After spending a relaxing six hours in the Cathay Pacific First Class "The Pier" lounge, it was time for my flight to Auckland. While I have traveled in Cathay Pacific's Business Class before, it was only for a short regional flight to Bangkok. Ever since that flight, I have been wanting to try Cathay Pacific on a real, longhaul business class segment.
In a very typical fashion for Cathay Pacific, about 15 minutes before boarding was scheduled to start, the gate agents made passengers line up in their respective groups. While waiting at the gate, the agents made a quick doc check and every passenger received a stamp on their boarding pass - certainly a good way to speed up the boarding process at the gate.
Soon after passengers requiring extra time and families were boarded, business class and frequent flyer passengers were invited to board the aircraft, a B777-300ER. Fortunately, two jet bridged were used so there wasn't a lot of foot traffic throughout the boarding process.
My first impression of the cabin was very positive - I like Cathay's color scheme and its art work on the bulkhead wall. I did notice that the seat is identical to the one found on American's B777-300ER, but I will say that Cathay's cabin design is somewhat superior to American's business class cabin. I selected seat 16A - a single window seat. All of Cathay Pacific's longhaul business class cabins are in a 1-2-1 layout in a reverse herringbone style, which is really state-of-the-art for business class seats.
I explored the seat and it is really identical to the American seat, not surprising, since American licensed the product from Cathay Pacific. The IFE remote and the seat adjustement buttons are located near your left shoulder, along with a reading light and a power outlet.
While storage space is not as generous as on other seats, there is a little compartment available to put your personal belongings. Annoyingly, no stowage is allowed during take-off and landing, which was strictly enforced by the cabin crew.
The seat is angled toward the windows and the IFE screen swivels out when you press a button. A decent blanket and pillow were waiting for me on the footrest.
The headset was in a little storage compartment, which was the only place to put your personal belongings during taxing, take-off and landing.
I did like that Cathay Pacific had a little compartment for shoes - now if they would only give slippers to passengers.
The table was quite sturdy and had enough surface area.
During boarding, the flight attendants distributed a tray with pre-departure beverages. It was the classical spiel of water, OJ and champagne. In addition, however, Cathay Pacific offers this special drink to its premium passengers - the "Cathay Delight", which is a coconut kiwi drink, served with a leave of mint on top - it was delicious!
Boarding was completed soon after getting my PDB and the safety video was played. Like on Austrian, Cathay Pacific uses an animated video to demonstrate the safety features of its aircraft. I was a bit entertained to see this bean-like baby being featured in the video.
After takeoff, I fired up the in-flight entertainment system - Studio CX. I have to say that I liked Cathay Pacific's system much better than Qatars, and I also thought that they had a very decent amount of movies and shows available.
Not long after takeoff, the flight attendants distributed a bottle of Evian water and an amenity kit. I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed that passengers did not receive slippers nor PJs but luckily I brought the set from my previous flight on Qatar.
I liked the updated Cathay Pacific logo on the amenity kit. The kit contained all the necessities you need on a long-haul flight. I also appreciated the addition of mouthwash, which most airlines do not include these days. Most toiletries wer "Jurlique" branded, which is an Australian cosmetics manufacturer.
Cathay Pacific still uses a cart for service in business class service. Many other airlines have shifted away from cart service to personalized service, but I actually don't mind the flight attendants using carts - as it usually means that service is somewhat quicker, which is certainly appreciated on a night departure.
The purser or CSM was serving my aisle and she was just lovely and extremely professional. When serving my drink, she greeted me by name as Platinum member and thanked me for bringing my business to Cathay Pacific. Call me old-fashioned, but I really like gestures like that. With iPads and other tablets readily available, it really isn't all that difficult to greet top-tier frequent flyers and Cathay Pacific consistently manages to do so.
I decided to stay away from booze and ordered sparkling water, which was served from a can. I proactively got a lemon with my water, which I appreciated.
Shortly after the drink service, dinner service commenced. Unlike on Qatar, passengers do not receive a bread basket but instead can chose from an assortment of different breads. I picked the garlic bread and it was delicious.
The appetizer on tonight's flight was parma ham, baked tomato, feta cheese and portobello mushroom. It tasted alright, the mixed salad was a bit on the bland side but overall it was decent.
Dinner continued with the main course. Similar to my flight in regional business class, the flight attendants present the different main course option on the cart and passengers can pick whatever they like. I actually like this concept since I really like to see the different meals before making a choice. For tonight, I went with the Chu hou beef brisket, turnip, choy sum, and carrot steamed jasmine rice - it was absolutely delicious. Some people may say that this is a very simple dish, but as long as the airline gets the taste right, I would easily pick this over a fancy Lufthansa First Class meal which just doesn't always work all that well.
For the dessert, I ordered the chocolate brownies with yuzu cream cheese, but unfortunately, they were out of that option, so I got stuck with the rhubarb strawberry crumble. The crumble was decent, but I am just not a big fan of rhubarb. I usually order a coffee to go with my dessert, but decided to forego it on tonight's flight since I wanted to sleep after dinner. Cathay served freshly brewed illy coffee and cappuccinos.
Overall, I was very happy with the dinner service. While I did not get my preferred dessert course, I was very happy with the main course and the friendliness and professionalism of the flight attendants. In addition, dinner service was wrapped up in a record-breaking 90 minutes or so after takeoff - it was fast paced, but did not feel rushed. After dinner, I changed into my Qatar PJs and reclined my seat. I did get a couple of hours of solid sleep and woke up with about four hours left to Auckland.
I was feeling a bit peckish and had a look at the snack menu, which listed a burger and a vermicelli soup. I have never had a good burger on a plane, so I ordered the soup and I wasn't disappointed. The soup contained roasted duck and preserved vegetables and was served with a packet of chili sauce - and wow, that was probably the best chili sauce I have ever had, I dumped the entire packet into my soup and it was just delicious. I also ordered an espresso to go with the soup.
We still had about three hours to go to Auckland so I watched a movie to pass the time before breakfast service commenced. About 90 minutes before landing, breakfast service commenced. Cathay Pacific has a "refreshment" course which consisted of fresh fruits, Bircher muesli and various smoothies. I also had some breakfast pastries and a cappuccino.
For the main breakfast course, there were two Asian options and one Western option, which I had. The bacon was delicious and the cheese and herb frittata was also surprisingly tasty.
I had a look at the flight map and we were getting closer to the end of the flight as we were approaching Auckland.
We commenced our descend into Auckland and I was very impressed with the lush landscape below.
New Zealand really is a beautiful country and I was glued to the windows for the remainder of the flight.
We landed at Auckland International Airport, where I spotted this United B777 waiting for its flight back home.
Since we departed in the night at Hong Kong, I was only able to take a picture of my Cathay Pacific aircraft on the ground.
And wherever I seem to go, these Emirates A380 seem to be present as well - in this case, even two of them!
My flight on Cathay Pacific was excellent - the flight attendants were professional and polite, the food was good to excellent, and definitely plentiful. The reverse herringbone seat that Cathay Pacific offers on all of its longhaul aircraft is really state-of-the-art and ideal for solo travelers, although I would definitely like to have more storage space for my personal items. I think I actually prefer them to Qatar's B787-8 or American's B787-9 seats since they offer a little bit more privacy.
My only criticism would be that I wished that Cathay would provide PJs and slippers to its passengers, particularly on long flights like this Hong Kong to Auckland trip, but otherwise, I was extremely happy with my flight and would recommend Cathay Pacific.