I recently flew from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Kathmandu, Nepal for a total round-trip journey of about 42 hours actual elapsed time. That’s a lot of air and air terminal time!
When flying across the Pacific pond, an upgrade to Business Class can make a world of difference in terms of arriving fresh and rested at your destination. Thankfully, I had the privilege of flying Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com) business class on the LAX-HKG leg of my marathon journey half-way around the world. Though I have been to over 84 countries during my extensive global travels, this was my first flight experience with Cathay Pacific.
I knew Cathay Pacific had an excellent reputation for flight comfort and service. This was recently acknowledged when the airline took the “Best Airline Business Class” honor at the 2013 Business Traveller China Awards. They also received the “Best North Asian Airline” honor at the 24th Annual TTG Travel Awards. Cathay Pacific received 2013 awards for the “World’s Best Cabin Staff” and “Best Transpacific Airline” from the World Airline Awards run by Skytrax. The airline also garnished #4 ranking for the 2013 World Airlines Best Business Class Seats, with Japan Airlines taking first place, followed by Oman at #2 and Qatar at #3.
Business class seats, storage and entertainment
Business class seats are designed with their own enclosure – more or less like a topless cocoon – with chairs sliding forward to a fully-prone position for maximum sleeping comfort. The cocoon modules definitely give you the feeling of having your own private area, and since I was by a window, my seating configuration gave me both a window and aisle seat.
Storage is more than ample for personal carry-ons and electronic gear and gadgets, with an ergonomic and practical design maximized for the frequent business traveler. In addition to the overhead bin, there is side storage for handbags or laptop cases along with an easy-to-reach water bottle holder. A side cabinet houses ear phones and a vanity mirror, with a foot locker available for your shoes and small valuables. Also a cotton covered duvet is available, though I found the cabin temperature quite comfortable and never needed to reach for mine.
Business class offers a noise-cancelling headset that resides in your side cabinet. The 15.4-inch screen was a visual treat along with the hundreds of movies, TV shows, radio channels, games and music that were available. The handheld remote controlling the entertainment system was easy to use and nested in the side cabinet when not in use.
Business class cabin and catering service
As I took my spacious seat, I was greeted with a glass of Champagne Deutz, an award-winning brut classic featuring aromas and flavors of pear and citrus fruit. Next, a hot moist towel was brought to me. Later, I was personally greeted by name. Then it came time for the toiletry kits to be passed out. My long-haul Business Class Female Amenity Kit contained all the essentials required to arrive refreshed in Hong Kong and was contained in a lovely keepsake agnès b. pouch. Of note are the luscious samples of Jurlique products that included: lip care balm, moisture replenishing day cream, and fragrantly-scented citrus hand cream. Finally, an agnès b. toothbrush and eyeshade, toothpaste, earplugs, socks and cotton pads completed the kit. For those who are unfamiliar with the Jurlique brand, they are an Australian cosmetics manufacturer specializing in natural skincare.
The toothbrush and shoehorn in the male kit are made from biodegradable and recyclable materials such as corn starch and cellulose. This is an ongoing demonstration of Cathay Pacific’s commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible company.
Cathay Pacific Airways introduced their new range of amenity kits featuring Jurlique products for long-haul Business Class travelers in October of 2013, continuing their partnership with the French fashion designer agnès b. in designing an exclusive toiletry pouch. Toby Smith, the Cathay Pacific General Manager Product said: “We are very excited about this collaboration. Jurlique has been investing in natural skincare science for many years and we think they are a great fit with our brand and our desire to provide our passengers with the very best inflight experience.”
Business class meals
Business Meals on the LAX-HKG route incorporate a combination of international cuisine and authentic Chinese favorites, complemented by a selection of a variety of fine wines and beverages served on white linen tablecloths. The alcoholic drink selection included:
- Dampagne Deutz, Brut Classic
- Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
- Peter Shweiger Gruner Veltliner Kamptal Terrassen DAC Reserve 2011
- Quincho Reserve Syrah Maule Valley 2010
- Chateau Hanteillan Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2010
- Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008
Aperitifs and Cocktails:
- Martini Rosso
- Martini Extra Dry
- Sweet and Dry Sherry
- Bloody Mary
- Chivas Regal 12 Years Old
- Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve
- Jack Daniel’s
- Canadian Club
- Hine ‘Rare and Delicate’ Fine Champagne
- Bailey’s Irish Cream
Additionally, Business Class offers two signature drinks that include the Oriental Breeze, a sour plum tea and cranberry juice non-alcoholic drink with honey and fresh lemon juice with a hint of rose water as well as the Coud Nine, a combination of Vodka, Cointreau and Sprite with a refreshing touch of lemon flavor.
On my flight, supper consisted of the following:
Starter: Mesclun salad with Parma ham and balsamic dressing
Main Courses: Pan-seared USDA beef tenderloin with Bordelaise sauce, sunchoke puree, asparagus and carrots or Steamed fresh ling cod with spring onion and soy sauce, steamed jasmine rice, kalian and carrot
Cheese and Dessert: Cheddar, Camembert, Blue Cheese
Fresh seasonal fruit
Red bean cheese cake with vanilla sauce
Tea, Coffee, Pralines
Executive Summary: Overall, I was very impressed with the superior seat and sleep comfort on Cathay Pacific as well as the extensive choice of movies, television, music, record, and radio selections on their “easy-to-use” entertainment system. Cabin service was excellent – always with a smile – with an excellent alcoholic selection before, during, and after the meal.