[Click above for the video review.]
Airline: Cathay Pacific Airways
Flight Number: CX883
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Delivered: August 2013
Flight Duration: 14 hours 35 minutes
Distance: 7,260 Miles
Cathay Pacific is considered one of the world’s best airlines and from past experience, I’ve had consistently very good experience with them in all classes of service, however this flight service hiccups, as the crew were a not at all proactive. It must have been a premonition of what’s to come when it took us almost half an hour to get our boarding passes printed using the Cathay Kiosk, as the app kept crashing midway through the check-in process.
Our Oneworld Emerald status gained us access to the Qantas First Class lounge, which was is consistently excellent. The lounge was still a bit crowded when we arrived, but the crowd quickly thinned out right before the Qantas flights to Australia departed. We had a nice 3-course dinner at the lounge before heading out to the gate. We headed to the gate about an hour before departure and boarding commenced 15 minutes after we arrived at the boarding area.
In my previous reviews, I’ve mentioned that I am very fond of the reverse herringbone seat configuration. CX’s business class seats are identical to AA’s business class seats on the 777-300ER, which I love. We were seated in the mini business class cabin right behind first class, which was a nice touch since there are only 8 seats in the cabin. I was seated in 12K on the last row of the mini cabin. The usual business class amenities were waiting at our seats, such as noise canceling headphones, amenity kit, bottled water, and bedding. Sadly CX does not offer pajamas or slippers in business class. Pre-departure beverages and hot towels were offered by the crew upon boarding.
Because of the late night departure of the flight, and abbreviated supper service was done instead of a full meal. Beverage service was done after takeoff, but I noticed no nuts or crackers were offered along with my beverage. Cathay recently changed their meal service concept, and I’m not sure if the crew were still trying to get used to the new service but I noticed that the flight attendants seemed disoriented or perhaps indifferent during the flight. The catering was fine, but nothing special. The highlight of the in-flight meals was the Cathay burger I ordered mid-flight which was served with French fries.
I was surprised that we got such poor service from the crew and I couldn’t believe thinking to myself that compared to this, AA actually offers a better product on this route since they offer a mattress pad, slippers, and pajamas in business class–with air nozzles.
What I liked:
Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX – Because of our Oneworld Emerald Status, we had access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX. Please note that other business class passengers without Oneworld Emerald status have access to the Oneworld Business Lounge instead, which is just next door. The lounge does get crowded in the evening, but starts slowing down around 10:00pm, which is when the Qantas flights to Australia depart. The highlight of this lounge though is the made to order food selections in the dining area. We ordered the salt and pepper squid, and chicken salad for our starter. Both dishes were delicious and the portions were plenty. For our mains, we had the breaded pork cutlet, and minute steak both of which did not disappoint. We also saved room for dessert and had the banana tart a la mode, some ice cream. An excellent meal indeed!
The Seats – The reverse herringbone configuration is among my favorite business class configurations. The CX business class seat is identical to American’s business class seat on the 777-300ER. The seat offers plenty of space, privacy, comfort for the over 14 hour flight to Hong Kong. The only downside is CX does not have air nozzles.
The IFE – This plane the Studio CX entertainment system. There were plenty of western and Asian movies, TV programs, music, and games available to keep me occupied for most of the flight. Wi-Fi service was also available on this flight and it was a decent speed.
What I didn’t like:
The check-in experience – We used one of the kiosks to check-in and print our boarding passes and it was such a nightmare to use them! The app on the kiosk kept crashing. I must have tried to check-in about 6 times, before the machine finally spit out our boarding passes 30 minutes later. It was such a frustrating experience.
The Cabin Temperature – Unfortunately CX doesn’t offer air nozzles overhead. It also didn’t help that the cabin temperature during the flight was a bit too warm for me, so it was hard for me to fall asleep.
The Onboard Service – Typically, CX offers excellent in-flight service in all classes of service. Sadly, I felt the crew on this flight were a bit scattered and disinterested. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the current political situation in Hong Kong, or perhaps CX is cost-cutting but I felt the level of service on this flight was a big downgrade compared to my previous CX flights. Pre-departure beverages and hot towels were distributed to business class passengers during boarding, however I felt the meal service was lacking. I was not offered any crackers or nuts along with my beverage after takeoff nor was I offered any hot drinks or dessert after the meal. Also, during the pre-arrival meal service I originally ordered some coffee which was not served with the meal because the seatbelt sign was on, so I ordered an orange juice instead. After I was done with my meal, my tray was cleared but I was not offered any other beverages at all for the remainder of the flight. Of course these are all first world problems and I’m nitpicking, but I thought I’d mention it so that everyone can be aware.
It was OK…I guess:
The Food – I thought the catering on this flight was OK. The wonton noodle soup I ordered for the supper service was good and was served piping hot. For the pre-arrival meal, I had the Chinese congee and fried noodles. The congee was tasteless for me, and the noodles were a bit overcooked and was hard.. For me, the highlight was the Cathay burger I ordered mid-flight. It was an excellent mid-flight meal and it was even served with French fries.