After we finished lounge hopping at Singapore’s Changi Airport it wearing nearing boarding time so we headed for the gate. It would be the start of an interesting experience.
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge – SFO
Review – JAL 777-300ER First Class – SFO-HND
Review – Tokyo Hilton
Review – Cathay Pacific Lounge – HND
Review – Cathay Pacific 747-400 Business Class – HND-HKG
Review – Sheraton Hong Kong Towers
Review – Dragon Air A320 Business Class – HKG-CKG
Review – Sofitel Forebase Chongqing
Review – Hong Kong Airlines Lounge – CKG
Review – Hong Kong Airlines A320 Business Class – CKG-HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – HKG-SIN
Review – Conrad Centennial Singapore
Review – Qantas Lounge – SIN
Review – British Airways Lounge – SIN
Review – Dnata (Cathay Pacific) Contract Lounge – SIN
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – SIN-HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge The Pier – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge The Wing – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class – HKG-ORD
I ended up booking us from Singapore back to Orlando all on one American Airlines award ticket. To maximize our short time in Singapore and to ensure we would have plenty of time to check out the first class lounges in Hong Kong, I booked us on the last flight of the day (or the first flight of the day, depending on how you look at it) from Singapore. Since this segment was included in my American Airlines redemption, it set me back 67,500 AAdvantage miles. By comparison, paid tickets were running ~$1,400 for a one-way flight on this route in business class, so when you factor in the first class ticket to Chicago and a connecting flight to Orlando, that is pretty stellar redemption value.
Cathay Pacific 714
Singapore (SIN) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Depart: 1:15 AM
Arrive: 5:05 AM
Duration: 3 hours, 50 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (Regional Configuration)
Seat: 14C (Business Class)
As I mentioned earlier, this was an interesting flight. It starts with security at Changi. You do not actually clear security until you go into the gate area for your specific gate. The security at the gate does not open until an hour before departure and the lines are LONG. While they give priority to business class passengers, it still took quite a while to get everyone through. Once you clear security at the gate, you are directed to different roped off sections in the gate walled off gate area based on your class of service and your status with OneWorld and Cathay Pacific.
The business class section of the gate area was right next to the gate desk and also housed the only water fountain in the gate area. That resulted in no less than 10 people trying to pass the Cathay Pacific “bouncer” outside the roped off business class area to get water. It was just an odd layout overall, but at least the views were decent.
Right on time, boarding was announced for the flight, starting with the business class cabin. We boarded through door 1L and turned right into the business class cabin. Cathay Pacific’s business class cabin on their regionally configured 777-200’s are configured in a 2-3-2 configuration.
As I have said before, I am not a huge fan of this layout for a business class cabin. To have a middle set in business class is borderline insulting in my opinion.
I discussed the seats and amenities in my previous post on our flight on this same aircraft from Hong Kong to Singapore, so I will not rehash those details here.
After taking our seats, the flight attendants came around with a tray of pre-departure beverages to choose from. The options were water, orange juice or carrot grape juice which is apparently a Cathay Pacific specialty that is only available on flights leaving from Singapore. Since it was a specialty drink and sounded good, I opted for the carrot grape juice.
It sounded a lot better than it actually tasted. It was a bit bland and oddly kind of sour tasting. You can also see in the picture that I was given a chipped and cracked glass. The jagged edge of the chip made me think it was a recent chip, so I did not finish the juice in case there was a piece of glass waiting for me at the bottom of the glass. I informed the flight attendant of this and she just seemed annoyed that I was bothering her with that. No offer of a replacement beverage was offered, though I would not have wanted one anyways.
This is where the flight took its turn for the worse/more entertaining. In the first row of the middle section of the business class cabin was a family with a baby who was not happy to be on board (or awake, I’m not sure which) and cried for most of the boarding process. Behind them was Chinese family of about 8 that were spread around throughout the cabin. This caused them a great deal of pain apparently as they spent a good 20 minutes running around and arguing over who would sit where. I was lucky enough to get the 18-22 year old son sitting directly in front of me. This guy was the quintessential horrible passenger and I can only think of one flight where I encountered a more entitled passenger.
It started with him plopping into his seat, immediately fully reclining the seat, plugging in his cell phone to charge it and then putting his feet up on the bulkhead. He apparently needed to charge his phone because he was getting so many WeChat messages. I know that because his ringer was on full blast and every 10 seconds it was going off. He then proceeded to ask every flight attendant that passed by if the plane offered WiFi (I’m guessing those WeChat conversations were of vital importance). When they said it did not, he argued with them about how was he supposed to get online during the flight like it was somehow going to magically make the plane have WiFi. The flight attendants were clearly already annoyed by this guy.
About this time the flight attendants passed through the cabin passing out menus for the flight. Given the last departure time of the flight, I was surprised they were offering a meal service at all as it was pretty clear everyone just wanted to sleep on the flight.
The menu read as follows:
The beverage selection consisted of the following:
As the flight attendants were passing through the cabin after their safety video and announcements regarding seats being in the upright and locked position for takeoff, they noticed that our favorite passenger still had his seat fully reclined. He refused to put his seat in the upright position so the purser came and put it up for him. The purser no sooner took her seat on the jump seat and our favorite passenger had his seat fully reclined again. The purser saw him and surprisingly did nothing about it.
Our taxi was quick and we were airborne within a few minutes. We had a smooth climb out and after about 10 minutes the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off. At this point, probably 75% of the nearly full business class cabin was asleep or trying to sleep. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, the cabin lights were turned on, which I just do not understand.
Within a few minutes they started the meal service starting with a beverage. I just opted for a glass of still water. Our favorite passenger was guzzling soda and every time his glass was empty, he would just hold it out in the aisle which would prevent the flight attendants from traversing the aisle between their cart and the galley. He refused to move his hand with the glass until they refilled it. This went on for the entire flight and he probably close to a 12 pack of soda on a 3 1/2 hour flight.
I was not very hungry, but wanted to grab a few pictures and check out the quality for my review. The side salad and chocolate mousse cake were served first all on one tray. I was also offered a selection of bread from the bread basket and opted for the garlic bread.
As you can see from the picture, the garlic bread was pretty much uncooked, which was a bit disappointing. The side salad was fine and the chocolate mousse cake was good as well. Nothing really stood out for me though and I would have preferred a British tea trio for this flight.
The main courses were then wheeled around on a cart. I opted for the beef filet with potatoes and asparagus.
It tasted about as good as it looked. The beef was chewy and overcooked. The potatoes were bland and the asparagus was mostly stringy mush. I had a bite of each to try it and left the rest.
Our favorite passenger finished his meal in record time and handed his completely cleaned tray to the flight attendant before my main course was even served. Since the flight attendants were not prepared for this, they had to stop the meal service to take his try into the galley to place it in the empty trays cart. It got so bad with our favorite passenger that the flight attendants were actively avoiding that section of the aircraft.
After the quick meal service, the cabin lights were dimmed and I tried to grab an hour or two of sleep. Before I knew it the lights were coming on as we prepared for our descent into Hong Kong. We had a smooth landing in Hong Kong about 10 minutes early. While I expected the guy in front of me to jump up and run to the door, he instead just stayed in his seat with his legs hanging out into the aisle while people were trying to deplane. I seriously do not understand this kind of behavior, but it is unfortunately one of the realities of traveling these days.
After clearing the legs hurdle, we were off to the transit desk to get our tickets for our flight to Chicago and then off to The Pier First Class Lounge for a shower and some breakfast.
I would not recommend this configuration for a late night flight as it is not the most comfortable to sleep in. If you can, try to get a 777 equipped with Cathay Pacific’s reverse herringbone seats as they are much more comfortable for sleeping. Also try to avoid sitting behind the most entitled and arrogant passenger on the flight if you can. If not, I guess at least try to enjoy the show!
What are your thoughts on Cathay Pacific’s 777-200 business class seats?
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