Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CX, you will always be No.2!

Before I go into the lowdowns and even pornographic details of my short fling back in good old SG, let me spend a post writing about my flight journey. Been a long time (compared to the days when I was flying around Asia like an air steward) since I've flown CX. Always thought they were pretty good, though always lacking in some respect when compared to SQ. Lacking in what, I had no answer... until yesterday.

Flight back to SG was pretty ok. A small plane (Airbus 330) being a mid-afternoon flight. Didn't select our seats in advance and was banished to the rear end of the plane. To my horror, I was surrounded by a China tourist group. That was the beginning of endless kicking of my seats, hairy arms extending to my side of the seat and noise pollution which my earphones couldn't block out even with full volume. Nothing to do with the airliner since I may probably get the same seats and the same type of fellow passengers on any flights.

What made it horrible was the fact that the sky was in a bad mood, resulting in us flying for nearly 30 minutes in turbulent airspace. I didn't mean 30 minutes in total, it was a 30-minute stretch. If I didn't feel well, S was in heaven. I had appetite for lunch. She had the salad.

But once we landed at Changi, everything was clockwork like it has always been. A short walk to the immigration, 5 minutes at the checkpoint, a toilet check and another 10 metres walk to find out luggages probably going through its second catwalk on the conveyor belt. Ladies and Gentlemen, that's the best airport for you. Do you think I care about food, shopping and if they have 300 Chinese masseuse ready to give my feet or other regions a good time? NO! I want to get out and see the city! I'm no Tom Hanks!... that is unless you have Catherine Zeta-Jonesy baby to sit on my thighs... which she can always do outside of the airport~

That was only the trip back to SG. The real pain was on the flight back to HK. I wasn't a very happy camper to fly back to HK but CX managed to give me more reason to hate it. A Boeing 747 in a 3-4-3 formation for the mid-section. We took the aisle seats on the side near to the left wing. An Indian executive came along and squeezed into the window seat. Nothing to complain about this guy except his arm which was on the entire armrest between us. In fact, it was in my territory for half the flight. But he was a pleasant guy. Forgiven and forgotten.

Here's a list of NOs on this particular CX flight :
1) If you notice alot of scotch tapes near the ceiling lights on both sides of the plane, then you are probably on the same flight as me. Take out your umbrella now. Moments after takeoff, water came raining down on window seat passengers sitting on certain rows. The stewardesses claimed it was due to condensation. I think it was a bad maintenance job. First time I see so many scotch tapes on any aircraft.
2) No blankets when requested. The air steward told us that all blankets on board were issued when the plane wasn't even half-filled. He said he would try to turn up the temperature. In the end S was left cold and without a blanket. Nice try handsome~
3) Not enough newspapers. They don't even have blankets. Enough said.
4) No chicken with pasta. When meal was served, the air steward managed to serve the row behind me, replenish his stocks and skipped my row. In the end we were probably the last row on the flight to be served. It is something which can happen on any flight but I was pissed enough so I will pin it down on the airliner. In the end I was left with the following according to the handsome serving us : "Uh... we only have pork with rice and... we only have pork and rice, we ran out of chicken with pasta." Avoid serving pork on a plane next time, especially when you are flying out of/into places with quite a substantial muslim population. But then again, HK is not a very Halal-friendly place.
5) Ever notice that I used "handsome" and "air steward" quite a bit in my last 4 points? Not many air stewardesses on the flight! I didn't fly CX to look at pretty boys!

That was CX. Next up, the world's best leaking airport. Disembarked @ gate 40+. I got to walk some 50 metres, board the skytrain, make my way past immigration before I could get my luggage at the belt. Landed at around 22:10. Left plane at around 22:15. Reached the belt at around 22:25. Got my luggage at around 22:45. Priority packages from the same flight came out at around 22:30 though. That's pretty poor timing.

One good thing from this whole episode was the inflight entertainment system. Pretty decent games and performance. The new seats are more spacious and I suspect will not disturb the passengers behind if one decide to lean back. Didn't like the magazines under my seat though.

Will be flying SQ on the next trip back to SG. SQ again the next, and the next, and the next....


littlecartnoodles said...

My wife, a HKer, has become a fan of SQ after we flew on it HKG-SIN-Barcelona-SIN-HKG for our recent honeymoon.

Blankets and pillows ? Already in your seat when you board.

On short-haul flights like HKG-SIN, the cabin crew does not disappear after the meal service, like the CX crew tend to do.

And on the flights that we took between SIN and Barcelona, they walked down the aisles with drinks and snacks every hour.

When we travel to Europe again, I'm quite sure the wife won't mind transiting via SIN on SQ ...

littlecartnoodles said...

Oh yes - and I'd rather have my plane fly thru turbulence, than to share it with a mainland Chinese tour group !

WhiteDuskRed said...

HKG-SIN-Barcelona leg must be pretty tiring... did you stopover for a day or 2 in Sin before you proceeded to Barcelona?

Yes... now that you mention it the blankets are always there...

I flew from HKG to London on BA... it was one of the worst flights ever for me...

littlecartnoodles said...

No, we did not break our journeys and transited at Changi for 4-5 hours each time.

The SIN-BCN leg was about 12 hours. It was tough for me because I have trouble sleeping on planes because of the engine noise.

If I ever have to fly HKG-LDN I'd try either CX or Virgin Atlantic.

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