CX708 BKK-HKG 20/JUL A340, 12A, Business

Security was a breeze and by the time we reached the gate there were no more queues so we could just board – through a separate jetway for First and Business anyway. Stepping aboard, I immediately noticed that this aircraft was equipped with Cathay’s normal Business class seats and not with the regional ones. I found their design to be quite similar to that of Swiss and liked it a lot: Plenty of legroom, wide enough seats and storage space in abundance. One thing I didn’t particularly care for though were the greenish color shades used and the contrast to the very bright and colorful FA uniforms. The plane also had the StudioCX on demand installed, but I did not really use it and instead chatted with ausTXhiker for most of the flight. The Cathay flight attendants on this sector were friendly and professional. My jacket was hung immediately (unlike on my last flight with Swiss), and they always made sure that their pax had enough to drink.

Hot towels were passed out, and a first round of drinks was offered. ausTXhiker and I both took a glass of champagne (at 9.30am, mind you!) to toast our first flight together, and as we pushed back, we studied the appealingly designed food and drinks menu:

menu cover food drinks wine cover wines p1 wines p2

I was musing on the brunch and wine choices when I suddenly heard someone shout “Brace, Brace, Brace!”. I looked around, only to find out that this was a part of the Cathay safety demonstration video. Funny to see that the video really features somebody shouting this (twice) – it became a much awaited moment of all my future CX flights. We took off shortly after the demo was completed, and I eventually decided to try the fish course for brunch whereas my traveling companion went with the pancakes. Our flight attendant, who immediately identified ausTXhiker as someone sharing her ethnic background, offered us more drinks, and I decided to try the airline’s signature drink, called “Cathay Delight”. Its greenish look might not be for the faint-hearted, but it is actually very refreshing and I enjoyed it so much that ausTXhiker figured that he had to ask for one as well – which he did in his mother tongue.

Brunch was served as we reached cruising altitude, and both of us immediately liked the pebble-shaped salt and pepper shakers that are featured on Cathay’s Business class meal trays. While I tried to determine what the colorful selection of beautifully cut fruit was made up from (I eventually gave up and just enjoyed them), ausTXhiker was busy flipping through the duty free catalogue where he found the salt and pepper shaker set for sale. He ordered six (!) of them with “our” flight attendant who served us our main courses from an open trolley, something I do quite like and find exceptional for Business Class, on regional flights especially. The flight attendants have a special fork-like tool that allows them to lift the food dishes from the trolley to the passenger’s tray without having to touch it. While the entire process felt very elegant, that tool would also fit beautifully into a bad horror movie. My fish was good both in quality and quantity, but I found the presentation in a small dish filled to the brink to be a bit lacking. Oh well, at least some room left for CX to improve, no biggie anyway. ausTXhiker told me that he didn’t feel like having dessert after his apparently very filling main course, but I convinced him to try the Chestnut cake anyway. He didn’t really like it, but having a sweet tooth, I sure did. We then both rounded off our meals with some tea, but I was impressed to see that Cathay offers Nespresso coffee (not to be confused with the instant Nescafé) in Business class – Swiss only does that in First.

I was both impressed and happy after this first meal on Cathay and enjoyed looking down at the scenery passing by below us. After making some politically incorrect jokes over the Vietnam coast, I decided that it was time to visit the (surprisingly bright) lavatory, which was nicely tiled and stuffed with Biotherm toiletries. On my return, I saw ausTXhiker stowing away a large bag, and once I settled back into my seat, he confessed to me that the flight attendant had officially told him that they only had 3 salt and pepper sets left to sell him, and then returned and clandestinely gave him another 3 (used) sets for free. That account left me both very impressed with the degree of courtesy – and dead jealous!

After countless drink refills and a second round of hot towels, we started our descent into HKG and landed there significantly ahead of schedule. Both our arrival gate and baggage reclaim belt had been announced in advance on the IFE screens, and as I reached into the overhead bin to grab my backback, I found some bags containing readymade Cathay Delight mix. I quickly stowed them in my bag and left the airplane with a smile on my face. (Back home it turned out that the mix still requires fresh Kiwi juice, something I have yet to find in not-so-tropical Switzerland.)

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