A Pleasant Hop: Hong Kong to Manila with Cathay

This trip was with Cathay on flight CX919.

At the Airport

I checked in at Hong Kong airport a couple of hours before departure and the gate agent told me that I had been given an upgrade from economy to business. I had heard that upgrades are quite common on flights to the Philippines but as I had not flown there for a long time this was my first occasion to experience this personally. Although it is a fairly short flight, the extra space and service of the business class cabin would be welcome.

Equipment

The flight was operated by an Airbus A330-300.

The business class seat is private and fully reclining. The television screen was a good size and offered the usual Cathay entertainment selection, which is extensive.

Flight

The flight boarded slightly late at Gate 61. I was seated in seat 20D, which was in the second, smaller business class cabin. That cabin was half full.

We pushed back on time. The pilot was French which I personally never like as I don’t think French pilots on average have a great safety record. The flight was fine except for some mild turbulence, but the landing was in line with landings I have had with French pilots in the past – a heavy thump down onto the runway and then hard braking. We got to the gate at 4:27.

Service

The crew on this flight was professional and attentive but not especially friendly or chatty. It was also the first time I have seen a male Cathay cabin crew member who wasn’t ethnically Chinese.

Food and Drink

The crew offered pre-departure beverages and then handed out menus. The menu was as follows.

The crew then laid a tablecloth and served a meal tray except for the entrée, which was added immediately from a tray. One small detail is that the napkins lacked a corner buttonhole, which is minor but disappointing.

For the main course I had the beef. It was delicious and surprisingly tender. I was also surprised to see Sauternes on the wine list, which is something of an innovation at Cathay.

After serving the meal, the seatbelt sign was turned on. A cabin crew member walked around taking orders for hot drinks in preparation for it being turned off but it never was, so no hot drinks were forthcoming.

Conclusion

This was a very comfortable short flight, with a good seat, excellent meal and decent service. I would be happy to take Cathay again on this route.

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