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