As I start this blog post we are approximately four and a half hours into our flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong, with about nine hours until our arrival. It occurred to me that perhaps I should put some thoughts into words during this leg of our journey.
For many years my experiences with more lengthy flights were highlighted by my travels in the Canadian military when, over the years, I made a number of trips from Trenton, Ontario, to Alert, Nunavut, in the far north, usually by way of Thule, Greenland. These flights, six to eight hours in duration, were, almost literally, made as part of the cargo in a CF-130 Hercules aircraft. Conversation by the handful of passengers was accomplished only by shouting and sleep eluded many, unless they were able to drift off to the incessant roar of the engines. Also, most of us did not remove our parkas as they both shielded us from the noise and kept us warm.
Most certainly this flight is considerably longer, however the biggest difference, to me, is the fact that I am sharing this aircraft with 300+ people. As I look around right now, the majority of them are sleeping, in an amazingly diverse variety of poses, some of which one might think to be extremely uncomfortable.
It is now close to two hours later. All around me more television screens have become active again, some folks are moving about, and the flight attendents have made the rounds with hot noodles, which are quite popular (and quite tasty as well). I suspect this will be a reasonably brief activity time and that soon all will be quiet once more.
I should mention that we left Vancouver at 1:25 am and it is now 7:00am Vancouver time, and midnight Hong Kong time, where we will arrive at 7:00am.
Shortly after takeoff, with no empty seats, dinner was served. Choices were smoked salmon, chicken with black bean sauce, braised beef or vegetarian ziti pasta. We had chicken and beef, both were good. Then most people were watching their screens, with some counting sheep right away. Over time the screens began darkening until we reached the point where I began this post.
Another two hours have past, many more screens have gone dark while a good number of others are shining only on the outside of their viewers eyelids. With five hours to go we are basically quiet again.
Two and a half hours to go, the plane starts to wake up. Breakfast has been warming for some time now, although the passengers were not aware, now the lights come on, the curtains are opened and people are opening their eyes, stretching, and talking with their neighbours. Looking around I note that quite a few screens are now showing the tracking of the aircraft, 894 miles to go, 2 hours 24 minutes. Face wipes are handed out, pretty much everyone is awake, conversations all over between folks who didn’t know each other fifteen hours ago and probably won’t fifteen hours from now.
Breakfast was beef congee or ham fritatta. We had one of each and once again, both were good.
With breakfast over it’s a good time to say a few words about the cabin crew. This is my second trip to Malaysia and both times have been with Cathay Pacific. I continue to be both impressed and pleased by the quality of service. As many of my friends know I do like to chat with folks and this flight I spent considerable time chatting with crew members in the galley area.
We have one hour to go and all around I can see, and hear, passengers preparing for arrival, as well as crew doing all their tasks. For me, I will wrap up here and post this while in Hong Kong.
All in all, a most excellent flight.