In June, I went to Singapore with Cathay Pacific for a short family escape before working full time for my summer job. It was a Friday, so we took the last flight of the day out of Hong Kong.
As a Silver Marco Polo Member, I went to the newly opened the Pier Business Class lounge to check it out. I did not have much time, though. The lounge is well-appointed, offers decent wine and dine experience, and is not crowded – despite rushing through the lounge, I look forward to my next visit, which, hopefully would be imminent.
The Bar area
Made to order dining area, like the one featured in Haneda
With little time, I opted for some champagne, as a celebratory toast to this birthday trip
And some plane spotting by the window
Some more champagne and a glass of mojito as I browsed through some magazines. The mojito is as good as the one in the Bridge, not bad, not bad. The plus side is that this lounge is infinitely less crowded than the Bridge on my previous two visits.
Soon enough, it was time for boarding. I trekked all the way back to gate 29 for my flight. It took around 15 minutes on foot and it was a good exercise to walk off the alcohol. As I approached the gate at around 8 pm, boarding was well under way and final call was announced.
I took my time to snap a few shots, still:
Green card members are no longer allowed to board with Business Class, resulting in a much shorter Business Class lane, and a long Premium Economy lane despite it not being offered on the flight today… The hierarchy… To be honest, had I not been seated in the bulkhead and thus in need of the overhead bins, I wouldn’t mind to be last to board the plane
The old long-haul seats, now configured onto Cathay’s regional fleet. Uncomfortable with its minimal padding and fixed shells. Surprised to see pillows on board but blankets are only provided upon requests.
View from my seat – 39A
The captain came onto PA just ahead of the scheduled departure time, informing us of a flight time of 3 hours 11 minutes and a late pushback due to air traffic control. We eventually pushed back at 20:45 and took off just before 21:00. The inflight entertainment system was turned on after the safety demonstration video so people kept themselves entertained.
The service started with a drink tray with beer, orange juice, apple juice and water. I asked for a Gin and Tonic, which was delivered to me by the purser very quickly. The Cathay packaged peanuts as usual.
Dinner choices were spicy fish rice or vegetarian pasta. I chose the latter and suffice to say, it looked better than it tasted (or it tasted terrible)
Best part of the meal goes to the dessert:
The legroom of 39A on a regional 773 is the saving grace of the flight
So the question I aim to answer here is how does it fare with Singapore Airlines’s Economy Class which I reviewed earlier?
- In terms of catering, Singapore Airlines wins by a mile. The main was barely edible on this flight, and Singapore Airlines has a wider range of beverages on offer, including Singapore Sling, mocktails and my favourite pineapple juice.
- In terms of seat comfort, while I had the luxury of the bulkhead seat on this flight, which has a legroom that can fare with Cathay’s regional Business Class, the lack of decent padding and the inability to recline do not attract me either, especially on a late flight like this (I have travelled on SQ865 and SQ871, both evening departures, for many times)
- In terms of inflight service, I was generally pleased with Cathay for this sector. My special requests were noted and delivered by the purser. Even though Cathay Pacific marketed its service as straight from the heart, I did not feel that enough. However, Singapore Airlines’s crew was quite distant the last time I flew them, so I would put them to a tie.
- In terms of inflight entertainment, both airlines feature a good AVOD product.
- In terms of lounges, I think Cathay has a better infrastructure in HKG, the airport being its hub.
- Why Cathay this time then? As I mentioned, I was annoyed at Singapore’s lack of recognition of Star Alliance elites (me being a Star Gold) and Cathay did better by giving me priority boarding and luggage; and Cathay has a cheaper price.
I think Singapore Airlines provides more comfort on this route, but I would not hesitate to take Cathay if the schedule and the price are right.