You would be forgiven for not flying with Cathay Pacific from the UAE considering the wealth of carriers operating the routes to Hong Kong. But since their significant investment last May into their new premium cabins, the Asian airline is certainly worth a second look.
With return flights from Abu Dhabi and Dubai starting at about Dh7,020, Cathay Pacific is a leading airline for good reason and you can instantly see the difference on check-in, which is effortless and friendly. With a generous 30 kilogram luggage allowance, you won’t struggle to pack everything in either.
On-board the A330 aircraft that operate the route, you will see the real game changer. The new cabins, which have been almost fully rolled out across the fleet, are all about personal space. Unlike the previous “more restrictive” incarnation of the business class cabin, the new herringbone format faces passengers either to the windows or to each other in the middle seats (but still with the opportunity for privacy). The new format allows beds to be longer, more secluded, and means each seat has aisle access, a welcome difference from other carriers on the route.
A full business class menu serves a variety of Asian and western meals and a beverage list offers plenty of options. But it is the meals that really stand out: a starter of mixed hot smoked salmon salad is followed by a main of steamed halibut with spiced termite mushrooms and a dessert of pistachio mousse cake. For breakfast there is a choice of omelette with potatoes and shimeji mushrooms or dim sum with chilli sauce.
As for comfort, with the seat reaching up to 80 inches long when extended into a fully flat bed with the armrest down, the feel is relaxing and spacious. While there are no massage functions, the seat padding is supportive, and at no point during the flight do you feel uncomfortable.
There are a variety of charging points for electronic devices, including a USB port, and the large touch-screen TVs are filled with a plentiful selection of movies and TV series (but nothing in comparison to the Emirates ICE system).
In all, the airline is most definitely an equal to the opulent Middle Eastern carriers and offers a different, quieter luxury that makes for a relaxing experience when headed on to Hong Kong and beyond.