Today (July 22, 2015): Trip report: Cathay Pacific B777 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing (China).
On April 4th 2015, I flew Business Class in a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER from Hong Kong International Aiport (HKG) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in China. This flight came only a few days after my intercontinental flight with Cathay Pacific from Doha to Hong Kong, which was my worst flight experience so far (because of the total incompetence that the highly respected airliner displayed when dealing with a 24 hour flight delay). This time, Cathay Pacific did a much better job, with an on-time departure, in addition to a lovely cabin layout, a great cabin crew, a so-so breakfast, and excellent seats.
- Trip: HKG-PEK
- Airline: Cathay Pacific
- Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
- Flight Number: CX390
- Date: April 4th, 2015
- On time departure: yes (9.14 am)
- On time arrival: yes (12.10 pm)
- Miles: 1234
- Flight time: 2 hours 55 minutes
- Seat: 19A
- Class: business (D)
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip and slideshow):
- Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport
- Business Class Cabin
- Business Class Seat (& what seat to choose)
- Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory, WiFi)
- My verdict
*** Read my tips for getting a flight upgrade without paying for it ***
1. CATHAY PACIFIC’S FIRST CLASS LOUNGE AT HKG
Because of my Oneworld Emerald Elite status, I had access to Cathay Pacific’s flagship First Class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, designated ‘the Wing’. It’s located right behind the security checkpoint at the airport’s stunning terminal 1, which is the third largest airport terminal in the world (behind Beijing’s terminal 3 and Dubai’s terminal 3).
Locating the most appropriate Cathay Pacific lounge within terminal 1 can be quite a challenge and somewhat confusing, as the airliner is operating a number of lounges at its hub (7 in total), all with different names (e.g. The Wing, The Pier, The Bridge and The Cabin). They are spread throughout the terminal, so that passengers can relax in the lounge nearest to their gate. However, The Wing lounge is clearly a step up from the other lounges, so I advise you to visit The Wing, and then proceed to your gate around 15 minutes before boarding time.
The Wing First Class lounge has a beautiful open-plan design. It’s located on the terminal’s second floor, one floor above the gates and shopping area. It has no side-walls or ceiling, allowing for some great views of the airport’s stunning roof architecture and of the tarmac traffic through the massive airport windows. Just behind the lounge’s entrance, there’s a Champagne Bar, which provides a touch of exuberance before you head to the main lounge. The latter contains several seating areas, featuring a minimalistic design that creates a premium but distinctive and comfortable environment. Reflective black glass walls and black marble floors are accentuated by a crisp white marble bar and warm colours of natural Eucalyptus wood walls.
The Wing lounge contains a large dining area, called ‘The Haven’. While the restaurant was very crowded during my visit last April, it has been expanded to more than double its original capacity since then. They were serving breakfast during my visit: you could choose from a nicely presented buffet and there was an a carte menu as well. Catering is inspired by The Peninsula Hotels, one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious hotel brands.
If you wish to freshen up before departure (or in between flights), you can choose from 12 shower suites, or 5 cabans which come with a full-sized bath, a shower and a day bed (to unwind before the journey).
From the lounge, it was a 20 minute walk to the gate.
2. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
The flight was operated by a four class Boeing 777-300ER (Cathay Pacific’s flagship aircraft).
Boarding for all passengers was done through the massive boarding door behind the cockpit. Upon entering the plane, I walked through the beautifully designed First Class cabin (6 seats) and a small Business Class “mini”-cabin (8 seats), before reaching the main Business Class cabin (45 seats) where I was seated. Behind that cabin, you find the Premium Economy Class (34 seats), and Economy Class cabin (182 seats). Thanks to the herringbone layout in a 1-2-1 alignment, all Business Class seats have direct aisle access (no jumping over people’s feet here) and a significant amount of privacy. The Business Class seats on the sides are angled toward the window (about 2 windows per seat, offering great views), while the seats in the middle are angled towards each other. The herringbone layout is great for privacy, so even if you’re traveling solo and end up in one of the middle seats, there’s nothing to worry about since you’ll barely see your neighbor.
Click here for the seat map of Cathay Pacific’s four class Boeing 777-300ER.
3. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (& WHAT SEAT TO CHOOSE)
Cathay Pacific was a pioneer in the development of Business Class seats, and it’s evident that a lot of thought has gone into the design of their seats. IMHO, Cathay Pacific’s Business Class herringbone seats are the most comfortable in the skies. Their cabin layout and seat concept is so succesful, that it has been copied by other airlines, such as American Airlines (click here for a trip report in an AA B77W), EVA Air and more recently Air France. Qatar Airways uses a variant on their Boeing 787s (click here for a trip report) and Airbus A380/350s.
Each seat comes with plenty of storage space for all your personal items. A side cabinet houses a headset and a vanity mirror with enough room for a smartphone, pen, passport and other bits and pieces. Next to the seat, at eye level, are the seat and entertainment controls, reading light and power port. Seats have a universal power supply outlet and a multi-port connector with an RCA port, an iPhone/iPod connector and a USB port. The RCA and the iPhone/iPod connector allows you to connect to your own devices and watch video through the TV screen. The seat features a large tray table in addition to a work surface so you can eat and work at the same time. There’s a large footrest in front of every seat.
When tired, you can recline the seat into a very comfortable, fully flat-bed. The flat-bed is just over 2 metres (82 inches) long. A bed extension increases its width by 16.5 cm (6.5 inches) to provide additional hip support, while the side storage compartment offers extra knee space for sleeping on your side. For sleeping, you may choose to leave your armrest up for more privacy, or down for more space.
What are the best Business Class seats on Cathay Pacific’s B777-300ER?
- The seats in row 11 and 12 are located in their own little private cabin and are therefore highly recommended.
- Solo travelers should go fo the window seats.
What are the worst Business Class seats on Cathay Pacific’s B777-300ER?
- The window seats in row 15, 21 and 24 are missing a window or have a misaligned window, and should therefore be avoided.
- I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class, row 26, which is close to Premium Economy bassinet seats.
This was a short flight (2 hours and 55 min) and no amenity kit was provided. I did receive a pillow though. Blankets were given on request.
5. MEAL (BREAKFAST)
Before takeoff, I was offered a choice of a welcome drink: orange juice, water, or a sunrise hued drink. I had the orange juice. A refreshing hot towel was offered as well.
Because it was a short flight, only one meal – breakfast – was served, immediately after take-off. Is consisted of a bread basket, fresh seasonal fruit, fruit yoghurt and 3 choices of entrees:
- Poached egg, with spinach and hollondaise sauce, Dingley Dell pork sausage, back bacon, potatoes, and baked tomatoes.
- Dim sums: asparagus dumpling, seafood and kung choi dumpling, beef meatball, vegetarian glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf.
- Halibut with bean curd sheets, mushrooms braised e-fu noodles.
The crew rolled the selection of breakfast entrees through the Business Class cabin, so you could choose what you want. I had the poached egg with sausage, and it tasted ok (not excellent, but not bad either).
Each seat in the business class of the Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER has a 15-inch (38 cm) TV screen. There’s a library of 100 movies, 500 TV shows, CDs, radio channels and games in 9 languages. A noise-cancelling headset assures an enjoyable listening experience. The entertainment control panel also includes a Multi-port Connector that lets you connect your own electronic devices, including the iPod and iPhone, and stream audio and video content to your personal TV display – which you control through your own device.
7. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
#VIEWS: the flight was quite turbulent because of some cumulonimbus clouds in the vicinity, but this made for some amazing views.
# CREW: the cabin crew on this flight was great and delivered a wonderful service (as you would expect from an airliner known for its excellent Asian hospitality and high standard of crew training).
# LAVATORY: The Business Class lavatory design is very simple. Lavatories were kept clean during the flight.
# INTERNET: onboard WiFi is currently not offered by Cathay Pacific.
8. MY VERDICT
- Seat : 9/10
- Food: 7/10
- Inflight entertainment : 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Cabin: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10