Life well travelled is Cathay Pacific’s current catch phrase, and I’m not one to disagree with them. I love to travel and if an airline is going to make the journey a more comfortable one, then I thank them very much. I had the pleasure of experiencing Cathay Pacific’s business class on a recent flight from Hong Kong to Sydney.
When travelling Cathay Pacific business class the journey starts before you leave the ground. There are dedicated business class check in counters, which make checking in and dropping your bags quick and painless.
Once you have cleared immigration and screening, and completed the mandatory duty free shop, it is then on to one of the Cathay Pacific business class lounges at Hong Kong airport. There are five lounges located in various parts of the airport, The Wing (gates 1-4), The Cabin (gate 23), The Pier (gates 62-66), The Bridge (gate 35) and The Arrival (arrivals hall) for those wanting to freshen up on arriving into Hong Kong.
Business Class on the Ground: The Pier
What I love about airline lounges are that they give you a space to just relax before your flight. They are comfortable, you aren’t forever watching your bags, you have access to free Wi-Fi, you can grab something to drink and eat and of course you are looked after like a silk worm.
The Pier offers a variety of food areas, including a Noodle Bar where dishes are freshly prepared to order.
There is ample seating and power points dotted around so you can charge your devices.
The Pier first class lounge has just opened after a full renovation. Sadly I didn’t get to experience this, but you can head over here to find out more about it.
Business Class in the Air
Flight: CX101 HKG-SYD
Loyalty Scheme: Marco Polo Club, Oneworld
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Cabin: Business (J)
I head down the dedicated business/first class air walk to the plane and am greeted with smiles like a long lost friend. There are two sections of the Airbus A330-300 business class cabin. The main business class cabin consists of 28 seats where I embarked, and then a smaller 11 seat cabin is located directly behind. I am in the more cosy 11 seat cabin, which when in the air I prefer. The down side is that you get to watch all the premium economy and economy passengers file past you as they board the plane and head to their seats. If you like people watching then this isn’t such a down side.
Once seated I am asked if I would like something to drink and I happily say yes to a glass of Champagne Deutz. A warm lightly scented face cloth also arrives so I can freshen myself up.
Seat 19A is located at the front of the cabin, left hand side next to the window. The 208cm pitch, 51cm wide seat will be my home for the next nine hours and ten minutes on this over night flight to Sydney.
The Cathay Pacific business class seating configuration, 1-2-1, means that all seats have direct access to the aisle and you don’t have to clamber over a fellow passenger to get up. The centre seats have a privacy screen so you can ignore your neighbour if you wish.
Beside overhead storage there are plenty storage areas around your seat. There is a dedicated storage space for your shoes and ample area in front of you under where your pillow and blanket are stored.
You will find your noise cancelling headphones stowed away in a compartment next to the seat controls. One push and a door will pop open to reveal your already plugged in headphones.
A nice large screen pulls out from the wall in front of me on which I can watch a vast selection of movies and TV shows. You do feel like you are in a mini theatre, and I wonder how much sleep I will actually get on this flight with the viewing temptations on offer.
As our flight departed Hong Kong just before midnight dinner is served pretty quickly.
I have heard that Cathay Pacific’s business class signature cocktail is a must to try. The Pacific Sunrise cocktail isn’t available on our flight, and instead I opt for a martini extra dry. To say I am a martini snob is an understatement, and even though it came with ice, my extra dry martini was well received and satisfying.
To start there are a couple of dips served with grissini.
For the main event there is a choice of braised pork “lion head” with steamed jasmine rice and braised baby Chinese cabbage; or pan fried sea bream with lemon parsley butter, celeriac puree, green beans and carrot. I decide on the sea bream, and unfortunately both the bream and celeriac puree are slightly dried out by the time it is served. Beside that, flavour wise it is good, but I secretly wish I had asked for the pork.
There is quite a range of alcoholic beverages on offer to enjoy during your flight. I decide on a glass of The Olive Grove Chardonnay from McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills (2012) to enjoy with my bream.
Dessert is a selection of seasonal berries laced with rose syrup. The strawberries and blueberries are light and refreshing. A box of pralines is then offered around and we are encouraged to take as many as we like.
After dishes have been cleared away and I have settled into watching a movie I decide to give the optional cheese plate a try. The plate has a selection of cheeses, Bleu d’Auvergne, Red Leicester and Taleggio, plus crackers and cabernet paste. I have a glass of Chateau Cap L’Ousteau, Haut-Medoc (2010) to wash it all down.
Sleeping & Amenities Kit
The amenities kit bag is designed by Seventy Eight Percent. It contains lip balm hand cream and day cream by Jurlique. You will also find a toothbrush, small tube of Colgate toothpaste, socks, eye mask and earplugs.
My seat converts into a flat bed for sleeping. There is ample room to toss and turn, and if you are tall the bed is just under 2m in length. I find once I put my earplugs in, eye mask on, and snuggle into my blanket and pillow I am sleeping like a baby. Before I know it the smell of breakfast rouses me from my sleep.
Again there are a few options on offer for breakfast. All breakfasts are served with a choice of orange or apple juice, passionfruit and strawberry smoothie, fresh seasonal fruit, Bircher muesli with blueberries and a selection of breakfast breads.
For the main component of breakfast there is a choice of smoked applewood cheddar cheese omelette with Dingley Dell pork sausage, back bacon, tomato and mushrooms. Or one of two Asian options, dim sum or seafood congee served with baked barbecue pork pie.
I decide on dim sum, which consists of pork siu mai with crab roe, preserved vegetable crystal dumpling, shrimp dumpling and mini chicken glutinous rice wrapped lotus leaf.
Back on the ground
Cathay hand fast track passes to all business class passengers before getting off the plane. This means that once I am back on the ground at Sydney airport I can join the express queue at immigration. And once I have collected my luggage, if I have noting to declare, I head to the express exit and leave.
Cathay Pacific Australia operates over 70 non-stop flights a week from Australia to Hong Kong, including four daily flights from Sydney, three flights a day from Melbourne, daily flights from Brisbane, 10 flights a week from Perth and four flights a week in both Cairns and Adelaide. The airline offers Business, Premium Economy and Economy on all flights aboard Airbus A330s and Boeing 333s (in Sydney only).
Sara flew from Hong Kong to Sydney with thanks to Taiwan Tourism Bureau and was upgraded to Business Class with thanks to Cathay Pacific.