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T-Bird76
02-18-2007, 06:08 PM
Normally I donít write these for every business trip I take, I mean how exciting or interesting can a trip from LGA to DFW be? This past week however I was fortunate it enough to enjoy the way Asian culture views air travel. I had some business in Vancouver and decided to take the advice of my friend Mr. Ron Peel to look into flying Cathay Pacific Airways, Iím glad I did. Iíll say before going into details that this is a world-class top-notch airline that still knows what the word service means.

Flight details

CX888
JFK-YVR
2/14/07
Rolls Royce Powered 747-400
Coach Class seat 66K

http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/BP1.jpg

Well to begin my Valentines evening was spent with a coworker in T7 at JFK, certainly not the most romantic Valentineís Iíve had but work is work. Itís been sometime since Iíve done the international thing at JFK during the big evening push so being in T7 with the crowds really took me back.

Check-in was very quick as there was really no line to speak of and the check-in agents were very professional and efficient. I was impressed they used my name as many times as they did and they even said, ďenjoy your flight.Ē Canít tell you the last time I heard that AA, WN, B6, and USÖ. Security was a breeze at T7 even with the crowds we were through in less then five minutes, the new fast pass check points were there as well. I didnít witness anyone using them.

We decided to grab some dinner at one of the restaurants in the gate area. The quality of the food was very good, infact Iíd rate the service and taste of the food similar to Ciao Baby on Long Island. Upon completion of our dinner we headed over to the gate to discover what would become a long night, our flight was delayed.

Not that I was surprised by the delay at all since the weather was crappy but I was a bit surprised that JFK canít find alternate means of deplaning people. Our plane was within full view of T7 but had no place to park because of some doggy British 747 using our gate. Our plane sat for three hours until the BA bird pushed back. We finally boarded at 11:20 almost 2 hours behind our original departure time. The boarding process was very fast for such a large plane and the FAís promptly greeted us at the door and directed us to our seat. As I was walking down the left aisle one FA took my coat escorted me to my seat and said she would hang my coat up for me.

I had an entire row to myself, which made the flight even more comfortable. The plane itself was less then half full so everyone was able to spread out. The seats on Cathay are very comfortable with a fantastic recline, with plenty of blankets and pillows already on your seat to use.

http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/cabin2.jpg

This cabin was the older coach cabin but still was very nice and more then adequate for the journey. Each seat has PTVs with an ample choice of movies and music; I rather enjoyed the Asian TV shows.

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To make a long departure story short we sat on the plane for four hours as cargo was slowly loaded one container at a time. Oh if anyone works for Evergreen ground handling at JFK, you guys are a joke, have a snow ball fight on your time not mine. I was looking out my window saying to myself, they still canít have to load all that, oh yes they did. The empty seat next to me kept showing the estimated arrival time and before you knew it we were estimated to arrive into YVR at 4:45am.

Itís been awhile, more then 10 years since Iíve been on a 747 and my god is she a plane. Everything about her is simply fantastic. I for some reason remembered the take off and landing to be more noticeable but she ascended off of 31L like the gentile lady she is. Even when we landed she came in so soft a newborn would have never woken from the arms of their mother from the impact of the landing. I really canít get into the onboard service going out to YVR because the min we left the ground I went to sleep and work up as we were coming into YVR. I can tell you though from what my collegue reported they had the full meal service, snack, and everything else as the return flight that youíll read below.

Flight details (Return)

CX889
JFK-YVR
2/17/07
Pratt and Whitney Powered 747-400
Coach Class seat 64K

http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/BP2.jpg

Iíll not spend time boring you with details about the airport and what not with the return and begin directly with the onboard service Cathay provided which I was wide awake to enjoy.

Like on the trip coming out the airport and boarding experience was fantastic. Again an FA took my jacket showed me to my seat and then returned with a glass of water for me. This flight was totally empty, over 200 free seats, the entire back of the plane was mine, and it was fantastic! Iíll say Cathay has some of the best-looking FAís Iíve seen, they are breathtaking. Iím glad Hong Kong can be selective in who they hire.

http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/seat1.jpg
http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/cabin1.jpg

Just after take off our service begun with drink and snack service. I had a glass of white wine, which was free J. The snack consisted of fruit and peanuts and was served on a small bamboo try, yes this is coach. After the snack service the FAís handed out warm towels for our pleasure, again yes this is coach. After collecting the towels we were handed menus with a choice of three entrees for lunch. Lunch was more like dinner with the choices we had. I had the braised beef with vegetables, mashed potatoes, potato salad with sushi, lemon cheesecake, bread and butter, gin sing hot tea, and finally a smart offering of cookies. The presentation of the food was very nice and served on a bamboo tray.

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http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/food1.jpg

During the meal service the FAís which I noticed donít walk but rather move in a hurried pace up the aisles to ensure everyone is taken care of made sure our glasses were never empty and as soon as we were done eating they removed our tray. About an hour after we ate they came around again offering us tea and coffee with an English biscuit cookie as well as other spirits and aperitifs. I endluged in a rather nice Cognac.

I once again had an entire row to myself and lounged out with my head on the aisle seat so I was positioned to see the PTV as well as enjoy the view out my window. The view infact was the winglet dead center in my horizon, doesnít get better then that. About three hours into flight they came around with the in-flight sales cart with a number of duty free offerings for purchase but I passed.

http://www.nycaviation.com/hosting/ptv1.jpg
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Upon landing in JFK our trip came to an end but the experience Cathay Pacific provided both on the outbound and return trip was something not to be forgotten. Their coach product is better then the domestic first class products of most US airlines. Service still means something on Cathay Pacific and Iím looking forward to flying with them again in a few weeks time.

Iberia A340-600
02-18-2007, 06:24 PM
Excellent trip report Tommy, thanks for posting it!

Was your flight on the way back B-HKF or B-HKD?

LGA777
02-18-2007, 06:59 PM
Tom. Amazing report on, as you said an amazing airline. I am really glad you chose to fly Cathay and appreciated the difference in service compared to US carriers. Very sorry you missed the service going out but I am sure the 4-5 hours sleep you got made a big difference while working the next day. Glad you got to enjoy the Asian beauties, and your photos and menu scans came out great, and I for one appreciate the trouble you went to do a First Class Trip Report ! In your photo of your meal is that actually a REAL glass I think I see on the tray ? if so pretty amazing for these days. Sounds like you chose CX for your second YVR trip, hope you get to enjoy at least some of the service Westbound !

Great Job Tom

Ron Peel

T-Bird76
02-18-2007, 07:05 PM
Excellent trip report Tommy, thanks for posting it!

Was your flight on the way back B-HKF or B-HKD?

We were on KF on the way back.

Oh and Ron yes that is real glass, and the red cup was real ceramic porcelain to. Interestingly enough most of the people on this flight got off in YVR and got on in YVR. I thought more people would be going to Hong Kong but that's not the case.

LGA777
02-18-2007, 07:32 PM
I think most of the passengers that fly CX889 and CX888 between JFK-HKG are overflow when the nonstop is full. I think part of the reason that they kept both is for cargo, as I believe the non-stop is restricted on what it can carry due to the fuel load and weight and balance. CX actually has two daily flights between YVR and HKG, currently a 744 and 343. As many of you know Vancouver has a large Asian population, and many of the Chinese immigrated from Hong Kong, hence it's very good market, both passenger and cargo, for Cathay !

Regards

LGA777

Alex T
02-18-2007, 07:38 PM
Excellent report and pics, shows real service.

Will definetly have to try it out!

Alex

nwafan20
02-18-2007, 10:49 PM
So wait, you flew an Asian carrier from the US to Canada? How does that work? They got the operating rights for that flight? British Airways flies IAH-DTW-LHR-DTW-IAH but they don't sell tickets on the IAH-DTW and DTW-IAH flights because they legally can't.

Very interesting, great report, and sounds like great service!!

Iberia A340-600
02-18-2007, 10:54 PM
So wait, you flew an Asian carrier from the US to Canada? How does that work? They got the operating rights for that flight? British Airways flies IAD-DTW-LHR-DTW-IAD but they don't sell tickets on the IAD-DTW and DTW-IAD flights because they legally can't.

Very interesting, great report, and sounds like great service!!

Some airlines have rights (not sure of the specific name) that allow them to sell tickets on flights like that.

For example you can fly JAL from JFK to GRU but you can't fly Qantas from JFK to LAX.

Alex T
02-18-2007, 10:57 PM
Technically Foreign Airlines cannot sell a DOMESTIC TO DOMESTIC segment in the US..

This was not a DOMESTIC TO DOMESTIC, this was a DOMESTIC to INTL Which makes it different.


Correct me if im wrong but thats what I understood.

Alex

nwafan20
02-18-2007, 10:59 PM
Ahh, ok, thanks for the info Alex!

mirrodie
02-18-2007, 11:01 PM
Excellent trip report!


I am now sold on flying on CX the next time we head out to Seattle! Anytime I can take an non-US carrier, I'm there and this trip report says why!


It's a win-win. A great way to head out to Seattle, great service and AAdvantage miles!

Mateo
02-18-2007, 11:48 PM
NWAfan: IA*H*. The British flight from Detroit has the additional leg to Houston.

Certain airlines (country A flag carriers) have rights to sell tickets between country B and C, and some don't - I believe it's a function of any bilaterals in place. I believe it's allowable between the US and Canada, since LY was able to sell LAX-YYZ legs and Cathay, of course, sells JFK-YVR. This isn't always the case - South African can't sell the IAD-ACC part of their flight that eventually goes to Jo'burg, and Ethiopian can't sell the IAD-FCO leg of their flight that terminates in Addis. Air India, however, can sell the leg to Paris, and Singapore sells FRA out of JFK, and sold AMS when they ran the 1-stop from EWR.

And, quick technical question - this flight does NOT pre-clear US Customs/Immigration in Vancouver, correct? Also, do the HKG-JFK through pax remain on the plane during the stopover in Vancouver?

nwafan20
02-18-2007, 11:53 PM
Ah, thanks for the correction, for some reason I thought it was IAD.

Very weird setup going on. I wish They were allowed to sell tickets domestically, because I would, without a doubt book the 763 from DTW-IAH!

Matt Molnar
02-19-2007, 04:24 AM
Air India, however, can sell the leg to Paris...
I don't think AI flies to Paris from the US, but they do sell tix for JFK-LHR, often significantly cheaper than competitors.

Mateo
02-19-2007, 12:05 PM
AI191 goes BOM-CDG-EWR. AI144 is the reverse. Same deal applies with selling very cheap tix on the Paris-Newark leg.

LGA777
02-19-2007, 02:59 PM
Although not on the same par of service as Cathay Philippines flies LAS-YVR with the A-340 and they do sell the LAS-YVR sector. There is at least 1 TR on a.net from one of these flights but as it is a much shorter segment hence not as elaborate a service as Cathay.

Cheers

LGA777

CX777
02-21-2007, 11:30 PM
Tom., I see you have experience the Cathay hospitality. This excellent trip report brought back the fond memories of the same 888/889 I took twice over the last 8 years to HKG. I must say CX is always consistently in top three for the level of service in any class. I recommend Cathay's Asia Pass. We took 14 flights in 19 days flying all the CX fleet and making stops in RJAA, RJBB, RJOO, WSSS, VTBD and ofcorse VHHH. (in 2004 it was $999, but now the pass costs 1299). Lastly, its probably very difficult now, but before 2001, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride on jump seat on landings at Kai Tak and at YVR. The professionalism of crew is one of the best I have seen over the last 2 decades.
Raj

JetBlueAirwaysFan
03-27-2007, 07:22 PM
Well, I don't think that when my family does this in July on Air Canada, their A319 will be nearly as luxurious from JFK-YVR and back.
Atleast we get Delta's Boeing 757-200 transcontinental service from ATL-YVR and back to ATL before connecting back home to Florida.

VikHathi
03-30-2007, 01:03 AM
If you like Cathay service - you have to check out their first-class/B-class lounge in HKG. The food offerings, as well as udon bar are something to write home about. Their b-class service on A340's is really sweet too.

They are mileage partners with AA - so they come in handy when cranking out upgrades.

But if you really want to experience service - a notch higher is Singapore Airlines. Pricier to the orient generally, but an uncompromising quality of service is to be had.

Vik

T-Bird76
03-30-2007, 07:04 AM
If you like Cathay service - you have to check out their first-class/B-class lounge in HKG. The food offerings, as well as udon bar are something to write home about. Their b-class service on A340's is really sweet too.

They are mileage partners with AA - so they come in handy when cranking out upgrades.

But if you really want to experience service - a notch higher is Singapore Airlines. Pricier to the orient generally, but an uncompromising quality of service is to be had.

Vik

I tried using my status and miles to upgrade on Cathay but American and Cathay said their agreement doesn't allow for AA Elite or AA miles to be used to upgrade on Cathay.

VikHathi
03-30-2007, 12:52 PM
True. Sorry for the confusion. My brother is a platinum AA card holder - he may not get a seat upgrade using his AA mileage on Cathay, but he does get lounge benefits (for 2 people) at any of the aiports that Cathay serves. Next time you fly with Cathay and you are a plat card holder definitely ask at Check-In about lounge previlidges even if you purchased a economy seat assignment.

Also full miles earned on AA can be redeemed on Cathay seats for any class. (perhaps not upgrades from a previously purchased econ seat) that is my understanding.

Once they were not running completely full in Biz-class they upgraded us from econ (no miles required). But that is a rare instance as most flights to Asia are packed solid.

-Vik