I have flown a lot of different airlines all over the world, especially in the last three years. I’ve flown some of Europe’s best carriers and even some of Asia’s best. I’ve flown the 787 and the A380 multiple times now and have enjoyed flying low cost carriers such as Tiger Air, Air Asia, Lion Air, EasyJet and more. Flying a new airline is always exciting and I get giddy like a little kid on Christmas each time I fly a new carrier. This time, that excitement made me tingle all over, from the hairs on my head down to the tips of my toes pulsated with excitement as I as flying my first five star airline in long haul business class! I had already flown Cathay Pacific a few years back in economy and had enjoyed a short hop on Singapore from Singapore to Manila in Business and even flew Malaysia Airlines one in economy on a 50 minute domestic flight. Despite all this, the aviation geek community knows that five star airlines truly shine their brightest on their long haul flights, and this flight from LAX to Hong Kong on Cathay was going to be my first time really reaping the rewards of flying a five star airline.
After visiting the OneWorld Business class lounge, I headed to the gate and boarded via the priority boarding lane. The dual doorway and jet bridge made this easy and I did not have to wait to board at all as boarding had begun about five minutes prior to my arrival. As the agent took my boarding pass and scanned it, she welcome me aboard, but then quickly but very politely asked me to wait and the lead agent wanted to verify some information from me. The lead quickly came over, addressed me by name and informed me that I had only checked my bag to Hong Kong and not all the way through to my final destination. She was concerned that this was a mistake and wanted to be sure that I wanted to retrieve my bag in Hong Kong. After explaining to her that I was getting a hotel room in HK for the night she quickly understood that I was not planning to stay in the airport, thanked me and welcomed me aboard. The attention to detail was superb and I was very impressed that they caught this little detail. I have short checked my bag a number of times and never before had anyone stopped before boarding to ensure the short check was accurate!
As I walked down the dual jet bridge, I turned left down the first bridge that was reserved for first and business class customers. A dual jet bridge is always great as it allows for quicker boarding and without the bottle necking that is common towards the end of the boarding processes. As I approached the plane, a male FA was at the door and greeted me with a smile, he glanced at my boarding card and then referred to me by name and directed to the far aisle. I found my seat, very similar configuration to the new AA 77W business class seat, and made myself at home. While we waited for the boarding process to finish, FAs came through the cabin offering us a selection of beverages which included champagne, water, orange juice, or their signature kiwi-coconut juice. A hot towel service was also provided before takeoff, along with different forms which included the documents required for entry into Hong Kong and other promotional paperwork. Noise canceling head sets were already on the seats along with a pillow and blanket.
I got bored waiting for the crew to finish their paperwork and preparing for take off, so I found myself taking selfies in the inseat mirror and texting them to friends. Thankfully after about 4 silly photos we were on our way.
Meals & Inflight
About 25 minutes after wheels up, the flight’s purser passed through the cabin and provided each passenger with a dinner menu and an amenity kit, greeting each guest by name as she provided individuals with the menus and kits. Women and men received different kits, but had similar designs to them. I am not honestly sure what the difference between the two kits is. Another 20 minutes passed by as the FAs were busy in the galleys and after 45 minutes into the flight, the FA passed through the cabin with the drink trolley providing customers with nuts and drinks of their choice. I indulged in the CX signature drink, the Pacific Sunrise–a refreshing combination of champagne nd Drambuie with the zest of orange and lemon–and a Pierre sparkling water with a lemon. These items were served immediately as the FA who was taking orders was pushing a fully stocked trolley and also provided each passenger with salted macadamia nuts. A good 20 minutes passed as dinner cooked and then the FAs brought out the first courses: Salad & salmon appetizer accompanied by choice of bread. After the majority of customer’s appetizers were finished, the FAs passed through the cabin with another trolley which had the meal choices on display and most beverage options below. This allowed customers to see what they ordered before making a selection and also allowed the FAs to easily refill drinks without having to return to the galley. The same method was used for the cheese and fruit course, along with the final dessert course. When all was said and over with, I was so full I thought I was going to explode! I couldn’t recall the last time I had eaten so much food. And then, if I wasn’t already full enough, the FA passed through with a box of truffles, tempting each passenger’s sweet tooth once more! I, of course indulged!
Dinner Options-those indicated with an asterisk(*) I selected and are pictured below
Balik style salmon with shaved fennel and white balsamic onion compote*
Seasonal mixed salad with toasted almonds and balsamic dressing*
Stir-fried chicken with red dates, steamed jasmine rice, choy sum and carrots
Seared USDA choice beef tenderloin with port wine sauce, garlic mash potatoes, fava beans and bacon
Olive oil poached ling cod with basil zucchini cream sauce, smoked eggplant puree and quinoa with fennel*
Tomato and mozzarella ravioli with pesto sauce and toasted pinenuts
Cheese and Dessert:
Yellow cheddar, Port Salut, Maytag Blue*
Fresh seasonal fruit
Toasted sesame creme brulee tart*
Tea and Coffee
Dinner items were served from carts, with food options on top and beverages on the bottom.
After dinner, I made my seat into a bed and passed out fairly easily, full and slightly liquored up; I slept for a solid 6.5 hours. I woke up and to my surprise I was actually feeling pickish. I walked up the galley, ordered the signature kiwi-coconut drink and also asked for a snack from the snack menu. However, the FAs told me, they were about to prep diner service, despite still being 3+ hours from Hong Kong, and if I’d wait I’d be served a better meal than any snack would cover. I obliged and returned to my seat to watch a movie.
The pre arrival Dinner service was very similar to the previous meal, although this meal was not nearly as grand. A hot towel service was done by one FA as a second followed with a drink cart. Then each passenger received a meal tray with fresh fruit on it, bread was then offered, and once passengers finished their fruit appetizer, the main entrees were pushed through the cabin on a trolley similar to how dinner service was done. This time I opted for the pasta, but after taking a few bites, exchanged it for the fish as the pasta was dry and flavorless. After dinner, dessert was served in the same fashion and port wine, coffee or tea was offered. Again, very full, I sat back and enjoyed the rest of the flight to Hong Kong.
Pre-landing dinner – those indicated with an asterisk (*) are pictured below
Fresh seasonal fruit*
Pistachio crushed duck with cherry ginger suace, toasted fingerling potatoes, savoy cabbage and heirloom carrots
Steamed ling cod with soy sauce, steamed jasmine rice, garlic green beans, and carrots*
Lumache pasta with saffron capantana*
Pistachio tart with raspberry coulis*
Seat & IFE Review
The seat featured on the 777-300 is a very popular business class seat seen across many airlines. I reviewed this seat recently on my trip from London Heathrow to Los Angeles on American last month. This seat had the exact same set up as the AA seat, but it also included a nice little storage pocket on the bottom left of the seat. I found that this was a perfect compartment for my shoes. And as there’s a door on the compartment which helps keep the smell contained. Otherwise the seat was very comfortable and provided an excellent rest on the long flight from LAX to Hong Kong. For those traveling alone, I would highly recommend a window seat for more privacy and for those traveling with a companion one of the two middle seats, as then you can easily speak to each other during meal times and the two seats somewhat share a common space.
The IFE and PTVs in business class had hundreds of options to keep anyone entertained and worked from the time we took off to the minute we pulled into the gate in Hong Kong. The selection was large with all different genres of movies, TV shows, games, music and more to help pass the time. My only gripe was that each movie has 3-5 minutes of advertisements before the film actually begins. I understand that airlines are always looking for ways to increase revenue, but this is not something I would expect from a five star airline such as Cathay Pacific. Thankfully one can easily fast forward through the commercials.
Overall my first business class experience with Cathay was extremely delightful! Every FA in the cabin seemed to know everyone’s name, was extremely polite, and very proactive throughout the flight. FAs passed through the cabins every 15 minutes, refilled drinks without having to be asked and all seemed happy to do their job. All FA spoke perfect English, all with a Hong Kong/Chinese accent, but still there were no language barriers that I noted. I also found FAs to be proactive, solving problems and offering solutions before people even had to ask. Cathay Pacific’s hard product is honestly no better than what Delta or American offers on their newly refurbished planes, but what truly sets them apart is their soft product and service. The service quality and soft product is what makes Cathay Pacific truly a five star airlines.
How to fly this route:
You too can fly this route using points from your American Express Membership Rewards Card, Chase Ultimate rewards or US Airways or American Airlines advantage account. Through American Express you can transfer your points directly to Cathay Pacific or to British Airways, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to British Airways. American Airlines & US Airways both consider Hong Kong part as North Asia, and charge 110,000 miles round trip for this reward or 55,000 miles one way (One way Awards are only available on American, not US Airways).
British Airways via Amex/Chase
Cathay Pacific via Amex
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