Someone advised me to bring some snacks on my flight to Toronto last week.
“Come on, I’m taking Cathay Pacific, not Hong Kong Express,” I replied, dismissing his friendly reminder.
I was terribly wrong. When I woke up five hours into the flight, I found there were only two apples and one cup of instant noodles left for economy passengers.
I asked a flight attendant, who commiserated with me and confirmed that all snacks, including peanuts, were gone.
I know Cathay is buying Hong Kong Express for HK$4.93 billion (US$628 million), but has it turned into a budget carrier even before the deal is closed?
Yes, that’s just a minor hiccup in its world-acclaimed service, but that is also part of the reason why its global ratings have dropped and the airline itself has fallen behind its rivals.
It has failed to recognize the truth in the old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
And, indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder: all I could think of was food. I thought about roast goose at Yung Kee Restaurant and other sumptuous viands that more privileged travelers on the same plane could be enjoying.
Well, not everyone could afford HK$40,000 for a business-class ticket, although I am very willing to pay HK$400 if they would just throw me a slice.
I have always imagined that I would drop dead if I became hungry long enough. So I took an apple and the instant noodles.
True enough, I wiped out the noodles instantly. But I could not find a flight attendant to clear the mess on my folding table right away.
How I could resume working on my portable computer in the middle of the flight while holding a plastic bowl half filled with soup without waking up my seatmate became a big challenge.
I had pressed the button to call a flight attendant about nine times before someone finally came after at least 25 minutes. I was grateful but could not help wondering how many people other than the passengers were asleep.
Now, would it be too much to ask for the nice people at Cathay Pacific to stock up on peanuts and chocolate bars at the galley? I think I am reasonable enough not to ask for a plate of Hong Kong roast goose.
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