Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Offers Exceptional Value For Australians… As We Recently Discovered

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Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Offers Exceptional Value For Australians… As We Recently Discovered

After years of waiting, we finally took off from Sydney to Hong Kong to experience Cathay Pacific’s Business Class on their latest A350 aircraft. Keep reading to discover the in-flight experience and a different way to get to Europe from Australia.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class


  • Very competitive Business Class fare prices
  • Cathay PIer and Wing Lounges are among the world’s best
  • The best duvet in the sky. It’s heavenly
  • Hong Kong is an underrated stopover city
  • First check-in is a breeze 


  • Not fully enclosed seats
  • Western menu is limited

Cathay Pacific has always held a special place in my heart. It was the first airline I flew Business Class with when I was 14 years old. My parents and I scored an upgrade from Amsterdam to Hong Kong back when ‘dressing nice’ could get you an upgrade.

Back then, the 747-400 had an old 3-3 layout in the upper deck, which was awesome for the time. It even had a leg rest and ice cream.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Cathay Pacific has just emerged from a long COVID period, during which the airline (and most of Hong Kong) faced stringent health restrictions.

Image: NT News

These restrictions severely impacted tourism and, of course, Cathay’s revenue. Just last week, the airline’s last plane was taken out of desert storage and reinstated into service. It’s crazy to think we’ve lived our best lives while Hong Kong still struggled to restart.

We took the opportunity to test-drive the airline’s Business Class offering and revisit Hong Kong as a stopover destination. For years, Singapore and Dubai have dominated Australians’ European holiday transits, but is it time for Hong Kong to reclaim the crown of the most fun stopover destination? Maybe.

Flight Facts

Route: Sydney to Hong Kong
Flight Number:CX100
Aircraft:Airbus A350-900
Cost: $7,500 – $10,000 (AU to EU)
On-Time Departure:30 minutes late
Would We Fly Again?Absolutely.


Check-in was a breeze at Counter G in Sydney. Dedicated Business Class lines moved swiftly, and my 26kg Rimowa Trunk was checked into Hong Kong. As it disappeared, I quietly held my breath, hoping it would return on the other end. Rimowa luggage, while cool, always makes you nervous.

Note: Hong Kong has a check-in concierge service for First and Oneworld Emerald. Staff greet you, take your bags, and hand you tickets. This is one of the most seamless check-in processes I’ve experienced, and I highly recommend it for pointy-end flyers. Sadly, Cathay is about to discontinue First Class, so who knows what will happen with this service.

In The Lounge

As a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer, I treated myself to breakfast at The First Lounge at Sydney Airport. As a Cathay Pacific Business Class customer, you can use the Qantas Business Lounge, which still offers a great selection.

The Qantas receptionist oddly gave me grief for not having a ‘voucher.’ As a partner airline, they provide a voucher to use a specific lounge at the airport. In this case, a Oneworld lounge was the most logical choice.

AMEX Platinum members can use those lounges; however, we recommend the Qantas option for better food and beverage options.

If transiting through Hong Kong, Cathay offers The Pier and The Wing lounges. Both are best in class and often overlooked as some of the world’s best airline lounges. Oneworld Emerald Flyers will have exclusive access to special dining and spa services.

Onboard Cathay Pacific’s Business Class

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

The new Airbus A350 aircraft is an absolute dream to fly on. Like most Airbuses, it’s whisper quiet, has large windows, and a small business class cabin of only 38 seats. This gives a very intimate feel unlike the larger A380 aircraft operated by Qantas and Emirates.

Business Class is split into two main cabins, the other smaller and closer to Economy. I chose 16G, right in the middle of the main cabin.

My neighbour was a lovely Lebanese fellow who claimed to be part of ‘Brothers In Arms’, a well-known Sydney Middle Eastern gang. He was off with his 11 brothers to visit an orphanage to donate toys and help for a week. True story.

While Cathay is in the process of updating its aircraft with the new Aria business class, the existing product still stands the modern-day test and is much better than other airlines that charge more. The 1-2-1 configuration means that everyone has aisle access, and the fit-out is fresh and feels premium. The seats are not closed suites; however, they offer superior privacy compared to Emirates.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

The best seats are the window options, but these were all taken when my flight was ticketed, so taking the middle was the only option. I would recommend having a window seat if flying into Hong Kong. While it’s not the old airport which was sketchy, it’s still pretty to look out the window.

A massive pop-out entertainment screen awaits you, with more than enough movies and shows to keep you occupied on a 9-hour flight from Sydney to Hong Kong. The Cathay Pacific 777 alternative will have a slightly older entertainment system with a smaller screen, so you want to score the A350 when booking. That said, there’s a small cabin of just 8 seats on the 777, which is quiet and private. We managed to score this in our second leg against Milan. 12K, baby.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Classbed

The bathroom was a personal favourite of mine. It had a window, so you could stare into the blue sky while relieving yourself at 35,000 feet. Incredible. The smaller cabins on the A350 mean fewer people using the bathroom, so it’s a touch cleaner. Yes, I wore shoes to the bathroom, too.

Inflight internet is available for $19.95 USD ($30.00 AUD) for the entire flight. Ensure you have your physical credit card as Google Pay didn’t work for me. It’s quick enough to read email and browse Instagram, but it’s not lightning-fast.

In-Flight Dining & Wine

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Classfood

One thing Cathay Pacific does remarkably well is its selection of food. We had a light Wellness breakfast that consisted of Chia porridge, fruit salad, and, surprisingly, a chocolate croissant. Who knew that a croissant could be part of a wellness diet? Count me in! Cathay also offers Western, Chinese, and lighter breakfast options that cater to almost every taste and morning need.

After breakfast, we were served lunch, which I decided to pre-book a week before to test the service. There’s nothing worse than missing out or getting what you don’t want after paying $10,000 for a flight. Cathay Pacific’s pre-flight menu is extensive, with both Western and Eastern options.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Classdrink menu

It’s more skewed toward Eastern, but you’ll find many treats there. I would recommend sticking with the Eastern menu as it’s their specialty and great.

If you’re flying out of Hong Kong, you can select from top Michelin-starred restaurants like Louise and Duddell’s, which have designed specific meals for some routes. Louise is a nostalgic look at traditional French food, whereas Duddell’s is high-end Chinese food made with premium ingredients. Sadly, I slept through dinner service on my return leg and missed my pre-booked Louise-prepared dinner. Pas mal.

If cocktails are your thing, you’ll have various popular options like Negroni, Martini, and Manhattan. Signature drinks like Cloud Nine and the non-alcoholic Cathay Delight are sure to… delight.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class dessert

The wine selection is extensive, with wines from Italy, France, and Adelaide. There’s even wine from China, which I tried and was great. I recommend the Silver Heights Jiayuan Marselan red from the Ningxia region. There’s no need to be afraid of Made in China regarding red wine.


Cathay has ground to make up in the luxury travel space, but this current product and the new Aria business class will help them return to the top of the airline rankings. The cabin staff were lovely, efficient, and always happy to help. I actually hit the call button for the first time in years because they were so friendly and helpful. Unlike Emirates, it didn’t feel like a bother.

The biggest kicker in this review is the price. Cathay Pacific is the most competitively priced business class from a top-tier airline. In February, a Sydney to London ticket was around $7,200 compared to $14,000 with Singapore Airlines. Dare I say the product is only marginally different? Emirates and Qantas are just as expensive as Singapore, too.

Image: DC Strategy

It makes sense that Cathay is reducing prices to get people flying again, especially as Hong Kong has dropped off as a stopover destination. While it’s a slightly longer flight to Europe by a couple of hours, Hong Kong is a fantastic stopover destination that is almost unparalleled for good restaurants and hotels. The train from the airport to Kowloon/Central is quick, and the shopping is incredible, especially luxury shopping. And it remains a foodie haven for Cantonese delights.

Generally, Business Class airfares are tipped to come down, so it’s safe to assume Cathay will be many people’s first choice when looking to save a few thousand on their next European holiday or business trip. Lock in a few nights at the Island Shangri-La, our recommended luxury hotel on Hong Kong Island.

Lastly, you can earn Qantas Points, but they are only half of the normal rate. Booo! So don’t expect a full haul of status credits if you plan a status credit run.

Until next time, keep your seatbelt fasted, keep your dumplings warm and champagne glass full…