CX713 HKG-BKK 29/APR B747-400, 2A, First
The boarding queue for Economy Class stretched quite a bit back towards the Wing, but there was nobody at all in the C/F line and boarding was well underway already. I was quickly boarded and walked down the glass-paneled jetway that gave me a nice view of the mighty 747 nose which would be my residence for the next 5 hours. Unlike the other day, I was very cheerfully and warmly welcomed aboard by the flight attendants and escorted to my seat. One flight attendant even offered to stow my carry-on in the overhead lockers, but this 187cm tall man could not let this strenuous job be done by a fragile 165cm lady, so I thankfully declined her offer and instead gratefully accepted the Cathay Delight that appeared minutes later, along with a copy of the SCMP. The bar area next to 2A had a selection of Chinese and English language papers available, and I perused them for a short while before sitting down. In an excellent example of service, a flight attendant appeared seconds later, saying that she’d noted me not taking any magazine on display and asking if there is anything in particular I was looking for. Having already stolen a copy of the Economist from the lounge, I said no, but remained impressed with the attentiveness displayed. By all indications, this was going to be a very enjoyable flight. While I leafed through the SCMP, the cabin (and, as I was told, the entire plane) filled up completely. Unlike LX, Cathay still managed to push back on time without having to resort to excuses such as delayed boarding, late connecting passengers, no departure slot and so on. Our captain announced a flying time of 2:20 down to Bangkok and a flight deck crew change there. He said that we might run into some light turbulence every now and then, but apart from the first few minutes, the flight turned out to be smooth. Due to the early time of day, no wine list was given out, but this menu was presented:
I asked for the Dim Sum as my hot breakfast item and some fruit plus plain yogurt as starters. When the flight attendants laid my table, they also asked me for my preferred juice and pointed out that they offered freshly squeezed orange juice. As I am not all that enthusiastic about oranges, I opted for some apple juice instead, which must have offended the flight attendant because the beverage never appeared. (Joking aside, she had apparently just forgotten about it and I wasn’t keen enough on the vitamins to remind her.) In contrast, the Chinese tea I’d ordered did appear after the appropriate brewing time, and it was positively wonderful. Refills were offered several times and I drank so much that I had to pay repeated visits to the restroom. Fortunately, no seat neighbor had to be climbed over…
While I was enjoying the nicely presented fruit plate, a flight attendant appeared with a little wicker basket holding various rolls and small pastries. Instead of just giving me a choice of rolls, as I had experienced it on previous flights, she presented each item to me and then left me the entire basket on my table, along with my choice of (Swiss!) preserves and (Austrian) honey. I’d never had my “personal” bread basket on an airplane before (remember the stale rolls back in steerage where I come from), adorable! On the HKG-TPE breakfast flight a week earlier, I chose the omelet with sides as a main course and was given a very large portion of food. In contrast, the Dim Sum consisted of only four little dumplings, albeit nicely presented in a traditional bamboo steamer. Still, I found the portion to be a bit meager and sort of regretted not having stopped by the Haven prior to boarding. But I was wise enough not to ask for a second serving, which I am confident would have been available, for there turned out to be more than enough food on the second leg of the day down to SIN. When my table was cleared, I reclined my seat and gazed out of the window for the remainder of the flight, being impressed by how efficient, yet unobtrusive the crew managed to take care of their 12 passengers, constantly filling up drinks, cleaning away service items and never disturbing anyone. As we started our descent into Don Muang, the ISM stopped by and informed me that I was the only transfer passenger on board and that I’d have to stay on board during the BKK layover. I was a little bit disappointed as I had planned on checking out the CX F lounge in Bangkok, and the ISM must have noticed that she hadn’t given me the news I had hoped for. A few minutes later she returned and said that they might be able to make an exception and let me off if it was important to me. Not wanting to be too much of a hassle though, I thanked her and said that I’d just stay on board. She promised that the two flight attendants who would stay on board for the onward flight would take good care of me and bid me farewell. I was surprised to hear that CX apparently change parts of the cabin crew only on stops like this. We were at the gate on time, and I watched all my fellow pax disembark and the cleaning and catering people come on board. The temperature in the cabin rose considerably because of the open doors and switched-off aircondition, and the noise level created by all the hustle and bustle was also quite considerable. Apologies for this were given by the skeleton crew though, and I was also offered a glass of water which I turned down.