Last summer, while planning for my annual holiday to Osaka, I decided to upgrade my outgoing flight to Business Class. My virgin experience on Cathay Pacific Business Class was on CX712/CX713 to Bangkok vv, which was flown on their A330.
Despite that short 2-hr trip, their superb service kept lingering in my heart and I thought that I should try out their Business Class service again when I travel to Hong Kong and Osaka, this time with a longer total flight duration!
My flight this time round was on 2 sectors. The SIN-HKG CX712 sector was made on their Boeing 777-300 (B73Z), while the HKG-KIX CX713 sector was on Boeing 777-200 (B772). Both sported recliners (which was a waste, as I had yet to try their new Business Class seats), but I’ll tell you in a while why that was still a good trip.
SIN – HKG
Aircraft Type: B777-300 (B73Z)
Cabin Class: Business
Seat Configuration: 2-3-2
Flight Time: 3.05am – 6.43am (Delay of 2 hours from STD of 0135hrs)
Flight Duration: 3h 38m
HKG – KIX
Aircraft: B777-200 (B772)
Cabin Class: Business
Seat Configuration: 2-3-2
Flight Time: 8.11am – 1.05pm (Delay of half an hour from STD of 0720hrs)
Flight Duration: 3h 54m
Cathay Pacific Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 4
My trip started with a visit to their new and well-appointed airline lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 4. Located on Level 3 near Gate G11, which was near the wide-body gates at G18/G19 meant for full service carriers like Cathay Pacific, the whole lounge was decked out in soothing brown and grey tones, complemented with soft lighting.
Upon entry, I was faced with 2 choices: Turn right and head for the dining section, or turn left for the resting area.
Like a typical Singaporean, I turned left to “chope” a comfortable sofa, before proceeding to hunt for food.
The resting area was laid out with seats of all kinds. There were those near the entrance by the window that were café-style, counter seats for when the lounge got crowded, couches and single seater sofas in the main area, and out in the farthest corner, overlooking G11, were loungers with foot rest and a personal side table. In between, there was a row or two of cubicle-like seats, with high backing, small tray table that was meant for those who wanted quiet while working on their laptops.
I tried the last type, but found that it made me feel very claustrophobic. The seat was too low, which made it difficult to try to stand up while squeezing through the space between the side panel and the tray table, and also made people who walked past seemed too big and harrowing. The table was also too small and high (as a result of the low seat) to do anything constructive.
My favourite were the leather loungers overlooking the activities below. Granted, they didn’t allow me to recline comfortably to catch some sleep before my red-eye (ironic for a regional flight!), especially after the flight kept getting delayed for another 2 hours, but the added foot stool made the seat more comfortable. The side table also provided plenty of space for food and my personal belongings, on top of power sockets (and USB ports) to charge mobile devices.
Savour Hong Kong Dim Sum to My Fill
Food wise, I went straight for Cathay Pacific’s famous noodle bar for a Wanton Noodle fix. Yes, if you visit a Cathay Pacific Lounge, you MUST try their piping hot noodles made fresh. There were a few other options, but their prawn dumplings are satisfaction-guaranteed, so why not? I paired my noodles with, what else, dim sum superstar Siew Mais!
Each dumpling from the noodles contained not one, but 2 succulent prawns! One can choose from a range of 6 condiments and toppings to go with their noodles, though I opted for my noodles to be Original. The Siew Mai were also well marinated and maintained a certain bounce in the filling that brightened up a dreary night. In fact, after knowing my flight would be delayed for another 2 hours, I went straight to have a 2nd round of the noodles and Siew Mai to pacify my wounded feelings… Being stuck in such a superb airline lounge wasn’t so bad after all! lol
The lounge also housed a hot food counter which served Ee Mee (Flat Noodles simmered with Braised Sauce) that was pleasantly full of wok hey, Teriyaki Cod which was super soft and juicy, and some beef balls in tomato sauce (which I didn’t try) for the night. For a buffet spread meant for “mass consumption”, I found the quality to be top-notch!
There were also the standard pastry section, cookies/snacks section that also offered soft fragrant Pandan Cakes. Dessert that day, on top of the typical cakes, included Hong Kong favourite Barley with Beancurd Skins – good to rid the body of heatiness from staying up past bed time!
The washrooms were also very well-maintained, though it was sad that there were no showering facilities. I suppose the upper-ups at Cathay Pacific don’t think travellers needed to wash up before a short flight to Hong Kong…
There were also alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available. I tried to get my caffeine fix with their Espresso machine, which dispensed milky water instead. When I told the service staff they needed to top up their coffee beans, she immediately offered to get a cup of coffee for me from the coffee machine on the other side of the lounge! Speak about Asian hospitality!
In front of the noodle bar, the dining section had plenty of comfortable booth seats catered for families and single/couple travellers alike.
Overall, I liked the ambience of the Cathay Pacific Lounge. Perhaps it would be a different case if I were to be taking their day flights, but based on my experience at the SATS lounge, Blossom, just opposite CX’s lounge, I would say there was more thought put into the designing of the space. Most importantly, the entire airline lounge was enclosed, so despite being near the multimedia wall that plays the Peranakan musical every other minute, the lounge remained quiet and conducive for catching up on rest!
Onboard Cathay Pacific Boeing 777
Although I reached Osaka via 2 sectors that used different aircraft types, both used the same Business Class seats, which was the recliner, so I would combine my experience as much as I could.
Seats on Cathay Pacific B777 Business Class
The recliner, as the name suggested, could not be turned into a flat bed, which was not a very good idea for a red-eye, delayed flight, no matter how short the flight time was. Thankfully (for Cathay) I was so tired that the fact that I was sleeping reclined did not bother me.
The seats were in a 2-3-2 configuration, so when possible aim for the window or aisle seats. Getting stuck in the middle seat while paying premium would be damn depressing!
While I’m fat, I could still fit into their seat and have space to wriggle sideways (and place my travel pouch). The seat pitch was also very decent, not discounting the fact that I have short legs. Unlike some modern seat configurations, the space under the seat in front of me was wide, so when in full recline mode, my legs didn’t get caught in a tight situation.
Storage wise, there was a magazine pocket underneath the armrest between the seats. That was also where one would find headphone jack, the controls to adjust the seat and foot rest, space to place cups like the welcome drink, power sockets (no need to share with your seat mate) and where you draw out the remote control to the Inflight Entertainment System (IFE).
Speaking of IFE, the screen (not touch screen) was an obvious sign the seat was designed in the previous era. Since it was not LED, the viewing angles were limited and light glares from the window or overhead lighting often obscure the screen. That being said, it contained the same full suite of entertainment available to all passengers regardless of travelling class or aircraft types, under its hood.
The USB port (and the weirdly outdated video cable port, weird because NEVER in my life had I used it, inflight or at home…) and coat hanger could be found by the sides of the screen. When you are charging your mobile devices using the USB port, you can slot it in the small cavity beside the port, provided your device is small enough (even after extending the cloth flap of the hole! lol)
For me, I made do with extending the tray table out slightly to place my phone, since the tray table wouldn’t get in the way when I reclined my seat. However, I was hoping throughout the flight that there would be no sudden turbulence that would cause the unlocked tray table to shoot out and whack me at the throat.
A headset was provided to enjoy the movies with; though a sign of premium, such designs do not go well with me. My head is usually too big for those to be worn comfortably and after extending the headsets to fit my head, there will be moveable parts that clip on to my hair and made it painful to take them off. Therefore, I did not use those headphones at all during the flights.
Cathay Pacific Business Class Inflight Meals
After the flight out of Singapore got delayed for 2 hours, I was so tired that I slept immediately after I settled down in my seat (I assumed the glass of
pre-take off Champagne also did the job), so much so that I did not get to taste the Kampung Chicken served as supper on the flight. It was also a shame that the crew did not offer to serve it as breakfast. Guess they were in a rush to complete all meal services in the tight 3.5 hours flight time.
It was slightly disappointing too, since I had chosen a window seat to look at the night scene and to enjoy the take off and landing at night.
Enroute to Osaka though, I made sure I made the most out of the moolahs I paid extra for them Business Class seats, a la Singaporean style.
We had the option of English style breakfast consisting of omelette, sausage and ham da-da-da… and Teriyaki Chicken with rice… but who eats those when the other option is assorted dim sum, from the catering provider of the Land of Dim Sum??
I requested for 2nd serving of them good old dim sum, since the set contained Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf, which was my favourite-est dim sum, Har Gao (Prawn Dumpling), Siew Mai and some obscure dumpling with smelly vegetables (which I obviously didn’t devour in the 2nd round).
The Rice soaked in the fragrance of the lotus leaf, despite us being thousands of feet in the air. It was filled with goodies like chicken, salted egg and mushroom that added more fragrance to it. The Har Gao’s har (prawn) was gao (thick) enough to give a refreshing crunch to every bite. And the Siew Mai? As opposed to being chewy, it broke up upon the first bite into the many little pieces of meat that was held together by the yellow skin. Yep… full of meat.
The meal proper was preceded by starters of croissants and fruit platter. I was expecting to find some live insect in my fruits like the last time I took Cathay Pacific Business Class… 😛 but that was drama that only took place once in a blue moon.
Instead, I paired my dim sum breakfast with 2 cups of their gourmet coffee, black, which was a great option to wash down the greasiness and saltiness of the food. Yes, in case you do not know, dim sum is not exactly a healthy food choice.
But who cares?
Service wise, I had nothing to rant about the crew, since they were also well known for their warmth and high service standards. But in case you do not know, or have not taken Asian carriers before, cabin crew of Cathay Pacific are always smiley and warm. They’re less robotic than the Singapore Girls, and are stark contrasts to the Cha Chan Teng (Hong Kong cafes) aunties who would scold you at any chance they got.
I mean, the crew didn’t roll her eyes in front of me when I asked for more dim sum, so I think that was professionalism at its best 🙂
To my defence, I was famished as I was deprived of sleep the night before, and because of the delay, I was not able to visit any of the Cathay Pacific Lounges in Hong Kong International Airport during the transit to peck at something. I was really, really hungry. Just that I was as thick skinned as a Singaporean.
In case you are wondering, my trip report was missing the Check In parts that most bloggers would include. Lest you forgot, Changi Airport Terminal 4 has fully automated check in facilities, so unless you want to know how warm the touch screens were or how smooth the belts transporting my luggage were, there was nothing much to talk about.
Anyhoo, my trip ended in Kansai Airport, Osaka, where there was a hell lot of confusion climbing escalators, transferring to skytrains, queuing up at the immigration counter like trains of ants… Yes, there was no priority queue for Cathay Pacific Business Class passengers, except that we got to alight the plane first (and hence I was at the head of the queue).
That was my first impression of Osaka. Thankfully, Mario was there to greet me. Go!
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Business Class, do share with me your experience too! Stay wanderlust!
All photos and videos were taken using Olympus TG870 and Google Pixel XL, and edited with Snapseed.