Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rant: Cathay Pacific is strike two.

Crap, I can't believe they still suck big time. I just got back from my outrageously extended long trip, and too tired to blog. Sorry if this post is messed up, I'll post the details soon. For now, I am signing out, I am tired.

Update (12/20/2006): I am one of the stranded passengers of Cathay Pacific Flight CX885, scheduled to depart L.A. to H.K. on Dec. 17, 2006 11:30AM (Gate 122). Normally, you'll have to be in the gate about 30mins earlier for boarding (that's 11:00am for the really slow). But being a panic traveller that I am, I usually am at the gate an hour earlier and then I just move around the shops near the gate to pass up the time. I am excited since I am just a few minutes and I'll be one step closer to home.

However, 11:00am came and we're still not boarding, no announcement whatsoever. At this time, I decided to stay there near the gate so that I will be able to catch up what's happening and to be up to date. In my last year's trip (same gate, but different flight), I encountered a one-hour delay (and the flight need to re-fuel at Taipei so another 2+ hours additional flight time) so I just want to make sure I know what's happening.

Then, 11:15am hit its mark and then they began to announce to be in line and prepare for boarding. Those travelling with children, aged people, disabled, or travelling business and first class has been given a special lane. While me and the rest of economy flyers was to follow the row-seat boarding arrangement, that is, those seating at row 60-70 (or was it 50-60, can't remember) will board first. My seat number isn't in there so I am stuck at my gate seat.

Anyway, after about another 15mins, that's 11:30am and the announcement was given that our flight will have one hour delay due to technical problem. Oh crap!!!! I am very hungry at this time, it's 12:30PM and I don't want to spend my precious dollars on lunch since I am hoping that I'll be able to take lunch on the plane.

So I tried to relax and think positively, it's better that Cathay is taking time to ensure that we are going to have a safe flight, so what's another hour to wait, right? I decided to get a quick snack so I won't lose conciousness due to hunger. And since it's an airport, all prices are jacked up really niceley (plus, it's L.A.). A bottled watter + a Doritos will cost me $7.00, wow, so screw quick snack and I'll just go ahead and get heavier snack. A heavier snack set me $15.65, that sucks so bad. A sandwich and a bottled watter, for $15, what a crap.

One hour wait time quickly passed by, and another announcement was given, flight is freaking cancelled. Arggggggggh, screw you! However, they seem to have an emergency plan brewing up, they have another aircraft that has just landed and we'll use that instead. Technically, it's supposed to be good since it just landed so it should be fit for flight. But all the passengers will have to move to a different gate, I think Gate 115. In my opinion, Cathay Pacific is actually just waiting for this next airplane, that the flight has been cancelled already way before they announced it, they just needed to make sure that everyone will fit in.

Anyway, moving to that gate is like a long Exodus from Purgatory to Hell. To be honest, I don't really know how Purgatory or Hell feels like, but this experience is really devastating. Coming from Portland, Oregon from a 6:10am flight (I woke up at 3:00am, and checked it at 3:45am and was at the boarding gate at 4:20am), I don't have much strength and the will to walk. They just ask us to follow a ground crew, without even giving us a mobile vehicle to ride on. They are just so crappy, I can't believe such bad customer service still lingers on a such a well known company. It's not a short walk, specially from a tired traveller like me.

After arriving at the Gate of Hell 115, we were asked to sit down. They said a bus will come and pick us up since the airplane is "parked" somewhere else (I don't know what term to use, so I just said park). They also made an announcement that since the aircraft is a bit different, our seating arrangement will be impacted. Oh crap, that's another sucky one for those who are impacted. Specially to families who are travelling in groups or sweethearts, or bands, etc.

However, the time is around 2:00PM already and we're still waiting from the messengers about the news to pick us up. I can't believe we'll encounter another waiting time. The airline keeps on making blunders. People are tired and hungry, come on, it's common sense to give refreshment to your passengers. We are hungry, tired, and angry. We are confused and losing focus. All this waiting game is a losing game for the passengers. I know airlines are doing their best, but heck, bottom line is that customers are not happy with the service. At least give us food. Now my fault is that I never really complained hard, I just thought they'll figure it out. Besides, all along I thought we'll bever have to wait again at that "flight boarding station-turned bus station" anyway.

And 2:15PM came and people are still waiting, blasted! How long can these airline torture us even more? When 2:25PM came, the buses arrived, and we're all again ushered to follow the seating arrangement blah blah, like business class, Marco Polo members, etc. etc. has a special lane while all economy flyers suffered the dreaded long line of boredom. It pays to have the money I guess. Anyway, we got in the bus and we were happily riding.

At 2:30PM, we reached the plane, but we can't get off the bus. We're like sardines in there, sitting idle for the next 5mins, wow, the waiting game never stops. It appears that the airplane is not yet ready for boarding. You suck Cathay Pacific. And we're hungry hungry hungry, I just want to eat those people around me. Curse you After the grueling wait inside the bus, we were "let go", only to be greeted by another long line of waiting. Yes, we have to wait. We have to enter a small structure (like a two-storey building, but not really a building, just a structure for people to ride the plane) and another waiting line of boredom awaits us.

Hahahahahahahah, if this is a joke, it must be very funny for all the Cathay Pacific management. But it is curse for me. Very hungry, tired, and dizzy, I keep drifiting in and out of the "real world". I just can't focus anymore, I want to relax, lie down, have a rest. This whole trip is taxing my energy way more than I can normally take. I should have taken a much heavier lunch.

After another waiting, and I can't keep of the time anymore, we finally boarded the airplane of sorrow, sat down, only to keep hearing the captain announce how sucky some passengers are for not accepting the changed seat allocation (remember how I mentioned some seats are impacted?) and how we can't take off if passengers doesn't cooperate. Hey, don't be such an ass Mr. Captain, I would have knock out your skull if I am besides you and you're talking to me like that. I came from a very early flight, I am tired, and hungry and you let me wait for the longest time and now you are asking me to why not just cooperate? I swear, I don't care how big that guy is, I would have jumped into him and pummel his face like there's no tomorrow. Anyway, my seat isn't impacted, and all I can think about is eat eat eat eat eat.

After I placed my handcarried bag at the overhead compartment, I approached a flight steward and I said, "Can I get a sandwich and a cup of water please? I am really hungry since I haven't taken my lunch yet.". I was greeted with a "Uh, me too, I haven't taken lunch yet" and for the moment, I feel like kicking her in the butt but then again, a spark of reason came into me, this airline just landed and the flight steward must also be tired and they are still cleaning the airplane when we arrived (which explains why we have to wait a long line in that structure I mentioned earlier). However, the flight steward must be stumped as well with her answer and she ushered me to a location where I can help myself so she can get back to preparing the aircraft.

I quickly grab a sandwich and a cup of water and that feels like the best thing in the world for me. I felt energey building up, and as much as I'd like to munch all of them, I just can't since I know some people still needs to take some as well. And true enough, after I sat down, I saw some passengers approaching the "food area" and asking the flight crew if they can have something to eat and drink as well. I feel for them, I know how they feel, I have been thru it all.

So back to the seat I am, and I kept hearing the jerk Captain of the Airline how we are stranded and can't take off since there's still some people who aren't cooperating. I think they should have more heart than brain at time around, we suffered, and while it is reasonable to tell people that seats has changed, they should have enough patience as well. Yeah, I know, you all came from a previous flight and might be very tired as well, but hey, we are the customers and your airline better be prepared for such situation. It is not our problem that you are tired, the airline must be able to provide enough crew and be ready for such situation.

If you want reason, try reasoning with a person who is in a tip-top condition and not us who have been under the hassle of airlines incompetence to handle such situation. The ground crew assisting us never even have the tiniest idea to serve their "travel-worn" customers some sort of refreshment. Yes, I understand that if everyone doesn't cooperate then we're gonna get screwed with the flight even more. But screw you too, we paid for a service and service is we're going to get. Not some alternative that definitely isn't working right. Understand the people, why they are upset and don't try to announce such threats anymore and lay it on the passengers shoulder on why we are going to get delayed even more. It is Cathay Pacific's incompetence that started it all, not the passengers, we were all obliging and following customers, until such horrible ordeal happened. So stopped preaching Mr. Captain, you suck. How I wish Cathay Pacific will fire you for such condencending attitude.

Anyway, since Captain Jerko announced that there's some legal issues, it's out of their hands and that is why we're going to land in Taipei, Taiwan so that a new shift of flight crew can take over (must be something about the number of hours they can do per shift) and so our flight to HK is delayed once more. I wonder why they don't have alternate crew in L.A. though, and have to get replacement in Taiwan. One thing is sure though, I don't give a flying *uck if they are going over the number of hours to work, get someone in L.A. to fly instead of the the crew in Taipei so we don't have to go to Taipei. I might have misinterpreted it, but that's how my weary brain understood the Captain's reason for yet another delay.

So we get to Taipei, and there we get a fresh set of crew. The flight is ok, decent, and I took the time to survey the environment and everyone seems pacified (including me). But we're all weary, I am sleeping and snoring like a horse.

We reached, I think around 12:30am(Dec.19) already and we're given free accomondation and boarding pass scheduled for 8:05am. Our accomodation is at Regal Apt, a hotel that is connected to HK airport. The airline is kind enough to give us three(3) meal stubs: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are given a 3minute international call for free. No room service, and the minibar is locked (wow). That is freaking awesome, they locked the minibar, I am not sure if it's hotel's policy or the airline's advise, but that sucks. In our note that hotel receptionist handed out, in order to take something out at the minibar, we'll have to pay it upfront. Screw you. Btw, no free internet.

Anyway, wonder why I am having a pet peeve over the minibar if dinner is already given? Well, it is because after reading the fine print, the restaurant offering the free dinner is open till 10:00PM only, and that the stub is valid on Dec. 19. Wow, sounds like another jerky decision from Cathay Pacific. You gave us a dinner stub that can't be used. Someone needs to be fired. And yes, lunch is screwed as well. I know that there are other people who may have another flight time, but still, make sure that the freebies you are going to give because you messed up is usable and not something that is almost useless.

Wow, they tried to do a shotgun approach and maybe get the same offering for all the stranded passengers, not thinking that some of their offers may not be valid. Please, use the brain.

Anyway, most of my major complaints are already mentioned and while there's some I'd like to rant, I am out of energy to write it.

My last words will be that first strike is last year's screw up and this second screw up is the last Cathay Pacific flight I am going to book, ever!

I will give my final recommendation to my company to remove this airline from the accredited list and I will never fly Cathay Pacific again. Goodbye Cathay Pacific, hello new airlines.

Have a good day all FanBoyz, and take my words for it, Cathay Pacific sucks big time.

No comments: