Review: Blingapore – CX 734 Singapore to Hong Kong A330-300 Premium Economy Class

Introduction
CX 739 HKG – SIN 333 W
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
Exploring Singapore
Terminal 1 Singapore Changi
CX 734 SIN – HKG 333 W

Comfort 5/5 Service 5/5 Amenities 5/5 Little things 5/5 Meals 4/5 Overall 5/5

Cathay Pacific Flight 734
Monday, April 21st, 2014
Origin: Singapore (SIN) Gate: D34 Dep: 16:05 (21:30)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 2 Arr: 20:00
 (01:10
+1)
Duration: 3 hr 55 min (3 hr 40 min)
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A330-300
Seat: 32C (Premium Economy Class)

Almost exhausted after seven and a half hours in no country’s territory at all, at 9 o’ clock we hopped on board, and even my family (who hates flying) was eager to go on with the last part of the journey.

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Business Class (and seat on my wish list)

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Our retreats for today

Since I took the window seat last time, my mother took the window seat, and I took the aisle. (It doesn’t make a big difference for me since I have my own screen that I can enjoy for most of the flight anyway.)

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Our seats

The captain came and apologised for the delay, though he was nowhere as apologetic as the captain we had on our outbound (which doesn’t make sense, since we had a half hour delay on the outbound and now we’re facing a five hour delay). He did tell us to sit back and relax, though.

I wanted a pillow to rest on, so pressed the call button, and waited for half a minute, and guessed that the flight attendants were busy, so I switched it off. Right at that moment the non-pursing flight attendant came by, and I asked for a pillow. She was polite, and hurried back to the Economy Class cabin. Purser Donna presented an Economy Class pillow to me with a smile, which was fine by me even though I knew that Premium Economy passengers are usually offered Business pillows. and I asked if my mother could have one too (she was sound asleep but I still wanted her to have one for her sleeping comfort). Donna walked forward to the Business cabin and presented her with a Business Class pillow. I mean, I appreciate that you’re giving my mom extra comfort, but am I not supposed to have one of those too!?

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class pillow

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy/Business Class pillow

Traffic outside was boring – nothing taxied in for the last five hours, and all I saw was a Qantas A330 and us.

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Qantas Airbus A330-300

At about 21:30 we pushed back, 5 hours and 25 minutes behind schedule (not that I minded).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class mood lighting

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Airshow

I also tried to ask for a USB plug, but apparently we were number one for takeoff, so the purser Donna said she’d give it to me after takeoff (after some confusion about what the f^&* I was trying to say).

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Runway views

We took off at 21:45, which was swift.

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Views upon takeoff

In Economy and Premium Economy the lights – with exception of the exit row light – went completely off during takeoff (so we could enjoy the views), while in Business the mood lighting stayed on. I understand that the latter is more stylish, but I can’t say that I would prefer mood lighting over no light at all when gazing at the Singaporean skyline at fifteen minutes to ten in the evening.

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Dimmed cabin lights

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Airshow (notice the direction of the plane)

We were up in the air very soon, and the seatbelt sign went off as the cabin lights turned on.

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Cabin shortly after takeoff

I was immediately presented with a USB plug, thanks to the fact that I asked (as I currently know they only have 20 on planes). This was helpful, as I could charge my phone – and take more pictures.

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Helpful USB plug

The man in 31D – partially and accidentally included in the picture above – was connecting on KA 450 to Kaohsiung (which apparently was taking off pretty much right at the moment it was discussed between the crew and the passenger), and the situation was addressed immediately and gracefully (I think – and hope) by Donna and the other flight attendant. (I myself wonder why he didn’t directly go to Kaohsiung using China Airlines from Singapore, though.)

My dad was still in the aisle seat, in front of me this time, and he reclined as he did on the last flight (and played Mahjong as he did on the last flight as well). Surprisingly, I didn’t feel confined at all.

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Reclined seat

On this flight I had to work. Last time I left off 15 minutes of Mary Poppins, which I completed. After that I had to work, however my computer had run out of battery since I had been using it during the wait. I resorted to working on my phone. Also, on this flight, I was determined to find out some special seat features that I hadn’t noticed on my first flight.

Alex McGowan and his crew deserve a round of applause for letting people that had to access the bins have an easier life, not that there were any of these people on this flight. (On the contrary most of the people in the cabin were sound asleep.)

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Recess and foot step

The toilet, though, not so much.

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Air nozzles in a bathroom? Ain’t nobody got time for that

(On the contrary there were no air nozzles above each seat, a sin that many commit in modern aviation. Thankfully the captain kept the cabin quite cool.)

There was also a 110V power plug in the bathroom. It’s a nice touch, but I mean, what’s the point if you don’t include a shaver as well?

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Cathay Pacific A330-300 Economy Bathroom Power Plug

The sink…it goes without saying.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Bathroom Sink

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Standard English “Nobility” amenities

The economy seats were no different than in the outbound.

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Economy seat (and reclined economy seat in the background – it doesn’t look bad!)

I can’t start to describe how good the service was. Donna and the other flight attendant were charming (in service, maybe not looks) and on top of their game. For example, when I had to number one, I noticed Donna passing out nuts. I asked if she could just leave a pack at my seat. I did my business, went back to my seat, and…

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I’m sorry I moved the nuts

…my tray table was unfolded nicely, with my nuts placed nicely on the cupholder (it was stowed before I did my business). I asked my mother if she helped me unfold it (out of suspicion), and my mother said no, gesturing tiredly to Donna who was serving nuts to the people in front. I was expecting my nuts randomly thrown on the seat or on the armrest, and had never received this kind of service in all my years I have taken Business Class (not that I have taken it anytime recently, anyway).

The nuts were standard, packaged and salted, like I had on the outbound.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy nuts

The drinks trolley came by. I commended Donna on the service when she was pouring my Coke but she seemed not to hear, so out of embarrassment I didn’t say it any louder.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy Coke

Soon the main course was served, after a clear introduction to what was going to be served by Donna (not that she has to say a lot anyway). I took the pork, which was too spicy for my tastes, though I’m sure others with a less peculiar delicate palate will enjoy it.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy pork meal (i.e. main course)

Meanwhile my mother enjoyed the beef with mashed potato, which looked more appetising (but in order not to pester Donna like I did with Eriko, I didn’t ask to switch meals). It, however, looked a bit too greasy, though I didn’t ask my mother since she went right back to sleep after the meal.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy beef meal (i.e. main course)

Waiting for dessert, I browsed StudioCX.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy entertainment selection

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy entertainment selection

Dessert came. Though I was impressed with the temperature of the ice cream on the outbound (just right), this one was quite hard. I wonder if it had anything to do with the delay.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy dessert

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Cabin during dessert

Across the aisle from me was a man who had wine. Donna was good at refills, which meant that his face was pretty red after the meal.

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Business Class mood lighting

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Premium Economy darkness (which I prefer)

Overall the meal was on par with what I normally expect, even though the main course had a slight chilli overdose (for me). The meal service, however, was so spectacular, I kind of feel sorry for the passengers for CX 636 (though I don’t know how their crew were, during dinner beside that crew they looked nice – and social – too).

Though nobody made flowery cards on our flight (unlike Janesis – that’s first class though), Donna sure was as nice and proactive as her, though she was managing Economy as well so the service was not as focused (which is a good thing for this type of redeye, since there’s no feeling that you’re being stalked).

After completing my work for later in the day we were already on our final descent, and I gave my USB plug to Donna right before the seat belt sign went on. (I wasn’t expecting a “Thank you”, but she thanked me anyway – am I not supposed to be the one who says “Thank you”?)

We parked at Gate 2 (which is probably the second of the two reasons I like the delay since I don’t need to take the train, the first being the switching of the crew so we get such an awesome crew), and all deplaned through the front door.

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Business Class cabin upon deplaning

Hong Kong Airport is sure tranquil at 01:15am. By 01:40 we were on a cab home.

Overall this was a great trip. I loved the Premium Economy product on Cathay Pacific and am willing to try Premium Economy products on different airlines for longer flights (and, hmmm, maybe this product one more try on the 777-300ER). However when I return to Singapore next time, I’ll consider Singapore Airlines over Cathay Pacific. The Ritz-Carlton was quite far above our expectations, and Singapore was a fun destination that I’d return to in a heartbeat (though, I repeat, I’d definitely try convincing my parents to stay on Orchard Road next time). And, Donna and her crew, a great flight does depend on the service, so kudos to you people for changing our moods on a flight with so much of a delay!

Now for Kaohsiung next week…you with me?

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