Virgin Experience on Business Class via Cathay Pacific

When writing about my latest Business Class experience on my trip up to Osaka via Hong Kong, I realised that I had never written about my virgin experience on Cathay Pacific’s Business Class to Bangkok and back. It was sad also because that was my very, very FIRST time I took Business Class!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Welcome drink of Champagne, at new Business Class seat, with boarding pass in the background.

Trip Overview

SIN – BKK vv
Flight: CX712; CX 713
Cabin Class: Business
Seat: 20D; 14C
Seating Configuration: 2-4-2
Flight Time: 1.31pm – 2.45pm; 11.45am – 3.15pm
Flight Duration: 2h 14m; 2h 28m


That time was summer 2016. Despite working for an airline for more than a year… Despite having worked and earned money for more than 7 years, I still had not pampered myself with a premium travelling experience.

It was then N told me there was a special promotion on Cathay Pacific, where we could score ourselves Business Class tickets to and from Bangkok at prices almost equivalent to Economy tickets on Singapore Airlines (ok, maybe add $100 or so). So we thought we might as well give ourselves a trip of our lifetime!

Dnata Lounge at T1

Our trip started with a visit to the Dnata Lounge at Terminal 1, since back then, Cathay Pacific departed from T1 and did not maintain its own lounge in Changi Airport.

Dnata was the new kid on the block (compared to SATS) and I have heard enough horror stories of SATS’ service standards that I was quite looking forward to go try out its lounge.

Note: My description of Dnata’s lounge is on hindsight and to the best of my ability to recall the details based on my photos, since thereafter, I signed up for lounge programs and managed to try some lounges out. In fact, I may have mixed up my subsequent visit to the same Dnata lounge, when I took KLM’s Business Class to Bali for holiday last summer 😛

Compared to SATS lounge, there was a sense of peace at Dnata – I could be wrong, but it was afternoon and crowds are to be expected and yet the place was quiet and full of vacant seats. The lounge do not have superb views to boast of, since it looked into the “garden” at level 3 “rooftop” of Terminal 1.

The resting area itself was a cavernous space decked out with single-seat sofa. You can take the ones near the “garden” if you want sunlight, or the middle section to have some shut-eyes, or the ones overlooking the transit area to look at elated travellers traversing the lengths of the world’s best airport.

Despite its dated décor, I found the general ambience to be pleasant and comfortable, not bad for a mass market lounge.

Where the food lost out on variety, it made up on quality. My favourite was the Nasi Lemak station, which served hot fragrant rice (cooked with coconut milk), fried anchovies, peanuts and sambal chilli (all of which formed the soul of Nasi Lemak). The fried chicken that came with it was so-so… but for a fried food lover like me, I devoured it just the same.

They had plenty of desserts in the forms of cakes and puffs. There was also a barista whom helped N and I had our fill of Cappuccino.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Premium passengers are invited to use their Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Seen here is the view out into the gate hold rooms of the airport, with its signature curved rooftop canopy.

Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok
Suvarnabhumi Airport

My memory of the airport lounge on our return trip was very vague; it’s interesting how I remember the Dnata Lounge more despite the fact that Cathay Pacific Lounge was a full-fledged lounge for premium passengers!

My snippets of memories were jogged when, for example, I was at Eva Air’s lounge 2 years later and found the view out of the lounge very familiar.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Premium passengers are invited to use their Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Seen here is the view out into the apron, while lounging at one of its leather loungers.

Yes, the airport was designed such that the lounges, if they ever have the view of the apron, had a similar layout, so Eva Air and Cathay Pacific’s lounges had similar views. 

For example, the main dining area looked out to the apron, while the lounging area, being at the far end of the lounge, looked out to the gate hold rooms, and in the cases of these 2 lounges, looked out to the escalators leading down to the gate hold rooms! The only difference was that one was located at Concourse F, while the other was near Gates G. 

Still, the lounge was very bright and airy due to the location even though the place was quite packed. It was after a while that we managed to find seats to settle down while I tried their Wanton Noodles, served piping hot from their Noodles Bar, for the first time. They were darn good considering we were in Thailand!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Premium passengers are invited to use their Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Seen here is the Wanton Noodle (noodle with shrimp dumpling) and siew mai, which can be ordered from its Noodle Bar and made fresh. Xiong Xiong the teddy bear are posing with the dishes with a cup of black coffee.

And… of course, a Fried Rice maniac like me just could not resist my temptation to try the Fried Rice at the hot food counter… Let’s just say we should stick to the Wanton Noodles! 🙂

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Premium passengers are invited to use their Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Xiong Xiong the teddy bear are posing with a cup of black coffee, napkins at the dining table.
Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Before boarding at Gate D46 of Changi Airport Terminal 1.

Boarding and Meals

Boarding our flight, we were served our pre-take off welcome drink. It was a bit early for alcohol, but we went for the champagne nonetheless.

As it was a very short flight of 2 hours, lunch was served using tray service, meaning there was no setting up of tables and serving different courses. For a first timer like me, it was just as good!

Out of the 3 options, I chose the Fillet of Sole that was stuffed with prawns and stuff. To be frank, I was so overwhelmed that I just said I wanted “Fish” and never expected what was to come.

My meal was a fillet of fish wrapped with stuffing made up of prawns, water chestnut, fungus and drizzled with chilli crab sauce. CHILLI FREAKING CRAB SAUCE. I loved that dish so much. Taste wise, there was the zing from the sauce and herb-ish undertones from the fungus and water chestnuts. Texture wise, the fish was soft, against the firmness of the prawns, crunch from the water chestnut and chewiness of the fungus.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Inflight meal onboard CX712, with Fillet of Sole Stuffed with prawn and chilli crab sauce, served with egg fried rice. xiong xiong the teddy bear are posing with the meal.

There was cabbage served at the side, but they were nothing… NOTHING compared to the Fillet of Sole. The egg fried rice was decent. A fried rice lover like me would have praises all over it, but we have the fish drenched in chilli crab sauce!! Step aside all you calefares!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Inflight meal onboard CX712, with Fillet of Sole Stuffed with prawn and chilli crab sauce, served with egg fried rice.

Anyways, the meal was preceded with Garlic Bread (by the way, do you know that cabin crew are supposed to hold the bread by the side, so that they would not spoil the garlic spread?) and a plate of fruits. I remembered very vividly that after I tore open the cling wrap, an insect casually crawled out to my amusement. Live insects served on Business Class! Wow!

That meal was rounded off with a cup of coffee and Haagen Dazs ice cream, which really, really couldn’t compare with my Fillet of Sole.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Inflight meal onboard CX712, with Haagen Dazs strawberry ice cream as dessert, paired with black coffee.

On my return flight, I took the “Thai Barbecued Red Duck Curry” that came with some garden fresh. I specially checked with the Purser that the curry was not spicy, since I did not fancy having to rush to the washroom on flight (though I was told toilets in Business Class were MUCH MUCH better than Economy).

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. Inflight meal onboard CX713, Thai Barbecued Red Duck Curry, with orange juice in the background. The inflight entertainment screen is also seen. Xiong xiong the teddy bear is posing with the food in the foreground.

Yes, the curry was not spicy and in fact, the meat was so tender that I thought it was chicken until I read the menu now while writing this post.
Oh, I did not consider the other 2 choices because 1 was beef and the other was pork. I could not eat beef and I avoid pork unless necessary. I was actually faced with very difficult choices on that flight!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. Inflight meal onboard CX713, Menu card with Haagen Dazs ice crewm in the background.

The starters of the meal was Thai-style salad – vermicelli and huge-ass prawns drizzled with some sour sauce. They came with hot buns which I must say, Cathay Pacific serves good hot buns onboard!

Now to the more boring part of the flashback.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. Overview of the cabin interior, with 2-2-2 seat configuration. The cockpit can be seen.

Seats

Going up to Bangkok, we were on the new Business Class seats. The herringbone seats were in 1-2-1 configuration, and I was allocated to the seat in the middle section, port side.

Thought it was a short 2.5hr journey, it was my first time taking Business Class! I particularly liked the space that we have; unlike the regional Business Class seats, which were boxy, the angled seats made everything feel different (and different is assumed to be better… hahah!).

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. xiong xiong the teddy bear posing at the tray table of the new Business Class seat.

For example, the holder near the armrest shared with the other passenger – it was of similar design than the regional version, but since it was not rectangular, it felt so peculiarly luxurious!

Similarly, the screen of the IFE was not exactly on the seat back. During take -off and landing, it had to be stowed to flush with the seat back in front, which made it difficult to see the screen. Any other time, with a simple pull along the hinge, the screen is adjustable to cater to a wide range of viewing angles, like when I was reclined in my seat, or leaning against the aisle to try to see what N was having across the aisle…

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. xiong xiong the teddy bear posing at the IFE screen of the new Business Class seat.

Of course, there was that little touch like a stalk of flower at the seat back, or things as simple as tray tables that could be fully extended for meals or just kept half opened when you just want a surface to write the arrival cards.

On the journey back from Bangkok, we were on the regional Business Class seats, a.k.a the recliners. They were donned in dark, patterned seat covers nestled in hard plastic shells. At first sight, I thought the seat covers looked rough. That was non-consequential in the end.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. xiong xiong the teddy bear looking out of the window, with the seat back inflight entertainment system in between.

The only thing I noticed about the seat was that they were very tall, even when in recline mode. When the crew came around to serve us meals (yes, you get to remain reclined during meal service, if your core can take it), I thought I was almost at the same level as their cart top!

Having sat in Economy seats all my life till then, Cathay’s Business Class seats were roomy for me, even though their regional versions were thought to be the inferior ones… I could almost frolic in the seat with Xiong Xiong! Unfortunately, the seat also exposed how short I am…

As that particular sector was my first time taking Business Class, I was not very savvy of what to expect or not to expect (except for perhaps… food!). Therefore, my description will definitely not be as good as my entry describing my latest experience, which was also on Cathay’s Regional Business Class.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. Inflight meal onboard CX713, xiong xiong the teddy bear posing with orange juice on the tray table. The inflight entertainment screen, with its menu page, is in the background.

Inflight Entertainment System

The screens of the Inflight Entertainment System (IFE) though weren’t that impressive, since an iPad is even bigger than that. Along the same line, I thought the storage space for personal belongings weren’t sufficient – the hole by the side of the seat (nestled in the armrest) were rigid, unlike those sleeves found in the Economy class, so it couldn’t fit anything that did not conform to that space. Similarly, it was difficult to reach inside to fish for stuff that dropped in.

The crew made the greatest impression, I guess. Perhaps it was because the more senior cabin crew were assigned to the cabin. I remembered being served by the Inflight Managers, who carried an air of professionalism and calmness. It was as though I found my long lost mother!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. Aircraft parked at the apron of Suvarnabhumi airport.

That, my friends, were my recollections of my virgin experience on a Business Class, via Cathay Pacific, to and from Bangkok. It was a shame I didn’t note this experience down immediately so that I have a more vivid record of such a special occasion! Thank goodness for all the photos I took! (Even though, well, they were taken on my old Samsung Note 3, which didn’t have a good camera…)

Yep… for posts with better looking photos and a more vivid description of my experience, you can try reading about my other posts on whether it’s worth upgrading to Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy and finding best seats on Cathay Pacific Economy Class, or my journey on Thai Airways to Europe or SAS transatlantic flights 🙂

Till then, stay wanderlust!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore. View out of aircraft, above Singapore waters, in the south, with container ships in the foreground and Singapore city skyline in the background, against a cloudy sky.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Virgin Experience, Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand. Aircraft parked at Singapore Changi Airport boarding gate.

Well, as badly taken as this photo was, the first aircraft where I experienced my virgin Business Class (OF. ALL. TIME.) is right there at the apron!
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