Business Class Cathay Pacific OneWorld Trip Reports

Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to San Francisco | Boeing 777-300ER

[Click above for the video review.]

  • Flight: CX872
  • Route: HKG-SFO
  • Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Registration: B-KPU
  • Cabin: Business Class
  • Seat: 26K

Background

Cathay Pacific’s (CX) business class product on their long haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is regarded as one of the best business class products in the world. Cathay is also well-known for their excellent and consistent service both on the ground in the air, and I’m happy to report that this flight was no different.

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Canceled Flight? No problem!

This was the return leg our trip, and we were supposed to be on American Airlines AA192 from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in business class with a connecting flight to SFO.  As luck would have it, our flight was canceled and we were automatically rebooked on the same flight the next day. Unfortunately because of work constraints, we had to get home the same day as originally scheduled, so I first checked Expertflyer if any of the Cathay flights to San Francisco still had business class space. Flight CX892 nonstop to SFO (operated by CX’s new Airbus A350-900), which departs around the same time as our original flight did not have seats available, but I noticed that CX872 (also direct to SFO on The 777-300ER) departing 6 hours later did, and it would still get us home before midnight the same day.

I called the American’s Executive Platinum desk, then explained that our flight was canceled, we needed to get home the same day, and asked to be rebooked on CX872. The agent put me on hold for about 10 minutes while she looked for the seat availability. She came back and mentioned that she had rebooked us on the Cathay flight – score! I had to call again later that day because our new itinerary didn’t re-ticket correctly, but everything went through fine after that.

Check-in

We were connecting from another Cathay Pacific flight from Manila on another ticket, so we just asked the ticket agent in Manila to check us all the way through to our final destination, and she happily obliged.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, we just went straight to transit security and we were through in a few minutes.

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The Lounge

For this trip, we decided to visit the Pier First Class lounge (access via Oneworld Emerald status) near Gate 63. From the departure level, you’ll need to take the escalators down one floor to reach the reception area. Upon arriving at the lounge, a friendly agent took our lounge invites and allowed us entry.

The Pier First Class lounge is tastefully decorated with a rather minimalist, modern-contemporary feel. Because of its low ceilings, they used a lot of warm, yet bright lighting in the main hallway to accentuate the space and make it less dungeon-like.

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The seating area features warm, wooden tones and some greens to create a serene atmosphere.

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There’s a full bar and a buffet area for a quick bite.

One of the things I love about the Pier is the restaurant. They offer made to order meals, though I think the food quality has gone down a notch since a new contractor took over lounge operations. It used to be handled by the Peninsula group, but it has now been taken over by Sodexo. Don’t get me wrong, the food is still good…it was just better before.

I ordered the Dan Dan noodles with char siu on the side as my starter.

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It was followed by burger and fries.

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My companion had the salmon dish.

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Then for the dessert we had the fruit plate.

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…and a scoop of ice cream.

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Boarding

After our relaxing at the lounge a bit, we started our long trek down to gate 4 which is where our flight was departing from. The Wing lounge is actually very close to this gate, so next time we will just spend our time there instead if we are due to depart around gates 1-4.

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Since this was a US-bound flight there was additional security screening at the gate with a brief interview. Upon arriving at the boarding area, there was already a long line of people waiting to be screened. Thankfully, there’s a priority line for first and business class passengers which granted us access without the wait. The additional security theater was brief and soon our boarding passes were scanned and we made our way down the jetbridge.

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First and Business Class passengers board through door 1L, and upon arriving at the door we were greeted by the In-flight Service Manager (ISM). She directed us to cross the galley and down the aisle to our seat.

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This Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER (reg: B-KPU) is configured with 4 cabins. First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy. Unlike some carriers that market Premium Economy, but in reality only offer economy seats with extra legroom, CX actually has proper premium economy seats right behind the business class cabin.

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Business Class consists of 53 seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. There’s a mini cabin right behind First Class and a huge main business class cabin after the galley. As some of you may know Cathay Pacific flies an identical business class configuration as American’s Boeing 777-300ER with some subtle cosmetic differences.

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Photo courtesty of SeatGuru.com

We were seated in 25K and 26K, which are in the last 2 rows in business class. We stowed our belongings and settled down, but not before taking a few shots of the beautiful cabin.

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Waiting at our seat was a plastic wrapped duvet and pillow.

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The seat is very spacious and tastefully outfitted the signature Cathay green upholstery, while the surrounding areas around the seat is an off-white color with accents of gray and orange. There are a few storage areas: a shoe storage, a huge open side storage, and a small enclosed storage, which also houses the noise-canceling headphones. There’s a control panel with the seat controls, IFE remote, reading light, and AC/USB power right next to the seat for easy access.  The 15″ IFE monitor is attached to the seat in front  and swings out with a touch of a button.

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I decided to checkout the in-flight entertainment. There’s an expansive selection of Hollywood, HK, and other Asian movies, TV shows, music, and games via Cathay’s CX Studio system. Their moving map app, which I ended up watching for a good amount during the flight was good, but not as good as the Panasonic’s Voyager map app which AA uses.

A flight attendant soon came down the aisle with a tray of beverages and offered us pre-departure drinks. I chose the champagne.

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Soon boarding was complete and the American-sounding Captain went on the PA to announce our departure with the flight time of about 12 hours to San Francisco, with a chance of an early arrival due to favorable winds. The safety video played, and we pushed back from the gate.

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We had a long-ish taxi to the runway and soon blasted off to San Francisco. The initial climb got a little choppy at times, but it wasn’t too bad. 15 minutes after takeoff, the seatbelt sign was turned off and the in-flight service began.

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The Flight

A flight attendants came by to offer us an amenity kit and full bottle of Evian water.

The ISM soon came by to welcome us to the flight and mentioned that we will be arriving earlier than scheduled at around 9:45PM.

Soon after hot towels were distributed.

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The drink cart then rolled by and I opted for a glass of champagne, water, and some mixed nuts.

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Another flight attendant came by to set the white linen on our tables. Then came the starter tray with breadsticks and hummus/avocado dip, fresh berries, and choice of warm breads. The starter was kind of blah, but this was a late night flight so I expected the meal service to be a little abbreviated.

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After a few minutes, the cart with the main dishes came by but unfortunately since I was sitting in the last row of business class, my preferred entrée was no longer available. The flight attendant apologized profusely and tried to offer me a seafood dish, which I politely declined. The senior purser came by and offered me something from their anytime menu, and I chose the Cathay Burger. It took a while for the burger to arrive, but they made sure to keep me posted and were very apologetic for the delay. My order soon arrived and it was served with a side of fries. I guess things do happen for a reason because the burger was absolutely delicious and there’s something about eating french fries at 30,000 feet that made me giggle a bit.

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After the meal, I was so full that I skipped on dessert. I did however couldn’t pass up the chocolate pralines. The entire meal service for me took about 2 hours and ended with another round of hot towels.

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After the meal, I decided to visit he lavatory to freshen up. The business class lavatory was on the small size, but it was meticulously kept clean and stocked. It had some Jurlique branded toiletries and moist towelettes.

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I took a few shots of the mini-cabin before heading back to my seat.

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The cabin lights were soon dimmed, so I made my bed. Though mattress pads weren’t available in business class, Cathay’s duvet was of great quality and very comfortable. The pillow was a little small though, but it was sufficient. I slept for a good 6 hours.

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I woke up 4 hours before landing and decided to watch a movie.

A few hours later, the cabin mood lighting kicked in with a simulated sunrise. Then hot towels were distributed to start the pre-arival meal service.

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The beverage cart came by and I ordered some guava juice and coffee to start.

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White linen was placed on my table, and then came the starter tray which consisted of assorted sliced fruits, and choice of warm breads and pastries. I chose the plain croissant.

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A flight attendant went through the cabin again offering coffee or tea refills.

Another cart came by and I was offered some cereal or yogurt. I chose the latter.

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Then the Senior Purser came by and explained that since I didn’t get my preferred meal during the last service, I would get first dibs on the second meal. She asked what I wanted and I ordered the dim sum platter.

It soon arrived and it consisted of various steamed items. Delish!

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The meal ended with another hot towel service.

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I dozed off for about half an hour only to be awaken by the Captain’s pre-arrival announcement 30 minutes before landing. The captain also asked the crew to prepare the cabin for arrival.

The cabin lights were turned on, and I visited the lavatory once more to freshen up.

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I got back to my seat, stowed away my stuff, and also prepared for landing.

The crew did another hot towel service just a few minutes before our final approach into SFO.

Arrival

It was already pitch dark outside during our approach, but it was mostly smooth. We had a very soft touchdown in SFO at 9:51PM. We taxied to the gate for a few minutes, and the doors were soon opened. Deplaning took a while since we were disembarking from door 1L and we were in the back of business class.

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There was no line at immigration thanks to our Global Entry membership and since we only had carry ons, we were out of the customs hall in less than 5 minutes.

Thoughts

All in all a lovely end to our trip. It’s always a pleasure to fly Cathay, as they deliver a very good and consistent product. The lounge experience was also superb. The Pier is a gorgeous lounge with top-notch amenities. Just to note that the food in the lounge has gone down in quality (just a tad bit) since the Sodexo take over, but still very good in relative terms. Gate handling was also good, and the secondary security checks for US-bound flights was quick and efficient.

The seats, though a few years old now are very well maintained and are still very comfortable even for a long haul flight. The food was very good (except for the fact that they ran out of my preferred entrée, but they more than made up for it). Having a burger, fries, and dim sum at 30,000 ft was a nice treat.

Service as always was impeccable and was done in true CX fashion. Some people say that Cathay’s service in Business Class is somewhat robotic and like an assembly line, but I beg to differ. The crew was friendly and eager to please, while still being efficient. I think they try to balance efficiency and personalized service while also trying to serve all 53 people in business class, which can be difficult. The crew was able to attend to my needs during the flight without being over the top, and that’s more than enough for me.

What are your experiences with Cathay Pacific?

(Note: As with all trip reports on travelingfoody.com, this flight was not subsidized by the airline. All flights and accommodations were paid for by us.)

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