Thursday, 20 June 2019

Heading To The Land Of Smiles With Cathay Pacific (Part 2)

Welcome to my 2nd part of my Cathay Pacific's Joy ride! 


Introduction 

I spent 6 days and 5 nights with my partner exploring the night markets, shopping malls and visiting decent restaurants at reasonable prices. Comparing to my previous trip to this city, prices, especially at shopping centres, have gone up. Even though traffic pollution have improved since my last trip here, it was still a nightmare when travelling by car or buses. It's best to travel around either by the Light railway or the BRT (Bangkok Rapid Transit). 

This was a double celebration for me at this point. First, I got to ride on the A350-1000 and secondly, my favourite Liverpool had won the European Cup, the 6th time in its history.

This is the map of the Bangkok Train System  



The Airport line links the heart of Bangkok to the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and the trip takes around 30-40 minutes depending on the timing. Peak hours can be a nightmare. One observation is a lack of signboard of station names which can make your trip tricky and the announcement on board the train is too soft. Unfortunately for DMK (Don Meuang Airport), there is currently no train connection, so the only means of getting there is either by car or bus. 

2 days before my flight, I did the online check-in and I was happy that the aircraft was still scheduled to be operated by the Airbus A350-1000.



This time, the mobile app works for me for my check-in. 


I chose the front cabin but row 43 was too front for my liking. Check out my window shot photos for the reason why.

I considered myself lucky before the flights before and after my departure date were operated by other aircraft types, A350-900 and Airbus A330-300. I guess the airline choose the aircraft type on dates based on demand.


Check-in completed without issue


Credit to seatguru.com (The seat map of the airline's Airbus A350-1000)



Checking the aircraft I am flying on

While having breakfast at the hotel, I did a check and was happy to see that A350-1000 was confirmed taking me home. There have been cases of airlines doing last-minute changes to the aircraft type even after checking in on the date of departure. 



Flying on a few months old A350-1000



The aircraft took off from the busy HKG airport



Our trip to the airport

I took the airport train to the airport without my baggage as it was spoilt. Fortunately, I manage to find a solution without buying a new one. We bought a number of items but still managed to get them into the bags and carry-ons.

Journey on the airport train was fast, it took about 30-40 minutes from the first station, Phaya Thai to the airport. Once there, there are signboards leading you to the departure hall, so there are no worries about getting lost over here.

At the airport

The dull interior of Bangkok BKK Airport




Different queues depending on your status with the airline


The queue took us around 10 minutes. We check-in without issue.



Lots of shops and restaurants located at the airside 


The flight departed from gate G2 



The walk to Gate G2 from the concourse took around 10 minutes. Do plan ahead if you decide to do some shopping.


B-LXB is being prepared for departure. 



Departure was on time. Boarding was according to zones but it was not enforced. Managed to board early and snap some photos, checking out the airline's newest kid on the block.

As I was wearing my favourite team's jersey (Liverpool), a crew member standing at the door, welcome me on board and congratulated me for my team's victory in the European Cup Final! Met a couple more Liverpool fans on board the flight, finally something to celebrate and more importantly, it was a peaceful period, as usually fans of this particular club would be mocking my team! Nice for a change. 



The team deserves especially after losing the Premiership title! Congrats to other teams that also won silverware this season. Looking forward to next season. 

Back to the trip report

Routing: BKK-SIN 

Miles: 875 


My ride: B-LXB

Both photos below: Yochai Mossi



Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce XWB-97
Delivered on 30 Aug 2018
Configuration: C46 W32 Y256
MSN: 169


Welcome on board Cathay Pacific's A350-1000!


Date of departure: 5 June 2019
Flight: CX717
Route: BKK-SIN
Aircraft type: Airbus A350-1000
Registration: B-LXB
Load: 90% in Y class
Seat: 43J 
Flight duration: 1 hr 55 mins ( Actual time: 1 hr 53 mins)
Departure time: 1155
Boarding: 1125 
Push back: 1152
Take off: 1207
Arrival time: 1525
Actual arrival: 1500

I didn't manage to take any photos of the Business Class cabin, so here is one from a well-known photographer.

My first impression of Cathay Pacific's long haul product was positive, I was impressed with the cabin interior with the different tones of green, matching the class of the airline's different products. I do hope none of the premium airlines decides to re-configure the Economy Class on the A350 to 3-4-3 configuration. 

Business Class


Photo: Edwin Chai

Premium Economy 

Comfortable 2-3-2 layout. The seat is obviously wider than the economy class.



Seat pitch is more spacious as well. I had a feel of it and I won't mind paying more for the extra comfort on long haul flights.










Economy Class 

3-3-3 Seating configuration



The difference between the -900 and -1000 is the latter having a longer fuselage than the -900


The overhead compartment is an upgrade over the older wide-body, Airbus A330 aircraft.


The window and middle seat were ours, with my partner enjoying the window view



Comfortable seat suitable for long haul flight, and comparing with the 787 Dreamliner, the seat width is wider.


Seat comfort is fine for me, with legroom space common among the international carriers.



More photos of Economy Class product 


For a 6 foot 4 person like myself, seat pitch is slightly tight for me but bearable.



Every seat back contains the foldable tray, drink holder and phone holder to watch your movies on your phone




I can watch a movie on my phone while enjoying the camera view at the same time


The seatbelt and non-smoking sign on this LCD panel



At the section between the 2 sections of economy class


What's inside the seat pocket?

Headphone set


WiFi connection information



In-flight magazines 


Disposal Bag can be found in it


Safety Card


My In-flight experience 

The cabin crew were professional from the start to the end. They had to handle a full load of passengers and I think they did well. The flight crew consisted of a caucasian Captain and a Hong Kong First officer. Like my previous flight, he gave detailed information on our flight details and that's something that I really appreciate. 

Our taxi to the runway 19 Left took some time as the traffic at BKK Airport was heavy. Take off was powerful and very quiet. The cabin noise after takeoff compares to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is quieter.

For this short flight, it wasn't enough to enjoy the A350 especially with a great In-Flight Entertainment System that kept me occupied. My partner was able to enjoy a short rest too. I have to try the A350 on a long haul flight in the near future. Do stay tuned on my upcoming trip to the U.S.A. I am currently confirming my flight on the long haul and I am still deciding between flying the 787 or 350 over the transpacific.

In-flight Entertainment System


The system is newer than the A330, it was my first time exploring it. I find it to be user-friendly and the touch screen was smooth



Lots of programs available for all ages, featuring the recent movies, drama series and other interesting programs


The In-flight map is 3D interactive, which means you can zoom in and out to check out your flight anytime you want



Flight details - I give a thumb up



My favourite part of this system is the camera views available in 

Front View


Top View 



I enjoy this feature, using it on both takeoff and landing.


In-flight meals 

We had a choice between chicken and pork. This time, my partner chose the chicken, while I chose the pork. It was normal, nothing to shout about.

Chicken option


Pork Option


Strawberry ice-cream for this flight as well


Window shot photos

The massive wing of the A350-1000, I should have selected the seats behind the wing.




Arrival at Changi Airport, the flight went past too quickly for our liking


My flight report



Thank you for the ride, B-LXB!


Having arrived at terminal 4, we made our way to terminal 2 via bus shuttle, took the MRT (train) home from there. 


My rating: 

Bangkok Airport Experience: 5/10
Check-in experience: 6/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Cabin interior: 8/10
Aircraft cleanliness: 9/10 
In-flight meal: 7/10
IFE System: 8/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 76/100

My thoughts: 

First, I am grateful that my flight was not changed to other aircraft types and secondly, my flight experience with Cathay Pacific ended better than I expected. Despite the criticism this airline had been facing recently, I enjoyed both flight sectors with this airline. In fact, I find the flight experience even better than my Singapore Airlines flights. Cathay Pacific has a very good Economy Class product on the A350, giving the other competitors a good run of their money. The Premium and Business Class products look very good as well, so would I recommend this airline? Yes, fly with Cathay Pacific without worry. They are a 4-star airline, according to Skytrax. Skytrax isn't the most accurate source to judge the airline's reputation, but for this case, this airline to me is somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. For regional flights, you may still experience the older products found on the airline's A330-300 and Boeing 777 but they aren't that bad. 

Hope you enjoy this trip report!

Next trip coming up in July, I will be flying to the U.S and cover some of the airlines over there. The trip reports will be out probably at the end of July. Thanks for your patience. 

For my part 1, click here

Have a fantastic week! 
Charles 

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