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Cathay Pacific London To Hong Kong Business Class Review

By:
Joanna Hall
 

The Airline: Cathay Pacific Airways

The Flight: CX254 London to Hong Kong  (2200 departure; 1745 arrival)

The Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER

The Cabin: Business Class, seat 18C

Time & Date: October, 2014

Overview:

Cathay Pacific, the 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year, has over 70 flights a week between Australia and Hong Kong with a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class, and onward connections to a myriad of destinations. They include five daily flights to and from London, with the bonus of a new first class cabin, and for added convenience if you're travelling north during your stay in the UK, there are four new direct flights a week to and from Manchester. A key highlight of Cathay's new and improved Business Class service includes a fantastic new flat-bed seat, which is one of the longest and widest in the airline industry. It had significant design input from Cathay's valued Marco Polo Club members to maximise comfort and versatility, and yet allow it to be highly functional for eating, working and sleeping. 

Check In:

I'd spent a hectic two weeks in the UK and Ireland, with my last stop being the new Pullman St. Pancras, which was ideal for hopping on the Heathrow Express to the airport. It was a chilly wet night, and I was facing an overnight flight, and to make matters worse, when I arrived at check in at the Business Class desk things were really busy. An earlier flight had been cancelled for some reason and the staff were beavering away trying to accommodate passengers on my flight. It didn't take long to get to me, however, and as ever, the process was a courteous and speedy affair. The baggage allowance for Business Class passengers is 30 kgs, which is pretty generous for long haul, and the ticket also allows you access to a great Cathay Pacific lounge at the terminal. It's an ideal place to wind down after a busy day, and ahead of a long red-eye flight, allowed for time to eat something, check on the news, and enjoy a glass of wine. The lounge is large and spacious with private work stations, hot and cold food, freshly made specialty coffees, and a good selection of newspapers and magazines.

The Service:

As I boarded the 777-300ER there were plenty of friendly smiles to greet me, and I was courteously shown to my seat. Passing through the new First Class section it gave me a chance to enjoy a sneak peak at the impressive, wide seats and spacious layout of its redesign. My seat was on the side facing the windows, about half way down the first main section of Business Class. As I arrived at my soon-to-be lie-flat business class seat, suddenly feeling quite weary from the long day, I was offered refreshments, a selection of newspapers, and an amenity kit from the French label Agnes B. As ever, the senior flight attendant also visited everyone to introduce herself personally. Throughout the flight I mostly slept, but during my infrequent waking periods I observed the crew being quietly attentive, responding to guest requests quickly and efficiently, and patrolling the aisles as people slept to keep an eye on everything.

The Food:

My flight to Hong Kong was a late night departure, so the first meal service was dinner, followed later by snacks on request, and finally breakfast prior to our arrival (even though we'd be arriving late in the afternoon). Dinner began with a starter of hot smoked salmon mousse with grilled asparagus and a mixed salad; there wasn't a choice, but as I don't eat salmon a flight attendant brought a different dish from the Premium Economy cabin without any fuss. The main course was an impressive lineup of choices, including braised cod in oyster sauce with steamed rice and stir-fried veggies, a braised lamb rump with chick peas and mint, poached chicken with pumpkin puree and pea mashed potatoes, and a lemon and spinach cappelletti. It was a tough choice, especially as I'd snacked in the lounge previously, but I went with the chicken, which was cooked to perfection, tender and juicy. Wrapping up dinner  the usual selection of cheese and dessert, which I again passed on, followed by coffee and pralines, which I enjoyed before making use of my lie-flat seat. The wine list had very much a European accent, featuring a Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne, a 2012 Vignerons de Buxy  "Tête de Cuvée" Bourgogne, and in the reds a Cheval Noir Saint-Émilion from 2011. Besides wine there was the usual complement of port, cocktails, whiskies and beers, all in all a good selection.

The Seat & Entertainment:

The 777-300ER aircraft operating between London and Hong Kong are usually configured with six First Class open suites, 53 lie-flat Business Class seats, 34 seats in Premium Economy, and 182 seats in Economy. The Business Class cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, with window seats facing away from the aisle, and the two in the middle also facing away from the aisle and slightly towards each other. The seats are finished in a lovely greenish-grey herringbone cloth design and are big; they stretch to over 205 cms in length when fully flat, and are just under 60 cms wide. It was my third time in the seat on this trip so I knew the drill first hand. The seat is controlled easily by the simple touch of a button, moving from upright, through to a relaxed position, and then to fully flat for sleeping. The foam used in the design optimises comfort in the sitting position and also allows for a more deep state of sleep, and comes with a heavy duvet and a pillow to really makes you feel as if you were in your own bed. There's also increased personal storage space, which includes a side cabinet containing your comfortable noise-cancelling headset, and extra room for small items such as glasses and any gadgets. If you feel compelled to work, or power up a tablet, the seat also has a universal power supply outlet, and a multi-port connector with an RCA port, an iPhone/iPod connector and a USB port. If you can't sleep and want to watch TV or a movie, however, you have a personalised, oversized 38 cm screen with a range of audio and video content on demand. Cathay's StudioCX has a rotating library of 100 movies, 500 TV shows, 888 music CDs, 22 radio channels, and 70 games, so you have plenty to choose from to kill the time inflight.

The Verdict:

I'd already flown from Sydney to Hong Kong, and from Hong Kong to London, when I boarded this flight homeward bound, so I knew what to expect and wasn't disappointed. When Cathay launched this new Business Class service it was clearly taking its competitors head on, with its new lie-flat beds and enhanced facilities such as the high-tech connectivity. Also the clever cabin configuration is a drawcard for business travellers, whether you're travelling on your own or with a colleague. The service was as ever courteous and top quality from pre-flight at Heathrow, inflight, and while disembarking. If you're a Cathay Pacific Business Class traveller you're assured of a comfortable and restful flight, as well as well being well fed and looked after, all of which points towards arriving well rested and ready for action.

 

This article has been fully updated....to read the latest version, click here.

 

Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways is the 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year and offers flights to over 190 destinations in 42 countries and territories. From Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth - with a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class.

There are four flights daily from Sydney, three flights a day from Melbourne, daily flights from Brisbane, four flights a week from Cairns and Adelaide, and ten flights from Perth. All flights provide connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airline’s worldwide network, including eight European destinations (from March 2015 Zurich will be added, taking the number to nine). From Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific offers 5 daily flights to London, offering a choice of flying in economy, premium economy, business class or first class; visit Cathay Pacific for more information on specific fares and flights to London.

For more information, visit www.cathaypacific.com.au.

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