Trip Reports

Cathay Pacific Business Class Airbus A350-900 XWB | San Francisco to Hong Kong

[Click above for the video review.]

Airline: Cathay Pacific Airways
Flight Number: CX851
Route: SFO-HKG
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900 XWB
Registration: B-LQC
Delivered: August 2021
Flight Duration: 13 hours 40 minutes
Distance: 6,927 Miles

It has been a long while since we last flew Cathay Pacific (CX). Prior to the pandemic, we used to fly CX a lot intra-asia and loved transiting through Hong Kong because of their excellent lounge offerings. Cathay has been in financial trouble lately due to to the pandemic and political climate in Hong Kong, but as of November 2022 has resumed 52 of its routes, with more destinations opening up in the next few months. Needless to say, we were very excited to be flying CX again to experience their current business class offering for the San Francisco market. I’m happy to report that despite the pandemic, CX still offers an overall very good business class product for this route. Our favorite Cathay reverse herringbone seats are still available with an updated amenity kit and bedding. The service from the crew, though well intentioned was very slow and scattered. It actually took almost 2 hours after takeoff for us to receive our meal order. Other than that, the catering on Cathay was still very good on this flight and we enjoyed our in-flight meals. We are glad to be flying CX again!

What I liked:

The check-in experience – We were able to use the First Class/OneWorld Emerald line at check-in due to our status, which was great as we did not have to wait. The agent was very friendly and check-in was quick. We received our boarding passes in less than 5 minutes.

The Seats – Cathay’s reverse herringbone business class seats are regarded as one of the best seats in the sky, and it really was. The seat was comfortable for both lounging and sleeping and everything you need to access are within an arm’s length. 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. WiFi service was also available on this flight for about $20 USD and it was a decent speed.

The Amenities – Although Cathay does not offer pajamas in business class, we were offered a nice Bamford branded amenity kit, slippers, bottled water, noise canceling headphones. A full size pillow, matress pad, and Bamford branded duvet were also waiting at our seats. The duvet is probably one of the best quality bedding I’ve slept on in the sky.

What I didn’t like:

The Air France/KLM Lounge at SFO – Cathay Pacific actually operated its own lounge at SFO prior to the pandemic, but the lounge was still closed at the time of this flight so we were directed by the check-in agent to visit the Air France/KLM Lounge instead. The lounge itself is pretty sad with limited seating, and even more limited food and beverage options compared to the old Cathay Lounge.

No Air Nozzles – Unfortunately CX doesn’t offer air nozzles overhead. Thank goodness CX kept the cabin temperature cool during the flight, so I was able to get some shut eye during the flight.

The Onboard Service – CX typically offers excellent in-flight service in all classes of service. Sadly, I felt the crew on this flight were a bit off. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with COVID or 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 huge downgrade compared to my previous CX flights. Pre-departure beverages were offered to business class passengers during boarding, however I felt the meal service was completely lacking. There was no beverage service after takeoff and it took almost 2 hours after takeoff until our meal was served.

It was OK…I guess:

The Food – I thought the catering on this flight was delicious, but was rather limited compared to our previous Cathay flights. The garlic chicken dish I ordered for the supper service was just pretty good. On the flip side, my companion really liked the cod dish he ordered after takeoff. For the pre-arrival meal, my companion and I both had the Chinese chicken congee and dim sum, was a bit bland and forgettable. Mid-flight I ordered pulled pork burger with french fries, while my companion had the prawn and fishball laksa. Both dishes were excellent and hit the spot after a long nap.

cathaypacific #cx851 #businessclass #sfo #hkg

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