CX715 HKG-SIN 27/JUL B777-200, 15H, Business
I knew that this was going to be a two class flight on a triple seven, and had requested an aisle seat in advance. Boarding was smooth despite being done through a single jetway, but I was unpleasantly surprised once I stepped aboard as this aircraft was equipped with the old, old Business class seats and a StudioCX version that was not on-demand. The C cabin also looked dark and quite worn. Maybe that was the reason why the cabin lights were dimmed throughout the flight, even during the meal service. I did not like it in any case as I had to permanently use my overhead reading light to at least see what was on the menu and, later, served. As I settled into my seat, I was terribly disappointed with the cabin equipment, which is definitely not up to today’s expectations anymore. However, it then occurred to me that seats and IFE like this are still very common in most airlines’ business classes, including the one of Swiss on their nine A330s, which are used on flights much longer than this three hour trip down to Singapore. The flight was packed, with mostly business people in the C cabin, and we left around 25 minutes late due to delayed connecting passengers. To while away the waiting time, I had my two last Cathay Delights and then, when a trolley with newspapers was wheeled through the aisle, asked for the Straits Times (the English language Singapore paper), which the flight attendant told me they don’t have. So I took the Morning Post again, despite already having read it in the morning. However, some minutes later, the flight attendants returned with a copy of the Straits Times. God only knows where she got that from, but I was happy to exchange newspapers with her and thanked her for the effort. Once we were airborne (I must have completely overheard the safety video this time), hot towels and menus and wine lists (the same as on BKK-HKG) were handed out:
This being a flight out of Cathay’s homebase, they again offered dishes created in collaboration with the Spring Moon restaurant. First served was a tray though containing glasses, cutlery and a small salad bowl, whose contents in size and taste reminded me of Swiss Economy class. The rest of the food was always presented very nicely on a trolley and then served from there. As the flight was full though (and because I was probably still spoiled from the First class flight), it took the flight attendants quite a while to bring or clear away stuff or to refill glasses. I had just asked for some sparking water, which I got at first, but the subsequent refills were always with Evian. I did not feel like rubbing it in their faces, and so I just drank that instead. As I said, the salad was pretty bad, but the seafood appetizer made more than up for it thanks to its size, freshness and tastiness. If I remember correctly, the plate contained some salmon, scallops and a few prawns. Again, the bread basked offered a large variety of different rolls to chose from. Next were the main courses, which were, just as in Swiss Business, all presented (in this case on a trolley) and one could chose by the looks and not by the highflying description in the menu. I went for the Spring Moon-inspired beef dish, and it was tender and good, but not as special as one might think it would be. But just as on the BKK-HKG flight, the dish was too small for the amount of food, it looked like somebody had just helped himself to the first round at a Las Vegas all you can eat buffet. I wanted to have some red wine with the main course, but somehow the food trolley was nowhere to be seen until I was almost done. When it finally appeared though, I had the choice between a Burgundy and a Bordeaux (impressive for Business class!), and decided to try the Saint-Estèphe Bordeaux. I liked it quite a bit and could in fact imagine this to be a First class wine on other airlines as it offered the level of refined taste one would expect from premium wines. Cheers!
Somewhere off the coast of Vietnam, my main course was cleared away and I was getting ready for the cheese course by asking for a glass of port when the drinks trolley appeared another time. Another one of these tiny port glasses was poured for me, but I did not try the Portuguese delicacy until I was served my cheese. A flight attendant came ‘round with yet another trolley containing several hunks of cheese, and she actually cut off little pieces to passenger’s wishes in front of their eyes, a procedure I had never before seen in a Business class cabin and which subsequently impressed me a lot. The cheese was served too cold, but the LBV port was good and so that was okay. Although I had had quite enough after the cheese, having the sweet tooth that I have, I could not resist the baked cheesecake when it appeared on eye level on the desserts trolley. So I asked for a piece of that instead of the ice cream (again, they had three flavors on offer) and did not regret my choice as it was yummy… and very, very rich! To round off my meal, I had a cup of herbal tea (no coffee at 10pm for me please) and hoped one last time for the mythical “Pralines” to appear but in vain, they were nowhere to be seen. Instead, another round of hot towels was offered and then several more drink refills during the remaining flight time.
The regardless-of-demand StudioCX did not have anything in store that caught my attention, and after zapping through the channels for a while, I resorted to my newspaper and then a book. When we were already descending into Changi, a steward came round offering duty free goods, and having been too polite to just pocket them from my tray, I bought another set of Business class pebble salt & pepper shakers from him. Again, no free extra sets for me, how on earth did ausTXhiker just do that? We reached the gate in Singapore on time, but then had to wait for a good ten minutes until the jetway was extended to the door. Such inefficiency is not what I had expected from Changi airport. When the door was finally opened, I was one of the first pax off and reached immigration before the lines got too long. I picked one of the free candies on offer (love that gesture!) while the immigration officer stamped me into the city-state, and then proceeded to baggage claim. The first two times I arrived in Singapore, bags were already waiting for me by the time I got to the carrousel, but this time it was me waiting for my bag for another ten minutes. When the bags finally appeared, they again did so strictly by priority tags European and American airports could learn a lot from their Asian rivals here!