Cathay Pacific is one of just eight airlines in the world to be rated as a five star airline by SKYTRAX. The service on board is some of the best in the sky and I always make a point of flying them when I am on my way to Australia. British Airways codeshare on the Cathay Pacific services between Hong Kong and Sydney so I am able to take advantage of this and still earn full credit with my frequent flyer programme.
CX100 – Sydney to Hong Kong (SYD-HKG)
26 April 2016
Boeing 777-367ER B-KQQ
Seat: Premium Economy 30A
Departure: 14:15 Arrival: 21:35
Check-in was fast and easy. The agent commented that I was checking in very early and I told her my plan was to visit the Qantas First Class lounge. She told me I would enjoy it, which of course I knew I would! I was issued my Boarding Pass and proceeded through immigration and security.
After spending a few hours in the lounge, I went to the gate. There were several lanes in operation and I joined the one for First, Business, oneworld Emerald and oneworld Sapphire.
Boarding commenced and I was one of the first on board which allowed me to take some views of the Premium Economy cabin.
The cabin is very comfortable and the green and white colour scheme is quite soothing. The bulkhead row is the place to be as no-one can recline into you though there is a risk of being moved if someone has a baby and requires the bassinet position.
Leg room is ample for me however I am 5’7″ or 170cm tall. A taller person would have to decide whether they’d prefer no-one reclining into them or being able to put their feet under the seat in front.
The welcome drink was a choice between Champagne, juice or water so I took a glass of Champagne as usual. A little later I was provided with a bottle of water from Business Class as part of my welcome as an Emerald frequent flyer. Other passengers received a smaller bottle of Evian water.
Once boarding finished we watched the safety demonstration and were soon in the air. The personal television (PTV) pulls out from the arm rest in the bulkhead row, while it is in the seatback for all other rows. StudioCX is what Cathay Pacific call their inflight entertainment and it’s excellent. It is packed with movies and television shows that are interesting and current so there is always something to watch. It’s definitely a highlight of the service.
A drinks service is the first item of business when flying and I ordered a Bloody Mary which was delivered along with a packet of Almonds. I like my Bloody Mary spicy so I asked for and received some Tabasco to go with it. The Cabin Crew usually have one bottle secreted somewhere in their uniform which I knew from a previous flight. I particularly like the drink stirrer that features a love heart. It is a great piece of subliminal branding to make you feel love towards the airline and it always impresses me.
Premium Economy passengers on Cathay Pacific receive a full size menu which is a quality touch. For comparison, British Airways passengers receive a small menu card.
There were three choices of main course comprising of chicken, beef and a vegetarian option which is one more choice than is usually offered by British Airways. I chose the Szechuan beef fillet, pak choi, carrot and steamed jasmine rice.
The main dish comes from the Business Class menu and unsurprisingly it looked fantastic.
The beef was pleasingly spicy as a Szechuan dish should be. The vegetables were crunchy and the rice was perfectly cooked, being fluffy and moist. Cathay Pacific usually do fantastic dishes on board and this was no exception. The dessert was Maggie Beer ice cream and as I have a sweet tooth it made me pleasantly happy.
The crew asked that we put our window blinds down for the cruise and I settled in to watch The Big Short. Once the movie was finished I decided to take a peek outside and was well rewarded with some spectacular views.
Sunrise and Sunset are amazing times to be flying especially when you’re in the window seat. The bathroom was modern but I wasn’t a fan of the presentation of the hand cream and face moisturiser. The metal surround looks very industrial and seemed a bit like an afterthought.
The pattern for the seat fabric is quite intricate with squares of black on the green fabric with some tan thread running through it. The weave of the carpet is a black, grey and white. Of course, I took pictures for posterity!
Kate Winslet is a fantastic actress so I watched the movie Steve Jobs next and I picked up an apple juice somewhere along the way.
At one stage I went to the rear galley to get some more water and the crew recognised where I was from and told me I should have pressed the call bell as they would have come up to me to save me the walk. Not long after I got back to my seat another bottle of water from Business Class was brought to me. Cathay Pacific crew are well trained to remember people and I really like that.
The second meal service took place prior to descent, with the choices being a Beef pie and mash or Singapore style turnip cake. Neither choice really appealed to me but I chose the pie with some misgivings as I imagined a pie being served on a carrier from Hong Kong wouldn’t be that great. It came with fresh fruit to start and a baked Cheesecake for dessert.
The meal was surprisingly excellent! I was not expecting the pie and mash to taste nearly as good as it did and I’d eat it again, it was that good! One of the reasons I enjoy flying Cathay Pacific is the food service and I’m happy to report it did not disappoint.
I neglected to take a picture of the foot rest, so here is what it looks like. This picture is from a year previously on an Airbus A330 on the same route, which features exactly the same seat. The bulkhead rows have this foot rest while the rows behind have a smaller foot rest that flips down from the seat in front.
The cabin was secured and we descended and landed in Hong Kong without incident.
Cathay Pacific offer a very high quality Premium Economy cabin. The service from the crew – from the friendly welcome greeting right through to the clearing up of the second meal – was professional, polite and very good. People have commented online that they find service from Asian carriers crew to be “robotic” but I have never found this to be the case. I am a firm believer that if you are warm and friendly you receive the same back almost every time.
The proper menu and the decent amount of choices was a noticeable highlight compared to other carriers. All of these little details coupled with the world class StudioCX inflight entertainment system really make flying Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific one of the first choices for those travelling out of Hong Kong.