Regional Running: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Terminal 3 MNL
Singapore Airlines B777-300 Regional Business Class MNL SIN
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge SIN Changi Terminal 4
Cathay Pacific A350-900 Business Class SIN BKK
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge BKK
Cathay Pacific B77W Business Class BKK SIN
Having already written about my flight from SIN to BKK, I shall not go into too much detail for the BKK SIN leg. The only takeaway for this flight for me was the comparison between Cathay’s A359 and B77W. Taking both flights within such a short time allowed me to not only compare the hard product, but the feel and general experience when they were still fresh in my mind.
While the international business class product on all CX flights are all reverse herringbone, there are some subtle differences between the two products. Both are still solid offerings, but it goes without saying that the iteration you get flying on the newer A359s is preferable compared to the ones found on the B77Ws.
The first thing that struck me about this cabin was that the age was quite evident. The softer corners and aluminium trimmings on the newer Airbus planes give a more comely feel to the cabin, but beyond what is seen in the photos, there was just a tired, overworked feel to this one. That being said, it is possible I felt that way because I had to report back to work early the next morning,
The IFE controller on the A359 were obviously the newer, touchscreen variety, whereas the B77W sported the older, boring one. Otherwise, the layout of the seat was near identical, from the location of the seat controls, the headphones, and the various storage compartments.
Other points include the smaller IFE screen size. While the 18.5″ screen on the A359 is only 1.5″ bigger than that on its older counterpart, it is immediately noticeable. The clarity/resolution and brightness also were much better for the newer screens.
Also, the floor storage compartment at the side of the seat does not have a padded lid, like the A359 does. This lid is at the same level of the seat when in bed mode, and serves to widen the bed right where you might expect your thighs to be. This affords you more flexibility in sleeping positions (especially those side sleepers), whereas on the B77W it is quite impractical to sleep in any other position but supine.
The faux wood laminate on the A359 seats ties in nicely with the CX lounge theme, and I really love the sophisticated air it lends the cabin. I know that there are some detractors out there who prefer the more standard, industrial feel laminates seen in the older cabin, but I guess this is a personal preference sorta thing. It is similar to the ones used in the SQ Suites cabin, so I don’t think you can fault CX very much there.
In contrast, the choice of trimmings betray the B77Ws era, where this storage compartment lining seems to hark from my grandmother’s time.
Otherwise, service on this particular flight was good, but not spectacular. Again I saw a more informal but personable approach to service as compared to SQ, but as the cabin was full and the flight was short, the stewardesses had their hands full for most of the journey.
I chose the Kurobuta Pork dish this time, which was very well done. The pork was soft, tender but well cooked, and the sauce was savory and appetizing. It went really well with the veges and rice. It’s definitely not Michelin star material, but the flavors were familiar and comforting.
I caught up on some action flicks I had missed out on (the perils of having children), and before I knew it, we were on the approach back into Changi.
All in all, it was an excellent first experience with CX for me. I must say I am absolutely sold by the reverse herringbone as the ideal business class seat configuration. The consensus on the blogosphere is that Qatar’s Q-suites have since taken top spot, so that’s definitely next on my bucket list.
While both carriers have impeccably well trained cabin crew, the service philosophy in CX seems to differ somewhat from SQ in that it is more informal, less hierarchical, which makes for a more relatable experience. It helps that I bought these revenue tickets on CX at a steal, which only sweetened the deal for me.
I have been asked this question several times: ‘do you prefer Star Alliance or One World?’ As someone whose premium travel is almost completely on miles and points, the answer to this question is moot. One of the perks of playing the miles and points game is that there is no need to be a *A or OW ‘loyalist’. We simply look at every available option, and pick the one that makes the most sense. On top of that, each carrier provides a slightly different product in every way – from the hard product to the service philosophy, catering and ground service; each influenced by their home country’s culture and traditions.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with CX, and am still harboring residual, irrational resentment against the Krisflyer devaluation in 2017, this doesn’t mean that I will ‘jump ship’ and credit all my points to the Asia Miles Program, especially since Asia Miles has also recently devalued their award charts to bring them more in line with KF rates. If you’re looking at making a redemption on Asia Miles / CX, do also take a look at some further analysis on the newest Asia Miles award charts here.