Cathay Pacific is considered one of the very best airlines in the world. They have been named Skytrax’s Best Airline In the World numerous times, and is a mainstay on their 5-star airline list. And thats for good reason, as evidenced by just some of their on-the-ground offerings at Hong Kong International Airport. Their ability to provide thoughtful top-notch service and amenities is just one of the many reasons I love this airline. Onboard, Cathay’s hard product has received raving reviews from bloggers, travelers, and rating agencies alike. A major step up from their previous offering, the current international business class seat is a lie-flat direct aisle access product that many other airlines have now adopted, including American, Air France, and Delta. More recently Cathay also introduced a regional business class seat, but I purposefully selected a flight with the more spacious international configuration.
Cathay Pacific Airways CX360
HKG – PVG
March 26, 2015
Business Class, Seat 16A
Airbus A330-300, B-HLR
I headed to the gate at around 1:20pm, 40 minutes prior to our scheduled departure time. Passengers were waiting in the gate area, but no queued up for boarding yet. We started to boarding at 1:30pm, and the rush of MarcoPolo club members formed an absurd line behind the Business Class boarding door. Its funny that once again, Cathay does not make any distinction between Business Class passengers, and members of the lowest level of their frequent flyer program.
After getting my boarding pass scanned and on my way to the aircraft, it appeared that everyone was boarding through door 1L. For some reason, the second boarding bridge was completed gone as I later found out, looking out my window. Flight attendants were making their rounds, offering a pre-departure beverage and newspapers – I chose a glass of orange juice. As economy class passengers started to board, it got a little more difficult for the flight attendants to offer the pre-departure service.
The seat itself is pretty long, and is definitely sufficient for a long haul flight. I didn’t actually bring the seat to a lie flat position as this was a really short hop. While the seat dimensions were welcoming, I’m not so sure the same could be said for the color tone. The dark green worked well on the fabric of the seat, but for the leather accents, it was pretty hideous. I supposed it does a pretty decent job hiding any dirt or damage.
Shortly after our scheduled departure time, we pushed back and taxied out towards runway 07R. Throttled opened, and we blasted off towards Shanghai. No more than 5 minutes after we left earth, the flight attendants jumped into action and started the late lunch service.
With an extensive menu, and a short flight time, the cabin crew had to hustle. A team of flight attendants were busy heating up meals in the galley, while several others came around to distribute hot towels. Then came carts with the meal trays, preset with white dining linens and the salad course, and bread was offered with the first course. Another flight attendant followed with a drink cart.
After finishing the salad course, a flight attendant came by to collect the empty bowl, leaving the tray and dining setup. After a short wait (probably because the rest of the cabin needed to catch up), a cart with all the available main courses on display rolled down the aisle. While there were menus distributed after takeoff, the cart actually lets passenger see what each option looks and smells like before making their selection.
I went with the hong kong style braised duck with jasmine rice. The duck was very tender, the sauce was tasty, and the rice was hot and fluffy. This entree was definitely one of the best ones I have had inflight – it reminded me of a nice meal at home.
Flight attendants were hustling up and down the aisles during the entire service, offering passengers more bread and drink top ups. While the portions were not very large, by the end of the main course, I was feeling quite satisfied. Of course, the flight attendants came by once more to distribute dessert, Haagen Daz ice cream cups, and some after dinner beverages.
I spend the rest of the flight (which was about 40 minutes) just relaxing, looking at the flight map, and standing up to get a quick look around the cabin.
With a full service complete, there was not much else to do but settle in for the descent into Shanghai’s Pudong airport.
There was quite the assortment of tails parked at Terminal 2, pretty much from every continent – and they were all widebodies!
I am not quite sure if there are any conclusions to make about this flight – it was pretty impressive that the crew was able to do all that in just about 2 hours time. In the US, you would be lucky to even get a snack on a flight that long. The seat itself was obviously more than sufficient for a quick hop, but is it good enough for a transpacific jaunt? I think so. While it is quite utilitarian, the space is definitely ample, and the seat stretches out quite far when fully flat. For a business customer looking to get maximum rest and a decent meal, along side the fantastic service Cathay crew is able to provide, I would definitely choose to fly with Cathay on a future transcontinental flight.