- Get the skinny on Business Class in Hong Kong's flag carrier.
- Avid cheese lover? Check out what's (arguably) the largest cheeseboard in the skies.
- Explore the iconic 1-2-1 Herringbone layout.
Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time flying business, there’s something undeniably exciting about flying business class.
Especially when you kickstart the trip with a 5-hour drive to the airport. At 1am. Ouch. The thought of sliding into a reclining seat with spades of space (and a G&T in hand) was the dangled carrot that got me through that drive.
Boring? Exciting? Maybe oddly satisfying walking past the economy checkin queues? Either way, it’s gotta be done. The process was smooth and the queue was non-existent. I checked my bags from Sydney to Belfast. Apparently my booking showed I had insufficient time to make my Belfast flight from London. Thankfully, the stewardess did a little digging and sorted it out for me. I love Qantas, but sometimes I wonder if it would be a Qantas trip without a blip or two. No dramas. I was ready for the skies.
Like all red-blooded humans, I extensively googled what business class would look like. I mean, you want to know what you’re in for, right? Truth be told, Cathay Pacific business images don’t do the real thing much justice.
The seats are positioned in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout. It’s actually deceivingly difficult to show you how spacious each seat is. I was worried (as elitist as it sounds) that I’d be in for an average trip. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. This particular aircraft is over 10+ years old, so be prepared for a little wear and tear. It really isn’t as luxurious as other big league business players like Singapore, Qatar, Emirates etc. But the seat certainly does the job.
Notice the compartment holding my headphones. It comes with a mirror (a lovely touch, I haven’t seen this before!) and is a great hiding hole for a makeup bag, snacks, charging leads etc. There’s also a convenient storage compartment beside the seat. I used it to store my water and laptop so when my seat reclined I could still reach in and grab what I needed.
What about the entertainment?
What’s a girl to do on a nine hour flight? Answer: drink gin, snooze and of course, indulge in a movie marathon. The entertainment options were great including movies not yet available in Australia. Happy days! It’s worth mentioning the screen was pretty large and pops out from the side of the pod with the touch of a button. Smart, I liked that fun touch.
Let's talk food..
I’m not ashamed to say this, but I like plane food. In fact, checking the menu is one of the first things I do when I settle into my seat. Earlier in the year I flew China Eastern and the drinks menu was average at best. When I opened Cathay’s menu, I was in for a treat. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sipping Dom P at 40,000ft but they’ve a lovely Bordeaux onboard as well as a tasty Riesling. Other options included an Aussie shiraz and chardonnay. Both great drops to enjoy! Not forgetting Bombay – as a gin purist this ticked a few boxes for me as I was convinced on my last business flight that the gin was weak and lacked any flavour. If I were to score points for pickiness, I’d tell you that you won’t get lemon with your G&T. A little upsetting, but I lived. So can you.
Lunch was served shortly after the aircraft climbed to whatever height is deemed necessary (clearly didn’t listen to the captain…ahem).
I started with smoked salmon and hummus, followed by a melt in your mouth cheese and mushroom ravioli. It actually tasted like something straight out of an Italian restaurant.
And the piece d’resistance? Dessert! Which of course, was cheese. And a surprisingly large serving of cheese. Washed down with two glasses of velvety smooth bordeux. I looked like the cat that got the cream. Or the barely awake chick that inhaled a cheeseboard at 40,000ft (again, don’t quote me on altitude).
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Things I loved..
Space. So much space. And hardly anyone in business class. Cathay split their business class into two seating areas. The first was full and the second (where I sat) had 11 seats and only 5 of us occupied them. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have no one seated on my left or right. The food and drinks were great, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I wolfed down and had no “I should’ve bought airplane snacks” remorse.
Things I didn't love..
I know, I know. I’m that person with the huge handbag. I use the same bag for each flight and on this one it fitted well in the pod storage area, but as soon as I tried to recline my seat it jammed. I shoved it in the small gap to the left of my seat and the aisle area. Look, it’s not a big deal. But if you’re a mum carrying a bag full of kiddy essentials this would be a little annoying as you’re not meant to store anything in that space. But if it helps, I cheekily did and got away with it.
As I mentioned, the toilets were lack lustre and missed a few amenities available on most flights. Not a deal breaker for me, but worth mentioning.
After a 5-hour drive on very little sleep, I loved this flight. Yes, the decor shows signs of wear and tear – as do the toilets. And if I’m honest, the service was very good but not incredible. Personally I think other airlines like Qatar do a wonderful job of this. By that I mean preparing each passenger’s seat for sleep by turning it into a bed, warmly remembering each of our names etc. Oh and Qatar’s in-flight bar. That was a real treat!
Truth be told, my CIX652 flight was an upmarket functional experience – one I certainly would fly again! Plus, Hong Kong is a fantastic airport to transit in and out of. With an array of awesome lounges, food, drinks, shower facilities and great wifi – it adds to the list of bonus reasons why Cathay is great.
FYI, this ticket routinely sells for $3,038. It isn't cheap (well...unless you play the points game). I parted ways with only 65,000 Qantas Points + $202 taxes for this Sydney to London flight and booked it two days before I departed, making my ticket a great deal with plenty of rewards seat availability.
Until next time Cathay.