The flight I was booked on was CX 750, a hopping service from Mumbai, which flies to Bangkok and then over to Hong Kong. After buying my tickets online, I tried to assign seats via the Manage my booking feature, however seems like after the reservation systems upgrade CX had earlier this year they did not have a functional system to manage bookings while still providing the elite benefits to oneworld alliance members. I eventually had to call for seat assignments, but I got the best seats at the back of the plane assigned to us. While up to it, I also enquired about an upsell and was informed that Cathay does not offer upsell to Business Class on this route. The Business Class product, as per the seatmap and SeatGuru is an angled product, one of the older planes in the Cathay Pacific fleet.

Mumbai(BOM) – Bangkok(BKK)
Wednesday, June 27 2012
Depart: 5:20AM
Arrive: 11:25AM
Duration: 4hr35min
Distance flown: 1,885 miles
Aircraft: Airbus 330-300 (with 2-class regional product)
Seat: 54A (Economy, Extra Leg Room)
Meal Service: Breakfast

After lounge hopping at the British Airways Galleries Lounge and the Clipper First Class lounge, I was only too sleepy and I just wanted to get to my seat and go off to sleep. However, looked like the airline had other plans and boarding was delayed by about 15-20 minutes. Everytime I am flying outside India from Mumbai, or most other Indian airports, I am wondering why are night take-offs not banned or controlled in India. It would be so much better for my sleep.

Anyways, I was over at the boarding queue and Cathay Pacific staff was still not ready. The only announcements I heard for the next 20 minutes were for people to stay seated so that they could organise the boarding. And then, about 5-6 staffers came out with various boards in their hands to facilitate zone wise boarding. Flying from India, you’ll notice Indian airlines do not enforce it, but airlines not from India still do want to have segmentation. I waited till they made the first boarding calls and then proceeded to board the plane after the families with children boarded, and with the business class passengers / Cathay’s Marco Polo members.

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Priority Boarding

We were greeted by the purser and directed to our seats at the back. The economy segment of this regional configuration is in a 2-4-2 configuration and I was going to be in the last section of the plane, right next to the emergency exit, while my brother got 54C which is marked as a extra legroom seat.

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54A & 54C

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Economy Cabin

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View from the window

Duvets, pillows and earphones were provided already. Since boarding was started with delay, it was going to be a delayed take-off. People kept coming for the next 20 minutes or so, and then the cabin crew started to prepare the cabin for take-off. We were all handed out the arrival cards for Thailand Immigration, and at this point I asked the steward if I could also get Priority Lane passes for the visa queue. He replied that he will check with the in-flight manager and come back to me later, however, no body approached me at anytime later to either respond to my request in the affirmative or negative. Surprisingly, the in-flight manager did send across a couple of bottles of Evian water for us, so now that I think about it, I am sure there was some confusion between the request for priority lane passes and water. Someone surely heard something wrong here.

The entertainment screen, as is usual for emergency exit seats and bulkhead seats, was under the seat and I pulled it out to set to the airshow, only to realise that there was going to be no audio-video on demand on this plane.

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Airshow

In spite of being an old product, what was nice about this flight was that there was in-seat power in every seat. My phone was dying so I plugged in the adaptor and let my phone charge (in switched-off mode!). When the flight was ready to take off, the crew asked me and my brother to stow our screens, however, seems like someone locked the screens so hard, that it was almost impossible to remove them from their stowage compartments under the seat without application of force. A couple of crew members struggled for a bit after take-off since the screen wouldn’t slide out usually, and I am happy to report they could retrieve it with application of muscle power and without breaking it up. I’m sure this was a part of their crew training Winking smile

I think I just about caught the movie, The Proposal, from the beginning and decided to stick with it, even though I found it sloppy the first time around. The IFE catalogue did not offer much hope at this moment and only a few of the entire list of IFE channels were functional.

Meal service begin soon after and the trolley rolled by close to start the service from our row. The special meals went first, and then we were asked for our choice of meals. I went with the non-vegetarian option, which was primarily an egg omelette with chicken sausages and beans, some fruit, yoghurt and croissants. Just about the right portion to start the day. I chose to go with some apple juice to start the day. Who wants Heineken at this hour of the day anyways.

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Movie and breakfast

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A nice breakfast

Considering just a week before this flight I was on an international flight of Jet Airways with a very snacky dinner flight, this looked like a generous portion. Funnily enough, on the return flight, Cathay would undo the karma and offer me some of the blandest food on a flight, ever.

After the meal service, I could quickly stretch out, since the exit doors on this plane had some of those big chutes for slide deployment built into the door, which made for a lie-flat in the economy section for me. Yes, I could practically sleep with my legs outstretched on this.

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My lie-flat in Economy

The rest of the flight was very uneventful, and at some point of time I managed to shut eye for an hour or more, only to be woken up by the announcement from the captain about the descent. The scheduled landing was at 11:25 AM, however, with the delayed take-off we were now looking to land at 11:45 AM and we got out of the plane by 12:00 hours.

Since I did not have the priority lane passes and I had to obtain visa on arrival, me and my brother practically ran after we got out the plane. However, as luck would have it, we spent about two hours finally getting out of the airport since the Visa on Arrival queue was so long, and still, the immigration officers wanted to have a lazy lunch while the queue went hungry around here. Our checked-in bag, I am sure was bored going around the carousel for a longish period of time with no one to get it.

Since I was going to be back at the airport in the evening as well (to pick up my parents arriving from Delhi), we decided to use the BTS and Airport train system to get to our hotel, but grabbed a quick bite before we went on the train. Overall, it was a good flight and I was looking forward to exploring Thailand over the coming days.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

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