Cathay Pacific Flight Review: Manila to Hong Kong

It was surprisingly quick to get to Manila NAIA Terminal 3 for my Friday lunchtime flight to Hong Kong. 
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Having used Cathay Pacific to check in online, I was pleased to see only about 10 passengers ahead of me for the security check upon entering T3. Why Filipino airports persist with this is a good question given that most airports throughout the world only require a security check once one is entering the airside of the terminal.

Even better was how no one was in a queue to drop off my bags. The pleasant Filipina quickly issued my boarding pass for the A330 operated 12:30pm flight to Hong Kong. 

It did not take long for my passport to be examined as the lunchtime period is not the busiest for international flights at T3. I killed time watching departures on the runway at three minute intervals although both runways were in use. The frequency of Cebu Pacific flights compared with 15 years ago is astounding. How they dominate the domestic Filipino air travel market with a 59 per cent market share was brought home to me.

Gradually passengers began arriving at Gate 111 but I chose to stay in the general area as this was less crowded. There were at least 200 economy class passengers booked so the holding area, while not full, was reasonably crowded.

I boarded before noon and found my seat on the Cathay Pacific A330 registered, B-LBG.

We departed 11 minutes early and soon the American captain's voice came over the PA suggesting that due to our early departure and a flight time of only 97 minutes, we should be in Hong Kong about 2:25pm. I thought that this was stretching things a bit given Manila air traffic control's propensity to hold departing aircraft on the tarmac for up to 35 minutes to allow for arriving flights to land, as the latter take precedence.

As if to prove me correct, when on the final stages of taxiing, the American pilot announced with a hint of annoyance that there was a three year old child who would not settle and that 'we would be returning to the gate with an anticipated delay of 25 to 30 minutes and offloading parents and child.'

The cabin was silent as that bad news fell in. However, less than three minutes later, the captain stated that the child was under control and that we would be taking off within five minutes. And so we did at 12:49pm.

Lunch was soon distributed although it was more of a snack as it was in a small box and marked 'Adobo chicken.' It was reasonable and was accompanied by a 250 millilitre Tetra pack of mango juice manufactured in Hong Kong.

I sat next to a young German male who said he had been on his 4th Filipino diving trip to Puerto Galera, Mindoro and loved coming to Philippines.

The flight attendants were pretty perfunctory and lacked the warmth of Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines international attendants.

The flight was smooth and we landed at 2:37pm, pulling up at the Hong Kong airport gate two minutes early at 2:48pm. Luggage arrived quite promptly within 15 minutes. 

Overall, this was a reasonable flight but despite having IFE on board, I maintain my preference for Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific due to the more hospitable Filipino atmosphere on board these two airlines.
-Surface Traveller

19 comments:

  1. This is not a flight review, it is more of a travel blog.

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    1. True. I saw no review at all. This is also my first time to see someone prefer Cebu Pacific and/or PAL onboard service over Cathay Pacific... which is one of the most acclaimed airlines in terms of consistency of quality on-board service in the world.

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    2. This 'review' just proves why PAL was happy to put an old A340 with no IFE on its London route. It is quite clear that pinoys prefer the warmth of PAL's flight attendants (I guess this doesn't include the Middle East flights?) over IFE.

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    3. How can you guys easily forget that Cathay Pacific was the top airline last year which was overtaken by non-popular Qatar Air this year! Do not compare CX with your Philippines air carriers! The truth is the truth!

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    4. You are correct Anon @ 11:00 AM. Do not compare CX to the likes of Cebu Pathetic. They are worst airline of all time in the Philippines. Makes me scatch my head on why they are still in business.

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  2. A obviously very biased review and don't even dare and try to insult our intelligence by claiming that Pals and Cebu pathetics flight experience is better than Cathay Pacific. Filipino airlines cant even get close to what Cathay offers and never will do

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  3. There was a point about the lack of a flight review up until a few yokels in the comments started questioning how on earth it's possible for someone to prefer PAL over a Cathay. It happens. Stop being bougie. Deal with it. Obviously some people choose to fly PAL over Cathay. Some will do it because it's just quicker (referencing flights originating from the US); definitely not because it's cheaper. Conceivably it could also be because they enjoy the company of compatriots and the service they get from PAL. It is not outside the realm of possibility. Get your head out of your own biased patootie and stop being a judgemental bougie commenter.

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    1. Patrick Smith is that you?

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    2. " enjoy the company of compatriots and the service they get from PAL" Interesting because PAL crew also had the reputation of being biased towards foreign passengers and give half-assed service to fellow-Filipinos, particularly those who don't look rich.

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    3. This is absolutely true. I always experience this whenever I fly with PAL. Their male cabin crew is f@#kin Ahole.

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    4. @AirJ1 Just relish the thought that when he goes home his boyfriend will be waiting for him

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    5. Exactly, Anonymous - Sept 14, 8:53 PM:
      Filipino crews are mostly "Manila-bred (kuno) relatives of local business bigwigs, politicians, actors, etc.", who do not really know the true meaning of service and profit! They are not used to being "tsimays in the sky" because they have the real "tsimays" in their homes for time immemorial and that's the downfall and tragedy of PAL service! One time, I've flown LAX-MNL on PAL and sadly a female crew continued to speak English to an adult Visayan spinster who answered back "Tagalog or Cebuano, please", and poor passenger, no one from the other crew members or even the supervisor came to the rescue! What a third world scene! As a resolve, I never flew with PR again because CX, KE, OZ, SQ, JL have matched my expectations, likes, caprichios, etc. I fly economy only even though I am a happily retired CA state social worker.

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  4. Only a complete moron would choose PAL or Cebu Pathetic over Cathay Pacific = read the rankings and reviews in Skytrax gago. You are doing no service here by just posting ridiculous biased reviews."hospitable Filipino atmosphere" oh really like when the air steward on a recent Cebu Pathetic flight was stealing money off the Chinese passengers = IS THAT YOUR IDEA OF A GOOD SERVICE ?

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  5. Love those comments taking up the mantle of "objectivity" by whining about "bias" in a poorly written but nevertheless authentic and simple review. Y'all can scream and insult people all you want, the OPs experience is still the OPs experience. I love CX and would choose them over PR, but jeez, y'all need to take a chill pill.

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    1. Again, what review? It is a blog!

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  6. Wow-the jackals came out on this one didn't they? I do agree that this is a bit of a "non-story" Although I'd personally prefer proper IFE over buying food inflight and games to win a cheap nylon bag.

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    1. You are the "reviewer" on a flight to Tuguegarao who just thrashed the whole place with your classy comments forgetting that your destination is still a struggling developing city in the north! Again, go to London or Los Angeles where you can adapt your "classiness".

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  7. For me, "Hospitable Filipino atmosphere" is defined mostly as:
    - PAL flight crews' disappearing acts inside the cabin because they have a quarter in the cargo hold section where they socialize among themselves, smoke, gossip, etc.
    -PAL flight crew saying "there are no more blankets" without even trying to open at least two or three overhead compartments to prove that she is really trying to please.
    -PAL crew taking 30 minutes or more when you request for a cup of drinking water so that you can take your "cardiac pill."
    - Male and overweight crew dropping your meal onto your tray because you wanted a chicken dish instead of beef after an unusual debate insisting that there are no more chicken dish until you answered back because you are a practicing Hindu from New Delhi, of course!.
    -Another disappearing act from crew members when a screaming baby cannot be contained and settled down because he ran out of diapers and the smell in the cabin is so obvious and disgusting that baby really needs "cleaning".
    -Crew who does not even know the expected time of arrival to Manila (from Honolulu) to ease the tension of Uncle Enzo, a former pineapple picker 30 years ago who is going home to Ilocos for good with lots of smiles and talks (yabangs) to strangers inside the aircraft about his success story.

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  8. 뱃할맛이 나는곳 먹튀검증 안전한메이져

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