CX888 Vancouver YVR – New York JFK
STD-STA: 2250-0700 (+1)
Actual: 0112-0819 (+1)
Maintenance work at YVR moved the CX check in counters to the end closer to the domestic terminal. This meant I had to walk some distance to get to Cathay Pacific’s temporary check-in counters. I blame the lack of signage from Vancouver’s airport authority for the inconvenience. In addition there was quite a wait at security which is moving slowly due to the staff. Usually security was fast, but it isn’t today and somehow my favourite airport in North America has failed me!
Onwards to the CX lounge which was pleasant enough and not full. Boarding started at 22:30, later than what was indicated on the boarding pass after a few checks with the lounge agents. Upon boarding, business class looked quite empty though it was clearly packed in economy.
There was a long wait to taxi though the plane returned to the gate as there was a fault with the left engine. Subsequent repair work took around an hour and we were thus delayed by a total of close to 2 hours. I was glad that the pilot kept passengers informed throughout the process. Meanwhile the crew started the IFE, distributed customs form for US Immigration and gave out peanuts and snacks during the wait at the gate. This made the wait somewhat more comfortable but the late departure time meant many were already tired and just wanted some shut eye. The new Economy seat on Cathay Pacific is pretty good, similar to the seats on Singapore Airlines A380. This meant a nice lumbar support, and it has a good recline as well which is an all around improvement to the old non-reclining seats. Below the personal TV screen is a compartment that could comfortably fit your passport, boarding pass, glasses and mobile phone which is great for travellers. The seat was still comfortable enough even when the front passenger reclines as was the case during the long wait.
Fortunately, we took off for the skies for real the next time round and it was not long before the crew started meal service. The food choice was chicken and mushroom with rice, baked salmon with white wine sauce or pasta with red sauce. Wondering what red sauce was though, as there was no menu for Economy class passengers. I picked the chicken with rice and it turns out fine, while the portion was alright for supper. There was also ice cream lacking for this flight, while the same meal service from YVR to HKG would have included an ice cream bar on top of the dessert. The dessert for the meal was some cream cake which was not very tasty.
Back to the inflight entertainment on this flight, and I thought the AVOD in Economy is not that much different from that of Premium Economy except it is touch screen and it works quite well in my opinion with minimal lag. Screen quality was clear and the wide variety of selections makes StudioCX one of my favourite IFEs, next to SQ’s KrisWorld. However it should be noted that selections on Cathay Pacific’s First and Business Class was much more comprehensive with more episodes of TV shows and more classic movies.
Even with the delay in Vancouver, we arrived in New York’s JFK past 8am with the sun already shining brightly. The crew came around with glasses of water and juices to help passengers refresh for the arrival into New York. Fortunately there was not a long queue for the immigration as is usually the case in the west coast. It is worth noting this is perhaps one of the few transborder (Canada-US) flights where immigration is not processed in the airport itself, but with the light immigration queue, this was not a deciding factor for choosing this flight over Air Canada or other carriers. With this being my second flight on Cathay Pacific’s new long-haul Economy Class, I was pleased and it is probably the best trans-continental Economy Class in North America, since it definitely beats Air Canada in terms of service, meal quality, and even inflight entertainment. As for the other US-based carriers, it blows them completely!