Flying with Cathay Pacific – my experience in 2016

I had written this article are on the flight home after two weeks in the beautiful Japanese islands of Okinawa, where, in addition to beautiful beaches, I followed an itinerary on the footpath of history.
It was a longer-than-expected trip by one day because of the typhoon that halted all flights and forced me to postpone my return flight until the next day.
Precisely because of the typhoon, however, the return trip was not done with Cathay Pacific (only the first Okinawa-Hong Kong leg done with DragonAir), but with Lufhtansa.

Flying with Cathay Pacific – my experience

Certainly one of the aspects that pleased me most about flying in Economy Class of Cathay Pacific was the food.
I know for many people in-flight meals are almost torture, opening those little boxes where the food is all squished together, eating on a little table being careful about the movements so as not to tip everything over,…
And instead, I’m the type of person who when start smelling food in the air, completely wakes up, pauses the movie, closes the book and starts taking mental trips in my head betting on the look and taste of the meal.
Now, what I was going to eat I knew very well, thanks to the handy pamphlet handed out by the flight attendants just before takeoff, where the possible choices and the various meals that will be made and indicatively when they will be served are indicated.
Getting back to the reason I am so impressed and why I would recommend traveling with Cathay Pacific was the salmon. Oh yes, the accompaniment to the main course was a slice of smoked salmon with potatoes.
I love salmon and I had never had it served to me in flight in Economy Class.
Then, the main course was also very good, with the option to choose a vegetarian alternative at the time (I remind you, however, that you can indicate meal preferences for free already in your reservation on the airline’s website).
But salmon is not everything, because at the end of the meal, you will be served a delicious bowl of Haagen-Dazs ice cream!!!
Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve never had so much in-flight goodness, so you can understand my excitement!
And another thing I found super convenient is the water served in bottles, that way you can put it away to drink later without fear of bumping into the cup rest and spilling it.
Often even when you call the stewardesses to get water, it will be brought to you in a 250 ml bottle.
Then if during the flight you get not only thirsty but also peckish, you can have a nice little portion of instant noodles brought in addition to the classic simple snacks. Of course, I have tasted them and promoted them with flying colors 🙂
I would say that the food on Cathay Pacific flights is a huge plus point.
The Cathay Pacific Economy Class seats are average, spacious enough, and comfortable. I appreciated the slightly lower headrests than on other airlines (which are definitely more comfortable for me being short because I can get my head to the middle of the headrest without straining my back). For you other lanky people, rest assured, the headrest rises high enough for you too!
The TV screen, available in every seat, is entirely touch screen and it took me a little while to figure out how it worked, but once I figured it out it is more convenient than the screens attached to the remote controls.
The special feature of the aircraft on which I flew from Malpensa to Hong Kong is the “outside view,” i.e., the ability to see what is going on UNDER the plane-a genius gimmick!
The only jarring note, however, was the limited choice of recent movies, but it might be a good opportunity to train your language skills by watching a movie with subtitles!
The courtesy set in Cathay Pacific Economy Class consists of the classic pillow and blanket, no face mask, remember to bring it from home if you need it, however, I do point out that there is a facial cleanser and hand cream in the bathrooms, so note once again the attention to passengers’ needs that this airline shows.
The staff, both ground and flight staff are very helpful, patient and polite, I know that should be a given, but unfortunately, I have had other times to deal with not-too-polite individuals.

Dragon Air, the subsidiary of Cathay Pacific (fully acquired in 2020)

Dragon Air was the subsidiary of Cathay Pacific with which I had done the Hong Kong-Okinawa route and vice versa.
Dragon Air’s Economy Class maintains the spaces of the national airline, and even here you can request water and beverages during the flight. The meal served is also good, and is generally brought shortly after departure.
The movies available are pretty much the same as on Cathay Pacific flights, but given the short journey time I don’t think you will be able to finish one.
Here the pillow is provided, and for the blanket the stewardesses will come by and deliver it only to those who request it.
On the outbound flight, I had a chance to try Premium Economy and the seats are really comfortable and spacious!!!
Each seat has ample legroom and a wide armrest that includes buttons to control the screen (which is also touch-screen by the way, but is obviously further away from the seat) and it is possible to recline the seats until you are almost lying down by raising the footrest and lowering the backrest, without fear of annoying the passenger behind us since you “slide” over a fixed wall.

Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific’s main hub is Hong Kong International Airport, a very large and luxurious airport, full of stores and restaurants, and very spacious and quiet.
The airport is very large indeed, and it is possible that you may even have to take the internal (free) train to get to your gate, so be sure to allow some time to reach your boarding counter.
Many of the stores and restaurants are also open at night, while some lounges close during the day.
There are several children’s playgrounds, several displays of artistic and typical Hong Kong cultural pieces, and plenty of charging points for cell phones and PCs, both among the waiting chairs and on the tables stations where you can also use Macs for free.
The large windows allow you to spend time watching planes maneuver, take off or land; there are even chaise lounges that allow you to enjoy the view from the comfort of your back.
But if you want to take a real nap, know that you can take advantage of the relaxation room for free!!! It is located between gate 23 and gate 25, go down the stairs, and downstairs you will find a lovely little room with orchids and a dozen or so chaise lounges, each with a USB outlet next to it for charging phones.
There is silence (almost absolute) in this small room, and the various airport announcements are not made. You can check the departing flights on the televisions located in the room, but I recommend that you set an alarm a half-hour in advance so that you can check for any last-minute gate changes.
Be careful because the air conditioning is quite high…equip yourself with a sweater or better yet a blanket!
It is also possible to request massages for a fee in the adjacent lounge.

Flight Cancelled with Cathay Pacific

Due to Typhoon Chaba, my return flight from Okinawa to Hong Kong was canceled, causing me to miss my connecting flight back to Maplensa.
So, the arrival of the typhoon had been known for a few days already, but according to residents, the flights probably would not have been canceled.
I was able to safely check in 48 hours in advance, after which I received no notice of the flight cancellation.
In fact, checking the flight status on the website, an ‘alert was indicated and that operations might be delayed, then, less than 24h before departure the canceled flight notice appeared.
On the day of departure, I went to the airport anyway so that I could talk to a flight attendant and figure out what to do, but once at the airport, I find that there is no staff….only a series of signs from the companies inviting people to call phone numbers.
After a long wait to be able to call from the public phones at the airport, I manage to get through to the (fortunately free) call center, which reschedules my flight for the next day, sending me an email with details (without asking if I was okay with the proposed solution).
I ask what I should do about transfers, meals and hotel (which in theory should be complimentary from the company’s assistance) and am told to advance the expenses myself and then make the claim from the website.
A bit disconsolate, I resign myself and follow the directions, anticipating the expenses of the additional 24h (luckily I had some cash left, since they don’t always accept credit cards in Japan) and once home I search the site for the aforementioned reimbursement form. Which I can’t find. There is only one for airfare reimbursement, not reimbursement for expenses……
Fortunately, by contacting the company’s Facebook page, I was told to fill out the complaints – suggestions – requests form.
I fill it out with my questions and requests and an automated email tells me I will receive a response within 14 days.
About a week later I was asked to send receipts for expenses incurred (remember to keep them!!), I then send receipts for the night at the hotel, the cab that took us back there, and the receipt for dinner that night. My request for reimbursement is accepted, and after I provide the IBAN to which to make the credit, all I have to do is wait for the reimbursement.
About 30 days after sending IBAN and documents, I receive my refund, so I can say that the service was absolutely efficient, although I admit, I would have preferred to receive immediate assistance at the airport, although I understand that in my case, being an airport on an island in the middle of the ocean, sending hostesses specifically could have been a bit complex…