Cathay Pacific Business Short Hop: Bangkok to Singapore

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There is a massive amount of choice between Bangkok and Singapore with at least eleven airlines competing for passengers. I the midst of the clamour, the Cathay pacific option provides a nice calming option. The timing is really nice with an 11:50am departure giving one time to check out of the hotel at a civilised time and get to the airport after morning peak. Arrival into Singapore at 3:20pm gets you to your hotel just before the evening rush in Singapore, allows a check in and shower and then a chance to go for a walk, enjoy dinner and a couple of hours shopping on Orchard Road.

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Cathay, have long been one of my favourite airlines (since 1971 to be exact) so any chance to hop on board is welcomed.

Booking: 10/10

Their website is a delight to use. Looks uncluttered, flows well and communicates what is going on at each stage of the booking process with little fuss.

Cathay Pacific offer a Price Promise in some markets where they will match an airfare at another site (terms and conditions, of course, apply). They will also reserve a booking for 25 hours for no fee.

Check In: 10/10

I checked in online and Cathay Pacific emailed me a Boarding pass which included invitation to their First and Business lounge.

The line at the airport Business Class check was non-existent. It took me four minutes from arrival at the airport to the security line. That was when things got interesting. IMG_8481The lines at the two Priority Queues were very long. So long and so slow that I went through the normal security lines.

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Lounge: 8/10

One World has two lounges at Bangkok Airport:

  1. Cathay Pacific’s  First and Business Class Lounge  opened just on two years ago. I have enjoyed it a couple of times since the opening. It is located near the G gates.
  2. Japan’s Sakura Lounge which reopened about a month ago after an extensive renovation.  I used this lounge which is near the E gates, when I flew out of Bangkok on my flight to Helsinki

The BA/Qantas lounge has now closed and the other One World carriers except for Qatar use generic third-party lounges which are generally inferior. Qatar uses the lovely Thai lounges.enter the lounge in the middle section.

The entrance to the Lounge brings you into the middle section of a very long but quite narrow facility with a variety of lounge areas.  On this day, the Cathay lounge was very busy. There was not much available seating space so I plonked myself onto a seat opposite the Noodle bar. Yes, the Noodle Bar! There is also a full-service Bar and a self-service buffet area.  You must start with freshly cooked noodles in this lounge, however! There is a mix of Thai style dishes and Chinese dim sum with  a generous range of sauces and other toppings available.

Food in the self-service area is pleasant with salads, pasta dishes, fresh fruit (including rambutan!),  sandwiches, cookies, yoghurts and desserts. Coffee, tea and cold drinks round out the options.

Wifi was stable,  fast and easy to connect to. There are some good Workstation areas and access to printers and photocopiers. There is also the most generous quantity of power outlets I have seen, in a lounge! A good mix of reading material is available with Thai, UK, Hong Kong and Australian magazines and newspapers available.

Lavatories are just next to the bar. My biggest disappointment with this lounge is that it does not provide showers. I really like a shower after travelling to the airport and moving through the airport, especially in a sticky climate like Thailand’s. If you need a shower and can get access to the Japan Air Lines lounge, start there and then move to the Cathay lounge, if you have time!

Boarding: 9/10

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A very short walk brought me from lounge to my gate. From where I am standing, you proceed down to the lower level for boarding, Your boarding pass is then checked with passport for identification. Passengers then move into a seating area which has toilets and a water fountain if you need to fill a water bottle or have a drink.

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Business Class and Premium passengers were called first to enter the left hand door way of the jet bridge. This can be a bit manic at Bangkok, as there is often a surge of passengers thinking that everyone has been called to board at once! I try to get through as quickly as I can to avoid the scrum of staff turning passengers back. As a result, I was one of the first to board the plane.

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I had a professional welcome onto the 777.  A drink and a refreshing towel were brought around, soon after the Business cabin began to fill.

On Board: 7/10

This was an old Boeing 777. Cathay Pacific have owned it since October 1996. In fact the plane’s registraton used to be VR-HNB as Hong Kong used to operate under the VR-H designation. The  “VR” was replaced with the Chinese “B” after the 1997 Handover to China, resulting in its registration now being B-HNB.

The layout felt cramped. In the Business Cabin, seats are arranged 2-3-2 with a pitch of 45″ and a width of 20″ for the “recliner” seats.

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In Economy the seats have a decent 32″ pitch and a 17″ width. Arrangement is 3-3-3.

There is one lavatory at the front of the Business Cabin for the 42 business Class passengers. For Economy passengers, there are six lavatories amongst 293 passengers: two in the front of that cabin, two in the middle and two at the rear of the plane. Cathay provided some nice Jurlique products in the Business cabin lavatory.

Cathay provided some nice Jurlique products in the Business cabin lavatory.IMG_8623

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Flowers in the Business Class lavatory

Safety Briefing: 8/10

The crew did not lead the safety demonstration, instead relying on an animated cartoon video.

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Take Off

We had quite a long taxi to the runway. This gave us the chance to enjoy views of a whole array of aircraft and airlines.

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The Thai line up

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A pair of Emirates planes

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Another Five Star airline: Taiwan’s EVA air

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Russian One World carrier: S7

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Local Favourite: Bangkok Airways

Liftoff was 20 minutes late. We had a very smooth climb followed by a very smooth flight.

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Outside Bangkok

Entertainment: 7/10

Personal TVs with 20+ channels were available at every seat. We also had a USB port. No wifi. IMG_8505IMG_8578IMG_8583I did not use their headphones (I used mine).

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Meals: 9/10

Even on this short sector, we received a nice looking menu.

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We were served “dinner”, 20 minutes after our lunch time take off. In some countries “dinner” refers to lunchtime and in others it is the evening meal. I was not sure which one this meal was meant to be!

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The starter was the poached prawns (shrimp) and salmon salad. Very tasty. the roll was very so-so.
IMG_8592 IMG_8593 IMG_8596 For the main course, I chose the Angus Fillet. The vegetables were great!IMG_8600 IMG_8609 IMG_8613

 

Landing

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Coming into Singapore

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Approaching Changi

We touched down four minutes ahead of schedule and were at the gate not long after landing.

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The Verdict

My Flight Rating: 86%  (4.3 out of 5)

About the Airline: Cathay Pacific is 70 years old being originally founded in January 1946 in Shanghai as Roy Farrell Export-Import Co., Ltd. After relocating to Hong Kong, the airline was registered as Cathay Pacific in September, 1946. It is now the world’s tenth largest airline by sales and the world’s largest international cargo airline. Its 143 planes connect 180 destinations.

Skytrax: Cathay has a five-star rating from Skytrax. Skytrax customers are a little more critical rating Cathay: 7/10.

My overall rating of  Cathay Pacific: 98.5% I rate them 3rd out of 59 airlines

Safety Rating: Airline ratings gives the carrier 7 of 7.

Frequent Flyer Program: Cathay Pacific has two: The Marco Polo Club, a loyalty program, and Asia Miles, a travel reward program. Members of The Marco Polo Club are automatically Asia Miles members. I earned points in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

Positives: Lounge, meal, Booking site

Negatives: Service at times, felt more wooden than I expect from Cathay

Would I fly them again? Yes.

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Comments

  1. Its funny you didn’t like the seats. for a regional product, its amazing! I’d take it as substitute for any US domestic premium seat.

  2. Is it one of the infamous inwards recline seat design? Hate it especially in the Y class.

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