a BA terraces and find a free flow of drinks!

Once again, top-notch report!
 
User avatar
Aaron747
Posts: 10536
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:07 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:47 pm

From the looks of it, CX needs to drop their LAX catering contract. What a difference  Yeah sure
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
SInGAPORE_AIR
Posts: 11621
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2000 4:06 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:42 pm

An interesting trip report AirPearl. I especially enjoyed the pictures and the descriptions of your on-ground LAX experience.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
To put it another way: if you like flying Asian airlines for the service but dislike servitude, then premium class CX would be your choice.

I and many other passengers who fly other Asian airlines would disagree but I suppose differences of opinions are the colour in this world of ours.
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
 
User avatar
ClassicLover
Posts: 4750
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:27 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:47 pm



Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
So what can you expect as a oneworld First Class passenger who has missed his connection? Apparently – nothing at all at LAX, one of the alliance’s most important stations. No one meets you with a sign at the gate (yeah, dream on); no one has a record of your missed connection at the AA gate; no one has booked you on a later flight; and no one knows what will happen to your mishandled bag. The most helpful comment is of the pass-the-buck variety and can be quite funny if only you were in the mood: “you should go to Cathay Pacific but they may be closed now.” So much for the rhetoric about oneworld “revolving around you”.

That's pretty unusual, I have to say... I wonder who dropped the ball there - all parties, from the sounds of it. Especially if your baggage was checked right through - you obviously weren't on separate tickets.

Excellent report!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1815
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:17 pm

Wow

The best TR that I have ever read. Kudos to you
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:42 am

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 32):
Did you ever hear back from CX as to the whole rubbish that went on during your return trip?



Quoting Buck3y3nut (Reply 34):
did you hear back from CX after you sent them a link to this trip report? I'm sure they must have been apologetic at least the way a First Class passenger got treated at LAX...

I contacted CX by email the day after I posted this TR. An automated response email is generated thanking me for my "valuable" comments and tells me they will be "brought to the attention of the relevant departments". I await their formal response, if any, and post that here.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 33):
But what about the perks? upgrades? free tix etc? Although as far as MPC is concerned, you have to plan years in advance for flight redemptions etc.

The most valuable perk I'll miss is the lounge access, as I'm usually in steerage. The occasional "special" treatment while on board and op-ups are also very nice but that's a bit of a hit-and-miss affair and in the case of op-ups, happens to me more on regional than longhaul routes (actually only once between LHR-HKG). Miles are harder to earn now, upgrades more troublesome, while redemptions are only good for limited seats booked so far in advance or immediate travel, that it's hard to actually plan anything worthwhile except flying for the sake of it. Roni, I guess for me it's run its course - but I must say this: MPC does know how to make you feel special. The human touch is surprisingly alive in an airline the size of CX, which makes my experience at LAX all the more shocking. Hope you have many pleasant hours flying them.

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 38):
That's pretty unusual, I have to say... I wonder who dropped the ball there - all parties, from the sounds of it. Especially if your baggage was checked right through - you obviously weren't on separate tickets.

It was on the same redemption ticket. I was very surprised too - kept expecting someone to suddenly appear and say "there you are, we've been looking for you!" but alas, no. Even at HKG, when they said a CX agent would meet my flight at KUL, that didn't happen. I made my own way to Malaysia Airlines' baggage office to file a report - and it was MH which called me to give me daily "your bag is still missing" updates.

Quoting Singapore_Air (Reply 37):
I and many other passengers who fly other Asian airlines would disagree

Indeed, Singapore_Air - it would be a shocking and unforgivable betrayal of one's handle otherwise!  

[Edited 2008-06-06 20:44:12]
 
EXAAUADL
Posts: 1740
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:48 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:24 pm

AA's first/J class product on transcons is pathetic
 
BAViscount
Posts: 1977
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:39 pm

Bloody brilliant report!!! I started to read it a few days ago, but I was pushed for time and couldn't do it justice, so have just given it another go! Your writing style is very unique - the way you write in the third person makes the reader think that they are actually doing the trip instead of "you"! If only I couldBig grin

The photos are amazing too.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, thanks for taking the time to put the report together.

Cheers.

Andy.
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barbados
 
SQ772
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 5:16 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 07, 2008 6:30 pm

Another brilliantly written report. You've outdone yourself and everyone else with your incredible grasp of the English medium. I look forward to seeing how your next TR will better the current one!

Now I'm hesitant to even post my comparatively bland reports here

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Taiwan’s China Airlines is one of the airport’s most frequent visitors and it flies almost every aircraft type in its fleet here. As large numbers of passengers connect onto mainland China-bound flights at HKG, these frequencies will fall once direct scheduled cross-straits flights are finally established.

I believe the impact will be minimal for now as cross-straits charters will only be mounted on weekends, and CI will not have monopoly over this route. Other mainland carriers will be given reciprocal rights to ply this route giving Chinese and Taiwanese passengers more options. The real crux will come a few years later when the route is fully liberalized for regular scheduled service.

HKG will not be the only airport impacted by this. I foresee MFM will be the worst hit considering its current passenger throughput is predominantly Taiwan-China transit traffic. As for SIN, quite likely that services between SIN-TPE will decrease if CI allocated its resources and planes to the lucrative Taiwan-China route (provided CI maintains its current fleet size).

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
that an ageing Malaysia Airlines B734 becomes an object of exotic curiosity.

Is MH able to fill its 734s on this route? Isn't HKG a popular leisure/business destination for Malaysians and vice versa?? Or has the "Visit Malaysia Decade" not made any impact on Hong Kongers?

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Your first visit ever to Cathay’s First Class lounge is a disappointment.

I'm almost afraid to see what your comments will be if you had visited the Silver Kris Lounge in HKG!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
if you like flying Asian airlines for the service but dislike servitude, then premium class CX would be your choice.

Servitude is good. That's what service is about It makes you feel pampered and cared for. Based on my limited experience on CX (Y and J), their service by the senior crew can be described as UA/NW on their very best day with an all-Asia based crew.

How many uniform variants does CX have for their female crew? I've seen purple jackets with long black skirts, purple blouses with short black skirts, red with long and red with short... does the length of the skirt denote a different rank?

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
You start with a generous helping of caviar and balik salmon.

Was the caviar molded into the shape of a heart? Was Tina sending you not-so-subtle hints on how they felt about you?!!

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
Lunch: Just be thankful you’re being fed. A single tray sandwich meal in First Class is as lavish as it gets on a five-hour transcontinental flight.

Why didn't you share how you were "spoilt" by the AA crew on your flight? I'm sure we'd have loved to hear about their non-servitude style of service... haha... ok maybe you shouldn't ruin this report with too much negativity.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
A uniformed CX agent eventually appears.

SQ's handling agents at LAX don SQ uniforms even though they're not directly employed by SQ. Does CX do the same? It's quite unthinkable that a CX staff, who I am sure would have gone through the necessary training on service, would be so nonchalant and uncaring towards their own passengers.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
“It’s American Airlines, they don’t take much care about baggage. We have lots of problems with them.”

Very unprofessional. It reflects very badly on CX and himself to be openly bad-mouthing others.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 42):
Your writing style is very unique - the way you write in the third person makes the reader think that they are actually doing the trip instead of "you"! If only I could!

Correct me if I am wrong, wasn't this TR written in the 'second person' account? He would have used 'he/she' if the 'third person' was used, no?

[Edited 2008-06-07 11:43:22]
There's always a better way to fly...
 
BAViscount
Posts: 1977
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 07, 2008 6:38 pm



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Correct me if I am wrong, wasn't this TR written in the 'second person' account?

Oops, you're right, my bad! I knew something didn't feel right when I wrote that!  Smile
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barbados
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:11 am

.
.
.
Hey many thanks guys, but...

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Now I'm hesitant to even post

please no, no, no don't do that... I feel bad now!

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 42):
thanks for taking the time to put the report together.

It took some time to get the photos organized and throw out those I would not use, but during the trip, I did try to visualize how this report would look - it then became much easier to write later when the pics I wanted were in place. Of course, what happened (only pax on the way there, missed connection on way back) made this a more eventful report than it otherwise would be.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Is MH able to fill its 734s on this route? Isn't HKG a popular leisure/business destination for Malaysians and vice versa?? Or has the "Visit Malaysia Decade" not made any impact on Hong Kongers?

MH flies the B734 to BKI only. The KUL route gets a twice daily widebody (772, 330). Actually BKI can't be doing too badly - they used to alternate and code share with Dragonair to make it a daily service, but now, I think each airline flies its own equipment daily (or almost daily depending on season): MH B734 and KA A320. They still codeshare though.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
How many uniform variants does CX have for their female crew? I've seen purple jackets with long black skirts, purple blouses with short black skirts, red with long and red with short... does the length of the skirt denote a different rank?

Many, and yes, it does. Each variation has a subtle meaning of seniority. That's why you often get the long and dark skirts serving F and J. A more fanatic CX fan than I can probably tell you what they all mean, but I've lost track. A CX stewardess once taught me how to recognize seniority: "the older and bigger we get, the longer and darker the uniforms get." I guess that's why the inflight manager always wears a black dress with a string of pearls hehe

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Was the caviar molded into the shape of a heart? Was Tina sending you not-so-subtle hints on how they felt about you?!!

Oh my, we're reading a lot into this, arent' we?  Wink

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Why didn't you share how you were "spoilt" by the AA crew on your flight?

Well, is there more to be said? I did actually find the AA crews ok, they do their job, are courteous enough and casual in the style of most US carriers. Just don't expect SQ-type pampering and you won't be disappointed. I flew DL and WN as well on this trip - and of the three, the crews on Southwest win hands down.
 
User avatar
rogerbcn
Posts: 1173
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:45 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:16 am

Hola Airpearl!

Amazing TR. I loved your writing; it is a great addition to the whole story.

Quoting Airpearl (Thread starter):
All those rapidly depreciating miles accumulated over too many hours of tortured steerage flying should be rewarded with something wildly extravagant, you think. One idle Saturday afternoon you remember calling Cathay Pacific, suggest the farthest place you can think of, and they say the next available First Class seat is, ahem, next year in May. Can you make it? Who knows? In an impulse you say: yes please burn my miles

I know this feeling myself, I ten to do the same thin when possible, accumulate as many miles as possible and then check for the farthest place you can fly to.

I have had same experience with luggage sometimes and this 'lie to the customer' effect has sometimes hit my head when speaking to so-called customer services.

Salut!

Roger
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Traveling is Living)
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:21 am

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 40):
I contacted CX by email the day after I posted this TR. An automated response email is generated thanking me for my "valuable" comments and tells me they will be "brought to the attention of the relevant departments". I await their formal response, if any, and post that here.

Checking my Marco Polo/Asiamiles account today, I notice 5000 miles credited as a "Goodwill Gesture" which I assume to be related to this flight. Don't know if there's an accompanying letter, but if it's sent via snail mail it would have gone to my home address and I'm on the road right now.

It's nice to know that CX at least read stuff on this forum.  

[Edited 2008-06-20 00:23:38]
 
SIN7
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:13 am

What a read! I actualy read everything.
Fantastic TR!

The whole inflight experience was awesome.
I like the new toilet. Bright, clean cut, very nice.

Ha. . . ha. . . same idea i had

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 45):

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 43):
Was the caviar molded into the shape of a heart? Was Tina sending you not-so-subtle hints on how they felt about you?!!

Never thought of it - sending the airline our TR would be a great thing.
Will surely do this the next time when service lapses.

Thanks again !
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific

Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:04 am

.
Firstly, many apologies for responding to an old report and inevitably bumping it up, but having just got home again and checking my (snail) mail, I found a letter from CX, which was a direct response to this TR. It is posted here for the sake of "closure".


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: F27500, luckyone and 26 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos