After a few hours in the British Airways Galleries Lounge, I made the quick walk to the gate to board my flight for Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific is pretty consistent with their premium cabin products, so I was not as excited as I usually am when boarding a premium cabin flight. With that said, Cathay Pacific did not disappoint on this flight!
Introduction: Taipei Mileage Running Extravaganza
Review – American Airlines 767-300 Business Class – MIA-JFK
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – JFK
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Business Class – JFK-HKG
Review – Dragon Air G16 Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – HKG-TPE
Review – Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel
Review – The More Lounge – TPE
Review – The Premium Plaza Lounge – TPE
Review – The VIP Airlines Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – TPE
Review – JAL 767-300 Economy Class – TPE-NRT/NRT-TPE
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 61) – NRT
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 92) – NRT
Review – JAL 777-300ER Economy Class – NRT-LAX
Review – The Club At DFW Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – DFW
Review – JAL 787-8 Economy Class – DFW-NRT
As I mentioned in my Introduction, I foolishly decided to do a mileage/status run to requalify for Platinum in the stretch of about 8 days – in (gasp!) economy. That left me needing to find a way to Taipei and being as paid tickets were ridiculously expensive since I was booking 2 days out, I opted for an award ticket so I could review Cathay Pacific’s business class product. My award ticket cost me 70,000 American Airlines miles + ~$38 in taxes and fees. I consider this quite the value as paid tickets last minute were going for $1,200+ for economy.
Cathay Pacific 831
New York – John F. Kennedy (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
Depart: 3:25 PM
Arrive: 6:00 PM
Duration: 15 hours, 35 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 23K (Business Class)
Although the flight was scheduled to depart at 3:25 PM, when I arrived at the gate around 2:40, it was announced that the flight would be delayed about 15 minutes due to an extended immigration security inspection. I did not know it at the time, but this would be a recurring theme for this trip. After another 15 minutes or so of standing line, they made another announcement that the flight was delayed another 15 minutes.
Finally around 3:20 PM the announcement was made for boarding starting with the first and business class cabins, as well as OneWorld elites. The jet bridge had to be one of the longest I have ever walked down. I mean, when you have multiple corners to navigate, it may be time to rethink your jet bridge design…
Finally, after my FitBit started beeping at me to let me know I had walked a half mile (kidding, of course), I reached the end of the jet bridge. Unfortunately, the immigration security inspection was still going on, so we were stopped on the jet bridge for about 10 minutes while that was finished up.
Finally, with the inspection completed, I was able to board through door 2L and turned right into the business class cabin.
The business class cabin features the revered reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
While this configuration is fantastic for privacy, it is horrible if you are traveling with someone you want to converse with during the flight. I would recommend selecting either the middle seats, or seats across the aisle from each other. The middle seats will require you to lean forward to converse, but they are your best option in my opinion.
My seat, 23K, was a window seat on the right side of the aircraft.
Waiting at my seat was a small pillow and a blanket, as well as a pair of noise cancelling headphones in the storage compartment next to the seat.
The seat is very spacious feeling with an ottoman on the far end that allows for storage underneath it.
Beneath the seat was a small storage locker that is perfectly sized for storing shoes.
On thing that makes these seats feel extra private is the little “privacy wing” that protrudes out from the top of the seat. It may seem like a small thing, but it really goes a long way to adding to the privacy of the seat.
One other feature I really like about this seat is that the armrest can be adjusted up or down. It adds just that extra little bit of space or privacy as you desire.
The seats are controlled by an easy to use control panel that was to the right of the seat. the panel also included the reading lamp, the in-flight entertainment system controller and the power/USB plugs.
I really like that Cathay offers both a standard power plug, as well as a USB power plug as I often need to charge both my iPhone and my laptop during my travels.
After settling into my seat, the flight attendant came by with a selection of pre-departure beverages on a tray. The options were water, champagne or cranberry juice. Not being a champagne fan, I opted for the cranberry juice. I enjoyed my drink while staring out the window at the British Airways 747 that was parked next to us.
The cabin on this particular flight was maybe half full at best, though I was lucky enough to have a young kid seated across from me who insisted on playing on his iPad with the sound on full blast. There is truly nothing more relaxing before a longhaul flight than hearing a pig oink, a cow moo, etc. Apparently the game was to identify the animal based on the noises they make. I totally dominated at the game after I figured out what it was in case you were wondering.
The premium economy cabin was directly behind the business class cabin and had maybe 5 seats at most taken. It did not look like too bad of a place to spend some time either honestly.
We pushed back from the gate about 25 minutes late, at which time the American captain came on the PA to welcome us aboard and advise us of our flight time of 15 1/2 hours to Hong Kong.
During the taxi and takeoff I had the nose camera on and was glued to it (I really need to find better hobbies).
About 10 minutes after our smooth takeoff the seat belt sign was turned off and the flight attendant working my aisle, Natalie, came by to pass out an amenity kit and the menu for the flight. The amenity kit was offered in a stylish heather grey bag which had a small Cathay Pacific logo on it.
The amenity kit consisted of socks, a Cathay Pacific branded eye mask, mouthwash, a toothbrush, tooth paste and a few Jurlique creams and moisturizers.
The menu read as follows – though it is worth noting that Cathay rotates their menus monthly, so keep that in mind when contemplating what you can expect food wise on your flight.
I always appreciate that Cathay Pacific offers a snack list on their long haul flights. Not to mention their burger is on point for being cooked at 40,000 feet!
I have noticed Cathay Pacific tends to have regular wine promotions in their premium cabins, and this flight was no different. I really wish I was more of a wine connoisseur, but it is really all just French to me ::grin::.
The rest of the drinks menu consisted of your typical Cathay Pacific offerings.
Cathay’s whiskey list in business class has always confused me because it is all over the board. You have your Chivas 12 and your Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve – both great bottles (even if the Johnnie is actually a scotch blend). Then you have your Jack Daniel’s, which is fine, but more of a name than anything else. Then you have Canadian Club, which goes for like $15 a (plastic) bottle. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly appreciate having options, but I just cannot imagine they go through very much Canadian Club on these flights.
Lunch service began shortly after Natalie passed out the menus and started with the drinks cart coming down the aisles. I opted for a Chivas 12 on the rocks (Natalie missed the part where I asked for just 2 ice cubes, but oh well) which was served with warmed smoked mixed nuts and a bottle of water.
Lunch started shortly after that and began with the jumbo prawn salad.
The prawn salad was awesome and the beat sauce and bacon made for near perfect compliments to the dish.
The starter was served with a selection from the bread basket and I opted for both garlic and pretzel bread. Unfortunately the garlic bread had not really been cooked so it was not as good as it usually is on Cathay.
Although it did not look like much, the walnut and cranberry salad was also quite good and reminded me of a salad that my mom likes to make. It is always nice to have random little reminders of home like that when you are traveling!
For my main course I really wanted the sea bass as Cathay Pacific has seafood at 40,000 feet down to a science, but they were unfortunately out of both the sea bass and the beef cheek by the time the meal service reached me. I ended up opting for the tagliarini which was pretty blah since it was lukewarm at best by the time it was served to me.
After the main course, the fruit and cheese cart was rolled down the aisle. I opted to try a little bit of all the offerings since I did not eat much of the main course.
Both the fruit and cheese were great and were followed by dessert. Cathay Pacific does absolutely incredible desserts. If I could eat nothing but desserts on their flights, I probably would – they are that good! The red berry mascarpone cake with raspberry coulis was no exception to that! I paired mine with a Hong Kong milk tea – something else Cathay Pacific does excellently.
After the dinner service concluded Natalie came through with hot towels and I went to the lavatory to change into my JAL pajama top (I know, I know, the nerve of me doing that when I had a Cathay Pacific one too!). The lavatories were pretty standard and as usual featured Jurlique soaps and lotions.
After changing I settled in to watch Ted 2, which was quite entertaining. After watching a few movies, I opened the window shade to some great views. We were just nearly high enough to start to see the curvature of the Earth as well, which was quite cool.
After staring out the window for a while, I decided to put my seat into bed mode and try to get some sleep.
I am 6’5″ and this seat was more than spacious enough for my tall frame and broader shoulders. I slept for a solid 5 hours, which is something I rarely ever do on planes.
After waking up, I opened my window shade to see this absolutely gorgeous sight. No matter how much I fly, I still love sunrises and sunsets at 40,000 feet!
I was a bit hungry when I woke up and decided to wander to the galley to see what they had in the snack basket. For longhaul flights, I love when airlines offer this. Cathay’s basket had apples, Ruffles chips, fruit, crackers, nuts, Toblerone and chocolates.
Nothing looked particularly appealing to me so I decided to order from the snack menu instead. Since I have previously had the burger, I opted for the noodles and a cold beer. The beer options were San Miguel, Heineken or Carlsberg. I opted for a San Miguel, though I should have gone for the Carlsberg as I love it.
The noodles were not very hot and a bit on the aldente side for my liking. They also lacked flavor, which was disappointing because Cathay Pacific usually offers really good noodle dishes.
After my snack, I pulled my laptop out and did a few hours of work. Before I knew it, the cabin lights had come on so the crew could start the dinner service, which began with a lukewarm towel and drinks from the drinks cart. As usual, dinner started with a fresh fruit plate and a selection of bread from the bread basket.
For my main course, I opted for the prawns in lychee sauce, which were quite good.
The prawns were served with a chili sauce packet, which was awesome when mixed in with the lychee sauce. It made a great combination between spicy and sweet.
Dessert consisted of a pistachio chocolate pie which was also quite good. I opted for a cup of coffee with it since it was ~5:30 AM EST at that point.
After the meal service I changed back to my regular clothes and stowed my laptop in my bag. We began our descent into Hong Kong shortly thereafter and had a smooth ride in landing about 20 minutes behind schedule. There was a fairly long taxi at Hong Kong, though that gave me a chance to do some plane spotting – something I love to do. We passed by a Qantas 747 – which is an aircraft I really want to review!
We also passed by an Air France A380 – another product I would love to review!
After arriving at our gate after a ~15 minute taxi, I deplaned and quickly made my way to the transfer desk to start my Hong Kong Airport lounge hopping extravaganza.
What else can I say? It’s Cathay Pacific and they are anything if not consistent with a great product! While I slightly prefer JAL to Cathay Pacific, you really cannot go wrong with a business class seat on Cathay Pacific! Just make sure you order double dessert!
What is your favorite Cathay Pacific flight?
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