Observations from business class
ANNA HEALY FENTON
Monday's blog about the new Cathay Pacific business class sears being so popular with the punters that they are taking day trips to London prompted a lively response.
One correspondent, Stephen Brown, has obviously thought about this quite alot. The thought of 13 or 14 hours horizontal in an airplane seat, followed by an action-packed day in the UK capital holds no terrors for him. "Yup, the new Cathay business class seats are great," he says, adding a to-do list for our home grown airline.
"Now they just need to: stop turning on the lights two and a half hours before landing." Agreed Stephen, that's a bit keen but have you ever seen what happens when the crew try to wake a sleeping-piss sodden passenger with only minutes to go to landing? Not a pretty sight.
"Stop announcing every time they turn on the seat belt sign," is his next suggestion. Agreed that "bing" noiseis particularly irritating, especially the announcement interrupts the movie and the girl says somethign nonsensical like "We are entering an area of rough air." Are we really dumbed down to "rough air?" What's wrong with turbulence, for that is what it is. Then he wants Cathay to stop flying 777s, but does not go into details as to why.
Next is "And stop using terminal 3." I know no one who would disagree with that. Crowded, unpleasant and cramped, it's the nastiest of Heathrow's unlovely terminals. And finally, he advises London day trippers to skip Cathay in favour of British Airways. The seat to go for is “60 A on a BA 747 ....is better than first class if you are a day tripper...." is he a serial day tripper himself?
"Of course but any serious day tripper knows BA 26 is first flight cleared into land and gets in at 04.50 and immigration at heathrow is clear!!" He's done before, clearly. But how are you going to escape from Heathrow at 04.50? No tubes, no buses and freezing cold. I'm not even sure if the Heathrow Express runs that early. I suppose if you're rich enough to go to London for the day business class, you're rich enough to summon a limo.
Talking of Cathay Pacific, like all their other devoted Marco Polo Club members, I received an upbeat announcement about exciting changes to upgrading using miles. Ignoring the fact that it's virtually impossible to get a seat this way any more, it used to be a treat to save up the miles and splurge them in one go with an upgrade from economy to business class.
I fear those days have gone. Disguised in the news that you can now upgrade from the new premium economy was the sneaky message that you can now upgrade one class. Reading between the lines that means goodbye to upgrading to business from economy. Looks like from now on you have to fork out for the premium economy fare before you can upgrade "one class" to business.