25 August 2018

Flying High... Cathay Pacific!

My long-awaited summer holiday finally made an appearance, it was time to check-in for my Cathay Pacific flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. HKG wouldn't be my final destination because Manchester was calling me back home for a few days to see family and the new addition, my first niece! Cantonese service in the skies was a win, win situation! Oh, that Airbus A350-900!

Cathay Pacific was an airline that provided me with the right price and a non London arrival point within England. Taking off from Beijing Capital International Airport bang on-time, the first meal served to me was a lovely chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and yes, I loved the Haagen Dazs ice cream and red wine! Watching 'Thelma and Louise' was just the way to relax and that Airbus A330-300 cruising from Beijing down to Hong Kong. I wasn't too impressed with the new additions on the in-flight entertainment, sticking to the classics was the best thing for me to do! The outbound PEK-HKG cabin crew were friendly and had impeccable English language skills, with the crew being fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese it wasn't a problem to ask for anything. So, it didn't take long for the afternoons sky to change into nighttime, the waters surrounding HK's island airport came into view. Go!

Being back in Hong Kong was amazing, the transfer signs were clearly laid out as I walked from the jet bridge that connected my flight from Beijing. Scanning my hand luggage through the transfer channel, I made my way into the Duty Free area that mirrored the likes of Manchester and Heathrow. I bought some cigarettes and whisky for my grandparents in no time, the staff impressed me much with their immaculate English skills! Being a former British colony for 99 years, Hong Kongers have better overall English skills compared to the Mainland, I don't care how that sounds because its true! Getting a McDonalds cheese and tomato toastie made me feel closer to home before I had even departed on my Manchester bound Cathay Pacific flight. The staff in Terminal One had impeccable manners and needless to say the Cathay Pacific staff represented their airline and the former British colony very well. Let just say, my Hong Kong Cathay Pacific transfer experience was great! The timing was fine. 

Gate 71 unveiled my Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900, the ground crew busied round that gorgeous aircraft! To my amazement that CX219 craft was looking fantastically sleek! The high price to fly direct to England from Beijing pushed me towards Cathay Pacific as the stop in Hong Kong interested me, it was an airport I had watched several documentaries about and had wanted to see it in real life. Boarding was smooth, no pushing or craziness was had because things down in Hong Kong were operated with precision, things were organised and chilled to optimum measure. I settling into my Cathay Pacific seat, I was comfortable and content with the cabin atmosphere, it was quite evident the A350-900 stood in mint condition with its fresh new cabin interior. Taking to the skies to a timely meal service it was a smooth cruise out of Hong Kong as the clock truck 01:15am HK local time. Of course, I was so Cathay ready!

London Heathrow Airport, I am sorry but I'm not sorry to say that you're an ache to reach my home from your near West London area, with that said Manchester was the next best option because airlines just don't fly into Birmingham from places like China or Hong Kong in the case of Cathay Pacific. Shunning the sky high priced directs from Capital Airport or going on a 30 hour flight to reach home, I chose Cathay Pacific for the added benefit to fly on the brand new Airbus A350-900. I am a lover of long haul travel even though suffering from jet-lag isn't fun at all, I just love the experience of flying from one far-flung destination to another. The flight on the A350-900 was smooth, with the odd spot of unsettled air it was a standard flight from HKG to MAN for sure. The in-flight camera gave me a birds-eye view of the aircraft line up for its arrival into Manchester Airport, it was exciting to see such a close up on the runway lights as we approached our UK touchdown! Thanks, Cathay Pac!

Choosing the western food option once again, it was another great meal served by Cathay Pacific's in-flight team. The mashed potato was the winner, nothing else mattered to me in that moment! My second Cathay Pacific meal was served with fresh vegetables, cheese and biscuits, bread and butter with a cheeky Movenpick ice cream to finish that dining experience off. Topping up my cup, I stayed responsible with that red wine choice because I can choose the right moments to be sensible. Another classic film graced my seat-back television, choosing 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' was a great choice! I had luck with 'Thelma and Louise' from Beijing, so the next leg of my Cathay Pacific journey to Manchester, England had to be another golden flick. The cruising speed and height must have been just right because no turbulence could be felt for the most part of the flight No sleep yet, I wanted to finish my film! 帶我回家!

By the time I had finished my film and my tray had been collected, I was truly ready to sleep for a few hours because my then 12 hour flight from Hong Kong still had around 7 hours to go. The movable headrests helped me get in a comfortable position, comfortable enough for me to doze off for a few hours into the middle stage of the flight. Approximately 2 hours before touching down at Manchester Airport breakfast was served, the choice of an English style breakfast was a no-brainer! The cabin briefly saw activity during the breakfast service, for most of the flight the cabin lighting was dimmed due to the early hours departure from Hong Kong, it had been a long trip for me since taking off from Beijing the previous day! Loading up on some much needed caffeine, it wasn't any trouble getting an extra cup of coffee to keep me fuelled before our sleek Airbus A350-900 flight from Hong Kong had landed. I really enjoyed the breakfast, more importantly it meant home grew nearer! Go!

My previous long-haul flight presented the most chatty cabin crew that I ever did meet, I am yet to meet another set of crew who match that description. Both of the Cathay Pacific on-board teams worked really hard during those two sectors that I flew from Beijing to Manchester via Hong Kong, nothing was too much trouble and service was always conducted with a warm Oriental smile. As I approached the crew for a photo in the back galley as my Manchester bound flight grew near to its destination, the crew showed a really shy demeanour. East Asian people can generally be really shy and if truth be told, it's not the most natural thing to be asked for a photo with a passenger. Thankfully one of the crew members agreed to a photo, making my flight complete it was safe to say I could relax after securing that photo! Thanks to the Cathay Pacific crew that took care of my refreshments and photo request. 多謝!

I noticed that on both Cathay Pacific flights the female crew had immaculately tight hairstyles with the use of matching hair clips. Dressed in a red and gold uniform for the cabin duties in the economy cabin, they all looked very elegant and beautiful during the service and throughout the flights. The guys were as cute as cute could be with their grey waist coats, naturally serving their Cantonese charm and soft features they worked the cabin like the best of them. I have to say that all flights departed and arrived on-time without any problems, my luggage wasn't lost as many people said to me they had problems with theirs during a CX flight. Those classics kept me entertained throughout my two flights, the western food option impressed me much with the mashed potato and the politeness of the HK airport staff made all the different compared to Beijing's abrupt call for boarding! Boarding call? It's a good job I could understand the "I'm so over today" gate announcement!

Cathay Pacific! Keep it Cantonese!

Joseph Harrison 

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