Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope y’all have had a great vacation, whether you were in the snow or in the sun.
I’ve had an amazing holiday in Bangkok, which was made even better when Cathay Pacific upgraded me from economy to business class on the outbound. The flight there was the typical Cathay regional flight (which is to say that it was mediocre).
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 Business Class Cabin
Whatever I was doing to score that upgrade on the outbound obviously didn’t work on the return, where I didn’t get a single upgrade, even when premium economy was half empty. Damn!
But hey, I can’t really complain when it’s in Cathay Pacific’s excellent new economy seat which sadly may be replaced by a newer, significantly inferior product.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seats
The flight was really really interesting…to say the least. It was quite possibly the weirdest and most atypical flight on Cathay Pacific that I’ve ever taken, and I’ve been on quite a few. In my true style, I’m going to do a quick little list…
1. All Male Economy Crew
There wasn’t a single female cabin crew in the entire Economy section. The red ties dominated the service inside the cabin, which I didn’t really mind at all. I’ve often found that male cabin crew working in economy are somewhat cold and “fake” in their service delivery. On this flight, 3/5 of the crew fitted the stereotype, with stony faces and lighting fast, robot like mannerisms.
Here’s a sample conversation between me and a cabin crew member.
Me: “The chicken please.”
Me: “Apple juice please.”
Forget service from the heart, this is service from the CPU.
2. Cabin Crew Please Be Seated
Cathay Pacific pilots often make an announcement telling cabin crew to be seated, which is normally done immediately before take off. Unfortunately, the crew members seated in doors L3 and R3 didn’t give two sh*ts about that. By the time that the captain made the announcement for cabin crew to be seated for landing, they were already in their jumpseats, fanning themselves with immigration cards…
During landing, there was a cabin crew member that was responsible for all duty free sales. After the “thirty minutes till landing” announcement from the captain, the crew member responsible for duty free looked really worried and started rushing to give out purchases and return credit cards. At this time, the rest of the economy cabin crew sat on their asses while the crew member responsible for duty free kept hurling duty free purchases back at people. So much for teamwork.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin
3. The Safety Video
This isn’t really something specifically pertaining to the flight, but it was just something that I particularly noticed on this flight.
Aside from the fact that the “blow into the tube” part gets any teenage kid (excluding myself, ahem) giddy with excitement and giggles, Cathay Pacific also translated their English into Cantonese pretty erroneously.
When demonstrating the use of oxygen masks, there is a line that goes something like “oxygen will still flow, even if the bag does not inflate.” Unfortunately, Cathay translated that incorrectly into a line, when translated back to English that informs passengers that “Even if no air is supplied to the bag, oxygen will still flow.”
Really Cathay? Get your sh*t together. You’re based in Hong Kong, and you can’t even translate English into Cantonese properly?
4. Rice or Rice
Cathay Pacific is renowned for their inflight food, with dining that is at least half edible to a large audience. I’ve often criticised Cathay for skimping on offering a good Western option, and instead serving variations of different pastas.
It seems like they’ve listened to customer feedback with their terrible western options…and have stopped offering those pastas altogether. Instead, we’re now being served two Asian dishes, both with rice. C’mon, when we complain, what we wanted were some Western dishes with protein in it, not more Asian fare.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Dinner
5. Sit Down!
As soon as the fasten seatbelt sign for passengers was turned on, a wave of passengers rushed to the lavs, and filled them all. Those who weren’t lucky to secure a potty were ushered back to their seats, while cabin crew members asked those in the toilets to return to their seats.
Did I say “asked?” Oops, I meant to say (borderline) shouting messages to those in the toilets. Here’s a sample conversation between a cabin crew member and a passenger.
FA: “Sir, you need to get out of the toilet!”
Passenger: “Sorry, can you wait?”
FA: “The seatbelt sign is on, please hurry up!”
Passenger: “Okay, please, I’ll be quick.”
FA: “Please be faster …”
*three seconds of silence*
FA: *starts knocking on the toilet door ten times* “Please hurry up!!!!”
Passenger: “Okay I’m coming out of the
Shortly after that, a passenger got out of his seat.
FA: *flailing his arms* “SIT DOWN PLEASE!”
Cathay Pacific A330-300 Economy Class Seat Belt Sign
6. A$$ Scratcher
When cabin crew are supposed to be pointing out the nearest exits of the aircraft in the safety demonstration, the crew member seated in my aisle did so…except he kept scratching his behind while pointing out the nearest exits. I didn’t really mean to notice this, but the least he could do was, at least, try to be slightly presentable when standing up in front of a hundred people.
Not this a$$…
7. Central Market at 38K Feet
I always assumed that the cabin crew training school would teach cabin crew to mind their tone of voice and their volume when speaking inside of the cabin, and at least try to be somewhat quiet inflight.
If they do, then the flight attendant working my aisle clearly missed that day of training, because he spoke really loudly. Really. Loudly. It was like I was being transported back to a market in Hong Kong. I’ve seen Easyjet cabin crew that speak softer than this dude during service.
Here’s a sample conversation with him.
Me: “Can I have a glass of water please?”
FA: “OK, SURE! DO YOU WANT A BOTTLE OF WATER OR DO YOU JUST WANT A CUP?”
It really was a pity, because he was really friendly, but his tone of voice kind of took me aback.
This was a prime example of well intentioned but poorly executed service. While I appreciate that they tried, this was some of the worst service I’d got on Cathay Pacific.
This is more on the side of management and training, as it comes down to the fact that the flight attendants were trying to be here for our safety. But with all that a$$-scratching, loud noises, toilet knocking and being down way before the aircraft was scheduled to land, this crew should be in for another few lessons.