Cathay Pacific is the international flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its main hub at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline’s operations include scheduled and cargo services to 168 destinations in 42 countries, including code-shares and joint ventures. Cathay Pacific is also a founding member of Oneworld alliance.
Cathay Pacific offers online check-in 48 hours before departure with this flight, so I had checked in on the Friday before my Sunday flight. I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 3 at 19h00 for the 20h40 departure to Hong Kong. Both bag drop and security were very quick.
Lounge & Boarding
Cathay’s Business and First Class lounges at Heathrow – by Zone C on the first floor – resemble those at Hong Kong International. The First Class one had a range of seating areas, a work zone, free Wi-Fi, and a good choice of food, including noodles to order. It was not busy, even as passengers for the flight after mine began to enter. The flight was called at 19h50 and I walked to Gate 21. There was a line for Business and First Class and I entered the aircraft via a separate door.
Cathay has both B777-300ER and B747-400 aircraft on this route. This was a B777-300ER with two rows of First Class configured A-D-K. For a small cabin it is spacious, and each seat has ample room – enough for someone to dine with you at the large table that comes out of the armrest. The seat is almost double width, and the ottoman in front so far away that you can’t rest your feet on it without reclining – the seat meets it to become a fully-flat bed. There are no overhead lockers, but there is room for a bag under the ottoman, and space for another in the wardrobe area – although if you put a roll-on bag in here it would be quite cramped when hanging a suit. There is a UK (and US) plug socket, and the table allowed me to spread out my papers and work on my laptop. The Studio CX in-flight entertainment system is among the best in the world, with about 100 movies, 500 TV shows, 900 albums, and ten language options. First class has 17- inch screens.
Which Seat to Choose?
If you are with someone, choose pairs D and K – they are separated by an aisle, but D opens out into it, whereas there is a wall between D and A. Row A is best for solo travellers.
Shortly after take-off, I was given an amenity kit with Acca Kappa products and a lovely Shanghai Tang pyjama kit with slippers and an eye mask. I was working when the meal was going to be served, but was given the option of eating later. The menu included a starter of Caviar and Balik salmon “Tsar Nikolaj”, and international and Chinese options. The former were roasted parsnip and apple soup, mixed salad with confit of duck, pan-fried Anglesey sea bass with white wine clervil sauce, herb-crusted lamb loin with sweet red onion jus, and spinach and ricotta mezzelune. The latter were chicken and mushroom soup, Shanghai-style sweetened cod, and braised chicken with abalone oyster mushroom sauce. The wine list was excellent and the staff superb. When it was time to sleep, an attendant made up my bed swiftly. I slept for seven hours and breakfast started shortly after I woke.
We landed on time and it was a short walk to immigration, where there was no queue. My bag emerged after a short wait.
This really is a fabulous product, and a noticeable step up from Cathay’s impressive Business Class.