I’m a luxury guy, so it’s no shock that flying in Business Class is one of my favorite things to do. I already love to fly but when you add in comfort and hospitality, I’m in heaven. I recently had the chance to (finally) fly with Cathay Pacific and in their section no less and I’m excited to share what I really thought about the experience.
Working with Cathay Pacific to highlight their service from Newark to Hong Kong, I never expected to be upgraded, but was certainly grateful for it on what is a 16-hour nonstop flight. I’m a little weird, I love ultra long haul flights and in my own cocoon of comfort the trip was indeed incredibly restful.
Lounges and The Seat
One of the great things about Cathay Pacific is their understanding that many of their journeys are long ones and cater to their guests based on that premise. For those flying out of Hong Kong, this starts before you even board at one of the airline’s stunning lounges. With several located around Hong Kong Airport, no two are exactly the same, but they all offer amazing resources.
I hung out most often in The Wing, which features everything from showers to beautiful tarmac views, a coffee bar and a very special noodle bar that makes fresh dim sum and noodle dishes to order. Showers in lounges aren’t discussed enough but are I think essential when flying a long distance. When I left Hong Kong, I had spent the morning exploring town and given the heat and humidity that time of year, I wasn’t feeling refreshed. A quick shower before the long flight instantly brought me back to life and I’m sure my neighbors onboard were thankful I took advantage of it.
The food on offer though in The Wing is the real star of the show, and I quickly become addicted to their noodle bar. Specifically, I found myself lining up repeatedly for their delicious pork BBQ buns, a classic Hong Kong dish that is far from standard airport fare. To finish off the meal, I camped out in the lounge’s coffee bar where I pounded espresso after espresso, gearing myself up for a movie watching binge onboard.
Which brings me to the seat, the most important part of the flying experience, obviously. Cathay Pacific is well known for its upscale sensibilities, which are brought to bear in their Business Class product. Arranged in angles so that every chair has aisle access, I was guaranteed privacy and comfort as we hurled through the skies. The space included a lie-flat bed and amazing functionality in what the chair itself could do. With several nooks and crannies, from a cupboard to shoe niches, I was actually able to settle in and make myself at home, a remarkable luxury on such a long flight. When it came time to test the actual comfort of sleeping I was overall very pleased, with one caveat. With some other airlines comforters are offered so that the bumps of the chair itself aren’t felt. This would’ve been nice onboard Cathay Pacific, but it certainly deter me from getting at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Food and Beverage
The direct flight out of Newark leaves late at night, well past midnight, so it’s difficult for the airline to be able to serve anything really before their guests simply pass out. Cathay deals with this by offering what is essentially an express dinner for those interested. While I appreciated the effort to feed us quickly so that I could relax, I wasn’t pleased with just how express it was. For me flying is a big part of the travel experience, especially when I’m in Business Class. I was awake and excited to be pampered and that’s what I wanted. Instead of the multi-course presentation on fine china, cheese courses and the like, I was given a good meal, but one that was served like it would have been in Economy. Again, this is a minor complaint and I understand why they do it, but I can’t deny that I was disappointed.
Throughout the course of the flight snacks were always available as were light meals, including the noodles and broth for which they are so famous. By breakfast the traditional service returned and I was duly impressed with the presentation of the courses and the quality of the food. I’m not usually that hungry in the mornings and was content with my choice of cereal, pastries and yogurt, but the hot options were impressive and made me realize that the dinner service was not the norm and indeed forced by the extremely late hour of departure.
Entertainment, Service, Amenities and Overall
So, what does one do on a long flight? I tend to divide up my time and a big chunk of that is devoted to watching movies and TV shows. Cathay Pacific offers a robust entertainment selection just for its Business Class section on a large screen complete with noise cancelling headphones. It was great sitting back, feet propped up and whiling away the hours watching movies I missed in the theaters.
As to be expected, the service onboard Cathay Pacific was simply amazing. I felt as if I could ask for anything and a smiling flight attendant would see to it immediately. This is more important than most people think. An airline can have the most comfortable fleet in the world, but it’s nothing without staff that understand the value of making people feel at home. Of course that’s aided by their amenity kit, a moment of childlike pleasure for most people who fly in Business Class. Filled with all of the accoutrements you need for a comfortable flight, it truly is the toolkit to a more civilized experience.
Overall, the long haul flight onboard Cathay Pacific from Newark to Hong Kong was indeed everything I thought it would be. The importance of a comfortable luxury product on such a journey cannot be understated; while I arrived early in the morning, I felt relatively well rested and the comfort I enjoyed prepared me for a marvelous first day in Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific has long had a reputation for offering some of the best luxury service in the world and after flying with them myself I can vouch that this is absolutely the case in person.
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