TRANSFER IN HEATHROW
Transferring at Heathrow has become much easier of late. Once inside T5 I simply follow the signs for flight connections. I take the escalators down one floor to street level and a few minutes later the shuttle arrives that will be taking me to T3.
The transfer takes about 10 minutes to complete. Once I’m through security in T3 I reach the Cathay Pacific counter only to find that it is closed. Fortunately though, there’s a sign explaining that Business Class passengers can go straight to the lounge and check-in there. Which is exactly what I do.
Date: 26. November 2012
From: London Heathrow
To: Hong Kong
Airline: Cathay Pacific Airways
Aircraft: B 777-300
Cabin: Business Class
The Cathay Pacific lounge is excellent. Apart from a good selection of cold and warm meal options, there is also a noodle bar that makes noodle soup to order. Other than that, the view is excellent. So I order a bowl of wonton noodles and park myself by the window to watch the amazing action of Heathrow.
About an hour or so before my flight is scheduled to leave, I exit the lounge. I need to stretch my legs and move around a bit. Besides, I’m not that familiar with T3, but I do remember that distances to the gates can be long.
When I finally arrive at the gate, there are already quite a few people sitting there. I manage to take a few pictures of my aircraft and then already boarding begins. First Passengers with special needs and children are boarded. After that it’s the premium passengers. But the ground crew seem to be in a bit of a rush and before all the Business Class passengers have settled in, the long stream of Economy Class passengers begins filing through the cabin.
And what a beautiful cabin it is! Cathay Pacific has done a great job with the new Business Class product. It has a very private feel to it and the seat itself is simply amazing and offers a level of privacy that is really quite impressive. In particular, what I like is that there is loads of personal storage space. And the seat turns into a very comfortable bed as well!
This paragraph might also have been named ‘refreshing towels galore’. God, I don’t know how many of the things I’m given during the course of this flight. I stopped counting at some point.
The cabin crew working the Business Class section are all Chinese and female. They are very charming and attentive. First the cabin manager comes to introduce herself and wishes me a good flight. She also asks me how to properly pronounce my name – I get that quite a bit, except on Air Malta. Quite evidently she spreads the word because the crew make a point of addressing every passenger by name, and hence forth they all pronounce my name properly.
Throughout the flight the crew pay a lot of attention to detail, during the meal service I am asked if I would like my drink refilled every time the crew clear away the dishes or bring the next course.
After the hot towels comes the welcome drink – orange juice…
…followed by the distribution of the menu and wine list…
…and the vanity kit and a bottle of still water for the night.
The meal experience begins with a small bowl of warm mixed nuts and a drink, served as an aperitif after departure. I try one of Cathay Pacific’s signature drinks – the non-alcoholic Oriental Breeze – and it is fabulous. It’s a mix of sour plum tea, cranberry juice, honey, a few other things I can’t remember now and a few drops of rosewater. To top it off, there are dried rosebuds floating on the surface of the drink.
All on all, the meal is quite tasty except for the starter:
Confit of duck with a tomato relish and orange jelly. I don’t much like duck because I find the taste a bit overpowering.
The first course is served with a small but tasty salad on the side and a balsamico vinaigrette.
With that I have two slices of delicious garlic bread.
For the main course I choose the chicken biryani with a spicy mint raita. The presentation may not look like much but the taste is really excellent. It’s quite spicy too!
The main course is followed by an assortment of English and French cheeses, served with crackers and port.
There is also a black forest cake, but I skip that. And then I go off to bed and have a really good night’s rest.
I manage to sleep for about six hours on this flight. To be honest the temperature in the cabin is just a bit too low for me. But at least Cathay Pacific give you a nice thick duvet to cover up with, which of course is far more substantial than just the blanket you get on many of the European carriers these days.
THE SECOND MEAL
Six hours later I lie awake wrapped up in the cosiness of my thick duvet. I’m enjoying this! And then it’s already time for the second service, breakfast this time. But not before I get another hot towel!
Coffee with a choice of orange juice, apple juice or a banana and strawberry smoothie.
A plate of fresh fruit that have remained amazingly juicy, even after a flight of 11 hours.
A selection of cereals and yoghurts.
A bakery basket with preserves.
A choice of three hot dishes: I have the cheese omelette with potatoes, grilled tomato, mushrooms and an pork and apple sausage.
Once the meal is cleared away, I busy myself with repacking all my stuff that I spread out during the course of the flight. And then we land, but not before receiving one last hot towel.
The weather in Hong Kong is really bad. It’s raining quite strongly and visibility is very low. The sea only appears from under the clouds a few minutes before we touch down.
And with that my first experience with Cathay Pacific in 18 years comes to an end. I shouldn’t have waited so long. Next flight: Hong Kong to Bangkok, also with Cathay Pacific.