This Cathay Pacific Business Class review gathers together my experiences on several different Cathay routes in Business, both in and out of Hong Kong. Wondering if flying in business with Cathay Pacific is right for you? Read on to find out more...
Cathay Pacific Business Class Review
When Cathay Pacific first launched its new business class offering, with ergonomic lie flat beds, it was a game changer. Now, almost all the airlines have them.
However, Cathay's hub in Hong Kong has incredible links with Europe and Australia, as well as across Asia, making it one of the best airlines for international travel in the region. Their fleet includes the Airbus A350 and is one of the most modern long haul fleets around.
Flying London to Hong Kong
A little while ago, I took part in a project that took me from London to Hong Kong and then into Vietnam, Myanmar and China, flying Cathay Pacific Business Class.
I took plenty of flights and tried out plenty of lounges. And although the partnership was with Cathay, as ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like. There really is no point otherwise.
Here, I've focused on the popular London to Hong Kong route, but I've also included information about some of the shorter flight routes.
CATHAY Pacific BUSINESS Class Review: The CABIN and Business CLass Seat
With two business class seats in the centre and one each by the window, Cathay’s new curved design makes you feel like there’s no one near you at all. In the old cabin, your feet point towards the aisle but in the new design your head does, cradled by a tall, tough screen that creates a topless cocoon. The whole reverse herringbone seats configuration works surprisingly well.
If you’re in the centre, you can open your cupboard door to “screen” off the passenger next to you or keep it closed if you want to lean over and chat. This is exactly the kind of arrangement that suits business travel but it’s rather less romantic if you’re on your honeymoon, say, and fancy more of a snuggle.
CATHAY BUSINESS CLASS STORAGE
As for storage, there’s enough room to stow an elephant and its offspring never mind the limited hand luggage apparatus you’re allowed to squeeze past security these days. As well as the entire overhead locker, there’s a side cupboard, a foot locker, a water bottle pocket and a spacious side storage area. I tend to travel packed to the max with laptops, i-gadgets and devices but they looked small and foolish as they rolled around the place here.
Cathay Pacific Business Class Review: Gadgets
Entertainment has all the usual suspects, with your own noise-cancelling headphones hanging neatly in your side cupboard. The only gripe here is that the TV screen takes a long time to switch to off from standby.
That's not such a problem when it’s your own TV flashdancing around but it’s incredibly bright when you’re trying to sleep and the person next to you has pushed theirs back into its takeoff position. That’s really the only chink in the private cocoon armour.
You’ll also find a power supply with an international adaptor in each seat plus a mirror to remind you that your surroundings look better than you. There’s a step so that the shorter among us can reach the overhead locker as well as a USB and iPod dock in each space.
There’s a surplus of those super-hot, super-soothing rolled flannels brought around and, for the first time ever, I wanted to dawdle in the toilets rather than take a gulp of air before going in and racing out as soon as possible. As well as orchids and scented spritzers, there were lotions, potions and proper towels. And the ultimate luxury, ladies and gents: no queue and plenty of space.
CATHAY Pacific BUSINESS Class Review: FOOD
The Cathay Pacific meal service is an event unto itself, with white linen tablecloths and wine and cocktails paired to match. In the name of research, I tested their signature cocktail, a Pacific Sunrise, which was fresh and citrusy but a little on the sharp side for me.
Dinner took quite some time and proceeded at a leisurely pace, unlike in the old business class where dishes were whisked away before I’d quite finished and an either/or option given when it came to dessert, cheese and coffee.
A second meal is served on long haul flights, here's a sample menu to see:
LONDON TO HONG KONG OUTGOING MENU
- Whisky smoked Loch Fyne salmon, apple celeriac remoulade and horseradish crème fraiche.
- Szechuanese chicken with Yu Shang chilli sauce, steamed rice and shanghai pak choy with garlic.
- Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Camembert, Butler’s Secret cheese platter.
- Fresh seasonal fruit.
- Chocolate mirror delice
- Tea and coffee and pralines.
- Lime, mango, pineapple, yougurt and ginger energiser
- Fresh seasonal fruit and yoghurt
- Assorted cereals
- Spinach and ricotta crepes with grilled kassler
- Assorted breakfast bread served with preserves, honey and butter
- Tea and coffee
(Note – on the return Hong Kong to London flight Cathay Pacific A350, a lighter (and shorter) meal was available so that you could get to work or get to sleep faster.)
CATHAY BUSINESS: SERVICE
Impeccable. In fact, possibly a little too eager. I’d poke my head above the parapet to have a look around and someone would run down the aisle to see whether I wanted anything. My apologies to the cabin crew for the enforced aerobic workout.
CATHAY BUSINESS: SLEEPING
Ah, the most important part (for me, anyway.) Beds in both old and new fold flat but the newer design provides much more protection from passengers chatting around you and from accidental nudges from people striding down the aisle.
The storage space in the new business cabin also means you’re not in bed with your laptop, toes tangled in the cord, which was harder to avoid in the old design.
There’s even an ergonomically designed triangle so you can fold your knees up into the foetal position and a cotton covered duvet rather than a scratchy static blanket.
CATHAY BUSINESS: TOILETRIES BAG
The Business Class Amenity Kit includes socks, foam ear plugs, tissue, Murad pomegranate lip protector SPF 15, Essential C Night moisturiser, Revitalizing body cream, dental kit, eye mask plus a 30% discount voucher for a Murad signature facial.
CATHAY BUSINESS: LOUNGES
Cathay’s Business lounges have, well, a business feel. You haven’t got the razzamatazz of, say, Virgin’s flagship lounge at Heathrow with its egg shaped chairs, massage therapist on site and magenta spot-lit snooker table.
You do have plenty of workstations, magazines, TVs with the news, fresh food prepared on site and of course fast wifi.
My favourite of the three lounges in Hong Kong was The Cabin with its chic juice bar and spectacular panorama of aircraft taking off against the lush green Hong Kong mountains.
Meanwhile, my taste of First Class at The Wing with its fine dining experience and expert table service showed me a glimpse of what the next level up is like!
Regional business class lounges, however, are a lot more variable. In certain places, such as Myanmar, business class passengers enter a generic lounge with fairly run of the mill facilities.
Not to be overlooked, of course, is the ability to zoom right off the plane and on with your life. No need to wait to reassemble your belongings, no need to queue to leave the plane and, with priority luggage tags and fast track immigration facilities, no need to let the airport slow you down. Perfect for frequent flyers with somewhere to get to.
NOTES – MY SEAT
My seat: 20G – a good distance from, well everything else going on (toilets, food prep area, and the cabin crew chatting facility.) The only disadvantage for me: no view from the window.
88K on the return. Window view blocked by the head rest and close to the cabin crew seats so noisier during the flight.
CATHAY Pacific BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW In SUMMARY
WHAT I LOVED
All of it. So comfortable for sleeping, so organised for working and so enjoyable for eating. Really, I had to think long and hard to fill in the next section. Business class passengers will love flying on the Cathay Pacific Airbus A350.
WHAT TO KNOW
The glare from your neighbour’s screen can be distracting for a few minutes before it powers off. The older style business class cabins are noisier and you can get jolted by people walking down the aisle. Plus, a window seat on the old business class doesn’t allow you a view through the window. And, er, the orchid wobbles on take off...
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