My Most Underwhelming Cathay Pacific Flight Yet

My Most Underwhelming Cathay Pacific Flight Yet

85

As I’ve said a bajillion times before, I’m a huge fan of Cathay Pacific first class, as I find it to be one of the most consistent airline products in the world.

They offer one of my favorite first class hard products, the service is generally exceptional, and the food is quite good as well.

Cathay-Pacific-Bed

For example, I flew Cathay Pacific first class just a few weeks ago from Chicago to Hong Kong, and had an amazing flight. The inflight service manager and two cabin crew working first class couldn’t have been more charming, attentive, and friendly.

I acknowledge, though, that Cathay Pacific service is different than some people are used to for a couple of reasons:

  • Cathay Pacific is one of the few Asian airlines with US based flight attendants, so it’s interesting to see the contrast in service between a San Francisco and Hong Kong based crew, for example.
  • In first class, Cathay Pacific takes a somewhat reactive approach to service, which I appreciate. They’re extremely attentive and proactive during the meal services, but when it comes time to sleep they won’t disturb you; instead you just push the call button when you want something.

With that in mind, I just flew Cathay Pacific first class from New York to Hong Kong, and had the most underwhelming service that I’ve ever experienced in Cathay Pacific first class. And I’ve flown it dozens of times.

Don’t get me wrong, this is of course all relative, and most definitely a first world problem. Compared to other airlines the service was still at least average, but by Cathay Pacific standards it was disappointing.

I think the inflight service manager really sets the tone for a flight, and this one was pretty bad. She started her welcome announcement with “flight attendants are here primarily for your safety,” which is usually only something you hear on US airlines.

Also, it’s customary for the purser to come around to welcome aboard and say goodbye to each first class passenger, and this ISM was completely absent. She didn’t say hello or goodbye, and the only time I saw her smile was when we arrived in Hong Kong, presumably because she was done for the day.

While the two first class flight attendants were fine, they weren’t charming or personable, and lacked attention to detail.

For example, I wasn’t once asked if I enjoyed the meal, if they could get anything else, etc.

Cathay-Caviar

Furthermore, I find that a good crew on Cathay Pacific will at least acknowledge you when you go to the lavatory by offering you something to drink or going to your seat to fold the blanket, remove trash, etc. That never happened, and whenever I walked through the galley they completely ignored me, and in many cases were so distracted talking that they were blocking the way and I had to ask them to move so I could access the lavatory.

During the meal service I wasn’t once offered a refill. I always had to specifically request what I wanted.

And when I had a mid-flight snack I expected they’d come back every so often to check on me (as they usually do), but instead I had to push the call button several times just to get them to clear the tray.

Cathay-Snack

But more than anything the crew just didn’t seem like they enjoyed what they were doing. They weren’t personable and didn’t smile, and that’s no fun.

I realize this is all incredibly minor in the grand scheme of things. If this were a US airline I’d still rank it as average service, but for Cathay Pacific it was the most disappointing service I’ve received.

Even the best airlines don’t get it right sometimes…

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  1. Geoff Guest

    Hi All get a grip on yourself you are in a great position where you can afford to travel up the front of the plane and all you can remark about that the food is disappointing. You may want to think about families and children who go with out food every night next time you look at the meal in front of you in first class.

  2. Jason Guest

    get a feeling that it could be a replacement crew. or may be because they know that you use your points to get F, rather than actual $$$$ ?
    if you think because you are in first class therefore you deserve full respect, people will need to treat you like a king and people need to be a slave for you, you need to see a psychologist.

  3. Kulian Guest

    lol i guess that is a taste of economy for ya...

  4. Shanti Narayanan Guest

    I have been a loyal Cathay customer for several years and a paying business class traveler.
    Tonight -I have a flight from SFO to HKG. Unfortunately my company staff messed up and purchased a non upgradable economy ticket. In spite of willing to pay with miles they wouldn't upgrade to higher class. I even called Hong Kong customer service and they wouldn't oblige. I understand they were following rules, but that's what differentiates good...

    I have been a loyal Cathay customer for several years and a paying business class traveler.
    Tonight -I have a flight from SFO to HKG. Unfortunately my company staff messed up and purchased a non upgradable economy ticket. In spite of willing to pay with miles they wouldn't upgrade to higher class. I even called Hong Kong customer service and they wouldn't oblige. I understand they were following rules, but that's what differentiates good customer service from bad. They could see my status and that I had paid full fare for every business travel in the last 5 years. I used to love this airline and my husband I were always loyal to Cathay.
    After the way I have been treated today, I don't think I will continue my patronage. Better to find an alternate airline for my Asia travel. I hear Singapore is great... Even JAL or ANA.

    1. Randy Guest

      @Shanti, I don't understand why you expected Cathay to upgrade you with miles. If you said that you offered to pay the fare difference and CX refused despite there being empty seats, I could understand your outrage.

  5. bobbieddie New Member

    Lucky - you wrote this article in April. Any recent experiences/updates on CX? Would u also compare SQ business on their 777 v A380. Seems to me SQ F is only worth the extra miles expense on their A380 suites; otherwise SQ business seat/service looks very similar to seat/service on SQ F 777?

    @Mark - Appreciate ur comments. I'm planning a trip from US to SYD/NZ thru HKG and LHR in Aug 2016. Want...

    Lucky - you wrote this article in April. Any recent experiences/updates on CX? Would u also compare SQ business on their 777 v A380. Seems to me SQ F is only worth the extra miles expense on their A380 suites; otherwise SQ business seat/service looks very similar to seat/service on SQ F 777?

    @Mark - Appreciate ur comments. I'm planning a trip from US to SYD/NZ thru HKG and LHR in Aug 2016. Want to book as soon as the award flights populate websites. Was considering CX in the mix but F has become almost nonexistent, and all these comments have put me off CX!! Am now favoring SQ, BA, JAL via various routings. As a long time LHR-HKG traveler, what are ur preferences.

  6. Petter Member

    @Ben

    This is a typical shut-down of a service policy of governmental carrier. CX used to be the flag-carrier in the far-east with well-educated principals from Sandhurst etc. being their station managers making sure everything passed by.
    I recently flew with CX from DOH-HKG, nightmare flight, I had to eat a meal from economy class. Nothing in the CX menu ever got my tasting. CX will never become a decent airline for us European...

    @Ben

    This is a typical shut-down of a service policy of governmental carrier. CX used to be the flag-carrier in the far-east with well-educated principals from Sandhurst etc. being their station managers making sure everything passed by.
    I recently flew with CX from DOH-HKG, nightmare flight, I had to eat a meal from economy class. Nothing in the CX menu ever got my tasting. CX will never become a decent airline for us European travelers unless they make a main-make over in service and in-flight delivery

  7. Mark Guest

    It is all part of the steady decline of CX. I have been a Diamond member for over a decade, fly First to London twice a month plus several shorter haul trips around Asia (I live in Hong Kong), yet Cathay never appreciate loyalty from customers and the inconsistency in service levels is now ridiculous; service both on the ground and in the air gets worse every month. I recently decided not to fly CX...

    It is all part of the steady decline of CX. I have been a Diamond member for over a decade, fly First to London twice a month plus several shorter haul trips around Asia (I live in Hong Kong), yet Cathay never appreciate loyalty from customers and the inconsistency in service levels is now ridiculous; service both on the ground and in the air gets worse every month. I recently decided not to fly CX to London and, as I had time to spare, took another carrier in First and had to make one change, the overall extra time was 3 hours, but the service on board, the courtesy and the overall product made CX First decidedly second rate .... Cathay will find to its own cost that many loyal customers are now thinking of other alternatives ..

  8. Randy Guest

    To the point of this post, I've had similar CX F experiences. Sometimes my partner and I have had diametrically opposite experiences on the same flight, when we're served by two different FAs. His will walk by every so often to check on him and see if he needs anything, while mine ignores me unless I push the button (which I usually am loathe to do).

  9. Randy Guest

    I am really mystified by all the harsh and negative comments. It's as if a significant number of people resent the very idea that there is anything other than the deep-discount coach, and think that airlines shouldn't offer business or first class, and if they do, the food and service should be identical to coach. Would these people be so critical of a review of a new Mercedes S-Class that pointed out disappointments and failure...

    I am really mystified by all the harsh and negative comments. It's as if a significant number of people resent the very idea that there is anything other than the deep-discount coach, and think that airlines shouldn't offer business or first class, and if they do, the food and service should be identical to coach. Would these people be so critical of a review of a new Mercedes S-Class that pointed out disappointments and failure to deliver on the promise of an S-Class? Would they suggest that the reviewer stick to Yugos?

  10. Mike New Member

    Admittedly, your sample size is much larger than mine. You may have a broader perspective on the norm. Having said that, in my experience, the “legend” of CX far exceeds the reality.

    I’ve only flown maybe 10 CX F segments. Two were memorable. The rest were “meh” or worse. Pretty much like what you’ve described here.

    I just flew CX807 ORD to HKG on April 12. Nothing memorable. Minor annoyances.

    I flew CX806 HKG to...

    Admittedly, your sample size is much larger than mine. You may have a broader perspective on the norm. Having said that, in my experience, the “legend” of CX far exceeds the reality.

    I’ve only flown maybe 10 CX F segments. Two were memorable. The rest were “meh” or worse. Pretty much like what you’ve described here.

    I just flew CX807 ORD to HKG on April 12. Nothing memorable. Minor annoyances.

    I flew CX806 HKG to ORD April 23. The crew was visibly bothered that I did not want to eat right away. No offer of coffee or dessert after meals. Left an empty water bottle for hours. None of this made for an awful flight. But it certainly isn’t high quality service.

    And on neither flight did they make any effort to connect. The only memorable CX F flights I had were when the FA’s made an effort to be personable and connect. A few minutes of friendly chatting can make all the difference. Most of the time they seem to do little more than introduce themselves.

    Oddly enough, I received better service from one of the FA’s in business class! I went back to that galley a few times to ask for things, and soon she was coming up to me to see if there was anything I wanted, even though she wasn’t even serving my cabin. I was floored and impressed. THAT is outstanding service!

    Of course, all “first world problems” for sure.

    You mentioned the ISM. I find them to be an enigma. I've never once had them come around anytime during the flight and ask if everything was going OK. They show up at the beginning, say hi, and you never seem them again until the end of the flight.

    From my perspective, this is really about expectations. When I first started to fly CX F, their reputation drove high expectations, and I was frequently disappointed. I’ve now tempered my expectations. I really just look forward to a big seat, and anything else is a bonus.

  11. JohnB Guest

    Ben, do you have any other Cathay flights in next 30-60 days? Reason, I'm asking, is this a trend? I'm flying Cathay first in May, I'll be really disappointed if it's as bad as you described. I'll report back then if it is for me.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ JohnB -- I have one in business class in a few days, though had one in first class just a few weeks ago as well. Ultimately nothing changed at Cathay Pacific overnight, though there are perhaps more bad apples than in the past.

  12. Tom C Guest

    @Jay Jay - I 100% agree with everything you've said and give you a virtual round of applause for it.

    Ben, I've read your blog a LOT. In fact, I'm writing this to you from Amanbagh, having coincidentally read your review a few years ago. You’ve written before about trolls, yet this article seems to have taken it to a whole new level. If anyone is reading this and finding it annoying that you’re complaining,...

    @Jay Jay - I 100% agree with everything you've said and give you a virtual round of applause for it.

    Ben, I've read your blog a LOT. In fact, I'm writing this to you from Amanbagh, having coincidentally read your review a few years ago. You’ve written before about trolls, yet this article seems to have taken it to a whole new level. If anyone is reading this and finding it annoying that you’re complaining, then they are in the wrong place. I don’t come here for you to tell me everything is great and how blessed your life is, as then what is the point to it? I want informed opinions on who to fly with and what makes them great, so I can make that choice myself.

    People seem to take up issue with how you pay for the flights, like it somehow makes you less entitled to complain. This goes against the entire principles of commerce. You do something for me, and in return I pay you X (whether that’s cash or miles is irrelevant, as they are both accepted currencies). I don’t care if your dad owns the airlines and you travel for free, it doesn’t change what the expectation of what you should receive should be.

    I still remember my first experience of flying at the front of the plane. It was Virgin Atlantic from London to Orlando back in 2010 as a treat to myself. At the time, simply having a bed was the greatest thing in the world. 5 years on, and numerous first and business class flights with different airliners later, and my expectations are much higher of what I should receive.

    If you’ve experienced something multiple times before, then you would expect to receive it again. This is just human nature and our desire for consistency, but also to improve how we live. If we were just happy with everything as it was, we’d all still be living in caves.

    1. Dwonderment Guest

      Agree with others it doesn't matter how you acquired your ticket ever as long as its legal and you paid for it or earned it
      Lot of jealous folks out there with unhappy lives!
      I think Ben has a pretty thick skin by now to let some of the creepy remarks just slide
      I hope Ben never changes his style for reviewing as its excellent even if I don't always agree with...

      Agree with others it doesn't matter how you acquired your ticket ever as long as its legal and you paid for it or earned it
      Lot of jealous folks out there with unhappy lives!
      I think Ben has a pretty thick skin by now to let some of the creepy remarks just slide
      I hope Ben never changes his style for reviewing as its excellent even if I don't always agree with each assessment
      He to his credit gets the lions share right
      After reading a few posts that were a rude IMHO by others I thought to myself I'm sure glad I never started a blog :)
      That's what happen when you become popular in the public eye
      People take shots at ya
      Keep up the good work Ben and dont change to much for this reader!
      You get better with age.Thanks for keeping us informed
      Cheers

  13. Samuel001 Guest

    Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  14. Yomama Guest

    You're right. It is an OUTDATED first world sentiment. And Cathay Pacific, stop kissing his self-important ars.

  15. Pafunco Guest

    You are a spoiled kid!!!!

  16. mark Guest

    I forge blog, but where Staples has a prepaid Mastercard or Visa prepaid card offer he discusses it in a Mad Libs format. I think that would be a great idea for this (repetitive) blog. "I flew First Class (not changeable because Lucky only flies First). The service was good/not good. I was/was not greeted at the door. I did/did not get champagne. I did/did not enjoy the food." Blah blah blah. Also, a lot of tattling lately.

  17. Mike O. Guest

    Just to let everyone know while JFK does indeed have a cabin crew base, it is still relatively new (a few years old) so only a few like 3 or so will be based in JFK and they will be the most junior ones while the rest including the Inflight Service Manager (ISM), Senior Purser, etc. will all be based in Hong Kong. And not all JFK flights have JFK based crew. The 888/889 via...

    Just to let everyone know while JFK does indeed have a cabin crew base, it is still relatively new (a few years old) so only a few like 3 or so will be based in JFK and they will be the most junior ones while the rest including the Inflight Service Manager (ISM), Senior Purser, etc. will all be based in Hong Kong. And not all JFK flights have JFK based crew. The 888/889 via Vancouver doesn't count. They have all Vancouver or Hong Kong based crew on that route. The EWR doesn't count either as CX treats that as a separate destination and the crew stay together.

  18. Jay Jay Guest

    Quote:

    "Don’t get me wrong, this is of course all relative, and most definitely a first world problem"

    I have read this so many times now: and I am tired of this statement!! Also, in one of the comments on this post, some "Tim" said something like "Poor baby..." --

    I have to say this now (in my somewhat limited English):

    We all work hard, and in our jobs, we try to do...

    Quote:

    "Don’t get me wrong, this is of course all relative, and most definitely a first world problem"

    I have read this so many times now: and I am tired of this statement!! Also, in one of the comments on this post, some "Tim" said something like "Poor baby..." --

    I have to say this now (in my somewhat limited English):

    We all work hard, and in our jobs, we try to do the best work possible. It is important to single out the best achievers and the best examples of impeccable service. When I book First Class (which I do, full price, from time to time), I expect the best possible experience. First world or not. It is not a "problem", it is what I expect and judge on. (By the way, this is why I love Lufthansa First Class, and no, Emirates does not come second)

    Why, Ben, do you point out so often lately, that something like this is a "first world" problem?? Yes, it is, but nevertheless, we expect the best, and when the best happens, we are happy to point it out. No need for apologies when you point out shortcomings!

    For all those "Tim" persons out there, I just have this to say: As long as you have access to a computer and time to read this blog, you are part of the "first world"... So shut the whatever up! I personally helped in "third world" projects in Africa and India, and believe you me, it indeed is a different world there... However, we are part of this "first world", like it or not, and in this "first" world, we should expect jobs done in the most perfect way.

    Sorry for this rant, and sorry again for my limited English, but this really gets on my nerves!!! Why accept "compromises", when indeed we are part of the "first world"???

  19. Richard New Member

    Ben, I've been a silent fan of you and your blog for quite some time now, but @Jordan (and other commenters previously) make a valid point. You've done a phenomenal job of accumulating and sharing knowledge not only of myriad airline and hotel products, but also of the systems and processes that facilitate the best deals. The format, though, is growing stale, and you give the impression that you're also succumbing to ennui.

    I find...

    Ben, I've been a silent fan of you and your blog for quite some time now, but @Jordan (and other commenters previously) make a valid point. You've done a phenomenal job of accumulating and sharing knowledge not only of myriad airline and hotel products, but also of the systems and processes that facilitate the best deals. The format, though, is growing stale, and you give the impression that you're also succumbing to ennui.

    I find myself increasingly hoping that this blog will serve as your Bildungsroman; that you will become more introspective and learn something about yourself and your surroundings. Of course, it is your perfect right to transit London multiple times per year without learning of its culture or visiting its museums and galleries; or to find amusement in the foibles of others at the next dinner table; or to report every minute detail of bad service without context or analysis. But such trivialities won't sustain the interest of a more mature readership. It's not for me or anyone else to tell you how to run your blog (or your life), but it's a shame that so much of the content remains rather one-dimensional. You're a smart and interesting guy, and this blog could develop into so much more.

  20. irene Guest

    I flew CX JFK-HKG in J the last time last July and was downright disappointed at the service. I have no idea where the crew was based but they tended to congregate in the galley or they were eating in the galley. When I asked for food because I was sleeping during service, they made it look like I had committed a serious crime. I just flew JAL from NRT-JFK and was more impressed!

  21. john Guest

    I like the flight-following feature in one of the photos in this post. I've seen this only on a new KL 777 in coach. It also had a heads-up display pilot's view with airspeed, altitude and heading. What othet airlines have this?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ john -- Don't have a list off the top of my head, but quite a few airlines do nowadays, in my experience.

  22. john Guest

    Lucky, the key I think is not so much where the crew is based but where the FAs were born or grew up. Some of the FAs on Asian carriers grew up in America and have very different attitudes than their foreign-raised colleagues.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ john -- My crew was Malaysian, for what it's worth.

  23. dylan Guest

    Hey Lucky,

    Have you tried Qantas first class. I only hear good things?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ dylan -- I have, and generally am not a huge fan. I usually prefer Cathay first class. Here's my most recent Qantas review:
      https://onemileatatime.com/review-qantas-first-class-a380-sydney-to-los-angeles/

  24. Marcus Guest

    Sounds like any one of my numerous Emirates crew!

  25. franck Guest

    Ben, I am totally on the same page as you. I fly CX regularly, lately to London and NY, and all flights (J, not F) have been great and the crew outstanding except on a surreal HKG-JFK flight 25th March, which was not just underwhelming but annoying.

    They kept taking my glasses and food away before I was done, without asking if I wanted a refill, I had not a single smile throughout the flight...

    Ben, I am totally on the same page as you. I fly CX regularly, lately to London and NY, and all flights (J, not F) have been great and the crew outstanding except on a surreal HKG-JFK flight 25th March, which was not just underwhelming but annoying.

    They kept taking my glasses and food away before I was done, without asking if I wanted a refill, I had not a single smile throughout the flight at all. And this horrible sense that you are bloody bothering them when you press the help button OR when you go to the toilet and disturb they loud chatters or have to excuse yourself for asking for another glass of wine or a bottle of water.

    Thank god the return JFK to HKG was great, but if I had ever had my first experience with CX on that dreadful flight, that would have been the last they would ever see of me.

    Shocking!

    f

  26. steven k Member

    has this post been sanitized? when i first read this 12 hours ago on my android, there was a part about FA not serving caviar.
    you can bet that FA was pocketing unconsumed cans.

    anyway, i used to fly on CX all the time whenever i travel to HK but then, i discovered KE.

    CX is one of the most overrated airlines.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ steven k -- Hah, haven't made any changes to the post.

  27. SFOFlyGuy New Member

    @Lucky: Wow! By CX standards, this sounds terrible albeit a first-world problem as you indicate. I've flown CX first a few times including into SFO where I live (never from) and was never wanting for anything. The crews were so nice and so attentive and I was amazed at the ratio of attendants to passengers up front. As several others have pointed out, I'll bet you had a US-based crew...or a crew that had a...

    @Lucky: Wow! By CX standards, this sounds terrible albeit a first-world problem as you indicate. I've flown CX first a few times including into SFO where I live (never from) and was never wanting for anything. The crews were so nice and so attentive and I was amazed at the ratio of attendants to passengers up front. As several others have pointed out, I'll bet you had a US-based crew...or a crew that had a short layover and just wanted to get home. Either way, consistency is key and in the US, it's not something we are used to when we fly but for CX and other high-ranking airlines, I would expect more.

    I'm assuming you are an Emerald in OneWorld. I would file a complaint if you were especially bothered by it and you blogged about so you must have been. You never know what will happen...they may simply acknowledge it but you may be offered bonus miles for the problem. I once got a crazy amount of bonus miles for filing a complaint. I purposely flew through DFW so I could fly the new AA 777-300ER to GRU even though I really needed to go to GIG (I took a hop from GRU). It had only been in operation about 2 weeks. I was SO excited only to get on and have the IFE crap out right after take-off...on a brand new plane!! I blamed it on operator error but they tried resetting it several times and it was only my side of the plane that wasn't working in business. I **almost** wanted to get up and help them because the other issue was my stupid overhead light was stuck on (again, my side of the a/c only!) all the way to GRU! Try sleeping with a bright light glaring you in the face. Anyway, point being (no pun) you may get some sort of compensation. It's worth a try!

  28. Jean | Holy Smithereens Guest

    It does sound underwhelming for a CX First Class service. Not terrible, just underwhelming. With CX , because their premium products are consistently "simple / understated luxury" (not lavish and flamboyantly luxe like the middle eastern carriers), they need to have their service consistently great too. I've flown them business class and were impressed by the service (meal service was one of the best I've seen).

  29. Alex Diamond

    How about skipping CX for awhile and instead take a few Air Koryo flights! Just think of all the unusual aircraft you'd get to fly on. Antonovs, Ilyushins, and Tupelovs!! Think of all the new and exciting meals you can try.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Alex -- If they flew from New York to Hong Kong on the exact date I had to go, then I'd be all for it!

  30. Kieran Guest

    I've raised this in an earlier post here, on an earlier article, that every and any airline cannot be relied upon for consistency in service - there are always variations (because it's humans we are dealing with here).

    This has, over a long history of flying, made me put hard product as the most influential factor before or on par with frequent flyer scheme considerations. Because hard product is just more reliable (but not...

    I've raised this in an earlier post here, on an earlier article, that every and any airline cannot be relied upon for consistency in service - there are always variations (because it's humans we are dealing with here).

    This has, over a long history of flying, made me put hard product as the most influential factor before or on par with frequent flyer scheme considerations. Because hard product is just more reliable (but not rock solid either, just less riskier) than the soft elements. There is nothing worse than sitting in a second or third tier seat/cabin and then getting crap service/meals/etc on top of that (sitting in a first tier seat/cabin but suffering crap service/meals/etc is a lesser evil/more tolerable risk in my book).

  31. Craig Guest

    I paid special attention to this post and the comments after a VERY disappointing RT in Cathay 1st from LAX-BKK.

    A seat opened up on my desired flight, so i paid a $150 change frr to US Air to move to it....only to have ti delayed for nearly 9 hours due to "crew change" -- to me, that's not a technical issue/glitch; that's just poor planning. I ended up changing BACK to my original flight...

    I paid special attention to this post and the comments after a VERY disappointing RT in Cathay 1st from LAX-BKK.

    A seat opened up on my desired flight, so i paid a $150 change frr to US Air to move to it....only to have ti delayed for nearly 9 hours due to "crew change" -- to me, that's not a technical issue/glitch; that's just poor planning. I ended up changing BACK to my original flight so i wouldn;t have a 6 hour layover in HKG (just a 3 hour one). So the net was, I paid a $150 change fee just to be on the same damn flight that I started on. PLUS, I got to pay another $60 in taxis to/from my home for the later flight. No warning from Cathay; no accommodation of me at LAX; no taxi voucher -- they just implied that I could spend the 8-9 hour delay in the lounge,

    My connecting flight from HKG-BKK was then delayed, but the gate crew refused to acknowledge it. While having us all line up for 30+ minutes before boarding, they made a variety of excuses -- safety check by pilot; cleaning plane, etc. When you get 2 drastically different stories as to the reason for a delay, it undercuts the credibility of each. No apologies; no revision of departing time.

    Experienced a similar situation in BKK on the way back -- we're all lined up to board, but nobody is getting on the plane. We start boarding about 5 minutes before scheduled take-off, but, again, they refuse to acknowledge that the flight is delayed, even "assuring" me that we will take off on time.

    We didn't -- there were three sick Chinese children in the very first row, coughing, with fevers. The flight attendants confirmed they had fevers and discussed the situation among themselves, before finally deciding "screw the risk of other passengers getting Asian flu; they're staying on board." We departed a good 45+ minutes late, making my connection in HKG to LAX even tighter.

    No worries, like every other flight on the trip, it was delayed, as well....

    I was very excited to be in Cathay first (again) and had booked the trip about 10 months in advance. To have such a poor on time record, inadequate gate service and putting passengers possibly at risk for an airborne illness (warnings all over about flu at that time) has me re-considering whether Cathay is "worth it" from now on.

  32. Paul Guest

    Who cares about the service? Just shut up, make my bed and let me sleep. The bed is all that matters to me. And that's where CX F excels.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Paul -- If you can sleep for 15 hours, more power to you!

  33. Louis Guest

    FINALLY! You are experiencing what most Asians have to go through on CX. Still not a believer? Watch the F Lounges in HK carefully. Asians have to get their own drinks constantly; white people get waited on. ;-)

  34. MM Guest

    This sounds EXACTLY like my last CX F flight - LAX - HKG. I thought it was just a one off but now I see I'm not alone. Could upgrade tomorrow's flight to F, but now think I'll stay in J and not waste the extra points! I guess this might make the inevitable AA chart deval a little more bearable.

  35. dwonderment Guest

    Like Ben I've had some great First Class flights in Cathay in the past
    I flew Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to LAX in First Class months ago
    The food in the First Class lounge dining room was poor despite the nice enough presentation
    as was the 20 minutes to get a sparkling water to the table.
    No big deal but sloppy and disorganized
    The troubling thing to me was...

    Like Ben I've had some great First Class flights in Cathay in the past
    I flew Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to LAX in First Class months ago
    The food in the First Class lounge dining room was poor despite the nice enough presentation
    as was the 20 minutes to get a sparkling water to the table.
    No big deal but sloppy and disorganized
    The troubling thing to me was no working computers with a signal. Business traveler's were ticked off and say Cathay Pacific has completely ignored the lack of service failure for an extended period of time
    Ill just take their word for it. Nice Apple computers inoperable!!!Pretty to look at
    Do they dare do about anything absolutely fixing the issue? Of course not
    After raising a fuss to fix the computers in the lounge (trying to get some action to resolve the issue for myself and fellow pax) I was told there was no one to speak with and someone from Consumer relations would contact me whenever. What they should have said was never or not in your lifetime
    Weeks later I receive an email saying someone would contact me
    Two months later still no one has yet contacted me and my email back to them completely ignored.

    Final insult to injury I leave behind my 250 dollar brand new Oakley Sunglasses on the seat upon exiting aircraft and of course they weren't found them(my fault truly)
    Last but not least. I liked my flight crew very sweet caring ladies trying their best. On the other hand most of the food was rubbish with a few minor exceptions that were satisfactory or perfectly fine
    I requested vanilla ice cream for dessert. Sorry we don't have any
    Something you can get in most domestic business class.
    The food itself has gone downhill some of it absolutely stunk (meaning spoiled seafood)
    At the end of the day they have a great seat and that's about it IMHO. I'm flying Qantas Singapore Emirates and Etihad going forward. Even joining up in the Korean Air FF program and planning to give them a try
    Cathay management has proven to me they are unreachable when there is a problem 100% unreliable and inconsistent.
    My food service was better on Qantas from Melbourne to Sydney in Business class on an one hour flight thanks to the Neil Perry cuisine.
    From London to Melbourne food was breathtaking on QF on both long legs and better than many a meal I've had on the ground
    Shame on Cathay they have the potential to be the best in the sky and they are slacking
    I blame corporate not the hard working nice folks on board
    As for their denial and lack of CRM it just tells me who they really are!

  36. Had Guest

    @Lucky try to file a complaint then you will see the true weakness of CX - customer serivce. Call them and then you will see it takes so long to wait unless you are elite Macro Polo member. Their email customer service almost never give you compensation, just say they acknowledge the issue. Singapore airlines is even worse. However, if you talk to their managers at airport, or you are their elite member (CX Marco...

    @Lucky try to file a complaint then you will see the true weakness of CX - customer serivce. Call them and then you will see it takes so long to wait unless you are elite Macro Polo member. Their email customer service almost never give you compensation, just say they acknowledge the issue. Singapore airlines is even worse. However, if you talk to their managers at airport, or you are their elite member (CX Marco Polo Elite or PPS Club) then that's a different story. You should really try out their customer service. Then you will see their weakness. I find many good airlines have poor customer service, they don't know company policies well, bad communication skills ( Emirates agents have heavy accents) or just delay forever.
    US airlines, however,are among top of the customer service. United airlines even handle customer unsatisfication, where passengers get a code that give them voucher or miles as compensation. Airlines of USA are truly innovative and smart in customer service,

  37. Jordan Guest

    From a spiritual standpoint, your life is now on automatic going around and around in circles. There is no longer a purpose and its clear you're a little lost and bored.

    Take this great fortune you have and move it to the NEXT LEVEL. Racing back and forth across the globe with no purpose is now boring your subconscious and it will take action. Consciously you're just playing out everything...but emotionally and mentally you're becoming...

    From a spiritual standpoint, your life is now on automatic going around and around in circles. There is no longer a purpose and its clear you're a little lost and bored.

    Take this great fortune you have and move it to the NEXT LEVEL. Racing back and forth across the globe with no purpose is now boring your subconscious and it will take action. Consciously you're just playing out everything...but emotionally and mentally you're becoming sick of it. I'm sure you're still enjoying the flying somewhat, but these types of trips on CX are a warning sign to you.

    If you are not venturing to new places, or using more new carriers...what exactly is the point?.

    Another CX trip.....yawn - what is there to learn?

    Another LH trip.....yawn

    Maybe its time to turn your attention more to the destinations and other aspects of the trip.

    You are gay, start a sub section gay guide to the world...think just how many gay travelers you could help out.

    I'm not being critical of you at all. I have traveled extensively in F and J, and feel fortunate. Your blogs are good....but its time to evolve, go to the next level.

    Be well.

  38. Duncan Guest

    F or J it's JAL or ANA for whom I will fly even if there is a quicker way. Failing that, then SQ, CX is so inconsistent in service and more complaints about the food in F and J than the others combined! I am happy with a dated hardware airline if the Hospitality's and food are good, always or even if I think the décor is crap. If you have high FF status with...

    F or J it's JAL or ANA for whom I will fly even if there is a quicker way. Failing that, then SQ, CX is so inconsistent in service and more complaints about the food in F and J than the others combined! I am happy with a dated hardware airline if the Hospitality's and food are good, always or even if I think the décor is crap. If you have high FF status with JAL or ANA then the bowing and service go up several notches. My favourite tipple is a lesser known Scotch if I book more than 4 weeks in advance they will have a bottle aboard.

  39. Robert Hanson Diamond

    Haven't been on CS FC, or even long haul. But our CX J flight from HKG to NRT last Feb was less than I would expect from AA. The flight left at 9:15, so they started serving food around 10: breakfast. Since we already had breakfast in the Wing, we weren't too excited about that. There options: omelette, dim sum, or teriyaki chicken. We were seated in the second row on the left, and they...

    Haven't been on CS FC, or even long haul. But our CX J flight from HKG to NRT last Feb was less than I would expect from AA. The flight left at 9:15, so they started serving food around 10: breakfast. Since we already had breakfast in the Wing, we weren't too excited about that. There options: omelette, dim sum, or teriyaki chicken. We were seated in the second row on the left, and they came to us next to last, when the chicken was long gone. Dim sum, not our favorite, didn't look appealing, and the omelette looked really sad. We skipped the food. There was no liquor offered on the entire 4 hour flight. Basically they served breakfast from the cart, retreated to the galley, and we were all left on our own. Yes, it was only regional J, but with all the hype I'd heard about CX, I really expected more. A slightly wider seat, but otherwise we might have been in economy.

  40. RJ Guest

    Wow. I won't doubt it if this is written by Lucky. I am flying to Shanghai from LAX(or whatever US cities) this June and I want to redeem aa miles. Which airline of One World do you prefer other than CX? Thanks.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ RJ -- Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines are the two best options.

  41. brianna hoffner Member

    Yeah I've never quite grasped the hype about CX. Yes, it's vastly better than US Legacy carriers but, just like it is on Singapore in J, the staff seem very rushed and the cabin feels very "busy". I like how they walk down the aisle with a bunch of pork chops and chicken and pasta dishes piled on the cart like it's a dim sum restaurant only they're hawking full size mains rather than pork...

    Yeah I've never quite grasped the hype about CX. Yes, it's vastly better than US Legacy carriers but, just like it is on Singapore in J, the staff seem very rushed and the cabin feels very "busy". I like how they walk down the aisle with a bunch of pork chops and chicken and pasta dishes piled on the cart like it's a dim sum restaurant only they're hawking full size mains rather than pork buns.

    And if you've just come off a long stay in Asia and have re-tuned your sensibilities, you notice they throw almost as much shade as the grumpy US attendants do -- it's just that most Americans don't notice when they're getting read :)

  42. Chuck Lesker Guest

    Dog bites man. Cathay service is very variable. Food, on the other hand, quite consistent (ly poor).

    And their 'leave the passenger alone' approach is not a service concept or cultural thing. It is just laziness.

  43. Tom Guest

    For those paying for F, what a disappointment! I would learn from the experience and act accordingly.

  44. Arcanum Member

    I hate it when FAs say they are primarily here for our safety. You may believe it, it may even be true, but you should never actually SAY it. You want the customers to think you're primarily here to ensure they have an enjoyable flight. That's good customer service.

  45. Ivan Member

    Sounds like worse than United to me. I flew United the first time ever last month to Hawaii( from Vancouver). Well virtually all international travel that I actually do is from/to China. I was rather impressed, for a domestic service between SFO and HNL. Drink refills are frequent( at least more frequent than China Southern), food was adequete but not excellent.

  46. Mike Guest

    I flew CX in J back in December, LAX-HKG-ORD.

    The sercice on the outbound was impeccable. The return was just a tad lower, but still great. I guess you never know.

  47. Mike Guest

    I flew CX in J back in December, LAX-HKG-ORD.

    Tsercice on the outbound was impeccable. The return was just a tad lower, but still great. I guess you never know.

  48. willbw02 New Member

    @lucky Thanks for the heads up preview of the review. Sorry that it it didn't meet expectations. It sounds like the disease of apathy that affects the majority of USA based FAs on USA carriers is infecting others around the world. the Center for Disease Control should take a look at how to stop this worldwide epidemic.

    Your post mentions First Class HK to NYC in First Class. Your pictures are of the biz class...

    @lucky Thanks for the heads up preview of the review. Sorry that it it didn't meet expectations. It sounds like the disease of apathy that affects the majority of USA based FAs on USA carriers is infecting others around the world. the Center for Disease Control should take a look at how to stop this worldwide epidemic.

    Your post mentions First Class HK to NYC in First Class. Your pictures are of the biz class product. Is this the HK to EWR segment you took on your back from Male?

  49. cincpac1c Guest

    Sounds like something you would get on a UA global first flight - not CX.

  50. naif Member

    Most probably the FA'S were US based :)

  51. Tim Guest

    Poor baby :)

    Want a Binky?

    Try a middle coach seat for 15 hours to HKG ---)

  52. Mangoceviche Member

    Once on a YVR-HKG flight, the FA asked what I would like to eat and went through the list of main courses. I was expecting the caviar and salmon first but nope. I got the lobster stir fry. I thought, ok maybe they serve the caviar, soup etc later. When dessert showed up, i asked the FA about the caviar and his response was a curt "you didn't say you wanted it." Since he only...

    Once on a YVR-HKG flight, the FA asked what I would like to eat and went through the list of main courses. I was expecting the caviar and salmon first but nope. I got the lobster stir fry. I thought, ok maybe they serve the caviar, soup etc later. When dessert showed up, i asked the FA about the caviar and his response was a curt "you didn't say you wanted it." Since he only asked me what i wanted for the main course, i thought the other stuff just came with (which was my experience on other CX flights) I mean, i didnt "order" dessert, but he brought it to me. I dont know if the situation warranted a complaint or comment, but i didnt say anything to the IFM or CX, but i thought his response was rude

  53. snoptro Guest

    Sounds like United, seriously. We've flown UA J several times and consistently they managed to out-do themselves toward the bottom.

    Hope CX will take note.

  54. Joe Guest

    You most likely had a US based crew. Did you relay your comments to the airline?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Joe @ stvr -- They were Hong Kong based.

  55. stvr Guest

    Where was this crew based?

  56. Pegasus Guest

    My recent trip on CX F HKG-LAX was rather disappointing as well. Friendly, but lackluster service. No personal note. Food was served cold, ice cold. Crew was HKG based no less. I thought it was just me, but my traveling companion felt the same. CX has spoiled us over the years, I hope my last flight was just one off.

  57. Dan Guest

    CX is the most overrated F product out there. Now it is a top 10 F product but not top 5. The food is always underwhelming and IFE screen size is behind the time a bit. Best part of CX is the HKG lounge which is even better for J passengers (sans cabanas) and the CX IFE selection otherwise its a good but not great product. Still would have F products of EY, SQ, TG, NH, JL, QF, LH, QR (J/F) ahead of CX F.

  58. Greg Guest

    Get used to it

    1) Cathay is being hit by margin pressure from the expanding Chinese carriers - and frankly so few pay for F now it's ornamental at this point

    2) I find that my own attitude has a bigger bearing on a crew's responsiveness than anything

  59. Danny Guest

    same exact experience on CX from NY to HK in F. I guess now is the crew.
    It drives me nuts when they say we are here for your safety. We all know that. No need to say it. Setting a bad time for a 16 hour flight.

  60. Jonathan Member

    This happens everywhere. Even the best organizations have bad individual employees thay slipped through the crack. My mom had a similar bad experience on her HKG-SFO flight last month where the crew were more or less indifferent: her glass weren't ever refilled, table was set up like a mess, no greeting card, and the lavatory was very dirty. And as expected her return flight was much more up to standard for CX

  61. Another Steve Guest

    I flew CX for the first time last month in business, YVR to JFK. I was surprised that they don't offer anything for meals or drinks as breakfast on arrival at JFK. Not even coffee. I was upright for 45 minutes before touchdown. And did not see one drink come out of the galley, and I was in the second row of J. Is that normal? I didn't think the inflight soft product was even as good as British Airways premium economy. Seat was great though, and lounge was nice.

  62. pavel Guest

    Wow bummer. I flew cx 841 a couple weeks ago and my crew was awesome! ISM was rather distant and never smiled but I'm used to her. Betting dollars to donuts you got the same woman. But the FAs were really friendly and seemed to be having a great time.

  63. Fathiss Guest

    I am flying this flight in 1st class this Thursday. I read your comments and respect your thoughts in sharing your experience, but, as you said, it's not a big deal in the scheme of things. If I get the same crew I will be sure to ask them if there is anything I can do to make their flight better.
    Did you fill out a feedback form for them?

  64. Roger Guest

    When CX crew are good they can be very good and when they are bad they can be just awful! I find the service on Cathay to be inconsistent when compared to the likes of Singapore Airlines, JAL and ANA.

  65. James Guest

    Had a very similar experience with TG a few days ago... Less surprising for TG, disappointing nonetheless.

  66. Christian Guest

    You're scaring me here, Ben. I'm booking my first trip ever on CX later today, after bragging to my better half how great it is. Of course, we'll be in J, so that should ease up on our first world problems.

  67. Jack Guest

    Where was this crew based?

  68. Cathay Guest

    What were the flight details Ben and we will investigate.

  69. Tom Guest

    Hmm, I'm flying the exact same CX 841 service to HKG 10 days from now. There's JL availability - tempted to switch to JFK-NRT/HND-HKG now.

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Geoff Guest

Hi All get a grip on yourself you are in a great position where you can afford to travel up the front of the plane and all you can remark about that the food is disappointing. You may want to think about families and children who go with out food every night next time you look at the meal in front of you in first class.

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Jason Guest

get a feeling that it could be a replacement crew. or may be because they know that you use your points to get F, rather than actual $$$$ ? if you think because you are in first class therefore you deserve full respect, people will need to treat you like a king and people need to be a slave for you, you need to see a psychologist.

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Kulian Guest

lol i guess that is a taste of economy for ya...

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