Flight Report
CX 685 Hong Kong - Mumbai
Business Class

Late Night Flight

Flying into and out of Mumbai is always a pain. International departures and arrivals tend to take place during the overnight hours. Luckily, the bus ride to the airport was short in weekend traffic.

No Lines

Check-in at the Business Class counters was smooth with no line. Very soon, I was ready to head into security check and enjoy the lounge.

I decided to use The Wing lounge by Gate 2. This was my first visit to this lounge as I previously frequented The Pier lounge further down the terminal. I headed straight to the cafeteria, where there were long tables and simple seating. Food selection at the self-serve counters was minimal - simple sandwiches, fruit, soup, and drinks.

Hong Kong Specialty

Beef noodle and wonton soup were offered as hot food items. I got the wonton soup but it tasted absolutely awful. The wontons were extremely salty. Even the HKD 15 wonton noodle at a local restaurant in a city could do better than this.

Disappointed, I ventured out to explore the lounge, hoping to be inspired. There was a lounge area with comfortable sofa chairs, and a separate business area with semi-private desks and phone connection separated by low walls. The privacy was quite good.

Cathay flies to Mumbai twice daily. This flight leaves 10 minutes later than mine and has a stopover in Bangkok. I opted for the nonstop flight since it already lands in Mumbai late already - after 1am.

There was a lot of activity at the next gate where my nonstop flight was preparing for boarding. Crowds of people were confused and hovered around the service desk requesting information. The commotion began when the display showed my flight has changed gate. Soon it was confirmed - we had to move from gate 26 to gate 68. It would be a very long walk.

Gate 68 was right at the tip of the Y terminal - the furthest gate in Terminal 1. The scheduled departure time was also delayed by 40 minutes.

I didn't want to wait with the huge crowd that had gathered at the gate, as it also included some spillover from the adjacent gate, where the Chennai flight was also ready for boarding. I went a bit further away to have a comfortable seat with nobody around me. At that gate, the Emirates flight was on final call and trying to find the last few passengers.

Tonight's aircraft was an A330 with the old regional Business Class configuration. I had expected lie-flat beds.

We were told by the flight deck that due to a technical problem, they had to make a last-minute aircraft change for safety reasons. I guess the reason was acceptable. Although the old seats are comfortable, sitting on them again for a 6-hour flight seemed a tough ordeal after experiencing the new seats. The foot rest is too short for a taller passenger, and it was tough to stretch comfortably using it. The only good thing I could think of about the old seat was the bigger width.

The meal service was professionally-served. I chose the Indian choice, which tasted quite decent, although with the typical spiciness that I hadn't experienced for a long time. Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out why the movie turned from English to Korean. Too bad there was no AVOD.

We landed at the renovated international terminal in Mumbai. They made the walls and floors look a little more modern, rather than gutted out the hole and turned it into something brand new. Nevertheless, it was a significant improvement from my 2007 visit. While immigration was speedy, and the luggage came within a reasonable amount of time, all passengers had to go through a slow and painful X-ray screening process upon leaving the baggage carousel. With only 2 machines operational, the lines grew at exponential speed. India has strict entry requirements on foreign currency and dutiable goods. Perhaps they were looking for contraband and weapons?

After the X-rays, it was a long walk across the terminal to the exit, where a new canopy was built to protect passengers from the elements all the way to the parking lot. However, that didn't stop the garbage from piling up in a few corners and stray dogs enjoying the heat of the night.

The flight experience was quite disappointing. The food at the CX lounge was not up-to-standard, and I was hoping for the new Business Class as noted on the schedule. Luckily, the service on-board was good to compensate.

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