Old Jan 28, 11, 1:59 am
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: CGK
Programs: FlyingBlue | Krisflyer | SPG | HHonors
Posts: 990
cx838 hkg-yvr

The Jumbo Jet operating in the CX838 route that day

Initially, boarding was for passengers on wheelchair only before First Class passengers, followed by Business and Economy on separate lines. Suprisingly I don't remember that there was an additional check on the aerobridge, unlike the later CX flight to Vancouver. My guess is that the separate check was due to the later flight continuing its flight to New York in the United States. Boarding was fast and I proceeded to the upper deck through the stairs. It was a bit of a hassle since I had a carry-on though the extra privacy and 1-1 abreast configuration for the Business Class cabin made it worthwhile. Upper Deck Business Class on a 747 is just like having one's own private space in the skies! It wasn't all good though, since due to the packed flight, every seats on the Upper Deck is taken, and the overhead compartment is narrower and smaller than that on the main deck. This meant I had to take out my windbreaker before I could push my carry-on luggage into the compartment. So much for larger carry-on luggage for Business Class passengers. Because I was one of the first few passengers to board, there was still adequate space for me to place my carry-on, though my seat neighbours in 82A and 83K had difficulty in finding a space for their luggage. In fact the guy on 82A had the same type of luggage load as me, and he also had to take out some of his stuff for the flight before managing to push his carry-on into the overhead compartment. Note to self: Minimize hand carry-on when travelling on the 747's Upper Deck in the future.

Cathay Delight, another CX Signature Drink

Having stowed my carry-on and backpack, I got settled down into the seat as a flight attendant came over and took my order for drinks. Not wanting any alcoholic beverages, I asked for a glass of Cathay Delight. The juicy mixture of Kiwi and coconut milk was nice enough to freshen me up as I observed the checklist being done in the cockpit and the conversations between the captain, first officer and the ground technician. The hive of activity in the cabin really made it difficult to relax or even read a copy of the Financial Times that had been offered by the flight attendant. When my seat neighbour at 83K failed to find space for her hand luggage, there was some reorganization done by the crew and I had to move my backpack closer to my hand luggage, which was fine since it works out to be better for me. I really have to praise the ability of the flight attendants even with the busy flight deck as they managed to not only bring everyone drinks, but also provide newspapers, hot towels and check on passengers on the deck. Definitely an improvement over my Business Class experience on the flight between Jakarta and Hong Kong. As most of the passengers on the flight deck got settled, I was also able to take off my shoes, wear the slippers I have brought from my hotel stay and relax as I sip on the welcome drink.

Footrests while on the ground

With Christmas around the corner, the flight load was expected and the cabin was decked out in christmas decorations. This really cheered up the old plane a bit. During this time my other seat mate on 81K, who has changed into light clothing and seemed to be ready to doze off during the flight enquired with a crew on moving to seat 80K, and the crew seemed to oblige to his request. Though a while later, the purser came over with the passenger manifest and seemed puzzled at the empty seat at 81K, to which I mentioned to her that the passenger on 81K has moved to 80K. After some discussions with the plane, the purser had to request that my seat mate move back to his original seat at 81K as 80K had been reserved as a rest area for the pilot. However it seemed that this particular passenger is a oneworld emerald member since the purser also took note of his meal requirements and even went as far as mentioning she will get some steamed rice from the First Class cabin since he wanted something light for the meal. Or maybe perhaps it was just to console him for having to move back to and fro from his seat. Flight attendants also distributed amenity kits for passengers during this time, As the captain announced for pullback, the inflight entertainment provided a nice welcome video to greet every passengers onboard. It is always a nice video which I enjoy on Cathay Pacific - the simple touch that matters.

Welcome Aboard a Christmas Eve flight

With pullback occurring at 4.39pm local time, it seems we were more or less on time and due to depart as scheduled. There was a relatively short taxi to the runway before the Jumbo Jet took off for the skies at 4.59pm. Well I thought 20 minutes is still considered a short time between pullback and take off considering it is a relatively busy period for Hong Kong at this time of the year. During this time, there was even enough time for the purser to distribute the menu for today's flight. There was some heavy vibration felt at the cabin and take-off and I suspect it has got to do with the plane's age. However, the ascent of the plane was rapid as we soon cleared the ground and was above the clouds in less than 3 minutes. Well it was just enough time for me to capture some shots on take-off. But as I mentioned before, I am not a fan of these seats which are angled to the aisle for photo-taking and views out of the window. However, they are perfectly fine for comfort and full lie-flat beds.

Menu for the Flight

Taking off from Chek Lap Kok

After take-off, I noticed the mood lighting on the cabin and it was a nice colourful sight. Upon the plane reaching cruising altitude, I proceeded to the washroom to change into comfortable pants and placed my wallet, jeans and belt into my bag. I also made my way down to the lower deck to stretch out my legs and browse for some magazines. Amazingly most of the magazines provided onboard at both the upper deck and main deck seemed to be cleaned out. No matter though since I had obtained some magazines for reading from the CX lounges while on the ground. It was good foresight then so that I had some thing to read in case I felt bored.

Mood lighting on take off onboard the 747

Service onboard the Upper Deck

Back on my seat, I went on to operate the entertainment system, and it was then I noticed that the screen wouldn't latch properly to the holder. That was then I suspected on the viability of my system. And as it was meant to be, the inflight entertainment system on my seat gave up on me. As the pictures below attest, perhaps the entertainment screen can sense what attracts me in ladies as the photo of the flight attendant on the welcome screen became more pleasant after the reboot :P

The entertainment screen went from this...

To this...

Before resetting itself to this...

While the reset was ongoing, the crew served hot almonds as snacks and took more drink orders. This time, I ordered champagne on board and hot almonds was served along with beverages. I also made a note to request for their normal champagne since I wasn't a fan of their Billecart-Salmon pink champagne. Along the way, I also pointed out to the purser serving the snack service about the problem on my IFE. She mentioned she would help me check on the problem and get back to me. And here I was hoping that it wasn't a permanent problem. Though in case of total failure, I could always still count on my MacBook for entertainment. Indeed the purser did come back again later, though by then the system had rebooted itself and I was ready to pick a new movie to watch.

Champagne and StudioCX - that's life on the Upper Deck!

I settled on watching Charlie St. Cloud as it was one of the movie I missed in the theatres and was attracted to it by the trailer which was shown during my CX flight from Bangkok to Singapore. With the entertainment system on, I also just continued to use the noise-cancelling headphones provided by Cathay since they were adequate. Couple the excellent screen with a glass of champagne and a serving of warm nuts, I was ready to enjoy life on the upper deck amongst the skies.

The pleasure continued with the dinner service which took place before I even managed to finish my snacks. The dinner menu that night was:

Starters 頭盤

Pheasant and chanterelle mushroom terrine with baby carrot and green beans 野茵雉雞肉凍伴胡蘿蔔及邊豆

Mixed salad with zucchini, kalamata olive, baked cherry tomato and balsamic vinegar dressing 鮮蔬沙律伴意式黑醋汁

Main Courses 主菜

Sauteed sea bass with sweet and spicy sauce, steamed jasmine rice and Chinese mixed vegetables 醬爆魚柳配白飯及中式鮮蔬

Grilled beef tenderloin, potato mash with sun-dried tomato, yellow zucchini, carrot and asparagus 烤牛柳配風乾番茄薯蓉,瓜脯,胡蘿蔔及蘆筍

Stir-fried pork with X.O. sauce, steamed jasmine rice and Chinese mixed vegetables X.O.醬炒肉片配白飯及中式鮮蔬

Saffron fettucini with tomato concasse and Parmesan cheese 芝士番茄醬汁番紅花意大利寬麵

Cheese and Dessert 芝士及甜品

Shropshire Blue, Tilsit Royalp, Camembert Le Pere 精選芝士

Fresh seasonal fruit 時令鮮果

Lemon Meringue Pie 檸檬蛋白批

Tea and Coffee 名茶及咖啡

Passion Fruit Macaroon and Cookies 熱情果味法式杏仁甜餅

Drinks List 飲料

Juices: Orange, Apple, Tomato 果汁:橙汁,蘋果汁,番茄汁

Soft Drinks: Coke Zero, Coke, Coke Light, Sprite, Perrier water, tonic water, soda water and ginger ale 汽水:零系可口可樂,可口可樂,健怡可樂,雪碧湯力,梳打,薑啤,巴黎礦泉水

Coffees 咖啡
Freshly brewed coffee, espresso, cappuccino and caffè latte; regular or decaffeinated 特級咖啡,特濃咖啡,低因咖啡,泡沫咖啡, 牛奶咖啡

Teas 名茶
Hong Kong style milk tea 港式奶茶
Ceylon, Japanese, jasmine 錫蘭紅茶,日本綠茶,香片
Organic selection: camomile, earl grey, peppermint 有機系列:甘菊茶,伯爵茶,薄荷茶

Hot Chocolate 熱朱古力

Wine List

Champagne Deutz, Brut Classic

White wines: Blackstone Winemaker's Select Monterey County Chardonnay 2008 / Drouet Frères Le Mont Fleuri Sancerre 2009

Red Wines: Rodney Srong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 / Robert Skalli Côte du Rhône Villages 2007

Port: Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005

Aperitifs and Cocktails: Gin, Rum, Vodka, Martini Rosso, Martini Extra Dry, Campari, Sweet and Dry Sherry, Bloody Mary, Screwdriver

Whiskies: Chivas Regal 12 Years Old, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Jack Daniel's, Canadian Club

Cognac: Hine 'Rare and Delicate' Fine Champagne

Liqueurs: Drambuie, Cointreau, Bailey's Irish Cream

Beer: International selection

CX Signature Drinks:
Cathay Delight - A kiwifruit based non-alcoholic drink with coconut juice and a touch of fresh mint
Pacific Sunrise - A refreshing combination of champagne and Drambuie with the zest of orange and lemon

I liked the salad served for dinner as it was fresh and appetizing, though I thought the appetizer was a bit to heavy for my taste and lacks finesse. For the main course, I picked the sea bass which is specially created by Chef Chan Sui Kei of the Celestial Court Chinese Restaurant in Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers. While I doubt the chef has much to do with my serving, it was a tasty dish nonetheless and matches what it said on the menu cover - Best Chinese Food in the Air. It is also worth noting that there are 2 main courses which are Chinese cuisine with rice. After the main course was the offering of cheese and fruits, and with no particular liking for cheese, I requested for fruits and more grapes which I could enjoy. The lime meringue pie was brought out last with a hot drink service being offered. I ordered Japanese green tea which came along with the small box containing the passion fruit macaroon. Throughout the meal service, I had no shortage of drinks since it was offered and topped up frequently. And to make the meal more special, passengers were provided with a small box containing the christmas cookies to be found in the lounges at Hong Kong. A nice touch nonetheless. To mark the end of the meal service, a bottle of Evian was provided and placed beside every passenger's seat as many passengers have already transformed their seat into a bed, like the one on seat 81 and 82A.

Full lie-flat beds with duvet laid down for a night's sleep
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