It is no secret that the business traveller, flying between Hong Kong and India, has been partial to the Cathay Pacific Business Class product. No doubt, it is arguably the most consistent and reliable product in the skies, but there’s so much more that makes Cathay the preferred airline for the avid business traveller. Everything about the Cathay experience lends itself perfectly to a fast-paced corporate traveller, jetsetting across timezones, and wishing to do so in the lap of discreet, understated, no-fuss luxury. Fabulous seats, slick lounges, a snappy entertainment system and great food notwithstanding, the Cathay Pacific Business Class cabin continues to woo the premium traveller with its attention to detail and understated approach to luxury.
I recently tried out Cathay’s Business Class product on a business trip between India and Australia.
My journey comprised four legs (BOM-HKG, HKG-SYD, SYD-HKG and HKG-BOM), all of which were on the airline’s workhorse, Airbus A330-300.
In addition, I was among the first and lucky few to set foot into Cathay Pacific’s SPANKING NEW The Wing Business Class Lounge at Hong Kong Airport.
Read on to find out about my experience on-board and on-ground.
The Cabin – The most interesting and comfortable aspect of the Cathay Pacific Business Class cabin, is that it is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with the ‘reverse herringbone pattern’. This means that the seats face away from the aisle.
With your back to the aisle, this gives you an increased sense of privacy and comfort. The look and feel of the cabin is muted and elegant, without any major flashes of colour. Very soothing indeed!
The Seat – I have tried out many premium cabin products from the world’s leading international airlines and I have to say that the Cathay Pacific Business Class seat has got to be one of my favourites. The grey-white colour theme of these flat-bed seats is simple, understated and elegant. In these seats, you will enjoy a pitch of 45 inches and width of 21 inches. The seat in itself is extremely comfortable and even in the upright position, you can sink into it with ease.
Small Touches On The Seat – I like the small touches in the Cathay Pacific Business Class seat – The entertainment control panel, the seat controls, the reading lights and the power sockets are all easily reachable so you aren’t contorting yourself to plug in your charger. There is a generous workspace, where you can place your book, Kindle, tablet, as well as the table, which you can easily pull out for meals and to place your laptop. Once you put the seat in flat-bed mode, you can lower the armrest to make it wider.
There is a little storage compartment containing the headphones, where you can place small items like your phone or spectacles. The tiny compartment door even has a mirror, which I thought was a nice touch.
The Amenity Kit – I absolutely love Cathay’s amenity kits in Business. They come in a chic, denim-look pouch, specially designed by Seventy Eight Percent, and contain Jurlique branded moisturiser, hand cream and lip balm, in addition to other essentials like socks, eye mask, toothbrush and even a small packet of mouthwash.
Inflight Dining – One of the most refined dining experiences in the skies. What I love most about Cathay’s Business dining is that it is such a personalised experience. The flight attendants CONSISTENTLY address you by last name and almost everything comes off a trolley, giving you a chance to actually see what’s on offer.
The menu is a no-fuss affair, which lists out the multi-course meal, the wine list and the beverage list.
For my first leg, Mumbai to Hong Kong, I wanted to catch up on my sleep, so I asked for an “express breakfast” of a buttery croissant and some freshly brewed coffee. The whole presentation was simple, comforting and unpretentious.
I opted for some Perrier, served with a bowl of mixed nuts.
Here’s what the lunch menu on my Sydney-Hong Kong leg looked like – Four main course options in addition to a starter course, dessert, cheese and fruit.
Dessert, fruit and cheese come around in a trolley.
I opted for the cherry cheesecake, with an espresso.
Entertainment: Not much is to be said of Cathay Pacific’s awesome entertainment system Studio CX, with its crazy selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries and music. I loved the user-friendly interface and, most importantly, the fact that it is very fast and responsive.
Time for a movie after dinner.
The Pier Lounge – This has got to be Cathay Pacific’s most impressive talking point of the season. Their spanking new Pier Lounge, for Business Class passengers is spread across a massive 35,500 sq ft and is divided into several zones, including a Hong Kong-inspired street food court, quiet lounges, open bar, several relaxation areas, a baristas cart and lots of stuff to make your hours of transit fly by effortlessly. The Pier Lounge also happens to be Cathay Pacific’s biggest lounge. The best part: loads of couches overlooking the tarmac, so lots of gorgeous aircraft spotting.
Travel Connectivity: Let’s face it, almost every business traveller worth his salt, has to travel to or transit through Hong Kong at some point. Not only is Hong Kong a global business capital but it is also a gateway for Indian travellers to China and the Far East countries. Hong Kong is also a great transit point for travellers between India and Australia. Between Cathay Pacific’s main lines and its subsidiary carrier Dragonair, they’ve got pretty much all of Asia and Australia covered. As for me, I like to fly Cathay Pacific on my trips to Sydney, Australia as I prefer to break the ultra-long journey somewhere in Asia, as opposed to a direct flight. Also, don’t forget, Cathay Pacific offers great connectivity to the west coast of America.
Conclusion: Cathay Pacific’s Business Class product scores high on all counts and is perfectly suited to the business traveller. It may not be the over-the-top, inflight glamour that we’ve come to expect of, say, the Middle Eastern airlines, but it surely keeps standards high and consistent. Not only is the inflight product par excellence, but Cathay has made sure that the transit experience at their base, Hong Kong, remains a big draw for business travellers. Tried and tested by us!