After our last complimentary ‘all you can order off the menu’ breakfast, we said goodbye to the Westin. I had a bit of a confusing interaction with the front desk over the bill, but it was minor. I should have had complimentary internet, but they charged for two days’ worth. When I asked about this they explained that their system offered two speeds, the slower internet was free, I had selected the faster option.
Now, I’m confident that I didn’t do that, as I guessed that they might charge for the faster speed, I didn’t really need it, and I didn’t feel like asking. But they initially stood their ground. As did I, and they removed it from my bill.
Rather than taking the hotel’s free shuttle, I opted to hang around an extra 15 minutes or so and ordered up a cab so that I could leave at my leisure. Couldn’t have been more than $10. And we quickly arrived at the ferry dock.
Once again I was glad to be riding the ferry in Super Class, if only not to have to wait in any lines (not to mention the extra baggage allowance, though I didn’t see them enforcing restrictions in the next line over).
We quickly had our tickets and proceeded through passport control. There were a couple of tours departing at the same time we were, and I still wonder why everyone but me had a ‘Turbojet’ lapel sticker. But we were through immigration quickly, we went straight to our ferry gate as we had timed things rather closely. And we… waited. The boat was a bit late coming in from the airport and then they needed a few minutes to freshen it up before returning. They boarded quickly, we proceeded upstairs and had our seats.
Almost immediately after departure we were handed our snack trays which were strikingly similar to the ones we had on the way over, same tuna fish and all. The waters were really rough and there were a few gutwrenching waves, but after 45 minutes we had safely arrived at the airport.
Straight to the transfer desk, they issued boarding passes and keyed in our luggage tags that we received in Macau, then to the booth for a refund of airport taxes as hadn’t entered Hong Kong but American Airlines didn’t know that when issuing our tickets, and then through transit security and on to the Wing. Sadly I wouldn’t visit The Pier this trip, as again our flight was departing from a gate near the Wing and that’s also where we were clearing security. I couldn’t imagine that the Pier was going to be worth the long trek, so we simply settled into our familiar surroundings.
I visited The Haven, first class dining area of the Wing, and boy was it packed! So I took a plate from the buffet back to the open seating area overlooking the gates and an attendant followed with napkins and silverware for me. Another attendant quickly came by to offer beverages. And my wife visited the noodle bar.
Then we just relaxed until it was time to board for London and we had to leave the peace and quiet of the lounge. The gate area was a madhouse for our full 747 to Heathrow. They board business and first class together, but once we made it into the first class cabin all was peaceful. They were expecting (and had) a completely full flight, but even with nine out of nine seats occupied it never felt crowded. In fact sitting in the Cathay Pacific First Seat, in row 1, you rarely notice that there’s anyone else in the cabin.
It was time for the very familiar service routine.. predeparture beverage and towel, menus, nuts and another beverage after takeoff, orders taken and the first meal begins.
Here’s the menu for the flight:
Caviar and Balik
Caviar and Balik salmon “Tsar Nicolaj”
Mesclun salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomato and Balsamic vinaigrette
Grilled beef tenderloin with gratin potato, asparagus and baby carrots
Pesto totellini with tomato sauce and pine nuts
Pork soup with winter melon and dried duck gizzard
Cold plate – deep fried sea bass with sweet vinegar dressing
Prawn butterfly wrapped with bean curd skin
Braised duck with onion sauce
Served with steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried asparagus, pepper and shimeji mushrooms
Cheese and Dessert
Forme d’Ambert, Manchego, Arenberger, French Brie
Fresh berries and ginger syrup
Cherry clafoutis cake with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis
Black sesame soup
Tea and coffee
Beef skewer with salad and capsicum relish
From our series of classic Signature dishes
Shrimp wontons with noodle in soup
Szechuenese dan dan noodle in soup
Seasonal fresh fruit
Pan-fried cornfed chicken with rosemary, grilled new potatoes, French beans, capsicum and mushrooms
Steamed cod fillet in preserved olive, steamed jasmine rice and stir-fried broccoli
Mushroom and garlic agnolotti with basil tomato concasse and mixed mushrooms
Cheese and Dessert
Cambozola, Comte, Double Gloucester, Chaumes
Tea and Coffee
Once again I opted to dine with my wife, I took the buddy seat in her suite and they installed a table extender. This time even the Chinese meal wasn’t quite as good, and I had already learned to always opt for the Chinese choices on Cathay. Ultimately I wasn’t overly impressed by the cuisine — it was perfectly adequate, nothing was bad, but not at all impressive in the way that ANA and Asiana offer.
First, a little welcoming note. Though the flight attendant forgot to sign it! (She remembered on my wife’s.)
After a filling ‘adequate’ meal it was time to relax. I changed into my pajamas (and learned better than to take a large this time!) while a flight attendant made my bed.
I relaxed with a few classic movies before drifting to sleep. I woke up maybe 5 hours outside of London and decided to have a snack instead of taking the second meal (which really didn’t especially appeal based on the menu).
I had the beef skewers and the dan dan noodle soup, the flight attendant suggested that she might add wontons to it and I accepted.
An hour or so from arrival I filled out our immigration cards, slipped them into our passports along with our fast track invitations, and as soon as we landed we were ready to go! Second in line at immigration after the long trek through Heathrow and out of the airport rather quickly, on to the Waldorf Hotel and the Fat Duck Restaurant!