Cathay Pacific Airline Informative - 777-200--Some Improvements Not For The Better

Review by 71693 on 2009-01-06
Well, I just had to comment on my recent flight to Singapore on Cathay Pacific.

I'll start with our first leg from Vancouver, BC to Hong Kong. We flew from Portland, OR to Vancouver. We were not able to get our boarding passes until we arrived in Vancouver because of restrictions. That was okay, though, because we had a long layover. If we hadn't, we probably would have missed our flight. There were about 75 people in line when we arrived. They only had ONE person checking in people with their luggage and most of them were on a flight leaving in an hour. Needless to say, it took quite a long time. Since Vancouver is hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010, they definitely need to improve their check-in. The one employee was very pleasant in light of the fact that he was the only CSA available. I commend him for keeping his cool.

As a side note, the Vancouver, BC airport is probably one of the best we have seen. They really care about how they are represented and provide very comfortable seating areas for waiting passengers, some even with water features and beautiful sculptures.

Cathay recently "improved" the economy cabin on their 777-200 aircraft. The improvements were personal entertainment screens, which were great. The not so great aspect for a flight of 14 hours were the seats. They are enclosed in their own shells so that when you recline you don't infringe on the person's space behind you. That's great, except when you recline your seat sort of slides forward on the bottom section and you then are sort of slumped in the seat with your knees very close (or in some cases hitting) the seat in front of you. There is no space under the seat in front of you to stretch your legs, especially if you want to store a personal item under it. There were also no pockets to store even a book. The seat was very thinly padded and by the end of the flight, you could no longer feel your "seat". Overall, I would pass up the personal screen for a better seating arrangement and some storage. These new improvements were definitely not a good choice.

We then flew from Hong Kong to Singapore on a standard 777. The "old style" seats were much more comfortable and wider. In this case, I would say that they should have stuck with this original plan. Sometimes newer isn't better.

Overall, the food service on both legs was very good, especially for economy service. The flight attendants were all very pleasant and went out of their way to make sure the passengers were happy. The movie choices were plentiful and there were also games to keep you busy.

Both of our Cathay flights were delayed--one mechanical, the other unknown. This seems to be a common occurrence with all the airlines, so it came as no big surprise. One flight was delayed only 35 minutes, the other about 2 hours.

Overall, when I return from Singapore, I will probably try to fly Singapore Airlines. I've heard they are the very best Asian carrier and have comfortable seats on all their flights.

The good news is that we finally arrived in Singapore after about 18 hours of flight time. We left Saturday afternoon and arrived Monday, late afternoon. This is definitely not a flight for people who are impatient, but Singapore seems to be a very laid back, pleasant place. That is making the trip well worth the flight time. Additionally, all of our luggage made it (4 large bags) without any problems, a big plus for Alaska Airlines out of PDX and Cathay.
Comments:17 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-01-07
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Good review. The 777 was designed with a bit too much input from UAL (launch customer) 777's can struggle above 40k ft. The wings really need a different profile so airline at times take measures that hurt pax comfort to a degree (read: weight)
You may want to consider ANA to Asia next time (via KIX) a good carrier and very pax friendly airport.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Thanks VF. Where is KIX? I'll definitely check out that option as I will probably be returning to the US every few months or so. I'll have to see if they fly into PDX.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Dianec1, NWA offers A330 service direct from PDX to NRT (Narita Asia hub for everyone) but its so-so in coach. Any 747-400 service on NWA (to NRT) is even worse (ouch) I only suggested KIX (Kansai) because its a interesting, well laid out airport (its a man made island) and close to Osaka if you have some time.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Hey, VF, thanks again. I will definitely check out this option (KIX). I do try to steer away from the American carriers when flying to Asia. I tried Air Canada a couple of times to HK, but they were also so-so. I have flown into Narita--a pretty nice airport. I've heard Singapore Airlines is comfortable in economy, so I will probably look into that option next. The trouble is that they only fly out of limited airports in the US, but I'm flying to give it a go. Thanks, again.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-01-06:
Delta is actually replacing the NWA A330 flight from Portland to Tokyo with a Delta 767-300. Having flown both, I think I would rather have the NWA airplane in coach because at least it has video on demand.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2009-01-06:
Good review. Glad ya made it ok. vh
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Good info, Ben. Thanks, jkt.
Posted by ejack053824 on 2009-01-06:
I prefer a Gulfstream with a queen size bed and couches to lounge on.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Glad you made it ok Diane. Shhhhh on Alaska Airlines....
I've got a couple family members wearing their wings.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Hey, C2O--I don't have anything against Alaska Airlines. They were actually the most efficient part of our trip, lol. (The hour flight to BC was great--even FREE microbrew and wine.)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Free adult beverages?! Heck, I thought they just worked there.
Sounds like they may own it now!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
C2O--They just may. What better way to keep your passengers happy!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Sounds like the family! lol!
I wonder if they're serving the pilots the good stuff?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
How did I miss this review written by you!? LOL

I have never used a restroom on a plane before, I wonder if I could make it through an 18 hour flight??

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-07:
C2O--Nay, the flight was way too smooth!

jc--I don't think you could without hurting yourself, lol. They did keep the bathrooms remarkably clean on the Cathay flights. (I wouldn't want that job.) I commend them for that!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-07:
I think you could make it JC, with a change of clothes.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-07:
LOL, C2O. And, JC, you would probably have a row all to yourself too.

EJ--Wouldn't we all. If only.....I don't think we're high enough on the food chain for that though.

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