I’ve flown Cathay Pacific a number of times for long haul flights, in both economy and business cabins. No matter how you slice and dice it, a trip to Asia from the states is a long flight. We are talking about over 12 hours of flight time depending on the departure point and destination in Asia.
What’s a Good Long Haul Flight
Personally, a “good” long haul flight to me is one where I can get some sleep. I want to arrive at my destination feeling somewhat refreshed. Luckily, I am one of those people who can sleep in-flight (with ear plugs and an eye mask). If I have a lie-back seat, I am already a happy flyer. There is a good reason why business class seats command a high premium over economy seats: It’s all about space. It is tough to get some shut-eyes when you have an angled recline seat.
First Time on Cathay Business
The first time I flew Cathay Pacific in business was on an epic trip to Australia with a stopover in Hong Kong. It was a family trip to celebrate my parents’ milestone birthdays. They knew the destinations but they didn’t know what we had in store for them. They just let “the kids” handle it.
We came up with a plan. My mom was in on it, but I informed my Dad that we will be flying from LAX to HKG in economy. They have never flown in Business ever, so there was nothing out of the ordinary with the plan. My Dad, who is tall, simply expected it to be a long cramped ride.
It was a really fun day the day of the flight. My Dad boarded and looked for his seat. Once he got to the seat, he looked at the seat (which was clearly a business class seat). He then looked at the boarding pass again. He looked back at the seat number to make sure he’s at the right place and then he turned to us, looking completely confused as if asking, “Is there a mistake here? This isn’t an economy seat.”
Finally, we broke into huge smiles and says, “Surprise! That is your seat! Enjoy the ride”. He was clearly surprised, and in awe and disbelief. It was priceless.
Most of my flights with Cathay were on the 777-300ERs, with the reverse herringbone seats. I like the design of the seats and I find them to be spacious. There is overhead bin storage space and some side storage space on the seat. It is also a fully lie-flat seat, and that is just awesome.
How’s the Food?
Frankly, the meals didn’t make much of an impression on me. That is not to say that the food was bad. The food was fine, but there wasn’t anything in particular that made me want to rave about it.
Note: If you want to try out all the dining options, make sure that you don’t sleep through the food service. It happened to me once when I slept right through the breakfast service. When I got up (about maybe an hour before landing), the attendants were busy taking away trays and getting things ready for landing. I was hungry, and I was disappointed that I missed the dim-sum breakfast completely.
Consistency is King
Whether I was flying Cathay Pacific in economy or business, one thing I really like about Cathay is their consistency in service. The flight attendants were all very professional and polite, whereas I can’t always say the same for other airlines. The experience with some other airlines can vary quite a bit depending on who ended up helping you, whether it’s check-in staff or crew members.
“Studio CX” is Cathay’s in-flight entertainment system. My first CX flight was in economy, and I appreciated having a seat-back TV (though be sure to tap the touchscreen lightly). In the business cabin, you get a bigger screen and it’s like watching TV in your own private pod. A noise-cancelling headset is provided during the flight, which gets collected at the end of the flight.
When you fly CX Business, you also get a lounge access invitation. Due to the proximity to my gate, I tend to visit the CX Wing-Business lounge whenever I transit through HKG airport.
I am a huge fan of the Noodle Bar at the lounge, where you can order freshly-made noodle soups.
All that said, I had a great experience flying on Cathay Pacific Business Class. The lie-flat seats, the consistently good service, decent food and good entertainment system all made the long trip tolerable, if not outright enjoyable.
If you have never flown on Cathay Pacific (Business) but you have upcoming plans, be sure to enjoy the ride. It is a real treat and it is truly an experience you can really look forward to!
What have been your experiences flying on Cathay Pacific?