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SFO-HKG-BOM in CX F and BOM-MAA in 9W C (from Jan09)

SFO-HKG-BOM in CX F and BOM-MAA in 9W C (from Jan09)

Old Dec 3, 09, 8:58 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Post SFO-HKG-BOM in CX F and BOM-MAA in 9W C (from Jan09)

PREAMBLE:
Ok, so after a post on an AA flight which didn’t go down well with some AA fans (sorry about that, but I am spoiled by the like of CX, SQ & 9W so my standards a little high – didn’t mean to be offensive), I decided to take a hiatus from TR’s. December is looking quite dry and I am missing flying so decided to swallow my pride and start posting again, if nothing else as a means of reliving and sharing the memories from 2009 that are etched in my mind. No pics available as I rarely travel with a Camera, but I hope my detailed words will paint a good enough picture.
Also, I must apologize in advance for typos and spelling mistakes – I am sure there will be many, but I don’t have enough time to proof read and post. Please accept my apologies in advance and enjoy!
To follow:

PART 1: SFO-HKG CX873 JAN 2009 IN F
PART 2: 7 HOURS AT THE WING, 1 HOUR AT THE PIER, FIRST CLASS LOUNGES IN HKG
PART 3: HKG-BOM CX685 JAN 2009 IN F (SADLY DOWNGRADED TO 2 CABIN IN APRIL, DAMN THE RECESSION)
PART 4: BOM-MAA 9W 487 IN C
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 9:00 am
  #2  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Part 1: Sfo-hkg cx873 in f jan2009

For those of you who read my first TR you know that I am in love with CX, so I apologize in advance if this trip report is a little biased and a little too detailed. But that’s exactly what I love about Cathay, is their attention to detail and I would be doing my experience justice without the extra bits.

After a very sinful weekend in SF, including visiting some of my favorite clubs, close friends and late night Thai food, which involved me returning to my suite at the Grand Hyatt at 4am, I thought it would be good to adjust back to Asia time. I stayed up through sun rise, had some fruit and yogurt at the Grand club and hit the pillow hard at 6:30am. I remember to pre-arrange a half day room and got a late check out on that till 9pm (which was later extended to 10, since the hotel was far from full and I had paid 50% of my rate to officially keep it till 6pm). I awoke around 16:30 to voicemails from some of my friends who stumbled home later than I did and met up with them for a coffee, a work out and some shopping advice at union square. I had kept food light through the day (just a couple of pieces of sushi and some fruit), since I knew the next 30 hours would involve many many calories. Finished up packing, and arranged a town car directly with the Bellman (a 10$ tip got me a 40$ town car ride same as a taxi, in stead of the $70 quoted at the concierge desk).
A power nap, and a shower and I felt like it was morning. Headed out to the airport by 22:15 for a 00:10 departure. I had the option of going via LAX earlier for this winter transpac flight (which I would have done, given the greater chances of a tech stop in Seoul or TPE – my dream come true, 3 hours extra on CX), but my Travel Agent mailed me to let me know that they had changed my LAX-HKG from 74A to 744 (grr), the day prior. I decided to fly SFO-HKG instead and also be better rested for my flight as a result. At the time SFO-HKG night flight was always a 74A due to competition with SQ’s 77W that departed within 10 mins of CX 873 (which is what the SFO duty manager confirmed to me when I called the evening prior to ascertain that the next days incoming was indeed a 74A).

I pulled up to the airport, got loaded onto a cart (5$ for transporting your baggage yourself no more than 25 meters) and headed for check-in. The check-in at SFO is now handled by an outside agent. I requested my bags be tagged through to MAA on 9W for which I had a print out. The staff said they were instructed not to do that (in spite of my confirming this again last night with the duty manager). I explained to the staff that it wasn’t a big issue since anyway I had to clear my bags on arrival at BOM and could use the international airport check-in. Just then I noticed the tags print with MAA on them, probably because my agent had booked the BOM-MAA on the same 1a PNR and then issued 2 separate e-tkts (to assist with thru check-in). The agent tore these tags up and printed ones removing MAA. I was pissed off, given that she had no reason to do so. When I asked why she did that, she said because that’s what her manager told her to do. Evidently, he told her the opposite, but there was no reasoning with her. I asked to see her supervisor. She said the supervisor was at the gate and there was nothing I could do. Damn, this is not the way 32 hours of heaven on CX is supposed to start. Finally, a CX staff from the counters at the end who noticed that a F CL passenger was taking more than 5 minutes to check in walked over to see what was going on. I explained the situation, and he pulled up the booking. He said that as long as I will aware that I had to clear customs, just as is in the US and deposit my bags with Jet, there was no reason why my tags couldn’t not reflect MAA as destination, scolded the girl in Cantonese, finished up check-in and called someone over to escort me. Relieved of my luggage, I told him that I was going for a quick smoke with carry-ons in hand, outside the building, and I would come back momentarily. He had the escort stand by and when I came back in 5 minutes from the doorway, he noticed me walk up and presented me to a charming young lady (also from the agent company, you can’t tell because they all wear CX uniform). She was quite the opposite of the check-in staff, and briefed me on the flight, saying that it was a long flying time of over 15 hours (yippee), but a light load meaning no need for technical stop (just as she brought my hopes up).
She walked me through security, assisted me take my laptop and liquids out of bag, arranged the trays for me etc. She told me she would get me from the lounge at boarding (I asked if I could go on board early rather than at the end and she was happy to oblige, surprised that a FCL passenger didn’t want the plane held up for him like many others she had encountered in the past). I made it down and walked to the BA lounge and into the First class section, chatting a bit with the lounge attendant. I asked if the manager would be at the gate and she confirmed that the manager would meet me there. The FCL section had 6 pax, but I later learned the 2 of them were there due to FFP status, and it was a load of 4/9 in First. Biz was not crowded either (18/46) and whY was at 200+ of 329. I borrowed an Ethernet chord (Which required a deposit of disproportionate value to ensure I didn’t abscond – my First class boarding pass) and downloaded e-mail, had a diet coke and some dim sum (Catering was clearly CX focused since there was no BA departure at this hour). Just before boarding was announced my friend Jasmine came to look for me and said “Mr. avm2806, they are just about to start pre-boarding if you’d like we can head over now.” I shut down laptop, packed my trusty tumi and headed to the gate. The lounge attendant wished me a pleasant flight and then called boarding (almost as if they waited for me to leave before they announced for the rest of the premium pax). I noticed they didn’t have an escort for the family of 3 traveling in First – may have been the Emerald status or the check-in issue or a combination of both. As we were walking Jasmine told me that her colleague mentioned that I was looking to speak to the manager. She took me to her at the gate (the manager was a lady, and not the gentleman I had spoken to on the phone the day prior), and thanked me and proceeded on. The final paper work was being printed, and the manager was quite harried but with the first class boarding pass and staff member in tow she took time to speak with me. I told her that I wanted to start off by complimenting Jasmine, who was just wonderful. I also let her know about the check-in staff and her attitude and unwillingness to help, she was apologetic and told me that they were having problems with new trainees and that I had every justification in being upset and my request was most reasonable. I had printed out a copy from the Jet Airways website which clearly lists the through check-in airlines they have agreements with. The manager was thrilled to have this as I handed it to her and she said it would come in handy during their debriefing and assured me it wouldn’t happen again. I thanked her and proceeded to board. All this happened quite quickly as the chaos had begun with boarding, so the manager came to my seat to personally thank me once again for taking the time to provide her the evidence and also apologize. I told her not to worry, CX was my favorite and a trainee from an outside agency was not going to have any negative effect on my love for CX.
On reaching the gate I was walked to my seat as is always, by Fukue, the SP on this flight. I can’t remember the name of the Purser, but she was excellent too. The family of 3 followed 10 minutes later and by then I had my hot towel, my menu and a glass of Krug in hand. My favourite 2K was still occupied, but I was in 1K with 1A vacant, which meant privacy was not an issue (FYI rows 2 & 3 are the best for privacy and being the middle of the cabin galley noise is not much, though CX crew are very quiet when they work, especially on night flights.)
Victorinox Amenity kits were handed out followed by Shanghai Tang PJ’S. I was offered a refill but decided to wait and switched to sparkling water. The ISM came to enquire about the problems I had on ground and I told her not to worry that the Ground Manager on Duty had taken care of everything in true CX fashion and that I was glad to be on board again. She welcomed me back and said she would come and chat with me later.
Drinks were cleared and the safety briefing started once doors were shut, with the customary pointing out of the exits by the crew at the perfect point in the briefing. Its amazing to me how they always appear in perfect timing, in spite of being so busy in the galley – never to early, never too late – always in sync with the video.
Taxi was short, and take off smooth as I listened to the exquisite collection of music on the 60’s and 70’s channel on CX radio (the radio channels are usually on till the AVOD IFE is switched on after take off).
CX uses the turning on and off of the seatbelt sign after take off, not just to indicate that its safe to use electronic devices but also as an indication to the cabin crew that its time to jump to work, and that’s exactly what they do. Obviously in the event of turbulence during take off or unsafe conditions the crew stay seated, but this a great way of making sure that service starts instantly rather than having to wait 30 minutes till ATC sends us to our final cruising altitude to even get a hello from a crew member. Fukue distributed menus, introducing herself and her colleague in a typically polite yet sophisticated Japanese manner. I had requested for the Business class menu and winelist out of “curiosity”, partially to post on here and partially because they always have some great Cali Chardonnay’s ex SFO in the middle cabin available at a very competitive retail price within the US – so I use this as an opportunity to try before I buy.
This appeared within minutes, and I had begun watching a few TV episodes to warm myself up for the movie marathon. When I was handed the BC menus I was also requested to inform them if I wanted anything from it so they could keep it aside for me.
The Purser then came by moments later to take my order for dinner and enquire when I would like to eat. Since they sometimes run short on the Caviar, I opted to start with that immediately as a snack, and then eat the rest of my meal later. I ordered the works, and told her that I would let her know around 45 minutes before I wanted to eat so she would have enough time to warm it up [MENU to be uploaded below shortly]. She thanked me for my understanding, and proceeded to take orders of the PAX in row 2 and 3. The ISM had started doing her rounds of the cabin, and came to me last. She joked, that she knew we would have a long chat so saved her “best” passenger for last. Evidently I was the only Emerald in First class that day, and one of only 2 on board. She was from Malaysia and in spite of being based in Hong Kong, shuttled to and from KUL for her flights, so like me she too had a connection to make. I mentioned my last time on this sector on SQ and she was eager to know how CX compared. She was so thrilled when I told her CX won hands down IMHO. Fukue then appeared with a table cloth and napkin, and Ivy, the ISM excused herself and said she would leave me Fukue capable hands and return to check on me later. My table was laid with grace and napkin placed across my lap. A wonderful welcome card was placed on my table, and the Krug appeared, chilled perfectly (FYI Krug has been sadly replaced with Duetz on Transpac flights, I am told temporarily due to problem’s in getting adequate Krug supplies…hmmm). A little turbulence ensued but a deft pouring meant no spillage. Moments later my sinful indulgence began. The glee on my face when the Caviar and salmon appeared must have been so obvious that Fukue commented that she had plenty for me whenever I wanted it. I savored every bite (I actually enjoy the farm raised Caviar more – I find it more consistent, and glad that my sins aren’t endangering a species further). Minutes after I polished my plate clean, a second serving of the delight appeared, without my even asking – just a polite grin from Fukue and an almost squeak of glee from me.
The Krug was flowing, and just as I finished my second plate the purser came by to offer me a third – I took a rain check and told her they were intent on spoiling me, but I needed a break.
I started to watch a movie and get comfortable and requested from some Chinese tea, which came in a pot that was constantly being replenished with Hot water. Two hours into the flight, after I finished my first film of the evening, I unbuckled my seatbelt and was about to head to the galley to order dinner when Fukue magically appeared and asked if they could start preparing my dinner. Talk about anticipating needs. I thanked and proceeded to freshen up in the marvelous 74A first class washroom, which could be a tiny powder room in any deluxe hotel. The rest of the cabin was sleeping, and when I came out I chatted a bit with Fukue and her colleague as they prepared dinner. I was so impressed with the softness and clarity with which they spoke and worked, completely mindful of the 3 passengers sleeping in the cabin. I offered to sit in 4A for dinner, so that they could serve me without disturbing the other pax, which completely shocked them. Fukue proceeded to follow me with table linens in tow, unfolded my IFE screen and made sure I was comfortable in “dining room”. My coke zero, bread basket and water followed, along with the dangling of a champagne glass – I commented on how they were spoiling me with sinful temptation and both the ladies giggled and said that’s what they were there for. Krug followed and much to be delight, another plate of Caviar (without the Salmon since I had left some behind the last time). Plate 3 down, and soup and salad followed, both brought together as requested, along with some freshly grated pepper,
The soup was an exquisite corn chowder with shredded crabmeat, light but extremely satisfying at the same time. Salad was simple mixed greens, but the balsamic was a little too oily for my liking. My Chinese main course of braised duck came with a bowl of freshly steamed rice and my favourite Guilin chili sauce and I was in bliss. The catering out of SF is not as good as HKG or JFK (where Do&Co handle the First class catering – I saw a DO&CO uniform in the galley on my last flight ex JFK).
I continued to watch my second movie – 3and a half hours down, 11 and a half to go. The CX IFE system comes with a great feature which allows you to look at the remote for remaining flight time while enjoying your entertainment selection.
Since I was wide awake, I opted to pause on the indulgence before desert. My plates were cleared and I finished my movie before wandering back to 1K. I found my bed was made up, with extra pillows and a fresh pot of Chinese tea arrived at 1K a few seconds after I did – again not requested but highly appreciated. The purser who brought the tea also took this opportunity to tell me she was going on her break, and she would be back to look after me soon.
I sipped on it, browsed through the IFE selections and decided to burn 1/millionth of calories consumed with a stroll through the cabins. I also had been meaning to try the much debated CX herringbone seat, and this was the first flight I had been on a 74A with free seats in Biz. I walked toward the Business class galley, when ISM Ivy noticed me wandering the aisle. She came up to me and joked asking if they weren’t taking care of me in front. I explained that I needed to stretch my legs and also hadn’t had the opportunity to try the much debated new BC seat since every flight I had taken, the BC was full. She walked me to a cluster of 5 empty seats on the K side and sat down in the ottoman and explained all the features of the seat to me, what the complaints and compliments were all about etc. etc. With my experiences on Virgin and Jet 330’s, I am quite a veteran when it comes to herringbone layout, in fact I actually prefer it because of the privacy it affords, when compared to say BA club world. I do agree with comments that the high walls are a little claustrophobic, but compared to Virgins bed, which by virtue of being a flip over is a great bed but less flexible seat, and Jet’s which is a couple of inches too short for my 6ft2 frame, I found this seat excellent. All one needs to do is recline a little bit and the whole blocked in feeling goes away (in fact I have learned since this review that CX has actually adjusted the take off and landing position to be slight more reclined to that PAX don’t have that negative first impression of the seat). Another aspect I love is the fact that when reclined, all the space around the head and shoulders is padded with the same material as the seat, so the sleeping space is actually more. I think the only element missing is a turn down service like Jet and VS and that would complete the package. I played around the seat for a bit and spend 25 minutes watching a sitcom to get a feel of what it was like (especially for 2 cabin flights and for impending budget cuts which could mean bye bye First class).
I returned to the galley to find Fukue and Ivy chatting and I was welcomed into the conversation like a long lost friend and offered a drink. I had some tea and Fukue started pulling out the deserts to tempt me, insisting that the Chinese tea would wash away all the calories. The devils food cake looked divine and so I consented to letting her heat it up for me. We chatted about all things CX, aviation in general, American Airlines and the codeshare situation etc etc.
My desert was warmed and Ivy politely ushered me out of the galley and came to my seat where we spoke for a few minutes, allowing Fukue to privately express her plating skills and conjure up a work of are with Raspberry Coulis and fresh berries and two scoops of ice-cream.
She offered to dress my table and I politely declined saying I was find to use the arm rest cocktail table for the one plate. The ladies excused themselves allowing me to indulge while listening to some great music. All of this wandering, chit chat and a gust of winds meant that we had 7hours to go. I decided it would be good to try and get some shut eye, but the tea had perked me up so I couldn’t sleep. I watched yet another movie, and 4and a half hours to go I started to doze. I woke up 45 minutes later with a duvet around me, a bottle of water by my side. Just as I woke up the purser was making her rounds of the other passengers who were now awake and indulging in snacks. The smell of noodle soup must have wafted its way into my senses because all of a sudden I was perky. The noodle same came with the customary Guilin chili sauce, a coke zero and plenty of smiles. I watched a couple more TV episodes, scribbled down great songs from my playlist on CX Studio that I added to my must download list and drank some more tea since I wanted to stay awake and savor the remaining moments of this long-haul flight.
3 hours to go, a whole day, 12 hours, had passed by oh so quickly. Why is that when one is on a painful flight full of dragons, surly flight attendants and obnoxiously noisy fellow passengers that time passes by at the slowest of paces, and when in the bliss of an exquisite flight it feels like it is over in an instant?

Fukue came back from her break and they were preparing the galley for breakfast. The Purser came by and enquired what I would like. I mentioned that it didn’t feel like breakfast time since I had been asleep most of the day in SF, so I would just have the dim sum and asked about the availability of the berries with sweet rose water and ice cream as a desert. Half an hour later, I was the last to be served (by preference), my table was dressed, yet again, and I Fukue came by to tell me that my “dinner” would be ready soon. The smile on her face seemed a little naughty, and just moments later came – you guessed it, plate 4 of Caviar. I was entrenched in the movie bottle shock by this point, missing California that was now an entire Ocean behind. I opted for a glass of the First class Cuvaison 2004 Chardonnay, which I knew to be an excellent bottle. I also asked if they was an open bottle of the Business class Chardonnay, as I wanted to try it, only if they had an open bottle. This came shortly and a Chardonnay wine tasting was set up for me, as I enjoyed Caviar, for the 4th time. I really enjoyed the Ravenswood, and decided to stick with it, as it was new and refreshing. Ivy came by to say hello again and also insisted that I finish the can of Caviar they had opened for me, because it would otherwise go to waste. I feigned being full and begrudgingly agreed. Dim Sum followed and was good as always but I decided not to have too much. Finally the Berries with sweet rosewater which were simply divine – the freshest California berries with the lightest of rosewaters, simply heaven.
Finally I finished bottleshock, shed a tear or two missing the wonderful city of San Francisco consoled by the promise to myself that I would not enter the US without a stop by the Bay Area and prepared for landing. Thank the outstanding crew for spoiling me rotten and felt like a sleep deprived stuffed elephant. Fortunately I had watched myself for the 48hours leading up to the flight (in spite of an indulgent night in San Fran where I kept myself in check), and worked out for 3 hours in the gym the day of my flight and would do the same on my return home to MAA.

TO FOLLOW:
SFO-HKG J AND F MENUS
PART 2: 8 hours in the CX LOUNGES (most of it spent sleeping in a Cabana), and the best regional flight of my life –HKG-BOM.
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 9:21 am
  #3  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Cx 873 f menu

Supper
Caviar, Smoked Salmon & Champagne
Caviar and fine smoked salmon with Krug grand cuvee

Starters
Corn chowder with crab

Mixed Salad with tomatoes, feta cheese and kalamata olvies
served with balsamic olive oil dressing

Main Courses

Herb crusted lamb loin with garlic jus
barley pilaf, spinch and sun-burst squash

Truffle scented porcini ravioli with cream sauce and chanterelles

Chinese Favourites
Double boiled ginseng with chicken soup

Cold plate - soya beans with preserved vegetables and tofu

Braised duck with young ginger and scallion
served with
stir-fried kailan with carrot and mushroom
steamed rice

Shui gaw in noodle soup

Hot pot rice with Chinese pork and liver sausage with cured meat
served with chicken broth

Snack
Warm steak sandwich with horseradish cream

Cheese and Dessert

Cambozola, Yellow Cheddar, Grand Cru, Herb Goat Cheese

Fresh seasonal berries with sweet rose water

Haagen-Dazs Ice cream

Creme Caramel

Devil's food cake
served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis

Red bean soup with lotus seeds

Tea and Coffee

Pralines and Cookies


Breakfast

Orange juice or apple juice

Strawberry and banana smoothie

Fresh seasonal fruit

Natural, fruit or low fat fruit flavoured yoghurt

Assorted cereals

Main courses
Eggs ~ freshly scrambled, fried or boiled
served with your choice of
pork sausage, potato cake
broiled mushroom or grilled tomato

Chinese dim sum

Lobster congee
with spring onion pancake

Bread Basket

Assorted breakfast bread and fresh toast
served with preserves, honey and butter

Tea and Coffee
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 9:24 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Cx 873 j menu

Supper
Starter
Seasonal Salad with chilli marinated prawns and
portabello mushroom
served with lemon vinaigrette

Main Courses
Pain-fried sea bass with black bean sauce
egg fried rice, kailan and carrots

Feta and sun-dried tomato stuff chicken breast with white
wine butter sauce
carrots, zucchini and sun-burst squash

Light Choice
Shui gaw in noodle soup

Cheese and Dessert

Cheese selection

Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Pecan Pie

Tea and Coffee

Pralines


Snacks
Roasted duck in noodle soup
Warm steak sandwich with horseradish cream
Baked barbecued pork bun
Haagen Dazs Ice cream

Breakfast

Starters
Orange or apple juice
Strawberry and Banana smoothie

Fresh seasonal Fruit

Fruit yoghurt

Assorted cereals

Main Courses
Herb cream cheese omelette with tomato concasse
applewood smoked bacon
chicken sausage and potato cake

Stir-fried rice noodles with Chinese dim sum
served with chilli sauce

Abalone clam and mushroom congee
with spring onion pancake

Bread Basket
Assorted breakfast breads
served with preserves, honey and butter

Tea and Coffee

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 4, 09 at 1:55 am
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 9:25 am
  #5  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Cx 873 f/j winelist

First Class

Champagne
Krug Grand Cuvee - Oh How I miss thee on CX

White wines
Cuvaison Estate Selection Chardonnay Napa Valley
Carneros 2004

Bouchard Pere & Fils Meursault Les Clous 2005

Red Wines
Possums Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004

Felipe Rutini Reserve Malbec 2006

Chateau Lynch Bages 2001

Port
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port

Apertifs and Cocktails
Campari ~ Martini Rosso ~ Martini Extra Dry ~ La Ina Dry Sherry ~ Harveys Bristol Cream Sweet Sherry ~ Gordons Dry Gin ~ Stolichnaya Russian Vodka ~ Bloody Mary ~ Screwdriver

Whiskies
Chivas Regal 12 Years Old ~ Johnnie Walker Blue Label ~ Canadian Club ~ Gentleman Jack Bourbon ~ Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve Single Malt Whisky

Cognac
Tesseron Lot 76 XO Tradition

Liqueurs
Grand Marnier ~ Cointreau ~ Drambuie ~ Kahlua ~ Baileys Irish Cream

Beer
International Selection

CX Signature Drinks
Oriental Breeze
Cloud Nine



Business Class


Champagne
Champagne Deutz, Brut Classic

White wines

Aujoux Vire Clesse 2006
Ravenswood Vintners Blend California Chardonna 2006

Red Wines
Luigi Bosca Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Vieux Chateau Landon Cru Bourgeois 2005
Domaine Faiveley Mercurey, Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet 2003 (FRENCH PINOT NOIR)

Port
Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003

Aperitifs and Cocktails
Gin Rum Vodka Martini Rosso Martini Extra Dry Campari Sweet and Dry Sherry Bloody Marry Screwdriver

Whiskies
Chivas Regal 12 Years Old
Johnie Walker Gold Label
Jack Daniel's
Canadian Club

Cognac
Hine 'Rare and Delicate' Fine Champagne

Liquers
Drambuie
Cointreau
Bailey's Irish Cream

Beer
International Selection

CX Signature Drinks
Oriental Breeze
Cloud Nine

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 4, 09 at 11:13 am
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 9:25 am
  #6  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Part 2: 8 hours in the hkg lounges

The CX Lounges:
The Wing:


Arriving at Gate 4 at 6:30am, pretty close to immigration and the transit check point, I proceeded to The Wing, since my 14:25 departure to BOM was a while from having a gate. At this point after being awake for 14 of my previous 15 hours and after the effects of my Chardonnay tasting began to take effect on ground, I decided it was time to get some much needed rest. I gathered my things, got a large bottle of water, a pillow and a blanket from the shower/cabana attendant and requested that I be woken up at 1pm. I gave her a HK$40 tip, which was highly appreciated and she offered to iron my clothes if needed. I gave her my fresh clothes and happily accepted. I set my cell phone alarm as a back up and dawned my CX PJ’s, BA First Eyeshades (they are the best) and knocked off for a good 5 and a half hours or so. When I awoke someone was using the neighbouring cabana to conduct loud and long Business calls, oh well, it was time to be up in any case. I peaked outside the door and the same attendant saw and scurried away in excitement to get my clothes. The ironing service isn’t one that it is built in like BA’s valet service in the arrivals lounge at LHR but more a request based service at the Peninsula staff that run the CX lounges at HKG are more often that not, happy to oblige (a little token of gratitude helps even more).
Also, a note – while the Pier advertises day break rooms and these are great to relax in, the armchair with ottoman isn’t as conducive to sleeping as the flat mattress in the cabanas at the Wing. It can get quite chilly, and they give you an economy class pillow and blanket for some reason, but better sleep on ground and be fully awake to enjoy CX in the air is my view.
Anyway, I digress – I woke up at 12:30, ventured outside in my CX PJ’s (what a site that must have been), and enquired with the CX agent at the stand outside the restaurant/shower entrance on the gate for my flight, which was now confirmed as departing from Gate 64 (darn I’d have to trek all the way to the other end of the terminal).
I disappeared back into the haven that was my cabana, filled the tub and took a brief much needed bath, followed by shower, shave etc etc.
I came out at 1pm feeling refreshed, with ironed clothes ready for another great CX flight. I started flying CX on what was then CX750/751 (BOM-BKK-HKG vv), and the Indian ladies who ply that route as pursers and senior pursers have become my favourite crew, who all know me very well – so I was very much looking forward to what was going to be my only First class flight on CX between India and HKG (they had already pulled the 74A from this sector starting Apr09 at this point, and it hasn’t returned).

The Pier

I decided to move towards The Pier, since it was right next to my gate and indulge in my second favourite culinary experience at an airline lounge – the noodle bar (used to be my fav till the top spot was quite clearly taken by the LH FCT with my first time there last month).

I remembered to collect my re-entry stamp to the lounge before exiting the Wing and decided I needed the walk. Ipod on, overnighter in tow and I made a brisk walk to through the hallowed halls of CLK airport, with the huge windows staring out at the sea, the mountains and of course beautiful aircraft waiting to take lost souls like us to places far away.

Ten minutes to Pier (yes I used the walkalators to help speed me up, but nevertheless, that’s decent time)
Checked into the First class lounge and made a dash to the noodle bar, as it was already 13:40 and I had 20 minutes at the most to make it to the gate. In the Wing, especially in the first class Haven section, the staff are so familiar with my special noodle bar order that one of the server captains even has a name for it. Basically it’s the soft hand made Dan Dan noodles, in the wonton noodle soup – he calls it my Won-Dan noodle. Anyway, it took 5 minutes of explaining a two bowls before they got it right, of which I consumed both in any case.

Some prefer The Pier because it more cozy. I personally find the vast openeness of The Wing much better and love the way the design integrates with the architecture of the space. I also find the service in The Wing better.

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 3, 09 at 11:12 am
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Old Dec 3, 09, 9:26 am
  #7  
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Location: Amman
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Part 3: Hkg-bom cx 685 f - regional flight of a lifetime

Now, time to go. I gathered my belongings and since I was already in the Business class section at the noodle bar. I took the escalator up which brought me within feet of the gate. Boarding appeared like it was completed, but I wasn’t worried since I was sure a few of my brethren and their wives would be lost in duty free purchases and rushing to the gate till the last minute. Fortunately I was right and there were at least 15 people left to board. I took my sharp left turn at the aerobridge and a very worried senior purser was staring at her watch and looking up the aisle for her one First class passenger – me! “Mr. avm2806! She proclaimed in excitement!”, I saw her face and replied with an “oh no! it’s you!” She laughed, and I told her now I wasn’t going to get to watch any of the movies I had saved for this flight. It was my favourite cabin crew across all airlines. A wonderful Indian lady who has been flying for CX for quite some time and stood out because she remembered me, by name, 4 years after a flight from BKK-BOM with her where I had written her a stellar comment card for an outstanding performance. I saw her on a HKG-SIN flight 4 years hence and she remembered my name, my favourite drink and every bit of praise I had shared with CX about her. We have had the pleasure of flying together a few times after that, and stayed in touch and become good friends. I always tell her that if I ever started my own airlines (don’t we all wish!), that she would be in charge of all cabin crew. Any how, I was escorted to my favourite seat 2K and where I spent a few minutes settling down and then it was conversation and catching up until doors were shut and the safety briefing started. I was also privileged to be the only first class passenger on board this flight. I was quite full, so requested to wait to dine, and before I knew it we were off. One thing I love about the CX seat and cushion is that with the width, I can prop myself up against the side wall and be facing the window directly for take off (sort of like a reverse herringbone effect). I bid CLK farewell as the majestic 74A roared into the skies. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of flying on the A380, but I have to say it’s going to be tough to beat the nose and upper-deck of 747-400.
Shortly after take off, the Thai ISM appeared to welcome me on board. For a CX ISM she was quite surly and reserved, but it didn’t matter because I had an excellent Purser and even better Senior Purser on board, and my interaction with her was short and sweet. I spent the rest of the next hour in the galley, chatting away, until finally my dear SP managed to convince that she had to start spoiling me, because we had only under four hours to go and she knew how much I loved the Caviar – oh dear, as if the last flight wasn’t bad enough. I enquired if the Krug was loaded on board, because of the conflict between the menu and the winelist, but unfortunately the answer was an apologetic no. Never mind – I decided to stick with sparkling water for a while. I can’t count how many plates of caviar came my way, to my seat, while I was standing in the galley – it was like being showered with this black pearls. My friend was having some soup, while we were chatting in the galley and insisted I try some – I said that the thought of green pea soup wasn’t very tempting, but never the less I tried a big in a paper cup, and found it revolting. The salad which followed was excellent.
I also spent time in the galley while my main meal was being prepared, and being delicately plated. I proclaimed that it was all going to become a mess in my bowels in any case, but I was then scolded jokingly and reminded how that any plate coming out of my friends galley had to look a certain way. I had the Pomfret for my main, which was actually very good, and upon insistence had to try a little of lamb, which was also good. I took a break, and decided to skip the cheesecake which didn’t look very appetizing and got some Haagen dazs from business class, which was served with wonderful raspberry and vanilla sauces and fresh fruits. It was then time to burn some calories so I went on a guided tour of the whole aircraft, up down, back, front – the entire cabin, including EY where I tried the new shell seats. I haven’t felt more at home on an aircraft – it really felt like my domain – the pleasures of being the only FCL passenger with exquisite CX crew.
Upon our return, I was told that I have to try the Italian red along which I consented to, it was exquisite, second only to the Tignanello with CX used to serve on longhaul F. Some cheese came with the wine, which I barely managed to get half way through. I was barely in my seat for the entire flight, as most of it was spent in the galley chatting away with a very good friend – there isn’t a better way to fly.
Anyway, when the snack service started in BC an hour before I arrival I was offered more food, including Caviar, which for the first time in my memory I have ever declined. The indulgence had crossed a point and it was time to come back to reality.
It’s hard to explain why this experience was so good – it was one of those cases where you just had to have been there. There is nothing like feeling completely and totally at home – no formalities, no hang ups – just complete and total relaxation.

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 5, 09 at 6:25 am
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Old Dec 3, 09, 9:27 am
  #8  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
Cx 685 f menu / winelist

Lunch

Caviar, Balik & Champagne
Caviar and Balik salmon "Tsar Nicolaj" with Krug grand cuvee (although none was on board - they had the Duetz per winelist)

Starters
Green pea soup

Traditional caesar salad

Main Courses
Pan-fried pomfret fillet with premium soya sauce
egg fried rice
pak choy and oyster mushrooms

Lamb Shoulder rack confit
sauteed potato, savoy cabbage with carrot

Palak paneer
jeera pulao, aloo gobhi
Cottage Cheese with spinach
cumin basmati rice, potatoes and cauliflower
served with Indian style spicy pickles and yoghurt


Cheese and Dessert

Cheese selection

Fresh seasonal fruit

Cherry cheesecake
served with vanilla sauce

Tea and Coffee

Pralines


Refreshment
Ciabatta with smoked chicken and onion relish

Tea and Coffee

Pralines


Winelist

First Class

Champagne
Cuvee William Deutz Brut 1998

White wines
Helen's Hill Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2006
Henri de Villamont Meursault 2005

Red Wines
Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2001, 4emme Cru Classe
Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2002
Castelgiocondo, Ripe al Convento, Brunello di Montalcino
Riserva DOCG 2000

Port
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port

Apertifs and Cocktails
Campari ~ Martini Rosso ~ Martini Extra Dry ~ La Ina Dry Sherry ~ Harveys Bristol Cream Sweet Sherry ~ Gordons Dry Gin ~ Stolichnaya Russian Vodka ~ Bloody Mary ~ Screwdriver

Whiskies
Chivas Regal 12 Years Old ~ Johnnie Walker Blue Label ~ Canadian Club ~ Gentleman Jack Bourbon ~ Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve Single Malt Whisky

Cognac
Tesseron Lot 76 XO Tradition

Liqueurs
Grand Marnier ~ Cointreau ~ Drambuie ~ Kahlua ~ Baileys Irish Cream

Beer
International Selection

CX Signature Drinks
Oriental Breeze
Cloud Nine

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 4, 09 at 11:10 am
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Old Dec 3, 09, 9:28 am
  #9  
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Bom-maa 9w 487 c

By now I was pretty exhausted, but in no way regretting that I ended my AONE3 in BOM and benefited from that previous flight (I had the option flying straight to MAA that night on a CX A330 with 2 cabin regional config - I actually ended up getting home sooner with this routing via BOM).
My bags were among the first to arrive and with a shorter flying time and on schedule departure we touched down 25 minutes early and doors were opened by 18:18 instead of the schedule 18:30. I was safely booked on 9W469 which departed BOM at 21:35, but it was a public holiday (republic day) and I was worried that the flight would be cancelled. The minute I saw my two bags on the carousel, I called my travel agent at asked him to switch me to 9W487 that departed BOM at 20:20. 9W 469 is usually operated by an international 73H, meaning new seats and inflight entertainment, but I was too tired to wait around for the short domestic hop. (FYI now the former 9W487 operates as 9W 2302 a Jet Konnect flight). After clearing customs I went to check if the Jet counter was open at the international airport for domestic connecting PAX - no luck, since they didn't have any arrivals at that hour themselves. I also enquired with the security about when the last bus to the domestic terminal had come by, which was 5 minutes ago. Knowing that the wait would be more 25 more minutes, I decided to spring the Rs.350 for a Cab that would most likely have me there in 15 minutes. Another connecting passenger from the same flight, who was actually booked or 487 was trying to understand this whole system by talking to the ground staff. I explained it to him, offered him a ride, but I think he was quite nervous - so I pointed him in the direction of the growing queue for the bus.
30 minutes from touch down and I was in a Cab headed for the domestic terminal. A quick call the the Jet Mumbai PR unit (which is never as efficient as Chennai, takes them forever to answer the phone, sometimes they don't even pick up), and finally as I was approaching the DOM terminal, I managed to secure my "concierge service" through the airport. For those of you unfamiliar with Jet, they provide what is termed as a PR service for their CIP's and International First Class passengers - where they contact you ahead of your flight and assist you from car door to car door, which is a huge help given the state of some Indian airports. BOM international and MAA are my favourite teams, especially MAA since at the peak of my travel they see me twice a week.
Check-in was smooth, my boarding was waiting for me at the kerb and bag tags printed ahead of time (even though my tags were already through to MAA, they printed fresh ones to avoid confusion). The check-in agent gestured to the weight of my luggage to the PR supervisor who had greeted, and before she could get a manager to waive the excess baggage, I produced my connecting "piece concept" ticket, which Jet honors on most fares. This meant I was allowed 32kgs X 2 pcs as per CX and my rollaboard which had duty free liquids was accepted as part of 20 additional kgs as a 9W Plat. Saved them the trouble, which they were happy about since they hadn't even mentioned excess baggage to me, I just noticed them worrying on how to handle the situation.
I was whisked to the lounge inside security, which is now closed thanks to the arrival of Jet Konnect and the demise of lounge benefits for most 9W domestic flights and told that someone would come get me before departure. Boarding was annoucned and one of the lounge dragons came to usher me out, just when her supervisor came scurrying behind and exclaimed "no! no! this is mr. avm2806, he will be assisted on board later." I love the way Jet treats me on ground! Just then as I was watching from the banister to the boarding below I saw my fellow CX flyer come running towards the gate - he had made it, barely - serves him right for doubting my good intentions.
A minute later my escort and a porter arrived and we were off to the gate, the bus and the aircraft. As I boarded the bus, my fellow passenger from the last flight noticed all the attention was giving me and started chatting. He explained it was his first time in India and he was nervous, and I told him not too worry, I too wouldn't accept rides from strangers in strange countries I had just arrived in (which is true). We exchanged business cards and I wished him a pleasant flight.
I settled in 2C, and was offered a much needed cold towel, and some fresh lime water. I was quite dehydrated by this point. The crew came around with menus, which I returned without even looking for temptation given the past 30 odd hours of Cathay gluttony, requested for a diet coke after take off and started rummaging through my bag for eye shades. The PR supervisor who brought me on board came by my seat and wished me a pleasant flight, and I thanked her for her help. Ipod in hand and eye shades in the seat pocket I flipped through the inflight magazine, and awaited departure. A few flights had been cancelled given the public holiday so ATC wasn't a problem at all. We still pushed back at 20:30, but were assured of an on time arrival.
I must haved nodded off because I awoke to the roar of the 737-800's engines and we were off. The IF Executive made his announcments and the seat belt sign went off, and the 6 passengers were being taken good care of. Tables being dressed, dinner orders taken etc etc. I was still waiting for my drink when I saw the trays coming out and realized that they expected me to wait till all meals were served. I pressed the call bell and this time the senior crew came out and I repeated my request for a diet coke and some water and asked for it as soon as possible as I wanted to sleep. Within two minutes a whole can, a glass with ice and a large bottle of water were put down on my tray table. I thanked him and also requested not to be disturbed this as close to landing as possible, sipped my drink, but my playlist of new songs together and slept. Before I new it we were on the ground. The IF executive came by to check up on me during taxi and said that he had taken the liberty of bringing my seat upright for landing as I was fast asleep and he didnt want to disturb me. This is often the case with Jet on all flights, a mix of senior outstanding crew who really know what they are doing, and could hold their own against the best of CX and SQ, and then a bunch of completely inexperienced kids who don't know how to think beyond their basic training.
I was met on arrival by a senior executive of the MAA team, a familiar face, who had a loader waiting to carry my hand bags down from the stair case. Bags were among the first out, thanks to the Purple Priority and Blue MAAS tags. Within 15 minutes I was in my car, headed home! What a great way to start the year!

Last edited by avm2806; Dec 4, 09 at 11:42 am
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Old Dec 5, 09, 1:35 am
  #10  
 
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What an excellent read - thank you for sharing!!
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Old Dec 5, 09, 2:18 am
  #11  
 
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Another great report. Your descriptions of the interaction between you and the CX F crew sound like a collage of my experiences on CX in F.
A great CX crew beats any other crew of any airline I have flown with.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 5:21 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: LAX; CLE
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Does CX offer different service levels for paid F vs award F? I can't complain, obviously, but I was certainly never escorted through security at YYZ or JFK.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 6:01 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by johnnybgood3 View Post
Does CX offer different service levels for paid F vs award F? I can't complain, obviously, but I was certainly never escorted through security at YYZ or JFK.
I have never been escorted at JFK either, probably because they have a dedicated First/Business security line at T7 JFK, and BA are the handling agents. I also think I was assisted at SFO more because of the mess up with my check-in, as a means of immediate service recovery - best way to deal with it right?
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Old Dec 5, 09, 6:27 am
  #14  
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done!

Ok so no its now finally all done - my next project a more recent flight from two weeks ago
JFK-FRA on SQ F redemption
FRA-MAA on LH F redemption (including my first visit to the FCT)
Let me know what you think so far!
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Old Dec 5, 09, 6:52 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 74
Excellent trip report. That section up front is indeed a totally different world!
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