Australia, July 2015 Going: middle to far (East)
We touched down at about 2335 local time. My onward flight is at 0055, so that's only an hour and twenty minutes. I try and convince myself this will not remotely be a difficult connection, but also secretly kinda hope I miss it and they put me up in a hotel and/or some different onward flights or whatever. Would be sort of fun.
Once we park, we're not next to an airbridge, or even a terminal. They've shoved us somewhere on the airfield and mobile-stairs guy has to drive up to us because we're getting on a bus. So without any business class swag for possibly the first time ever, out into the 32c heat I go, glasses instantly steaming up as I try to descend safely behind a man veering left and right and altering his speed without warning.
There's a bus only for business class passengers, and it won't leave until everyone is onboard. One passenger takes forever to leave the aircraft, thus keeping all of us and the rest of the plane - who are being held back behind us fat cats - waiting. It's a fairly long drive too, and we don't get off the bus until almost midnight. My boarding pass says boarding starts at 2355 and by that time I'm not even through security.
Transfer is a zoo. There is a fast track line and it's in the centre of the huge regular lines, but not hard to find and actually pretty fast. On the other side, the airport is a dull soulless place full of crazily high end shops with no customers, and wide boulevard corridors teeming with passengers who don't have a clue where they're going. I'd spotted that my flight was leaving from B10 and the place is at least well signposted.
B10 is at the very far end of the B pier. It's a fair distance and they are making generic "wherever you're going, get on your plane by half hour before take off, or you're going nowhere son" announcements over the tannoy. I briefly ponder the existence of countries with no domestic flights, which I presume is true of Qatar, and reach the empty desk.
Empty desks normally mean they are boarding, and that is what the information screens have been saying, so I scoot through. They are not boarding, instead it's just a sterile departure gate you are not allowed to escape. Some people loiter by the desk, some self-important types try to board, and a uniformed man shouts WE ARE NOT BOARDING YET to everyone.
A few seconds later, he says boarding is commencing for business class passengers only. I'm pretty sure some of the people ahead of me went to economy anyway but whatever; less than 25 minutes after getting off the bus I am in seat 15A and being offered a much less impressive glass of champagne than on Qatar, both in quantity and taste. But bubbly is bubbly so bottoms up.
Boarding takes forever, some security staff demand to look through some people's cabin baggage, and my feet can't reach the footrest. It's my first time in this generation of Cathay Pacific business class seat and it's really lovely, not vastly different from the first class seat except about half the width and with less privacy - but more privacy than the Qatar cabin.
I add a few things to my "Studio CX" playlist - 3 episodes of Family Guy - and pick my choice of food. It's just a light supper service because this is a red-eye leaving at almost 1am and most people just want to sleep. As with the previous flight the attendant remarks on just how long my journey is, with a "wow". Yeah, if you only knew the half of it...
The headphones are stored in a cabinet, the instructions for how to open which can only be seen once it's already open. Thanks, Cathay. The headphone socket is also tucked away there and I plug mine in because they cancel noise like a fucking boss. There is an amenity kit and this time it has toothpaste and brush plus lip balm, hand cream, and some other kind of cream. Swag!
The food is served a la carte and there's not much of it. I don't bother with the cheese plate. And, in fact, I don't bother with much - despite not unpacking the blanket or setting my seat into bed mode, I fall into some genuinely restful sleep. It helps that the inflight entertainment system seems to be broken and won't play anything.
After 90 minutes I wake up and decide I want to watch the Sammo Hung/Jackie Chan film "Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars", and figure out that you can play stuff if you add it to your playlist but not just by hitting play. Broken. The film itself is all kinds of fucked up and odd and there's no fighting for the first half hour, after which I fall asleep again. I wake up for about 10 seconds at a time catching a few fight scenes, and then the credits.
This time I make an active choice to sleep, and wake up feeling really pretty good with around 2h30 of the flight to go. This calls for Expendables 3, which is UTTERLY FANTASTIC. Breakfast is served with around 1hr of the flight left, and is composed almost entirely of sugar: muffin, pastries, fruit, yoghurt, fruit juice. It's mostly lovely and I can just about squeeze in an episode of American Dad as we descend, though mostly I spend my time taking photos of Hong Kong and its surrounding sea and islands and mainland because it's awesome.