CX712 BKK-HKG 24/APR B777-200, 15G, Business
The transfer onto the BKK-HKG flight marked the start of my award ticket, and when booking it in January, I tried to get a Business Class seat on CX712 for the leg to HKG. I was told though that no seats were available, and advised to just check a couple of days before departure for if seats should free up, I would be able to change my award ticket for a measly €30. I decided against that course of action and instead just walked to the CX transfer desk in BKK, explaining that I held a confirmed reservation for the later flight (CX702) but would appreciate a seat on the earlier one, due to leave in about two hours. The friendly Cathay agent checked and then told me that I’d be put on the waiting list and she would call for me in the lounge. She also wrote down my bag number and reassured me that should I get on the earlier flight, my bag would also be loaded. I did not share her confidence in the BKK baggage handlers, but thanked her nevertheless for her forthcoming assistance (considering that my ticket was technically only changeable by LX), grabbed my confirmed boarding pass for the later flight and headed upstairs to the departure level.
Thanks to the knowledge of the folks on cathaytalk.com , I knew that a C Class ticket on Cathay would let me use the Qantas Club, which unlike the CX lounge in BKK does offer showers, something I knew I was going to need after a day in Munich and a long-haul flight. The QF Club was not only surprisingly large, but also very modern and fancy. Given the time of day it was practically empty, and I was immediately assigned a large shower room in a granite-and-steel design similar to the Wing in HKG (more on that later). I treated myself to a long and invigorating shower and some nibbles from the buffet before trekking over to the CX lounge, where a smiling Cathay rep handed me a confirmed boarding pass for the earlier flight! I made sure again that they knew about my bag, and then had a drink before walking down to the gate. With this very smooth transfer experience, Cathay had once again managed to completely wow me, this time before I even set foot on one of their planes!
This flight was operated by a 777 with the old Business class seats that I am not particularly fond of, but considering that I wasn’t even supposed to be on the plane in the first place, I did not complain and just leaned back in my aisle seat, leafing through the SCMP and sipping a Cathay Delight, the airline’s non-alcoholic signature drink that I like so much. It was to be the first of many on this trip. While we were waiting for the last few passengers, the menu and beverage list below were distributed. I appreciate that Cathay flight attendants in Business and First usually hand you the menu opened up on the right page, i.e. displaying the language they believe you prefer. Being Caucasian, they opened up the English page for me:
|Menu cover||Menu||Drinks||Wine cover||Wines p1||Wines p2|
The C class cabin filled up completely, and we soared into the sky after a lengthy wait on the ground and after listening to the safety demo with the trademark “Brace! Brace!” shouts (see 2004 report for details). As this was an afternoon flight, only a refreshment was served, starting with a round of drinks from the trolley and some nibbles. Already having had my Cathay Delight for the day, I went with some of their tasty Pouilly Fuissé white wine and stuck to it throughout the meal, despite picking the fried beef as my main course. The appetizer of prawns and potato was almost larger than the main course, and I certainly liked it more than the somewhat dry beef. What I enjoyed most though after almost a year exclusively on European airlines was the attentiveness and generousness of the service, starting with the variety of breads from the basket and extending to things like nice presentation of the main courses and the lovely service items such as the pebble-shaped salt and pepper shakers. Continuously being addressed by name also helped to create a sophisticated experience which really only left the outdated seating and IFE offering as letdowns. The Chestnut cake desert was the same as last year on that route, and I again found it to be quite tasty, although I would have preferred some ice cream. No big issue though. Listening to some music from the IFE, I enjoyed some after-meal tea and before I knew it, we started our descent into HKIA, where we landed at dusk. After a short wait at immigration, I proceeded to baggage claim and was relieved to see that my bag had indeed made it all the way from Munich, even with the flight change for BKK-HKG. I breezed through customs, bought my train ticket and hopped on the Airport Express. Gotta love that same-floor concept for HKIA arrivals!