Cathay Pacific are one of the leading airlines in the world, and the list of awards they’ve won is impressive for both their service and product in the air. Do Cathay live up to the hype? Are they really THAT good?
It had been 3 years since I’ve last flown Cathay in Business Class (when it was the old Herringbone design) so I was excited to try the “new” Business product (but it’s not new anymore, with a newer product expected in 2016 sometime).
This trip was part of a USDM/AAdvantage (pre-merger booking) award redemption for 120,000 miles from Melbourne to Europe return which was anything but straight forward (and that’s the way most frequent flyers will tell you they like it)
The routing for the entire trip was Melbourne, Perth, Hong Kong, Manchester, London with the return Amsterdam, Cairns, Brisbane, Melbourne. You can read the first part of the report from Melbourne to Perth HERE.
Cathay only commenced the Hong Kong to Manchester route direct at the end of 2014, so when looking for award availability there were plenty of seats available 9 months prior to the trip. (I even managed to secure a seat for a family member right next to me 5 months out which at peak season was brilliant).
There are plenty of reviews online about Cathay Pacific’s Business Class product so I’m just going to give you my brief thoughts.
Flight: CX 357
Scheduled Departure Time: 1am Actual Time: 1:40am
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7am (arrived 5 mins early)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
If there’s one thing Cathay do absolutely right it’s the incredible lounges on offer at Hong Kong. Business Class passengers have access to five different lounges which are:
The Wing, The Pier, The Bridge, The Cabin and The Arrival (which is after you clear customs/immigration). Access is also available at the Qantas Lounge which had only been open a few months when I visited.
I had a chance to test every single lounge while I was there, and as all the lounges offer something a little bit different I wanted to see them all.
My favourite was The Cabin on this occasion and personally felt the Qantas Lounge felt like one of those cafe’s in the middle of a shopping centre.
ARRIVING AT HONG KONG AIRPORT:
After arriving from Perth, I had a room booked at the Regal Airport Hotel which is land side through an air bridge. (I’d recommend this hotel if you have a decent layover and don’t want to go into the city; plus you get a free 45 min massage as part of the room rate. Bonus!) However, I was meeting up with some family members who were waiting in The Bridge and wanted to catch up with them first before their Finnair flight departed. It was easy to follow the transit signs, go through security and get back into the departures area where I then met up with them at that lounge for a couple of hours.
However I then needed to get back to immigration to get to the hotel for a 12 hour day rate stay. One of the Cathay “Lounge Angels” literally escorted me through a maze of elevators and different areas to get me to the arrivals area, which was very much appreciated.
Once I had checked out of the Regal Airport Hotel at 9pm, it was back through security and all those processes to enter the departures terminal again.
A little bit of browsing the shops and again doing some lounge hopping, the time went fairly quickly until boarding.
Boarding wasn’t as efficient as one would expect from an airport as brilliant as Hong Kong. The many lines sort of intertwined across a few various areas and until a few staff tried to move people along, the lines were blocking a few of the walk ways and store entrances.
Business and First boarded fairly quickly once it commenced and a happy and polished looking crew greeted everyone on board.
There was plenty of overhead storage right above the seats (I had chosen the two middle seats) and it was in easy reach throughout the flight.
I always think the flower is a nice touch.
A blanket, amenity kit and menus were waiting at the seat and a choice of drinks was offered upon sitting down. A hot towel was also brought around (they are a great refresher before settling in for a long flight).
One thing I will add is that I don’t like their amenity kits (and I am huge lover of a good amenity kit!). They now use Jurlique products of which personally I don’t think they’re that great and the bag itself is more like a cheap artists pouch. I think Cathay can and should do better in this area.
Clean, spacious and everyone gets access to the aisle no matter where they’re sitting which means no tripping over your seat mate! The window seats are very private as the lie flat bed goes on an angle so you’re in your own little private space.
I really like this design of the Business Class Seat and the cabin. There is plenty of storage on the sides and in different compartments as well as Noise Cancelling Headphones, USB and Power Point.
I also love the side mirror in the little cupboard!
The seats themselves are long, wide and allow room to actually move around into different positions while you’re sleeping. The seat belt is partly padded also which doesn’t seem to be constrict too much.
Fellow travellers I know either love or hate this seat. Some feel that the angle it’s on makes them claustrophobic, others like to feel more enclosed and private while sleeping. I personally like it and I think the mattress is fairly comfortable also.
The television has a really good choice of movies and TV Shows. CX on Demand is known for being one of the better systems in the air today and there were certainly no glitches or issues on the flight. It’s a great size screen and comfortable to view when you’re on any seat angle.
Speaking of seat angles, the control is easy to use and I found all the different options easy to use.
THE FLIGHT AND FOOD:
The flight left 40 minutes late due to being further back in line for take-off. The captain kept us informed at all times and we picked up time throughout the flight.
Cathay Pacific are known for having fairly decent meal choices and though this was a past midnight departure full service was offered.
I had the Barramundi for Main (which was tender and plenty of flavour) and for Breakfast the Frittata (which was really good). There were plenty of drink options no matter what you felt like.
I didn’t take a picture of the entire menu options but here’s main and breakfast.
The breakfast service commenced around 2 hours prior to landing and they did ask when boarding if we wanted to be woken for breakfast or not.
Arrival into Manchester to be honest was painful. I think it’s actually worse than Heathrow for clearing immigration (had to wait ages for a transfer bus for Business Class passengers, and then change terminals through a maze of doors to get to immigration and then the connecting flight to Heathrow).
Sincere, friendly and professional. The CX crew clearly enjoy their jobs and this shows in the way they treat their customers. Everyone I came into contact with was fantastic.
Cathay Pacific offer a consistent and solid Business Class experience for travellers. Is it ground breaking? No. But the service, Lounges in Hong Kong, Decent food and Entertainment on board are very very good.
They need WiFi (and should have it) on board for their long haul flights and the current amenity kits need to go!
What do you think of Cathay’s Business Product?