Shanghai Expo 2010 coming soon; heading over to check things out...
ABOARD CATHAY PACIFIC 827 – “I wouldn’t want to be there.”
As I settled into my (thank you, Cathay Pacific) business class seat/pod and sipped on a (small) glass of sparkling wine around 12:01 a.m. Wednesday in Toronto, a group of teenagers strolled past. One smart-aleck, and I say that in the nicest way, looked at the fortunate few of us in the front of the plane and turned to his friend.
“Who wants to sleep in seat that folds into a bed,” he said with a laugh. “I’d rather sit in the back between two people I don’t even know for 14 hours.”
It makes you feel a little guilty when the airline gods smile upon you and treat you in a manner you don’t deserve, but I gotta say I enjoyed the biz class treatment. They offered a nice choice of prawns in kung po sauce with rice and veggies for dinner, as well as a beef tenderloin in a red wine demi glace; slightly better than a subway sandwich. There’s also a three-cheese platter and New York cheesecake and then pralines before bedtime, all of which I'm proud to say I passed on.
There were a half-dozen wines on tap, including a nice California Cabernet and Chardonnay and a French white Burgundy, as well as a leathery Bordeaux and a fruity Morgon. Okay, a couple of those I tried.
The seats fold down flat, which is just outstanding. They also give you a nice toiletry bag (most airlines do in business class) with socks, eyeshades, toothbrush and toothpaste, sunblock lotion, mouthwash (pretty large one; was I being told something?), ear plugs and more. I haven’t flown business class on Air Canada in some time, but I’d say the pods are pretty similar. Air Canada, as I recall, has a nice tray where you can slide your laptop and shoes out of the way, which the Cathay plane didn’t have.
I’d say the service was pretty similar to what I get on Air Canada; maybe a touch better but in the same ballpark. (Then again, I'm one of those folks who generally finds Air Canada to be a pretty good airline; far, far better than most American lines I've flown.) What I REALLY loved was the entertainment system. In addition to those little maps that show you precisely where you are, this one had a plane cam that showed the ground underneath the whole way. Mind you, it was dark the entire trip so all I could see were the odd bit of lights. Still, though, kinda cool.
There had to be more than a hundred movies, ranging from recent Hollywood flicks to classics and Asian movies. I settled in for Lost in Translation, and immediately remembered how sexy Scarlett Johansson was in that movie and how impossibly laconic and perfect a job Bill Murray did. I had completely forgotten about the “masseuse” sent to Murray’s room and how she ordered him to “rip my stockings,” as she wrestled him to the ground in pseudo-passion. Hilarious.
Tons of great music on the plane, as well, from Talking Heads (“Life During Wartime” is a great song to write a blog to, by the way) and Elvis Costello to the Stones and Barbra Streisand and Allison Kraus and Vivaldi and lord knows what else. Nice fruit and yogurt and cereal for breakfast, or an omelette or noodles or congee for hungrier folks, and then on into Hong Kong.
Of course, no sooner did I arrive then I tried to snap shut the handle on my carry-on bag and busted it in two. Thankfully I have a three-hour layover and plenty of time to shop. I have a sneaking suspicion the Hong Kong airport just might have a place or two to drop some cash....
On to Shanghai later today, so I'll post from there tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing how it measures up against Beijing and Hong Kong....