Why stay with Cathay Pacific....

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Old Oct 11, 18, 8:53 pm
  #1  
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Why stay with Cathay Pacific....

It's clear that Cathay Pacific today is not the same Cathay Pacific 5 or 10 years ago...but why stay?

The long haul seats are crumbling, the regional business class is joke, the food is certainly bad, the lounges are disappointing and crowded...many people complain about the staff too but passenger numbers are up and a lot of people still continue to fly Cathay Pacific.

I've flown CX since the 1990s, in 2011 I made a decision to fly exclusively on CX and joined Marco Polo Club. Since then I spent 1 year as Silver, 2 as Gold and on my 3rd year as Diamond....recently CX sent me to take a flight on PR (flight protection) and was kinda blown away with how their onboard products have improved. That got me thinking, why am I spending more money (CX back in 2011 was cheaper or same price) and time (direct flights from MNL) for something that clearly isn't what it was when I joined.

I recently checked a flight to SIN from MNL, I used to take CX's 5am flight from Manila, catch CX759 to SIN and arrive just past noon. Back in 2011 CX's fares was around $750, even lower than PR or SQ at that time. Now MNL flights leave at 6am, which means I have to wait for CX739 and get to SIN around 3pm (basically losing 1 day). When I checked SQ recently I found they have slashes fares for Business Class and is now at around $800, which makes it quite tempting.

On a recent flight to TPE, an opened bottle of Evian rolled from under the footrest on my seat (11K) during take off...when seatbelt sign was off, I got up and showed it to the crew and threw it into the bin. I was the first to be presented with the main course and I actually found a bug on it.



Again I picked up the tray and took it back to the galley and showed the Flight Purser and SP...both were clearly embarrassed about it and promised to take note of it in their report. The SP even said she should buy a lottery ticket when she gets back to HK. The rest of the flight was uneventful...I sent the photos to management but never heard back from them and it will be 3 weeks tomorrow.

Anyway I'm just tired....I’m tired of receiving canned emails packed with words but saying almost nothing. I’m tired of hearing “We apologize for any inconvenience caused”. I’m tired of mustering up enough “patience and understanding.” I’m tired of reading promises that the “next time would be more positive and enjoyable”. I am tired of wiping down every surface on my seat every time I board. I am tired of inspecting my seat, checking for items that got left behind by a previous passenger. I am tired of seeing the meal portions shrink flight after flight. I am tired of checking my meal every time for foreign objects or if the shrimps were properly cleaned. I’m tired seeing the flustered faces of the frontliners who work so hard to make do with what is made available to them. I am tired of writing feedback after feedback in the hopes that in one way or the other it would help improve things. I am tired of telling people to give Marco Polo Club a chance. I am tired of convincing people AsiaMiles is still an attractive program. I am tired of seeing people flaunt on social media that they can fly First Class on Cathay Pacific to the US for 70,000 Alaska miles while I need to save 125,000 AsiaMiles. I am tired of believing things would turn around and the next time would be better. I’m tired of being a loyal customer. I’m tired of being let down.

**Sorry for the long rant**

Last edited by FlyPointyEnd; Oct 11, 18 at 9:02 pm
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:29 pm
  #2  
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you shouldnt. many of us had moved on.
but living in hk (for me at least) means sometimes alternatives are dire.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:42 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Our feelings are mutual. For me it is always the balance between the familiarity of a mediocre-at-best cabin product, swift HKG transit, and good schedules vs. stepping out your comfort zone to try something different.

While we blame our bad fortunes for receiving salads with food labels or mains with arthropods, in the back of one's mind recollections of MH's frequent cancellations, CI's aging 737s, and a screaming competition between crew and pax on VN flashes by. So at least for now I'm still tolerating the frozen dim sum and cardboard chicken pastries until something more drastic happens. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:43 pm
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FlyPointyEnd, I absolutely agree. I was on Cathay from the very beginning; my first flight - when I wasn't even a one year old - was on Cathay. I have since (largely) flew Cathay due to its safety, leading products, personal service, all at a good price...etc. In primary school, my whole family flies in Cathay, then school trips in middle and highschool we mainly fly Cathay. Flying to university in the UK three times a year, I flew Cathay, and started flying more in J due to long hauls, where tickets go from HK30k-70k for round trip in LHR. Now, I'm in my first job, just finishing my first year in the working world, still based in Hong Kong, and still love aviation and flying, but there is no doubt that things have declined. All the things you mentioned with the wiping down the seats, checking meals, inspecting seats, cheering the front-staff on and making pleasant conversation with them while I KNOW that the reason they cannot do their jobs is because of management and not them...etc., I, too, am tired of it.

I am consciously making a choice to fly via other destinations now, and in doing so, looking for better fares, with a better product. Note to Cathay, not JUST a better fare. I'm still maintaining my Silver ever since I was 18, and maybe going to Gold, but why should I do that if I can get oneworld Sapphire via JAL by spending HKD20k only on a mileage run, and its LIFETIME (as long as you let them deduct miles...etc to keep it alive and fly once or twice with them a year)... Why should I buy your ticket, get the R fare, then waitlist until the last possible moment for an upgrade using miles, for the SAME PRICE, as buying straight J from Qatar, or Finnair, or SQ, all of which have the same if not better product, at the same or lower price? Why don't we get to have a lifetime status - for some of us who literally flew with you for my whole life baring the first few months of my life?
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:43 pm
  #5  
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The long haul seats are crumbling,
Is that referring to the A350 seats? Otherwise I think it's hard to fault the long haul seats.

the regional business class is joke
Apparently working on new seats....but assuming it's decent, it's going to be at least 5 more years before it arrives on the whole fleet.

the food is certainly bad
They are finally working on this. But it's been 15+ years of complaining about CX food, and they are only now addressing long haul food (slowly)

the lounges are disappointing and crowded...
While the food in HKG has gone downhill, the lounges themselves I don't think are up for criticism.

The recent move to trial paid lounge entry is really a sign of where the airline is going. They changed Marco Polo Club to prima facie make status more exclusive due to member feedback, and now they're letting people buy their way back in.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:52 pm
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LOL.... As casual North American flyers, we have found Cathay's seats, food, and service a great step above that of the "big three" US carriers. Guess it is all in your perspective.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 9:57 pm
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I still think some of the soft benefits and backward-bendingisms of MPO DM make it worthwhile to stick with CX...I really don't think there is a better OWE program out there among the leading oneworld legacies

Other than that, yes, over these couple years 'liberating' myself to many top-notch products (QR, oh how i LOVE QR if only they had a less sh*tty FFP, Etihad, even like AA TPAC J...not top notch but multiple edges over CX)...I do feel that CX has really anchored itself from being a top-notch industry leader to a very middle-of-the-road key player with its biggest advantage being merely its network, connectivity and (occasionally) competitive pricing (excluding exHKG).

And agree that the customer relations department is terribly weak - they just don't seem to care at all even for DM, which wasn't the case until quite recently TBH.
Luckily 3888's high quality is still around for now.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:06 pm
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Sorry to hear about bug in food, FlyPointyEnd. Definitely a fail. CX not providing a good response to you is also not acceptable.

Well about my "relationship" with CX...

My first flight on CX was in 2012. That time CX were already quite inferior to other airlines. (Seriously, on HKG-NRT UA was even better in Y for better food and amenities. Everyone got a blanket on UA for that leg!). Didn't step on CX again till 2016 when I started traveling quite extensively and CX meet my schedule better. My travel is about half CX and half *A and I don't usually mind transferring except a few ports. Made into SL in 2017 and GO in 2018.

I would say in many ways CX are inferior for inflight food and price. Outport lounges are meh. Seats getting worn and it is difficult to flag a FA onboard since they are understaffed and busy with their duties. Their penalty for changing/cancelling ticket is also steep.

But CX consistently have good cabin crew and treat me good. I have encountered very lame junior crew on CX but FP/SP usually fixed everything to satisfaction right away even when I was status-less. (I also encountered very unmotivated staff on TG and even SQ, to be honest.) HKG lounges are hard to beat although their standards have fallen. I mainly travel in Y and consistently able to get bulkhead/exit rows is much appreciated. Priority luggage works well so far. To work around repetitive boring food, I start ordering special meal.

So travelling on CX isn't bad when I need their flight schedule and when price isn't terribly expensive. Tasteless food on board isn't end of the day and I would take CX over LH/SK/BA/UA/AY/AA when I'm in Y. But probably not CX when compared with NH/SQ/TG. Will choose BR for North America.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyPointyEnd View Post
recently CX sent me to take a flight on PR (flight protection) and was kinda blown away with how their onboard products have improved.
I have to agree that PR's onboard service and food is better than CX, but their hard product and lounge offerings are much worse. Haven't tried the new J config yet nor the new A350, but the one thing that stops me from patronising the flag carrier is that godawful terminal PR flies out of.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by mbamejia View Post
I have to agree that PR's onboard service and food is better than CX, but their hard product and lounge offerings are much worse. Haven't tried the new J config yet nor the new A350, but the one thing that stops me from patronising the flag carrier is that godawful terminal PR flies out of.
I've done the new J product twice one to Shanghai (via CX protection) and once from Cebu. It was really comfortable thought I picked the one that was closer to the aisle on both occasions I hear the one closer to the widow could be a bit more cramped.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:29 pm
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It is because I prefer direct flight for longhaul flight. I do not have many annual leave.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by kaka View Post
you shouldnt. many of us had moved on.
but living in hk (for me at least) means sometimes alternatives are dire.
Manila too...I'd take SQ but it's kinda silly flying down 3 hours and take a 7hr flight to Tokyo....
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:36 pm
  #13  
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CX had an own goal with me recently. I was booked on Regional J overnight redeye to ICN, and they cancelled the flight literally 4 hours before departure. The CX customer service was good - they put me on KE instead.

What an eye-opener. The KE 747 had angled flat seats - much better than Regional J. And the plane was absolutely spotless. The toilet was immaculate. There was no smell in there at all. The toilet rim had no stains. It was like a brand new toilet, and this was in an old aircraft. I would have eaten my meal in there. Compare this to the broken dirty A350 toilets and the not much better toilets on other aircraft, and it made CX feel like the legacy US airlines.

Service was impeccable. Upon waking for landing, they brought a plate of fruit and drink as soon as they saw I was up even though it was 40 minutes before landing.

The experience made me reconsider which airline to take when flying to Korea.
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by sxc View Post
Is that referring to the A350 seats? Otherwise I think it's hard to fault the long haul seats.
There are some issues with the older long haul products too. the upholstery on the side was peeling...on a few occasions I've had inop seats but since it's just a 1hr 30 minute hope I didn't even complain.



Originally Posted by sxc View Post
Apparently working on new seats....but assuming it's decent, it's going to be at least 5 more years before it arrives on the whole fleet.
If only membership holidays could be longer than 1 year

Originally Posted by sxc View Post
They are finally working on this. But it's been 15+ years of complaining about CX food, and they are only now addressing long haul food (slowly)
Which apparently isn't that great....even PAL is now doing Dine on Demand...CX can't seem to roll that one out, and basing on other posts here, the new business class service leaves much to be desired.

Originally Posted by sxc View Post
While the food in HKG has gone downhill, the lounges themselves I don't think are up for criticism.
Have you seen how dirty the lounges are? I used to send feedbacks to the CX managers on the lounge cleanliness after the Sodexo turn over, the worse was last May when some tables were left unclean for 20 minutes. I went to the Dining Room at Pier F a few weeks ago and it was crowded and many tables were not cleaned. When I finally got a table the silver tray for the salt and pepper shakers was so dirty filled with crumbs and salt and pepper pieces.

Originally Posted by sxc View Post
The recent move to trial paid lounge entry is really a sign of where the airline is going. They changed Marco Polo Club to prima facie make status more exclusive due to member feedback, and now they're letting people buy their way back in.
Totally don't understand this whole effort honestly....
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Old Oct 11, 18, 10:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Aus106080 View Post
It is because I prefer direct flight for longhaul flight. I do not have many annual leave.
Being based in Manila it's quite good for CX, at most its just an extra 2-3 hours...there was a time that PAL's flights are so delayed that I'd still get to the destination first before my friends would arrive.
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