In this journal:
- free upgrade to business class
- private cabana complete with infinity shower
- worst economy seats I have placed my buttocks on
I took the 152 bus to the airport, and checked in. However, while I was booking it I was slightly sleepy, and mixed up my first and last name. The agent could not fix it, so she called over the manager. The manager promptly fixed my issue, and while teaching the others to do so, struck up a chat with me. She recognized the fact that I was so young but I was already Emerald tier, the highest out there. After a while, she apologized for the delay as my status failed to show up in the system so my lounge passes needed to be manually issued, and she paused.
“Hmm, we will get you a seat in premium economy. Wait, we will get you one in business class.”
I almost said fuck yeah aloud, but I thanked her anyway. She declined my rambutan offer, and sent me on my way with my lounge passes. I have always known that Oneworld elites get upgraded on Cathay Pacific quite often, but today I finally testified it with my experience. It was just the 2 hours hop to Hong Kong, but I was grateful nonetheless.
The exit immigration was almost as bad as the entry one, and it took me a gruesome 20 minutes to clear it. I entered the long hall way called the terminal, and first I was curious to see the sleeping pods advertised by SASCO, the company running the facilities and lounges in Ho Chi Minh Airport. The pods looked quite nice on the end of terminal near Gate 27.
I talked to the nearby shop manager which was responsible for the use of the sleeping pods, and told me that they were open 6am to 2am, but the shop would be manned 24 hours, so one could purchase a pass anytime. It was filled with all kinds of shabangs like a bed, some working space, and even an alarm clock. It would drain one’s wallet 7 dollars an hour, or 4 dollars for 30 minutes. But the entire area had some lounge chairs to sleep on anyway, so the pods may be good for only a power nap.
I then checked out the Rose Lounge on the other side of the terminal. It had significantly better food than Apricot lounge despite they were operated by the same company, and boasted a better tarmac view, and a fabulous runway view. (well, given the runway view can only go as good as it can be in Ho Chi Minh) No resting massaging arm chairs like Apricot, though!
Before too long, my Cathay Pacific inbound flight touched down right in front of my eyes, and I got ready to head to my gate as I slowly watched this majestic B777-300ER taxiied in front of the terminal. A good lineup of Asian carriers was also there, like a 花見台中 special livery Mandarin Airlines 737!
The business class boarding line was even longer than economy boarding line, because elites nowadays are more prevalent than rats, but I managed to get through, and settled down in my seat at 25A. It was a beautiful reverse herringbone seat, way better than Qatar offered me on my 60 hours of flying previously. Cathay used a better seat on a 2 hour flight than Qatar used for a 22 hour flight; it is a damn shame that Cathay is losing money.
Of course, the legroom on this beast is insane, but the TV screen is a bit on the smaller side. However, the flight attendants apparently did not force us to latch it back in position during take off and landing.
The seat controls are very intuitive and natural, with everything clustered together. Why is there still iPod and AV input lines, only god will tell.
There is ample storage space on this seat, with space under the aisle armrest and in the cubicle next to the window, where the headphone would be found. However, underneath the mirror inside was a line telling you how to open this compartment, but you cannot see this message without opening the said compartment…
The menu looked very good for such a short flight, and I ordered myself a champagne for pre-departure drink, and went for the healthy option seafood paella, except it had run out by the time the cart reached me, so I had to resort to a good Hainan chicken rice. The appetizer was exceptionally delicious, though, and the specialty drink Cathay delight was absolutely brilliant.
I also want to say that the entire premium cabin was packed. There was only 1 empty seat in First Class, Business Class, and Premium Economy each. With such an amazing load factor, it would be extremely profitable even if you factor in 40% of the passengers were simply upgraded like me. However, Cathay Pacific recorded another huge loss for the first quarter of 2017; you must have REALLY fucked up if you lose money with a 95% load factor in all premium cabins.
Before I could finish my movie, we were approaching Hong Kong. I love the approach to Hong Kong to death, as every bank presented me a beautiful background picture.
Hong Kong again
I waved the flight attendants goodbye after a smooth touchdown, and went through the transit area. An elegant A359 was parked right in front of the transit area, and oh boy those sexy winglets turn me on every single time. If B747 is the queen of the skies, then A359 must be the refined young girl you crossed your eyes when visiting a 5-star hotel.
I headed towards the Wing, the last First Class lounge for me to check out on this journey, and went straight through to the world-famous cabanas. I thought I would have no chance on my 2 hour layover, but the lady said:”Oh no waiting is necessary, here you go!” And, and, I was in a private cabana all to myself?!?!?
This is like having sex for the first time. You do not know what you are doing, but you know you are too excited to truly enjoy what you are doing right now, and before you realize it, it was all done. I showered with the GOLDEN shampoo provided at the side, and played around the lighting level for 5 minutes, before continuing to the dining room.
This place had a better setting than the Pier in my opinion, because only main courses are offered in the menu, and the appetizers were in a form of free-for-all buffet. One could grab all he wants while waiting for the main course to be made. Drink options are recited by the kind professional staffs directly.
I then got my main course, a beautifully grilled fish made to perfection. Needless to say, I licked the entire plate clean off before dashing off to my economy chaos dungeon for Shanghai.
One thing I did not like about the Wing is that there was no tarmac view, and it felt quite exposed. As a refined person travelling through the world in the most expensive means possible, I would love to lounge in a place more exclusive and away from those crying peasant babies waiting for their stupid plastic seats at gate 2. (except I fly economy all the time, on the cheapest fare, and was at that time wearing a dirt-stained hiking pants and having a torn jacket sticking out because my bag could not fit it after stealing Qatar’s pajamas)
I boarded through the chaotic scenes at the gate, and was gladly told by the captain that we would be delayed by 2 hours due to ATC control in Shanghai. We literally sat on the tarmac for 90 minutes before pushing out, while the crew handed our special snacks dedicated to on ground delays for China. Yes, the problem with Chinese aviation space has gotten so bad that Cathay clairvoyantly loaded dedicated carts of food just to distribute for angry Chinese passengers.
We pushed back, rolled out, departed, ate a decent economy meal, descended through a thunderstorm, and parked at a remote stand. The seat Cathay Pacific used for this 777-300 was cheap as fuck. It was an immovable piece of plastic that simply slides out the butt portion when the pitch button was pushed. So it effectively decreased my legroom while it was in a “reclined” position, but it was not reclining at all because no angle is changed! You simply slumper into the seat deeper when you try to recline, and what was worse: it was completely manual! There was no spring mechanism to automatically push the seats back to place, so I had to slowly wiggle my sexy butt to slowly push that cheap plastic section back to place. Wow, what a piece of shit.
Another clear indication of Cathay Pacific’s decline is that they kept announcing that they were having a sale for women’s duty free, probably specifically targeting the Chinese women who loved to buy things when there was a sale. However, they went even one level beneath that and started handing out some pamphlets that you see guys handing out in street corners telling you about the sale, and only to Chinese women. Now I have seen my fair share of cheap low cost airline tactics, but this is even beyond Ryanair or Spirit!
This effectively ends my insane trip across the globe in 10 days. I enjoyed over 60 hours of business class flights, tried the best lounges in Doha and Hong Kong, sampled countless good food, and experienced a miraid of seatings, and I ended up with more “money” than I started with. Wow, just, wow. On the less aviation-geek side, I experienced the middle eastern heat in Doha, then got hit by a lady-boy in the streets of Buenos Aires at 2 am, and I almost teared up by the sheer hospitality of the good Vietnamese people. It was plane simple: I am truly experiencing the best of both worlds.
I did not bubble myself in private charters and hotels so I made new friends, but I also enjoyed a Brut champagne while pondering what gourmet to order in my onboard pajamas. I got off luxurious flights just to enter a local conversation in a bus costing less than half a dollar. I am not only a collector of miles; I am also a collector of spirits. They say life does not come any better than this, and they are damn right.
It does not get any better than this.
-=ForeverYoung|Qatari Hop 2017=-
Cathay Pacific B772 Business Class Grading
(The Wing First Class lounge included in grading)
- Ground Service: 180
- Hard Product: 185
- Soft Product: 160
- Food: 160
- Value: 130
- BONUS: 15 thanks to the hyper friendly station manager!
- Total: 830 【GREAT】