As a man who enjoys the art of luxury travel, flying business class is necessary when pulling a long haul trip.
After a long day of dealing with clients and endless stimulations, an easy and relaxing flight home is always in order. Upon my last journey from Hong Kong to Sydney, I was able to experience what the renowned Cathay Pacific Business Class had to offer on a 9 hour red eye flight.
From relaxing lounges to exclusive seat privacy, Cathay Pacific exceeded the mark for business travel from HK to SYD on their Airbus A330-300. The journey began in their premier lounge known as “The Pier”.
A Unique Before Flight Experience
The lounge was a great way to refresh before the flight. After hiring a car, sitting in traffic and passing security, having a place to hangout in peace was ideal.
Most business class lounges offer the same comforts. Providing guests with great amenities for relaxation and maintaining a productive work schedule…alcohol…but the Pier was different.
Fresh noodles, luxe shower rooms and copious amounts of Chinese teas meant for a memorable pre board experience. Where else does one find fresh, made to order noodles in an airport? This feature is exclusive to the lounge and hell, I love noodles.
If you’re not in the mood for noodles, you can choose from a variety of original Chinese cuisines like dim sum and char siu buns.
The overall environment had a corporate feel, nevertheless relaxing.
I enjoyed the minimalist shower rooms and of course, the elegant Asian street coffee cart for good measures.
The Flight Plan
Your Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 has 39 flat bed seats in their business class. When you step onto the plane, the layout runs 4 seats across with 7 rows back. Rows 11-18. Leaving 13 out because of tetraphobia. There’s art hanging around the cabin and vases of orchid mounted into the wall.
This section encased by two galley stations and two restrooms for business class only. There are two baby bassinets as well: one at 11A and one at 11K. Moving through the back galley you’ll find the rest of your business class mates. The forgotten rows of 19-21.
Although the seats are the same, they are closer to economy seating and are prone to noise. However, there are two popular seats back here that offer “more privacy”. We’ll talk about those later on.
Great Seating Style Equals Great Flight
A seat style that is comfortable and offers privacy are two important elements for business class. We don’t always need to be so friendly with our neighbour.
Cathay Pacific Business Class uses a common reverse herringbone seat to achieve comfort and seclusion. They are set in 1-2-1 fashion, meaning head for the window if you want more privacy. Should you be flying with your mate or partner, an aisle seat will give you the option to chat when you want.
The Airbus A330 sports an 82” pitch and 20.2” width, slightly less wide than their Boeing 777 seats. But fear not, for your feet still have plenty of space for maximum in-flight comfort. The reverse herringbone seats offer an easy control panel, spacious ottoman and good counter space.
For sleeping, you can recline the seat to completely flat instantly. The in-seat command centre has two options: sit or sleep. To increase your sleeping space, take advantage of the retractable armrest and spread out some more!
Each seat comes with a cozy blanket, pillow and amenities kit. In your amenities kit you’ll find toiletries, skin care products, socks and most importantly…sleep mask. The seats tend to be dark when the lights are out. However, it’s always nice to know you have a sleep mask on hand if need be.
What Seats You Should Avoid
Before we get to the best seats, let’s discuss where you should try not to sit when flying Cathay Pacific business class.
Why? Because you may not find the recommended best seats are available. If that’s the case you’ll need to know your options. So here’s some seats you’ll want to avoid if the best are taken up.
If 19G is left open on the map, try to avoid it. The seat is standard business with the amenities but you’re in direct line with the loo. Being that close can be bothersome because of the constant up and down of other passengers.
Row 18 in general. Should small sounds get on your nerve, avoid the tinkering of the galley right behind you. Personal preference, but we’ve noticed other travellers distaste in Row 18 as well for galley proximity.
Row 11. Galley and lavatory proximity…say no more.
This leaves us with 30 solid seats to choose from when flying with Cathay Pacific.
What Are The Best Seats
One of the best seats you’ll find on a business flight with Cathay Pacific is seat 20k. Extra stow space under the footrest, good location to the restroom and excellent privacy.
Don’t let the proximity to coach scare you off. The FA on Cathay are good with keeping out visitors and hushing cabin noise.
If you’re easily disturbed, shoot for window seats in row 15 (A,K). Both offer a fair amount of space away from the galleys and unwanted noise. General rule of thumb, go for window seats regardless if you’re flying solo.
A window seat that offers a secluded feel is 19A. Looking out your window you’ll find a sea of endless sky, while looking toward the cabin is the galley curtain. It’s believed that this seat offers travellers the highest feel of privacy throughout the plane.
Once You’re Settled Into Your Seat
You can finally kick off the shoes and enjoy the luxuries of flying Cathay Pacific Business Class. Personalised service (FA’s refer to you by name), a relaxing glass of champagne and a renowned entertainment system.
Cathay boasts their StudioCX entertainment system with a touch screen 15.4” TV and noise cancelling headphones. The system has 150 movies to choose from, both western and eastern.
Opt for films like Batman Vs. Superman, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Magnificent Seven. Or tune in for classic Chinese films, TED talks and audiobooks/radio.
Finding entertainment on StudioCX that’ll keep you occupied is inevitable. For those who need to charge phones and laptops, the seat offers international/usb ports for your convenience. Being on an overnight, sleeping may be your top priority over shows and screens.
When You Get Hungry
And what a meal it was. The approach to airline dining Cathay Pacific takes in business class is unique. They use locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to create a meal that’s good for you.
The company even partnered with Mandarin Oriental to improve their inflight dining experience.
A lot different than a traditional hot-box, prepackaged catering dinner. Salmon. Chinese soups. Mousse Cake. All welcoming rich, decadent flavours to your unsuspecting taste buds. And after finishing off the welcoming champagne, you’re greeted with an array of wines and drinks for your choosing.
At the moment, Cathay is offering these select wines for first/business class travellers: Jean-Marc Brocard Chabli Grand Cru 2013; Akarua Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago 2013; Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Mormoreto, Toscana IGT 2010; Yealands Estate Land Made Sauv Blanc Marlborough 2015; Rockbare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014; Borsao Tres Picos DO Campo De Borja 2012.
Throughout the flight you can always ring your FA for a snack if you skip dinner and fall hungry. Should you wake with the sun, breakfast is a choice of Western or Chinese cuisines with Illy coffee.
Cathay Pacific Business Class is an excellent choice for business travellers. From pre-board to descent, their team provides top quality services to ensure all your needs are met. Refined lounges, private reverse herringbone seats and fine dining cuisine are a few of the luxury amenities that even the most savvy travellers can enjoy.
Sleep, watch a movie, or sip on fine wine. For whatever makes travelling easier for you can be found while flying business class with Cathay Pacific.