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New Business class service - from July 2018 - Experiences and Discussion

New Business class service - from July 2018 - Experiences and Discussion

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Old Jun 10, 19, 12:09 pm
  #406  
 
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CX 840

Just experienced the new biz service on CX 840 HKG - JFK and wow, NOT a fan. There were no breakfast cards like in previous photos I've seen, but a newspaper like menu for all the meals. Whereas before the service was one go down the aisle for tray/apps, then main, then dessert, now the FA's go up and down the aisle for each pax serving the full meal. I get they're trying to mimic the restaurant experience, but it's not enjoyable when you have multiple FA's walking up and down the aisle, and trying to get past each other by sneaking into a passenger's seat space, bringing everyone's meal separately.

The food choices weren't that great either. Along with the tacky new plating, CX's already average food, looks even more plain spread out on a plate. At least the previous smaller dishes hid the fact that CX's food didn't have that much to offer. I had the chicken pizzaiola for dinner, and it was literally just a small very plain roasted chicken breast on one half of the plate, and a side of polenta on the other half. It looks like something from a microwave dinner honestly. Completely regretted it and wish I got the pork and egg noodles instead. I did order the burger as a snack and it was decent.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast were just the powdered kind. I forget how it's been in the past but it is definitely more apparent on a plate.

I'm not sure if it was just this crew, but the main FA serving me was seriously lacking in training as well. Previously for biz meals, when they brought the bread options they'd also explain what each type of bread were. This time the FA just offered the breads without explanation so I asked him what each were. This is where he just froze, and had no idea. He had to call over another FA, ask her what the breads were. She didn't know either so she went back to the galley to check, all the while he just stood awkwardly waiting for her to come back. This was already after another previous awkward moment when he first was preparing my meal service, placed my tray down when he noticed my water cup was only half way filled, took my tray back and asked another FA to go and get a full bottle of water to top off my cup.

Service was just overall disorganized, FA's didn't seem to completely trained up on the new logistics.


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Old Jun 10, 19, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by nightkhan View Post
Service was just overall disorganized, FA's didn't seem to completely trained up on the new logistics.
The so called 'training' for new service is a 2-day workshop with management talking at crew regarding new service expectations and hardware at the time (note the flatware and service items are still evolving even to this day).

Crew are then told to get on with it, take initiatives and figure it out on the flight. Which translate to seniors taking the initiatives to stay in the galley and play pate decoration as much as possible and push the juniors out into the cabin to bus trays.

The bread thing as I understand initial roll-out few months back is a standard flaxseed roll preset on tray, descriptions were in the menu. Then recently they switched back to the old bread selections but CX IT being the way it is does not reflect the change in crew's 'flight-prep' web pages so none of them knows what's going on.

I think the egg thing is CX realises to offset the cost of new flatware, the old menu is the cheapest food they can get away with, like they have the past 15 years. So the return of egg soufflé/frittata/omelette or any variation of old food items on new plates.

Remember in the press release they advertised 'Lobster soup rice', choice of appetisers and entirely new mains anyone?
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Old Jun 10, 19, 2:10 pm
  #408  
 
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Originally Posted by jckl View Post
Remember in the press release they advertised 'Lobster soup rice', choice of appetisers and entirely new mains anyone?
I'm pretty sure the lobster soup rice is the first item wok fried seafood in lobster broth on the menu. I was considering ordering that but they had a photo of it on one of the pages (should've taken a photo of that too) and it didn't look all that great. Rice and broth with only 2 pieces of shrimp on top, although I think my chicken may still have ended up being worse. There wasn't a choice for appetizers that's for sure.
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Old Jun 10, 19, 7:08 pm
  #409  
 
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Originally Posted by G-CIVC View Post
Ex-USA there's no burger for this season and possibly into the future. Don't ask me why, ask Ed and Kim
Strange. Still available in F on a flight in June. Is this a change for J only?
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Old Jun 11, 19, 1:33 am
  #410  
 
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Originally Posted by jckl View Post
Remember in the press release they advertised 'Lobster soup rice', choice of appetisers and entirely new mains anyone?
A few years ago, I remember attending a "launch" or rollout or something of the sort where we went to CX City and ate some pretty decent a la carte menu selections, and sampled some actually good wine. The food was tasty and totally different than what CX had (or has today) in J or F class.

We were shown the menus, the presentation, everything. It was supposed to be the new J class service. From what I can tell it was completely scrapped. I do not see anything left over from that "rollout".
​​​​​​
They all shipped us home with a bottle of Bollinger, which was supposed to be the new Champagne. Ha ha!
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Old Jun 11, 19, 4:10 am
  #411  
 
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The cost of foil trays and packaging racks up in this new style service, and frankly execution is difficult at the current staffing level (which will never increase because cost).

I think very soon we'll be back to oven casseroles. Which I don't think is a problem in business class, BA, EK, UA do it on long haul, SQ, QR, BR, JL, NH do it on short haul. The important thing is the design of the casserole and less of the actual food as this new business class service roll out has shown. Mediocre old food can fool infrequent travellers on new plates. With this simplified service I'm proposing, I can foresee further staff cutting, more cost saved.

Further cost cutting include: scrapping breakfast cards (DND stickers and post-dinner breakfast order should suffice), smaller sized menus, loading less of everything per flight, removal of inflight snack choices (noodles or burger, not both, like the old days), change from champagne to premium prosecco and call it a promotion. These will all be necessary for iPad service implementation, those hardware cost money.

On amenity kit, I think the way of SQ and NH is sufficient, pass a basket around and let pax pick and mix. No one actually uses everything in them, weight saving = fuel saving, can also pass off as reducing plastic waste and saving the Earth. Newspaper and magazines can be accessed on apps already, physical copies can be scrapped

I should get myself hired at CX catering, the CFO will love me.
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Old Jun 11, 19, 4:20 pm
  #412  
 
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Originally Posted by nightkhan View Post
Just experienced the new biz service on CX 840 HKG - JFK and wow, NOT a fan. There were no breakfast cards like in previous photos I've seen, but a newspaper like menu for all the meals. Whereas before the service was one go down the aisle for tray/apps, then main, then dessert, now the FA's go up and down the aisle for each pax serving the full meal. I get they're trying to mimic the restaurant experience, but it's not enjoyable when you have multiple FA's walking up and down the aisle, and trying to get past each other by sneaking into a passenger's seat space, bringing everyone's meal separately.

The food choices weren't that great either. Along with the tacky new plating, CX's already average food, looks even more plain spread out on a plate. At least the previous smaller dishes hid the fact that CX's food didn't have that much to offer. I had the chicken pizzaiola for dinner, and it was literally just a small very plain roasted chicken breast on one half of the plate, and a side of polenta on the other half. It looks like something from a microwave dinner honestly. Completely regretted it and wish I got the pork and egg noodles instead. I did order the burger as a snack and it was decent.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast were just the powdered kind. I forget how it's been in the past but it is definitely more apparent on a plate.

I'm not sure if it was just this crew, but the main FA serving me was seriously lacking in training as well. Previously for biz meals, when they brought the bread options they'd also explain what each type of bread were. This time the FA just offered the breads without explanation so I asked him what each were. This is where he just froze, and had no idea. He had to call over another FA, ask her what the breads were. She didn't know either so she went back to the galley to check, all the while he just stood awkwardly waiting for her to come back. This was already after another previous awkward moment when he first was preparing my meal service, placed my tray down when he noticed my water cup was only half way filled, took my tray back and asked another FA to go and get a full bottle of water to top off my cup.

Service was just overall disorganized, FA's didn't seem to completely trained up on the new logistics.
I had the seafood and then the riccioli last week - I'd say taste overall was at the same level as before. The main noticeable difference was that the service was much slower - at about the same time FAs would have went down the aisles with casserole dishes on carts previously, this time they asked for orders and made some notations on paper. Actual food didn't come until 30-60 minutes later.

(This was on CX 888 HKG-JFK though; HKG-YVR leg had same menu as in nightkhan's pictures except for the dinner starter; all I remember from YVR-JFK was some chicken thing, some beef thing, and some curry with paneer thing.)

I admit that I don't really care all that much about food, so that may have colored my (lack of) feelings.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 8:12 am
  #413  
 
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Originally Posted by jckl View Post
The cost of foil trays and packaging racks up in this new style service, and frankly execution is difficult at the current staffing level (which will never increase because cost).

I think very soon we'll be back to oven casseroles. Which I don't think is a problem in business class, BA, EK, UA do it on long haul, SQ, QR, BR, JL, NH do it on short haul. The important thing is the design of the casserole and less of the actual food as this new business class service roll out has shown. Mediocre old food can fool infrequent travellers on new plates. With this simplified service I'm proposing, I can foresee further staff cutting, more cost saved.

Further cost cutting include: scrapping breakfast cards (DND stickers and post-dinner breakfast order should suffice), smaller sized menus, loading less of everything per flight, removal of inflight snack choices (noodles or burger, not both, like the old days), change from champagne to premium prosecco and call it a promotion. These will all be necessary for iPad service implementation, those hardware cost money.

On amenity kit, I think the way of SQ and NH is sufficient, pass a basket around and let pax pick and mix. No one actually uses everything in them, weight saving = fuel saving, can also pass off as reducing plastic waste and saving the Earth. Newspaper and magazines can be accessed on apps already, physical copies can be scrapped

I should get myself hired at CX catering, the CFO will love me.
After experiencing the new service I'd much rather take the oven casseroles, as they could serve these much quicker. During the meal service my wine glass was never refilled, and I had a really hard time trying to order any additional item given how busy the crew was.

For amenity kit I personally prefer the actual bag. The "make your own bag" idea used by SQ is just cheap. JL and NH does similar things but on short haul, and on long-haul they not only have actual bags, they stock a good load of toothbrush, lotions and etc in the lavatories in case you need it.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 1:05 pm
  #414  
 
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On a recent SFO-HKG CX879 flight, the garlic bread and bread basket were back on the first meal, though there is still no choice of bread or dessert in the 2nd meal

Another downgrade which I have consistently noticed since the new meal service is that the single dessert option always comes in a glass now and consists mostly of cream, as opposed to the earlier proper piece of cake etc No doubt a cheaper alternative

also the cheese and fruit servings are much, much smaller than from the earlier cart service. And I don’t think I have seen any sort of blue cheese on the new service. Again the blue cheese must be more expensive than the cheddar that they almost always have

As others have pointed out, no one ever asks for drinks again once served with the meal. No top up or cart service as before. You are just asked for coffee/tea/port with the dessert.

CX has probably saved a good amount of money with the new “restaurant style” service.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
On a recent SFO-HKG CX879 flight, the garlic bread and bread basket were back on the first meal, though there is still no choice of bread or dessert in the 2nd meal

Great ! Actually, for the breakfast meal, I don't mind the default choice, though a non-croissant could be nice.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Another downgrade which I have consistently noticed since the new meal service is that the single dessert option always comes in a glass now and consists mostly of cream, as opposed to the earlier proper piece of cake etc No doubt a cheaper alternative
I often "ask" or even get spontaneously offered 2 (and last week even 3) different desert servings. I don't think, it's that bad for general passenger health to reduce the caloric intake a little. The old style, taking all options, with 2 glasses of wine, might easily have reached 2000 kcal, which is quite a lot for "just one meal". Or so to say, more a "health" intention than cost-savings.

And, I do think, if you want to get a bigger main-meal portion, just ask when the choices are taken, and I do think, you'll get it without FA's objecting.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
also the cheese and fruit servings are much, much smaller than from the earlier cart service. And I don’t think I have seen any sort of blue cheese on the new service. Again the blue cheese must be more expensive than the cheddar that they almost always have
It irritates me to, that now only "hard" cheeses are on offer (and sometimes in BIG chunks).

Though, I do think, it does have a general health (and legal liability) background, more than a "costs" one. Ever heard of the listeria bacteria ? This one is innocent for healthy people, though the moment health is a little less, or you happen to be pregnant, the listeria bacteria can cause severe health issues, potentially resulting in death. The bacteria are also quite resistant against cold and salty environments. It does require heating above 65C to get rid of the listeria bacteria (and even later on in the production process, renewed contamination can easily happen). Unfortunately, you can't make those nicely tasting soft cheeses with milk heated over 65C (all that "blue" and "white" stuff in/on soft cheeses are actually bacteria and are gone, once you heat the raw milk .....).

In the EU, government targets are to ban the sales of cheeses, which have been made from raw, untreated milk. Obviously, some countries (France/Italy for example) do have serious objections to this (me to: Just take care to warn the public and don't take away all nice, but sometimes unhealthy stuff).

So, from a liability and law compliance point of view, I certainly can understand CX did remove the soft cheeses from the menu. IF a passenger dies of listeria, the lawsuit can become pretty expensive, given the official targets to ban the soft cheeses .......

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
As others have pointed out, no one ever asks for drinks again once served with the meal. No top up or cart service as before. You are just asked for coffee/tea/port with the dessert.
Yeah, another drink round would be nice, though it lacks staff for that
Though, use the call button and I think, you could get served, etc.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
CX has probably saved a good amount of money with the new “restaurant style” service.
I don't think so. The previous diner style was highly optimized and required significantly less labor. The advantage from the new style is less food waste, though I think, that's more of a "green" political intention, then a savings issue (compared to the extra crew they now need).

Not to say, I think, the intention was to have the new diner style budgetary neutral, though CX made a miscalculation with that and the current costs are higher. The latter resulting in some cost saving attempts, as have been reported repeatedly at FF-CX.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
Great ! Actually, for the breakfast meal, I don't mind the default choice, though a non-croissant could be nice.
It is all about choices, which have been eliminated.

Originally Posted by Cambo View Post

I often "ask" or even get spontaneously offered 2 (and last week even 3) different desert servings. I don't think, it's that bad for general passenger health to reduce the caloric intake a little. The old style, taking all options, with 2 glasses of wine, might easily have reached 2000 kcal, which is quite a lot for "just one meal". Or so to say, more a "health" intention than cost-savings.

And, I do think, if you want to get a bigger main-meal portion, just ask when the choices are taken, and I do think, you'll get it without FA's objecting.



It irritates me to, that now only "hard" cheeses are on offer (and sometimes in BIG chunks).

Though, I do think, it does have a general health (and legal liability) background, more than a "costs" one. Ever heard of the listeria bacteria ? This one is innocent for healthy people, though the moment health is a little less, or you happen to be pregnant, the listeria bacteria can cause severe health issues, potentially resulting in death. The bacteria are also quite resistant against cold and salty environments. It does require heating above 65C to get rid of the listeria bacteria (and even later on in the production process, renewed contamination can easily happen). Unfortunately, you can't make those nicely tasting soft cheeses with milk heated over 65C (all that "blue" and "white" stuff in/on soft cheeses are actually bacteria and are gone, once you heat the raw milk .....).

In the EU, government targets are to ban the sales of cheeses, which have been made from raw, untreated milk. Obviously, some countries (France/Italy for example) do have serious objections to this (me to: Just take care to warn the public and don't take away all nice, but sometimes unhealthy stuff).

So, from a liability and law compliance point of view, I certainly can understand CX did remove the soft cheeses from the menu. IF a passenger dies of listeria, the lawsuit can become pretty expensive, given the official targets to ban the soft cheeses .......

Premium cabin meals are about choices. A true menu allows you to pick and choose what you want. It's not healthy to have 5 cocktails either, but it can be done (so long as you don't create a scene or become visibly drunk/loud). I see no intention of good health. If this were true, then why serve high calorie/carb and bacteria ridden foods in the lounges ? Also, why continue to serve these foods in First Class ? Surely CX doesn't care more about the well being of business class passengers over their first class passengers ?

Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
Yeah, another drink round would be nice, though it lacks staff for that .
Though, use the call button and I think, you could get served, etc.
Yes, I do that. But again in a "restaurant" (which is what CX is supposedly trying to mimic), diners are proactively given/asked for refills.

Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
I don't think so. The previous diner style was highly optimized and required significantly less labor. The advantage from the new style is less food waste, though I think, that's more of a "green" political intention, then a savings issue (compared to the extra crew they now need).

Not to say, I think, the intention was to have the new diner style budgetary neutral, though CX made a miscalculation with that and the current costs are higher. The latter resulting in some cost saving attempts, as have been reported repeatedly at FF-CX.
Well of course there is more labor involved in the new service. But do you think CX is paying for that extra labor ? To anyone's knowledge, is CX paying more to the cabin crew (or staffing extra crew per flight), to cope with the increased work ?

Limiting the bread, dessert, breakfast cereal, and fruit choices for me points to only one logical conclusion: cost cutting.

IMO CX wanted to reduce costs and further differentiate their C/F meal service - and they have succeeded.

I have so far been very loyal to CX, but I won't become an apologist. Sorry.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
It is all about choices, which have been eliminated.
Yeah, reducing the choices of bread is a real world-shocking item. Unfortunately, the world is changing, see below......

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Premium cabin meals are about choices. A true menu allows you to pick and choose what you want. It's not healthy to have 5 cocktails either, but it can be done (so long as you don't create a scene or become visibly drunk/loud). I see no intention of good health. If this were true, then why serve high calorie/carb and bacteria ridden foods in the lounges ? Also, why continue to serve these foods in First Class ? Surely CX doesn't care more about the well being of business class passengers over their first class passengers ?
Have a look, what is happening in UK hospitals, at the moment, in case you have no idea about the seriousness of the listeria bacteria:

BBC1
BBC2

Unfortunately, due to people complaining about "reduced" choice, presumed "cost-savings", etc, large organizations like CX do have to change their food offering gradually, step by step, starting at the locations, where food sanity is the most difficult to control, the most visible and the largest crowds in a contained environment are served in bulk: Onboard.

A lounge which is claimed to have served improper food, can be partially closed, giving nuisances, complains, nothing more. Once the contamination shows originating in the airplane, LH flights get grounded (due to the lack of on-board food) until the food chain is investigated and refreshed, etc.

And for the choices: Just fly F or move to SQ, until also SQ starts reducing the choices (they already do, reading the complaints in the SQ FF-forum ????).

I think, I feel really pity for your suffering, related to the changes in the world. Unfortunately, I think, it's a matter of life, the world is changing and it will continue to do. Did you get the message, EK is now "unbundling" J class offerings ? So, shiver about what is implemented in the upcoming years.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Yes, I do that. But again in a "restaurant" (which is what CX is supposedly trying to mimic), diners are proactively given/asked for refills.
Regarding food quantity: Just ask for more food & drinks and you'll get it. Yes, CX made a serious miscalculation with the staff needed to implement the new diner style, though that does not imply, you won't be able to get it.

CXs' choice to reduce the meal size is largely in line with general health advices to eat and drink less. That advice not only applies to fast-food junkies, but just as well to upper class plebs, nouveau riche, so to say.

On board, I get offered "extra" food pro-actively. Maybe, because I make pictures


Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Well of course there is more labor involved in the new service. But do you think CX is paying for that extra labor ? To anyone's knowledge, is CX paying more to the cabin crew (or staffing extra crew per flight), to cope with the increased work ?
My impression is, there is 1 more staff in J class. I never finger counted, etc, though with the old style dining, there were 4 CX in a 777 J class (2 serving, 1 running and 1 in the galley). Now with a 351, I see 5 of them working their ...-off, (including the ISM, plating the meals and finishing up the delivery). Some 6 months ago, the ISM told me, she was very happy to have an additional staff member in J class. Not sure, if that was related to the A351 with more J seats, or because of the new dine style.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Limiting the bread, dessert, breakfast cereal, and fruit choices for me points to only one logical conclusion: cost cutting.
Again, I think, if you choose a western breakfast and ask for a lot of extra items from the continental breakfast, you'll get it.

If you want to stick to a continental breakfast and want items substituted, I think, asking would be the option. I would not be surprised, when several extra items would be available, not standard listed on the menu.

My experience, more choices are loaded, then displayed on the menu (unfortunately also the other way around). Just ask ......


Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
IMO CX wanted to reduce costs and further differentiate their C/F meal service - and they have succeeded.
A pretty harsh statement, it's "cost-cutting". Just proof ...... Show me CX statements about this.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
I have so far been very loyal to CX, but I won't become an apologist. Sorry.
I am not an apologist, though more of a realist. The world does change and CX has to follow, whether a small bunch of CX diehards likes it or not .....

Do I like the "plastic" cheese ? No. Please give me original soft French cheese, etc.
Do I like the powdered eggs ? No. (Yes, my last LH CX flight was probably powdered eggs, yuk).
Do I mind the "lower" quality of wines & champagne ? Actually no, because I seldom drink alcohol, though I certainly understand people complain about this

Should CX "improve" food: Yep, but let it be more "natural" herbs based and not the junk-food spices. Have proper sauce on the vegetables and you would be surprised what it does add to the currently bare "natural" flavors CX serves. That is not something of "costs", though choices I don't agree with. My last CX LH meal showed this improvement: Excellent soup and excellent vegetables. Wonderful stuff, so CX is able to do this. They are learning, it's not easy, you might be surprised how bad ones' favorite home made food would taste high up in the air.
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Old Jun 17, 19, 2:29 am
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They finally use iPad to take order. What a big improvement.
I asked the crew and they said this has been launched on the 10th in London route.
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Old Jun 18, 19, 1:08 am
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Originally Posted by Blackbird_hkg View Post
They finally use iPad to take order. What a big improvement.
I asked the crew and they said this has been launched on the 10th in London route.
Sounds good, though maybe you can elaborate a little about what improved and how big the improvement showed to be ?
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Old Jun 18, 19, 12:28 pm
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Recently on CX882/883 HKG-LAX return.

To us, the most irritating thing is that the crew tried to wake you up to serve the first meal in any event (on both legs), even with ‘Do Not Disturb if slept’ voiced. My mother is one of those who can’t sleep throughout the entire flight once being waken. I suppose unless you explicitly tell them you’d skip the meal, they will wake you up to serve it.

For a similar ‘restaurant order taking’ service in QR, when they take orders, they will ask you the time preferred to have the meals. We could then nap for a few hours and get a meal, and grab some snacks and coffee /fresh pressed juices 1 hour before landing.

I understand that the CX crew may try to streamline the process, but we just don’t feel it the service more ‘personalised’ at all. What’s worse, the crew had to run with the trays to and fro - quite disturbing especially if you have the row 16 seats.

Btw, the trays looked cheap like a meal in a food court. Even the Alaska meals got far more decent presentation. The crew were nice but a bit robotic and rushy, perhaps with the increased workload arising from the new service (but really with no difference to us).

The lobster rice was ok but the dumpling noodle for another meal was a disaster - simply a microwave food. Garlic bread was back nonetheless.
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