Posts Tagged ‘Plane’

Time wasted on planes when you can’t use devices

I tend to travel on planes quite often, and I’ve always been annoyed by the fact that you have to turn off your electronic devices during take-off and landing. I thought life would be better when you could keep your tablets on in flight mode (thus not requiring me to carry physical newspapers on-board or even magazines). 

F1 airshowIn the USA and in the UK, this is no longer a problem (it hasn’t been at least since the end of last year), I was always hoping that the Asian carriers I tend to fly (Singapore Airlines & Cathay Pacific in particular) would modernise.

Sometimes I fly to Singapore from KL, and that’s about a 45-minute flight. One day I measured how much time I was wasting without using electronic devices:

  • 26 minutes 45 seconds upon takeoff – announcement, taxi, takeoff (KUL-SIN)
  • 14 minutes upon landing – here during taxi, you can use electronic devices 

41 minutes wasted, is almost as long as the flight ;-)

So it is with great pleasure that since the middle of the year (July 2014), Singapore Airlines allows you to use your devices (not laptops, but thats ok – tablets/phones are good enough for now) in flight-safe mode, and Cathay Pacific just allowed this as of mid-September 2014.

Now, when will Malaysia Airlines, and AirAsia wake up? Presumably this has a lot to do with the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation.

Cathay Pacific Economy: seats = fail

My trek to the USA this time around, was mired with issues.

First up, I was flying a new airline – Cathay Pacific. I had generally flown United or Singapore Airlines to the States, because it just seems to work better — plus they’re Star Alliance, and I like keeping my status there.

So, I now register for their Asia Miles. My travel agent (the venerable AMEX travel) tell me that the flight they booked me, the seats can’t be pre-booked, so I’ll have to wing it at the airport. Nifty. Thankfully, I get an aisle seat.

Now, as soon as I get on the plane from Hong Kong to San Francisco (delayed, might I add, by a few hours — where’s my compensation, oh wait, AMEX booked the flight, I can’t ask my credit card company for money now), I get a tad shocked. I have an aisle seat towards the back of the plane. The seats don’t recline. OK, they do, but they are a new design, and they recline inwards. This means that if you carry any height, you’re screwed. Sure this means no one ever gets towards your laptop screen, as they can’t recline backwards, but is this really what I want on a long haul flight?

OK, the seats have in-flight power. There are nice screens, and the in-flight entertainment is great. All this reminds me of Singapore Airlines (in fact, SIA’s flights to SFO via HKG/ICN still sometimes tend to not have power, unless you fly the new Airbus). Heck, the whiskey they serve on-board is great – Chivas Regal 12yo, and Johnnie Walker Black Label (not the Red Label crap you tend to get) — pity I don’t drink in-flight. But the seats not reclining?

Apparently, I’m not the only one who has encountered this: Cathay Pacific’s New Coach Seats (I’d focus on the comments, if I were you – and yes, I too am 180cm tall, just shy of 6-feet), Economy class seat comfort review (hardest seat, bad for lower back, “seats were the worst”), and the list goes on.

No one seems to want to fly Cathay on a repeated basis, on long haul flights. Don’t believe their marketing hype. SeatGuru doesn’t have much info on the best seat to snag either — because there is no best seat.

So, I have to fly Cathay back again from the US soon. But let it be known that this is the last time I will fly them on a long haul flight. I don’t care if you can shave a couple hundred bucks off, I was useless and not at my optimum for two days since arriving, and I’m sure the productivity lost, outweighs the cost of the savings in the ticket.