CX Business Class Food - downhill again

Old Jul 14, 19, 11:01 pm
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CX Business Class Food - downhill again

OK, I'll admit up front this is a 'first world problem', but I wanted to start a thread about how the food in business class has gone completely downhill in the hope that someone at CX will read these comments and review their Menu.

I travel maybe once a year for work, and the rest of the time I am paying for business out of my own pocket. I an CX Diamond, so spending a lot of time and money with them.

Since they made changes about a year ago, the quality has suffered to the point that I actually prefer BA to CX!

Biggest gripes:
  • Tiny glass of Champagne welcome drink. Not even two fingers at the bottom of the glass. My husband (also CX Diamond) and I actually laugh at how small it is. Why?
  • The Menu thing they hand out is just overcomplicated- why not have a simple card again?
  • Choice of food is poor and getting worse. My confit chicken was just a cheapo chicken leg swimming in grease. Cheese was a bit of brie and cheddar- remember the lovely selection they used to have?!
  • Refreshment prior to landing was a chicken baguette. More Sainsbury's basic French stick than any decent baguette!
  • On all my recent flights I have been seriously underwhelmed and disappointed by the food. The lounge is not much better.
  • The lovely crew seem frazzled trying to get the dishes out. My aperitif came after the main course was served after twice reminding them, they are running around a lot more with the new service and it seems really inefficient.
Would love to hear your thoughts!
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Old Jul 15, 19, 5:23 am
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I love Cathay, but CX food does often pale in comparison to KA food or that of other airlines.... but it's also much, much better than some other airlines.... I rank it somewhere slightly above the middle, overall.

In response to each of your issues, I'll go one-by-one:

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • Tiny glass of Champagne welcome drink. Not even two fingers at the bottom of the glass. My husband (also CX Diamond) and I actually laugh at how small it is. Why?
This is an anomaly and for sure not the norm. From your other comments it sounds like the crew was rushed or short-handed. You should send feedback -- they do listen.

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • The Menu thing they hand out is just overcomplicated- why not have a simple card again?
When it was launched, it was rather complicated. The first time I saw it I really liked it -- new and interesting, lots of information. It was fun. The next few times it got a little tiresome, but I knew where to go to get what I wanted. The most recent designs are paired down and have the menu portion organized with more spacing and a clear indication of the choices you have and what you're being asked to do. Overall, I think the evolved design launched most recently with more spacing and less content overall is good for the general public who may just want to see a menu and be done with it.

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • Choice of food is poor and getting worse. My confit chicken was just a cheapo chicken leg swimming in grease. Cheese was a bit of brie and cheddar- remember the lovely selection they used to have?!
Oh boy. Yeah, so, the food thing is a difficult thing for any airline. Catering on a long-haul flight is done from the departing airport typically from guidelines set in Hong Kong (correct me if I'm wrong). Some ingredients are sourced locally, others are sent by freight to the kitchen from Hong Kong. When you give a French chef instructions on how to prepare congee, they may or may not know what it's really about.... it's boiled rice, sure... but not really... the added pork or pork bone changes the flavour dramatically... the right type of rice has to be used and may not always be available... it's a totally different game than boiling water for steaming rice.

At the end of the day, it's on the airline to be responsible for this and figure out a way to make it work... but it's one of the most difficult things to do for a large operation that spans continents and cultures.

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • Refreshment prior to landing was a chicken baguette. More Sainsbury's basic French stick than any decent baguette!
I've never heard of this on a CX flight... what route were you flying? Then again, I never -- literally, never -- order western food, on or off CX flights.

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • On all my recent flights I have been seriously underwhelmed and disappointed by the food. The lounge is not much better.
Which route? Which lounge? CX-operated or partner lounge? Huge difference

Originally Posted by keepitfirstclass View Post
  • The lovely crew seem frazzled trying to get the dishes out. My aperitif came after the main course was served after twice reminding them, they are running around a lot more with the new service and it seems really inefficient.
I've seen this happen occasionally. It could be short-handed staff (not sure if that's even allowed), a the departure slot got pushed up to an earlier slot, or there could have been a lot of unusual requests made all at the same time and they were racing the clock so as not to miss the slot. Hard to say, but takeoff and landing are definitely the most stressful times for the crew. I always do everything I possibly can to get seated and safety check myself after boarding and try to stay out of their way until 10,000 ft.

So, which route were you flying and on which date, which lounge did you visit, and on what equipment?
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Old Jul 15, 19, 6:11 am
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Last week I was on BA to and from LHR on Club World and I would say in terms of food BA is soooo much better than CX business.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 6:02 pm
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Thanks for the feedback link. The tiny welcome glass of Champagne has been on my last 4 CX flights now so maybe it's a new directive.

The flight was to and from Australia, and both ways the food was poor as it has been on my last few flights to Europe and the US. The chicken leg followed by the baguette (ex-Aus) was a new low which prompted me to post, I am usually just a viewer on this forum.

SekiM- this is my experience with BA too.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 6:12 pm
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I thought the fact that CX J food sucks was a truism we no longer bother to question here
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Old Jul 15, 19, 6:55 pm
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Food in F has also gone down compared to 5-10 years ago.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SekiM View Post
Last week I was on BA to and from LHR on Club World and I would say in terms of food BA is soooo much better than CX business.
While I agree that BA catering these days is good quality, if this was served on a CX flight, the feedback would be "Where is the fruit starter? Why can't I choose my pastries?" which I'm pretty sure has been the feedback on the CX new style service so far.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 8:01 pm
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Fruit platter is plentiful on BA, as well as choice of warm of pastries. I think as a human being one could tell where the food taste decently prepared compared with CX cattle food on Y and more commonly nowadays on J
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Old Jul 15, 19, 11:34 pm
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The Champagne story is very odd.
I have taken literally hundreds of CX flights and never once experienced less than a glass that was approx two thirds full.
I have never been refused a second glass or even a third if some delay on the apron.
Last evening out of Bangkok the food was excellent by any standards, it is catered out of Bangkok by Thai to CX format
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Old Jul 16, 19, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by oldchinahand View Post
The Champagne story is very odd.
I have taken literally hundreds of CX flights and never once experienced less than a glass that was approx two thirds full.
I have never been refused a second glass or even a third if some delay on the apron.
Last evening out of Bangkok the food was excellent by any standards, it is catered out of Bangkok by Thai to CX format
I agree. Champagne served in J before take-off is usually about two thirds full. Sometimes it's half full, but that is easily topped-up. I usually have to ask for a glass that's one third full!
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Old Jul 16, 19, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by oldchinahand View Post
Last evening out of Bangkok the food was excellent by any standards, it is catered out of Bangkok by Thai to CX format
+1 for the food out of BKK... it's usually pretty good.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:16 pm
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I have heard that most if not all of CX's outbound flights from HKG have been subcontracted out to HongKong Beijing Air Catering Ltd or of similar mainland ilk for meal preparation. As part of yet another cost-cutting measure that was undertaken by senior management.

Meanwhile, the meals actually prepared by CX Catering are in fact at a higher standard of quality because those are the ones supplied to the other airlines flying out of HKG. This would also explain the discrepancy between CX and KA as they are not the same company.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by SekiM View Post
Fruit platter is plentiful on BA, as well as choice of warm of pastries. I think as a human being one could tell where the food taste decently prepared compared with CX cattle food on Y and more commonly nowadays on J
I flied BA32 (HKG-LHR) in F last year. After main course, I requested some fruit and I got this. ( It is definately THE winner!!)


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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:48 pm
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Originally Posted by wkc View Post
I have heard that most if not all of CX's outbound flights from HKG have been subcontracted out to HongKong Beijing Air Catering Ltd or of similar mainland ilk for meal preparation. As part of yet another cost-cutting measure that was undertaken by senior management.

Meanwhile, the meals actually prepared by CX Catering are in fact at a higher standard of quality because those are the ones supplied to the other airlines flying out of HKG. This would also explain the discrepancy between CX and KA as they are not the same company.
I thought CX used CPCS and KA used LSG (because it owns ~30% of it). I am no longer of the opinion that KA's catering is leaps and bounds above CX's fyi.

Last edited by moondog; Jul 16, 19 at 8:39 pm
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I am no longer of the opinion that KA's catering is leaps and bounds about CX's fyi.
Indeed, KA food has fallen much harder than CX.

CX has been a long and slow decline since I've been flying (12 years). KA has been very abrupt, "over the ledge" moment happened maybe 2-3 years ago?

KA still offers an extra choice to PVG and PEK in J class during lunch and dinner "meal time" flights, and of course KA still regularly offers F multiple times a day to PEK which is quite pleasant.

But overall, while we whinge about CX premium catering (complaints are well deserved), the real crash has occured at KA. Precisely because it was so good before. It was a nice little secret for those of us regulars that KA was hands down the better choice over CX, especially in premium classes, especially when it comes to catering. It was always amusing to see the partner award folks selecting CX over KA (to PVG/PEK), and more than once online I saw KA erroneously referred to in blogs / articles etc as CX's "budget carrier" or something to that extent. It was hands down superior to PEK and PVG over CX.

But that is no longer true at all. And the decline all happened at once, when the two were "harmonized" to CX standards. Around when the menus became the same / hard product became the same.
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