This was the return leg of an earlier ticket which I covered in a separate post. The HKG-BKK return ticket cost HKD3,058 in S class (outbound) and N class (return), accruing only 524 miles.
This flight was during the mainland Golden Week holiday and followed Tropical Storm Mujigae. Mujigae had led to a Tropical Storm signal number three in Hong Kong, which was lowered to number one signal at 8.40 p.m. the day before this flight was due.
As I was staying several hundred miles from Bangkok, I woke up early in the morning in order to check out and travel to the airport. I then noticed that Cathay had sent me a text message between two and three that morning advising that the scheduled take off time (11.10 a.m.) had been changed to 1.15 p.m. If they had informed me of that the evening before I could have planned accordingly. However, as the hotel owner had woken up especially to cook me breakfast, the taxi was booked and I was up and ready it was not now convenient to delay my departure for the airport.
At the airport
Cathay has a lot of checkin desks at Suvarnabhumi but the scene there can best be described as bedlam. The economy queue wound along multiple barriers in the checkin area, all the way along the middle of the aisle, out onto the end of the aisle and around the corner. I used the Business Class checkin because of my Marco Polo membership (although it is not signposted as a Marco Polo checkin) but if I had had to join the economy queue I would have been livid. Golden Week happens every year and tropical storms are relatively commonplace in Hong Kong yet Cathay does not seem able to manage the impact on passenger flow smoothly.
Security was relatively fast and I headed off to the Cathay lounge where the flight was further delayed.
This was a 777-300 and in economy class looked to be almost completely full. The flight had clam seats and the usual regional inflight entertainment choices – no films but an excellent variety of television and audio options.
The flight was smooth and we arrived in Hong Kong around five o’clock, a couple of hours after our originally scheduled arrival time.
The service on this flight was poor. It was not warm and very mechanical. I did not receive any greeting from the purser or cabin manager. The food service was swift and efficient but again lacking in warmth. As I left the plane after landing, not a single member of cabin crew stood in the door areas to bid passengers farewell. The purser stood hunched over a table next to the cockpit door, working on paperwork and not making eye contact with anyone. This made sense to me: the service for the whole flight had been uninspiring and given that the purser displayed this lack of concern herself, her staff likely felt the liberty to do the same.
Food and Drink
There was no menu card and the meal offered was pasta or fried fish fillets with rice. I opted for the latter and found the fish to lack flavour and be chewy and not enjoyable. The vegetables were fine. Dessert was merely a Malaysian made Kit Kat bar.
This was a very frustrating flight. Having booked it because it was cheaper than booking an afternoon flight, it ended up becoming an afternoon flight for reasons I think were somewhat in Cathay’s control. Onboard service and food did not lift the experience at all and I wondered whether this was worth a premium compared to a low cost carrier or competitor’s flight.
Guest Blogger: Christopher R.