The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 17 minutes.More information
After my first experience of flying Business last November, I had got the taste for this whole Premium Cabin thing.
Strangely enough it was a chance comment from a friend that was the opening to the rabbit hole. He mentioned about how he was taking his dad from London to LAX in BA First using Avios.
Now honestly I'd never really had a clue about miles, points etc and how the whole thing worked. Boy did I ever waste a lot of years! I'd always wondered how so many people could afford to pay the insane prices airlines charged for F and J. Little did I realise that many of those people were there for pennies on the dollar.
After diving into the whole scene full blooded I'd unlocked the key to do this on a big scale. So less than a year after starting I was able to put together a trip around Asia all in Business.
The YYZ-ICN-BKK flights cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles. The TPE-YYZ flight also cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles and for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand I wasn't able to make my multi-city itinerary accept my return flight KUL-TPE-YYZ so I had to book KUL-TPE as a separate leg. This was highly annoying however the blow was softened by a 30% transfer bonus on my SPG points, so that effectively made the flight free in the end.
I used 15,000 BA Avios for the BKK-SIN leg on Cathay which is a crazy good value.
However my terrible luck bit me again on this flight which frankly I booked because it was on the A350-900 and I was yet to fly on one and with the rave reviews it was getting was to be a highlight of the trip for me.
Of course about 2 months before we left ExpertFlyer delivered the brutal news that there had been an aircraft change to an A330-300.
I was gutted especially when I checked EF and found that of the 30 days in September the A330 was operating on only 2 of them. The day after I travelled it was an A350-1000 which would have been even better. I thought long and hard about changing plans to fly a day later but it was just too much hassle. While my wife is nice and understanding even she has limits on how much she will accommodate my avgeekness!
The rest of the flights were cash bookings.
The most expensive flights was the SIN-KUL return on SQ. I originally booked in Y as the cost difference between Y and J was too much. However not flying in J was eating away at me and I started to wonder about how often I would get the chance to fly SQ J again and I buckled and upgraded the flights. It was crazy for a 50 minute flight, but our travel decisions are not always made with the head are they?
It ended up about $775 return.
KLM was about $390 for SIN-DPS, Garuda was about $260, Malaysian CGK-KUL-BKI was $330 and BKI-KUL was $190
*All prices per person in CAD
We finished our 3 night stay at the Hilton Bangkok that was right on the Chao Praya River. The hotel was very nice and with great rates for a suite we had a really fantastic room and access to the executive lounge.
We really enjoyed Bangkok and can't wait to return one day. Lots to do as a tourist and its truly one of the World's great tourist cities, and just such an interesting place.
After we arrived we spent a night at the Grand Inn Come hotel at BKK airport which got me a great morning of spotting in. Getting down to the city we took the airport express then a taxi to the hotel. It was a real hassle getting a cab from the station though so we decided to just get a cab back from the hotel to the Airport seeing as it was so incredibly cheap.
I can't begin to write this review without letting you all know how difficult it is for me to stay objective!
I booked this flight because I wanted to fly on the A350. Everything was perfect, we wanted to fly from BKK-SIN and when doing my research there was Cathay's 5th freedom route with the A359 and the flight times were great. Only 30K Avios for 2 J tickets, it was an easy decision.
I was super excited to be booked on an A350. I've heard nothing but great things about the aircraft and this was going to be a real highlight.
My inner-avgeek was beaming with satisfaction and anticipation.
Then 2 months before travel I crashed with a thud when ExpertFlyer emailed me an aircraft change to an A330-300.
I won't lie that I was a little crushed, especially when I found out that the A350 was operating every single day except the day I was travelling and the following Tuesday. Had I simply travelled a day earlier or later I would have got my A350, so I cursed my luck and tried to see if I could re-jig our trip. That was just going to be too much, I didn't want to lose a night in either BKK or SIN so I had to suck it up and swear silently at Cathay and their propensity to aircraft swap.
Despite my silent seething, I actually really enjoyed the flight! Just would have been even better on an A350!
We arrived around 0830 and headed to the Cathay check in area. There was absolutely no wait and we were checked in by a lovely agent who gave us instructions on how to find the lounge which turned out to be very helpful as it was pretty tough to locate.
Our bags were tagged with oneworld priority tags and we were handed boarding passes and lounge invites.
You can more or less check in whenever you want if flying CX out of BKK because they seem to have at least 3 aircraft parked there at all times during the day! BKK must be one of CX's most important Asian out stations.
After check in we went to the Fast Track lane and cleared security and Immigration with no waiting around. The whole process was easy and fast and before long we were walking towards this absolute wonder……………
I'm not sure there is a more spectacular piece of art in any airport anywhere. Somehow I don't think the Qatar bear quite compares!
We eventually found the Cathay lounge, as even with the printed directions we still got lost. It really wasn't an easy place to find, however it was a pretty nice lounge once we had got in.
It wasn't terribly large but it was never crowded despite there being a fair few travellers in there.
The place was clean and the staff friendly.
There was of course the usual CX noodle bar and even at this early hour a full bar was open with full service and I grabbed a glass of champers for myself and a rose champers for Mrs Atco.
We toasted our good fortune at being able to enjoy all of this and once again reminded ourselves of how fortunate we are in the grand scheme of things.
We found a table with plenty of charging options, and of course the lounge had free wifi which kept us entertained during our stay.
The washrooms were spotless and I didn't bother to try the showers. The lounge was a nice, calm place to relax before the flight and before long it was time to pack up and leave.
We arrived at Gate G3 where there was a separate waiting area for Business Class passengers which I thought was a really nice touch, ensuring that all the J passengers had a seat.
Boarding was right on time and we made our way down the first jetway to door L1 where we were welcomed on board with a smile by the Cathay cabin crew.
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight Number: CX717
Departure: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi BKK
Departure Time: 1148
Arrival: Singapore Changi SIN
Arrival Time: 1514
Flight Time: 02:26
Travel Date: Tuesday September 11th
Class: Business Class - Long Haul Configuration
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Thankfully the aircraft assigned to our flight, B-LAL was in long haul configuration and not the dreadful Cathay Regional 2-2-2 with angle flat seats config. B-LAL features the classic 1-2-1 reverse herringbone with 39 Business Class seats spread over a main cabin with 28 seats and a mini-cabin behind door L2 with 11 seats.
We sat in the front cabin in 15A and 16A. We both like window seats so prefer them over the centre pairs.
The cabin was nice and the seats excellent. Its kind of hard to go wrong with a reverse herringbone however!
A pillow and blanket was waiting at the seat but nothing else. Not that one should expect nor need amenity kits or anything else on a short 2 hour flight.
We were greeted and handed a menu and asked what we would like for a drink. A glass of bubbly was quickly brought along with a hot towel.
The service was fast and attentive.
Unfortunately Cathay has the pop out IFE monitors which means they have to be stowed for take off and landing
We pushed back right on time, a couple of minutes early infact and we had a lengthy push all the way out of the ramp onto the taxiway in order to allow a Philippines A350 onto the gate we were blocking.
We had to pop our screens out to watch the safety video and then stow them again. I'm not a big fan of this arrangement, I much prefer to be able to use the monitor in all phases.
The taxi was quite long as we had to go all the way around the airport round to 19L, and we got to see some interesting aircraft on the way.
The Philippines A350 that caused us to push all the way out to the taxiway with 2 other Cathay A330's occupying what I called "Cathay corner"!
Oman Air 787-9, Jeju Air 737-800, Druk Air A319, Thai A380
We lined up on 19L with no wait and started rolling right away. The spool up noise from the RR Trent's was like sweet music!
We climbed away due South and we had soon crossed the coastline and entered the Gulf of Thailand. We would remain over the water for almost the entire flight.
Lets take a closer look at some of the features of this great seat:
you can see the remote handset for the IFE, however I didn't bother using it as the touchscreen was easily within reach and very responsive. Then again being such a short flight I never turned the seat fully flat , so I could imagine this being far more useful when you are in bed mode.
There's a reading light with multiple brightness settings and the seat control was easy to use and you could set each piece of your seat exactly how you wanted it.
There was an audio port, USB, AV (does anyone actually use AV ports on airplanes any more?) and a power point
There was a cubby for storage that was quite a decent size and it also housed the headphones which can be handily stored on the bar.
I've only just noticed it now but it looks like there might be a mirror in the door - Never noticed at the time!
On the seatback shell is the button release for the IFE and lower down is the literature pocket, containing all the usual items.
The one advantage of the pop out screen is that it is much closer to you than in layouts like Air Canada so that makes the touchscreen far more reachable and useable, especially when you have reclined the seat even in just a relax position.
Some inflight shots before lunch is served!
Time for lunch and as usual I've taken the shots in portrait mode so no gallery. The menu was fairly light given its a short flight, but when I think of what Business Class on North American and European airlines is like on short haul routes its impossible to complain. You simply don't get this level of service on such short flights in many markets outside of Asia.
Champagne and White wines………….
And the hard stuff :)
I'll apologise in advance that I was enjoying my food so much I totally forgot to snap my main course! I really need more practice at this flight reporting business!
I did snap my starter……………….
I enjoyed a movie during the flight and had a nice lunch and was feeling thoroughly satisfied with the whole flight. Of course would have been better on an A350 but such is life!
After one spin around in the hold it was time for approach and landing at Singapore Changi which would be from the North onto Runway 20C
Cathay now operates from Terminal 4 at Changi. This is the newest Terminal at the airport and is not physically attached to any of the other 3.
It has to be reached by shuttle bus from the central area, but we found this no inconvenience at all as the busses were frequent and had plenty of luggage space. The terminal was very quiet and it took us longer to walk from the airplane to the immigration area than it did to get through immigration, baggage reclaim and customs!
There is a reason Changi is always rated the best airport in the World. It's just so damn efficient.
Everything is logically laid out and well sign posted. We came down the escalator into the immigration area and there were multiple desks for various nationalities and plenty of them were open. We went straight to a counter with no line and were processed in no time at all. Our bags were first off the belt and we were through customs in a breeze. I think it took no more than 5 minutes to get from immigration to the Central area bus and 3 of those minutes were walking.
It's impossible not to love Changi!
Despite Cathay cruelly crushing my A350 dream! This was a great flight. When you compare it to similar flights in N America and Europe you just have to laugh because there is just no comparison.
The Cathay lounge in BKK was a nice space that had everything you need in a lounge and was a great start to the journey.
BKK airport itself was decent enough, some of the lounges were well hidden away and tricky to find, but otherwise with the Fast Track we got through all the formalities quickly and without grief.
Cathay were very good in all phases and deserving of their reputation and rating.
Fortunately we had a long haul configured A330 with the superb 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats which are worlds apart from their awful regional configuration. The IFE was excellent as was the food and drinks.
Finally the crew were efficient and customer friendly although they didn't seem quite as chatty or personable as other crews, it was just a touch robotic feeling.
Finally what can I say about Changi that hasn't already been said. Its head and shoulders above every other airport out there, its the best airport in the World for a boatload of reasons and I wish I was fortunate enough to call it my home hub!