Review: Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Thailand (home to my favorite hotel in the world: Soneva Kiri) and the Kingdom of Cambodia. You can read my trip reports here:


Today (17 June, 2020): Review – Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong.

Early March, I flew Business Class in an Airbus A320 of Cathay Dragon from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh to Hong Kong. The route was initially sheduled to be flown by an Airbus A330, but a last minute aircraft swap downgraded the flight to an Airbus A320. Cathay Dragon is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, and used to be known as Dragon Air before it was rebranded to Cathay Dragon in 2016 following Cathay Pacific’s takeover. I was not impressed by Cathay Dragon’s Business Class product (not that I expected a lot given a flight time of only two hours) but I will still remember this flight because it occurred at the start of the COVID19 health emergency, when the pandemic’s epicenter was shifting from Wuhan (China) to Iran and Italy’s Lombardy Province. Cathay Dragon, which has many flight to mainland China, was one of the first airlines to implement drastic measures (e.g. onboard face masks, sanitary towelettes, modified meal services, etc …).

Have you ever flown with Cathay Dragon? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.

  • Trip: Phnom Penh (PNH) to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Airline: Cathay Dragon
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A320
  • Aircraft registration number: B-HSN (delivered in 2005)
  • Flight number: KA209
  • On time departure: Yes (7 pm)
  • On time arrival: Yes (10 pm)
  • Miles: 966
  • Flight time: 2 hours
  • Seat: 1A
  • Class: Business Class

In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube clip):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Business Class lounge at Phnom Penh Airport
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences
  10. My verdict (score)


1. COST OF MY TICKET

My one-way ticket from Phnom Penh to Frankfurt comprised a Business Class trip with Cathay Dragon from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong and a First Class trip with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Frankfurt. The total cost of my ticket was $50 USD + 140,000 miles. The ticket was booked via British Airways’ frequent flyer program Executive Club (British Airways is a partner airline of Cathay Pacific). Read my review of Executive Club (with pros, cons, & tips) here.

CATHAY DRAGON AIRBUS A320
CATHAY DRAGON AIRBUS A320
CATHAY DRAGON AIRBUS A320

2. BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT

Phnom Penh’s international terminal, which has a design capacity for 5 million people per year, has one Business Class lounge. The lounge is operated by Plaza Premium, a company which operates more than 150 lounges in 40 countries. The lounge is used by all airlines at Phnom Pehn and is accessible to all Business and First Class passengers flying out of Cambodia. The lounge is also open to owners of a Priority Pass Card; walk-in passengers can also pay for access to the lounge ($39 USD for a 2 hour visit).

Located on the mezzanine level one floor above the main concourse, the bright and airy lounge has a decent size. There are plenty of seats, most of them equipped with power points and arranged around coffee tables. The lounge has a contemporary decor, designed by the Hong Kong star designer Kinney Chan. Food at the lounge is excellen: the nicely presented and above average buffet offers plenty of hot and cold dishes, and includes a bakery and noodle station. The lounge also offers VIP rooms, shower facilities, high-speed WiFi, and a small spa room where massages are provided for a fee.

PHNOM PENH AIRPORT CHECK-IN AREA
PHNOM PENH AIRPORT CHECK-IN AREA
PHNOM PENH AIRPORT CHECK-IN AREA
PHNOM PENH AIRPORT CHECK-IN AREA
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT
BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Cathay Dragon’s Airbus A320s have a small Business Class cabin. There are just 2 rows of 4 Business Class seats (8 seats in total), arranged in a 2-2 layout, similar to what you find in First Class on the narrow body aircraft of airlines in the USA. Note that some of Cathay Dragon’s A330s feature a much better Business Class product (which the airline sells as First Class), with fully lie-flat seats arranged in a convenient 1-2-1 layout.

For a seat map of Cathay Dragon’s Airbus A320s, click here.

CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

Cathay Dragon’s A320 Business Class seat has a lot of legroom (47 inches or 120 cm), although it has the same width as the seats in Economy Class (17 inch or 43 cm). The seat can be partly reclined and also has a legrest to enhance the passenger’s comfort. The seat controls are located in the center armrest; this armrest also holds a bi-fold tray table that has a decent size, both for working and traveling.

What are the best Business Class seats on Cathay Dragon’s A320s? For a seat map, click here.

  • The bulkhead seats have some more legroom and are the best seats on board.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Cathay Dragon’s A320s? For a seat map, click here.

  • All seats are similar, so there are no bad seats. Keep in mind that the window seats don’t offer direct aisle access, which may not be convenient when you are traveling solo and have to climb over your seatmate’s legs to reach the aisle.
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
CATHAY DRAGON A320 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT

5. AMENITIES

An amenity kit was not offered on this short, regional flight. A pillow and blanket was available though at each seat. Noise-cancelling headphones were also provided.

CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES

6. MEALS

A pre-departure drink (mint lemonade) was upon boarding. Shortly after takeoff, dinner was served on one tray. It comprised prawns in banana leaf (main course) with salad Nicoise (starter) and ice cream (dessert). Food was uninspiring, basic, and Economy Class-alike, even though this was only a short flight of 2 hours.

CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL
CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS MEAL

7. ENTERTAINMENT

The seats are not equipped with a TV screen. Instead, Business Class passengers are offered an ipad preloaded with entertainment. Cathay Dragon calls its inflight entertainment ‘StudioKA’, which offers movies, TV boxsets, inflight map and thousands of songs.

CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
CATHAY DRAGON INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

Unfortunately, Cathay Dragon does not have inflight WIFI on board their flights.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

# CREW: the crew on this flight was superfriendly and efficient.

# LAVATORY: There’s one lavatory for Business Class passengers, which is located behind the cockpit and stocked with toiletries.

LAVATORY
LAVATORY

10. MY VERDICT
  • Business Class lounge at Phnom Penh: 8/10
  • Cabin design: 6/10
  • Seat comfort (upright position): 6/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 6/10
  • Food (quality):  6/10
  • Food (quantity): 7/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 8/10
  • WiFi:  not available
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: average: 6/10

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