There’s nothing quite like arriving refreshed after a 14-hour flight to Asia. And I can’t think of a better way to manage that than with a business class ticket on Cathay Pacific.
All of us who fly economy, and that’s by far the majority of what I fly, have trudged to our seats at the back of the plane and looked enviously at the folks ensconced in those dreamy pods in the front section.
I was lucky enough to fly from Toronto to Hong Kong a couple weeks ago in the biz cabin on Cathay Pacific. And I’m happy to report the experience (sorry, folks) is everything you probably think it is.
There’s the lie-flat bed, for one. I’m not a great sleeper on planes, but I can easily get five or six hours of shut-eye when I can cozy myself into one of those beds, which are as comfortable as some hotel mattresses I’ve slept on over the years. There’s a nice pillow and blanket, too, of course. And it’s awfully quiet up there.
There’s also the great service; perfectly chilled Champagne and a hot towel before taking off, a fine meal with steak and veggies and potatoes and salad and nuts to snack and Asian noodles with just the right spice and rich ice cream for dessert. You can pretty much get anything you want anytime you want in Cathay’s biz class, so it’s a very easy way to spoil yourself.
The entertainment systems are outstanding, too. I watched The Kingsman with Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson on the way to Hong Kong and took advantage of their powerful, noise-cancelling headphones. Super comfortable to wear and deep, booming sound. Many planes these days have great entertainment options, but it’s hard to find range of options for North American and Asian fliers that Cathay has on offer.
It’s also hard to find the kind of space they can provide to someone like me, who utilizes long plane rides to catch up on my story-writing, my notes and my photos. My desk folded out nicely and I had a ton of room to rest my notes and a glass of Johnnie Walker Black before drifting off to bed. I also had chargers for my laptop (with North American plugs) and a USB to charge my phone.
One thing I really loved in my pod was all the storage space. Not only was I able to stretch out to sleep, but the headphones came in a large compartment that I was able to use to hold my phone. At my feet there was a large area that was able to hold a couple magazines and a book and my laptop and power cord. There also was a compartment along the aisle side of my seat that took care of my shoes, so I could slip into the comfy socks they provided in my overnight kit (along with lip balm, moisturizer for my dry skin, eyeshades, a toothbrush, earplugs and more). I love having places to store all the things I carry with me on the plane to do business, so it was a huge benefit.
Another great thing about flying business class is the opportunity to try the Cathay Pacific lounges. They’ve got a lovely one at Toronto Pearson, with a great mix of western and Asian food. Beware, though, the hot chili sauce I had with my dim sum was spicier than anything I was served in Hong Kong on my trip! There are plenty of less fiery food options, of course, as well as premium drinks and lovely wine to help you unwind prior to your flight.
The lounges in Hong Kong are really something special. The Bridge first class lounge has lovely Asian artifacts on display and cool light fixtures that feel more like a cool bar in the Lan Kwai Fong area of HK than they do an airport. There’s plenty of natural light and warm, soft tones to the furniture. And the array of food is staggering; everything from Asian and western soups to noodles, dim sum, sandwiches, pizza and a wide array of healthy looking salads.
The Pier first class and business lounge in Hong Kong also is a beauty. The first class lounge was renovated last year and is now open, with a gorgeous bar and massage treatments and mini-suites where business folks can be productive for long stretches at a time. The business lounge at The Pier is being renovated now and will reopen in the second quarter of 2016.
Flying home from Hong Kong to Toronto I checked out Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy, which was quite a treat on its own. Again, we had the hotel towel and Champagne treatment. And good food and lots of entertainment options. There’s no lie-flat seat in Premium Economy, but the seats tilt back quite a long ways and there’s a good deal of leg and knee room.
The seats also had those foldable/bendable headrests, which provide a comfortable way to rest your head and zonk out more easily. I was able to sleep a solid four or five hours; far more than I usually can in regular economy. We also got a small overnight kit with earplugs and an eyeshade and moisturizer and socks, which is nice.
I did a leg in regular economy from Penang, Malaysia to Hong Kong on my trip, as well. Happy to report we got a meal and comfortable seats and attentive service. It’s a little thing, but even in economy on Cathay Pacific you get moisturizer in the washrooms and a breakfast. Not a big deal, but nice benefits that puts Cathay Pacific well above most of its competitors.
The Cathay Pacific website often has special deals for business class tickets to Hong Kong, Australia and other destinations. Worth checking out, for sure.