Cathay Late Again: Tokyo Narita to Taipei, Cathay flight 451, business class

Ticketing

This flight I took last Autumn was ticketed as part of a One World Multi Carrier award ticket. The ticket booked into U class.

Checkin

Narita is a long way from Tokyo and I decided to get to the airport early with the expectation that once there I could do some work. I arrived about four and a half hours before scheduled departure but the checkin area was closed with a sign saying that checkin would open three hours before departure. A couple of ground staff were there and I asked if I could check in and proceed through security, but they said only if I had no checked baggage and used online checkin. I returned to the checkin counter exactly three hours before departure, when there were a lot of people queuing and the counter was already open.

At the airport

I first went to the Cathay lounge, and then to the Japan Airlines lounge as not only is it nicer but it was also closer to the gate. Once there I learned that the flight would be delayed by around an hour due to the later arrival of the aircraft inbound from Hong Kong.

Equipment

The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300 (registration number B-HNF).

The seats were simply reclining seats. The business class cabin was almost full.

Flight

We left a grey and rainy Narita and flew the fairly short flight to Taipei. By the time that we arrived in Taipei we were one and a half hours behind schedule. I was only staying for one night and had a dinner plan which the late arrival scuppered. The same happened to me on a Cathay flight to Taiwan a few months previously. Cathay often has delays due to late incoming aircraft and it seems that they basically schedule their aircraft too tightly, such that when there is a delay it ricochets through the schedule for the rest of the day. As a passenger, with my evening’s plans altered, I again found this frustrating.

Service

The cabin crew was warm enough and efficient, although gave the slight sense that they were looking forwards to the end of their day.

Food and Drink

This was the menu.

The starter was tasty and the main I had of beef and potatoes was delicious. It was a good meal.

Conclusion

Cathay generally seems to schedule themselves too tightly despite the fact that schedules in the region are known to need to have some slack, due to reasons such as typhoon season and the unpredictability of airspace over China, which has a knock on effect even for flights not using it. It’s frustrating that they don’t build this into their planning more.

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