mercredi 16 mars 2016

AN EXTRAORDINARY FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: CATHAY PACIFIC NEW YORK TO HONG KONG TO KUALA LUMPUR

AN EXTRAORDINARY FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: CATHAY PACIFIC NEW YORK TO HONG KONG TO KUALA LUMPUR
I am a frequent flier on many airlines so for me to make such a statement, you can understand my full satisfaction at the 22 hours I spent at the care of Cathay Pacific CX staff.
What makes an experience an exceptional one, especially when it comes to long haul flying, are the people you come across during the short time you share with each other. I was flying alone but the people at CX made this flight memorable for me.
Just three weeks ago, I had flown CMB 4 hours AUH 14 hours JFK on EY Etihad Airways, made a mental note that the Asian crew were lot more friendly and efficient and much more service oriented than the European cabin crew.
When the chance to go to Kuala Lumpur arose, I jumped at the chance to fly CX (initially I had been booked on an American Airlines flight to Hong Kong).
I boarded the first flight at JFK in New York. It was a good omen that the gate agent, Ms. E H (born in Guyana) was pleasant and as I entered the aircraft I was greeted politely by the Cabin Manager (Ms. BL from Singapore) and then the Purser (Ms. K). The senior purser (Ms. M from Manila) came and introduced herself.
The flight from New York to Hong Kong is 15 hours and 3 minutes long. I had been a little apprehensive as I had two consecutive late night flights prior and wondered the effect of this long flight on my constitution.
All my trepidations soon evaporated, thanks to the three aforementioned individuals. Ms. K was very knowledgeable about the menu, suggested Lobster Congee which was just delicious. Ms. BL, being made aware of my Jewish cultural tradition of not eating Pork products, especially made sure that the Chilean Sea Bass was made available for later. Ms. M was ever present with a genuine smile with a bottle of KRUG in hand, to tantalize my buds.

I rested well enough and felt refreshed arriving in Hong Kong.  A brief visit to the Pier Lounge and boarded the 3 hours 30 minutes flight to Kuala Lumpur. The friendliness was overwhelming on boarding, being personally greeted by Ms. M, a Malaysian from Sabah now resident in HK, who was the Manager of the flight; followed by Ms. S from Penang who was the Senior Purser, look sprightly and young. It took a little while for the young, busy Purser, Ms. J, to spare a few moments with me, and her genuine nature and such an innocent way of interacting was impressive enough. I truly enjoyed talking to Ms. S and I sincerely hope that I would run into any of these six CX people I mentioned, either in one of the CX flights or in Miami or in La Habana!

As a cultural anthropologist, such interactions are precious to me, as I get to know the stories of such a varied group of people in such a short period of time, enriching my life and at the same time legitimizing their own lived lives.
I am grateful.