This was the second leg of a Chengdu to London Heath Row return ticket which I had purchased at the Cathay ticket office in TST a month or so before departure, for $5,629. Chengdu is often a cheap starting place for Cathay flights, as we outlined in a previous post.
At the airport
I was supposed to be connecting to this flight from my inbound Chengdu one, but that hadn’t happened and the ground staff said that as my first leg had not been flown the ticket was cancelled. Actually I hadn’t taken the first flight due to a separate flight delay and I had some documents to explain this, but still this conversation took over an hour and the ground staff made it feel like they were doing me a favour by letting me on the flight, which I didn’t think was the case.
The boarding gate was the distant gate 69. Boarding was stated as 11.35 and I headed there then but in fact the boarding had not yet begun.
The plane was a Boeing 777-300ER. The seats had the usual Cathay seatback screen with a wide range of entertainment, and USB, as well as a plug socket.
The economy class cabin was barely half full. A flight attendant offered me a row to myself but I decided against moving. The chap at the end of my row decided to move, so I ended up with a row to myself anyway.
The British pilot had a reassuringly calm voice and indeed this was a super smooth journey almost without a bump. I slept brilliantly.
Departing and arriving well into daytime hours, this flight probably suits some people’s body clocks more than others. I felt that the daytime hours somehow imbued the flight with a pleasantly relaxed feeling. It also allowed us an excellent view of London, since we flew in from the east over the heart of the city. Having left on time, and at one point the flight map showing that we may arrive over an hou early, we in fact arrived a little behind schedule.
The crew on this flight was friendly, helpful and professional. It made me realise that I had had a run of mostly indifferent Cathay crews prior to this flight. Whether this flight’s crew were happier to serve, or more relaxed because of the light load, I do not know, but their service was more pleasant than in my recent preceding flights.
Food and drink
The crew distributed a menu shortly after takeoff, as follows.
The service started with a drinks service, and after that the lunch service. The second meal service was about six hours before landing. As it was a daytime flight I did not mind that too much, although I do find this Cathay timing a bit strange where you are fed halfway through the flight when you may prefer to sleep, and then there is no more substantive food offering prior to landing.
The food was alright but not great tasting. The presentation lately makes the food – which is already a bit sparse for a full-service carrier – look even more sparse.
This was a good flight: smooth, quiet, relaxing and with a good crew. I’d note the load for future flights in terms of it lowering the chance of being upgraded, but the daytime timings made for a pleasant change.