Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

Flight Log 3 : CX716

Singapore (SIN) - Hong Kong (HKG)

I made my way through to the first-class cabin, anxious to see how it would look. I was shown to my seat and, there being no-one else about, decided to take a couple of pictures. The first thing I noticed was that there were only 12 seats in the cabin, compared to BA's 14. There was more space and yet less privacy. Cathay's seats are aligned with the aircraft walls; BA's are cleverly angled so that not only can another two be fitted, but they are less open to the other passengers. Not that it has ever been a problem, but I did notice that the Cathay seats are physically separated from each other by a kind of half-height bulkhead, so there is no way that one passenger's moving about can be felt by another.

As it turned out, there were only to be two of us in the cabin - myself and a businessman-type in 2A. There were two flight attendants assigned to the cabin, so it was pretty much a case of personal service. I had a pre-takeoff glass of champagne and browsed the menu and the in-flight entertainment guide while the 747-400, which had pushed back 5 minutes ahead of schedule, made its way out to runway 02L. (OK ... so I saw it painted on the ground ) At exactly 1815 we left Singaporean soil.

I selected a movie - Intolerable Cruelty, starring George Clooney, which was funny in a completely wacky kind of way. The menu was as follows :-

Satay Champagne
Chicken and beef satay Cuvee William Deutz 1996
Thai-style coconut flavoured chicken soup White Wines
Salad Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1998
Seasonal salad served with blue cheese dressing or balsamic vinaigrette Willow Creek Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay 2001
*  *  *  
Prawns Red Wines
Prawns and scallops with celery Chateau Lynch Bages 1997
Chicken Gevrey Chambertin La Justice 1995
Stuffed chicken with mushrooms, in red Pimento sauce Tignanello 1999
Stir-fried beef with Sa Cha sauce Port
Accompaniments Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10-year old tawny port
Anna potatoes or steamed rice  
Selection of Western or Oriental vegetables  
*  *  *  
Cheese Board and Seasonal Fresh Fruits  
*  *  *  
Mango terrine and passion fruit ice cream, served with mango coulis  
Tea & Coffee  
Tea or coffee with pralines  

I had the satay appetiser, followed by the Thai soup, then the beef with rice and oriental veg. All were superb and, in addition, were beautifully presented. What's more, we had proper metal cutlery, which UK-based airlines are still not allowed to use for security reasons. I stuck with the champagne until the main course, when I decided to sample the Chateau Lynch Bages, which was outstandingly good. I chose some Brie and Cheddar from the cheeseboard and some pineapple and grapes from the fruit platter. I skipped on dessert and finished off with a cup of coffee. It was a superb meal and left me looking forward with anticipation to my three remaining Cathay flights. At the same time, I wondered how on earth I would manage on Saturday night, when I have two consecutive flights in Cathay's first class. Ah ... what a problem to have

If the meal service was excellent, one thing I would absolutely rave about is the in-flight entertainment system. As far as I could tell, almost everything was on demand, and no messing about with tapes, etc. Just navigate the on-screen menus, make your selection and away you go! The choice of music was amazing. I listened to an enjoyable - if rather stately - performance of Mozart's Symphony No 41, the "Jupiter," by the Berlin Philharmonic under Karl Boehm. Such was the clarity of the reproduction that I picked up on aspects of the first movement that had previously passed me by. Then I just had time to cherry-pick the delightful 3rd movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata No 20 in A, performed by Leif Ove Andsnes (such a favourite of mine that Mitsuko Uschida's rendition of it lives on my laptop's hard disk!) and the heart-stopping 2nd movement of the Chopin Piano Concerto No 1, played by Martha Argerich. Good heavens ... if I'd known about all this, I wouldn't have bothered with Intolerable Cruelty!

After a rather bumpy approach, we touched down at Chek Lap Kok at 2131 and were on stand at 2141, four minutes ahead of schedule. Amazingly, the outside temperature was 26C!

Top marks to Cathay Pacific for excellent dining and a truly state-of-the-art IFE system (with proper headphones ... are you listening, BA?) It will be interesting to see how their seat works for an overnight flight.

Date: Mon 01 Mar 2004
Aircraft : B747-400
Scheduled dep : 1805
Actual departure : 1800
Scheduled arrival : 2145
Actual arrival : 2141
Cabin : First
Seat : 3K

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