Cathay has been my favorite airline since 1997 when I first started traveling on it, up until recently when I finally made up my mind that I don’t like it any more. And it’s the little things that seem to be slowly disappearing – like the genuine smile at the check-in desk, the passion and enthusiasm of the cabin crew and the real care for the passenger.
I have had faulty AV systems on my seat twice in the last six months – they say, “Sorry sir, would you like to change your seat.” I don’t, because I am sitting on a first-row aisle seat – the only comfortable seat in the plane for someone who is tall and suffers from back pain.
Most cabin crew don’t hear English very well, so you almost always have to repeat yourself if you ask for anything other than water. People making cabin announcements often sound like kids who have just learnt how to read.
What peeves me the most is when you press the call button and nobody bothers. I have often had cabin crew pass by without stopping, even when they see the call light turned on above my seat. One of my colleagues often tells the attendants who show up after a long time, “If I had a heart attack, I’d be dead by now”. Most of them don’t seem to understand what he means by that.
So yeah, Cathay is consistently moving from WOW to SHIT on my scale. So why do I still travel Cathay? For it’s convenient connections from Hong Kong, where I (mostly) live. And for crew like Athens, who still care and love what they do. Today he recognized me and remembered that few months ago, I had given away my favorite seat so a mom and child could sit together. He treated me really well today.
[Written during a Cathay flight from Hong Kong to Karachi on Oct 19, 2007]