Dynamic but peaceful…East and West…Traditional but modern…are the words artist Maria Lobo used to describe herself and the unique qualities she shares with Cathay Pacific. Their brush-wing tip has been lighting up the skies for 60 years now and with CX’s recent multi-billion HK dollar upgrade, they soar the skies even higher.
Champagne with a hint of Drambruie and a zest of lemon was my choice of toasting to the short but sweet trip that lay ahead of me. En route to Hong Kong, sipping on my Sunrise Paradise we were eagerly anticipating news of CX’s top secret unveiling of sorts. Our lovely host for the trip, Connie Cimafranca, CX Passenger Sales Supervisor, would only reveal that what was to be expected was nothing short of spectacular. After hearing this I, along with the other lovely ladies invited from Cebu, the madams of media, Nelia Neri, Mila Espina and Mayen Tan contentedly dozed off to sleep for our two-and-a-half hour flight.
Upon arrival, a little past midnight at the HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport), the 18-degree breeze was a welcome change from our sub-tropical weather. We then proceeded to our hotel,The Excelsior, adjacent to Causeway Bay and the World Trade Center. Our itinerary the next day was considerate enough to accommodate a little shopping but everyone was really excited about the Light Up Your Sky event along with more than 2000 invited guests and journalists from all over.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wanchai was a perfect venue for the grand night. Incidentally, the ultra modern structure likens a bird. And with its massive glass curtain looking down on the waters of Victoria Harbor, the effect is a bird preparing for take-off. This would be telling of the events for that night. Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier takes off with greater features for their future flights strengthening the status of tourism and business in the Special Autonomous Region of China.
Led by chief executive officer Tony Tyler and chief operating officer John Slosar, CX introduces their latest upgrade with their services and features in aspects that include both function and form in a press conference with local and international media. First, is the installation of Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class product, the result of an intensive and iterative design process involving input from the airline’s Marco Polo Club members to refine comfort, versatility and function. Trust me when I say that the design revolves around all of the needs that any passenger would think imaginable, providing a space in which to sleep, dine, work, read, watch TV or simply relax. What’s most valuable in this new feature, is the sense of personal and private space it provides to the passenger while remaining conveniently accessible to the onboard personnel. The second phase is the latest addition of The Cabin to the collection of Cathay Pacific Group lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, joining The Wing, The Pier, G16 and The Arrival. The Cabin is separated into five different zones: The Reception, The IT Zone, The Deli, The Health Bar, and The Relaxing Zone. Foremost among the range of seating is the innovative and unique Cathay Solus Chair. Sacrificing neither function nor form The Cabin has been designed around the passenger’s activities before a flight.
Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the people at Cathay Pacific directed their energies to attain a more beautiful and bolder look inflight as well. Committed to create an atmosphere of sophistication and class, CX introduced what they call Art-on-Board in the business class cabins. This novel idea and personally, my favorite new feature, is the icing on the cake for most of their passengers frequently travel the world and are quintessentially admirers of art. Artist Maria Lobo was the perfect candidate to collaborate with Cathay Pacific since although she is trained in Western art methods and history, (she studied at the University of Santa Clara and the San Francisco Art Institute) her work is unmistakably influenced by her Asian roots having been born and raised in Asia. East meets west. It is in this same principle that the stylish, elegant and unique uniforms of the cabin crew and service-facing staff have been upgraded further to adapt to the changing times. Resulting to a look that’s not only chic but current and contemporary as well. Eddie Lau, Hong Kong’s leading fashion designer known for his mastered “Shanghai Chic” look, designed the uniforms to maintain its Asian Oriental finish because this is symbolic of a modern Asian airline respected worldwide for quality, style and gracious service.
Suffice to say that CX knows how to treat their passengers well, encompassing their needs and going that extra mile. Going beyond what is expected is how they do business and the same applies for how they do parties. After the informative press conference, we were then lead to the reception of the Light Up Your Sky event. The foyer of HKCEC was transformed to accommodate the esteemed guests of the night composed of international members of the Marco Polo Club and the press. With a view of the Hong Kong harbor, the set-up was breathtaking and magical. A one-man laser light show kicked of the ceremonies and guests were entertained to a visual escape. To the signature tune of “Feel” by Robbie Williams, models then sashayed down the stage donning the new uniforms in pride. The catchy tune is another integrated effort of the airline to push its identity as a highly recognizable global name. Saving the best for last, with everyone on the edge of their seats with curiosity, guests were then wowed with the unveiling of the new features. When the curtain came up, everyone was amazed and surprised to see three mock-up models of the The Cabin, the new business class and The Art On Board features stationed in three major areas of the massive ballroom.To the lyrics “ Before I’ve arrived, I can see myself coming. I just wanna feel”… the verdict is in, with Cathay Pacific you arrive and come in style, triumphant in both function and form.
by Katsy Borromeo