Click the video above to see Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class reviewed on a flight from London to Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class
Cathay Pacific Business Class is far and away the market leader on the important London – Hong Kong route; they have 4 flights a day, compared to British Airways’ 2 and Virgin’s 1.
We thought it was time we checked out what makes them so successful, with a pair of flights on the wonderful Boeing 747 and the newer 777-300ER. Read on for our review of the 747 business class seat, and there’s a link afterwards where you can see how this compares to their new business class seats on the 777.
Cathay Pacific Business Class Check-In Experience
Cathay Pacific flies from Heathrow’s Terminal 3, which is easily reached by using the Heathrow Express train service from London’s Paddington station. Although the first thing we saw when we emerged at the terminal was swathes of funky purple lighting (reflecting the main tenant, Virgin Atlantic) we soon spotted Cathay’s quiet check-in area for our lunchtime flight.
First class and business class passengers each had their own well segregated check-in areas, but on this occasion even economy check-in even had no queues!
The Cathay Pacific agent was efficient and helpful – pointing out that we should use the fast-track security, and providing advice on how to find their lounge. Too many staff forget that not all passengers know the ins and outs of the benefits their ticket gives them, so well done Cathay Pacific!
Fast track security was useful as it meant we could skip a very long queue (but still took about 5 minutes), and we were on our way through the maze of the duty free shop to the Cathay Pacific lounges. Our Oneworld Emerald cards meant we could access the first class lounge – which was very good indeed.
There was nothing flash about it (unlike the nearby Virgin Clubhouse) but it did what it needed to do; there was a great buffet as well as waiter service to order hot food cooked to order. There was as much champagne as you could drink, but as it was before lunch this was served in a bucks fizz.
The business class lounge next door was almost as good – the views weren’t as great, there was no Veuve Clicquot in the chillers but you could still order food and have champagne.
In the distance we could see the Cathay Pacific 747 being readied for our flight as we enjoyed an English breakfast, and it wasn’t long until we were called to start the long walk to the next pier for boarding.
Onboard Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class Cabin
After a 10 minute walk, we were warmly welcomed on board the Cathay Pacific plane – and directed to our seats which showed we were on a 747; heading up some small stairs to an exclusive bubble near the pilots! The passengers here would not even see or hear an economy passenger for the next 12 hours!
This is probably a good thing, as seeing this set up may bring on jealousy. The seats are either side of a single aisle, and all are window seats (although you have to turn your neck to use them).
The set up takes privacy to the max – once you are in your little cocoon, you are cut off from everyone else with high solid plastic walls. This is fantastic for the solo traveller, but your partner may (or may not!) be unhappy about not being able to see you without walking round. These seats are so private they really aren’t suitable for kids – you want to be on the 777-300 instead.
As well as being private, the seats are very comfortable. Everyone has their own footstool, and the seats recline back to make a long & fully flat bed. Duvets and a couple of pillows are provided to help you sleep on these overnight flights.
There’s a good sized TV screen with an ample library of on-demand audio and video programming, along with a nifty TV remote that has its own screen! This lets you see how long you still have to go on this very long flight without having to turn on your big TV or interrupt your movie.
The seat also has a regular power socket to charge your devices (no funny airline adaptor needed) and simple controls that let you move each part of your seat in all sorts of directions. Most of Cathay Pacific’s long haul flights involve overnight travel, so they’ve maximised the chances of you getting a good night’s sleep – and have been very successful here. Unlike on the 777s, these flat beds don’t put your feet in to any sort of cubby hole, so it’s like sleeping in a slightly narrow bed at home.
Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class Food & Drink
Cathay Pacific has a reputation for friendly crew in its business class cabin, and we got great service on this flight.
Fancy amenity kits from agnès b. were handed out when we boarded, along with a glass of champagne to start the flight off in style!
Once we took off it was time for lunch, and the menu had some great choices. Unlike other carriers (thinking of British Airways here!) the food isn’t all cooked together in a single dish so wasn’t overcooked. You could even look at the different options as they were served from a trolley, harking back to first class service in the 1980s.
There were other nice touches like designer salt and pepper shakers, but having food served on a tray made it feel a bit like a canteen.
The drinks menu was fairly limited, but high quality – rather than trying out the different wines offered (which regular readers will know is what normally happens) we stuck with a delicious sauvignon blanc. We were allowed to pick both cheese and dessert (some carriers limit you to just one), and the crew even suggested we might like to try ice cream (from the snack menu) rather than the regular banoffee option.
Having had a great lunch, it was time to try to beat the jet lag and get some sleep before our 7am arrival. We woke an hour before landing, looking forward to a good breakfast. Sadly, this was a major disappointment – some tasteless fruit and a strange frittata were not the best examples of airline catering.
Hong Kong has some of the world’s most amazing cooking so Cathay Pacific’s shortfall wasn’t a problem for us – but if we were heading straight in to a business meeting (as most passengers seemed to be) then this would have left our stomachs rumbling by 10am!
Best Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class Seats
Cathay Pacific’s 747 business class seats have their lovers and their haters – if you are happy to cocooned and cut off from other travellers then they are a great choice, but if you are travelling with others or are claustrophobic, it’s better to pick one of their other planes.
If you’re happy with the overall design of the 747 seats, then the choice is simple – go upper deck. The small number of passengers means it’s quiet, the ratio of crew and bathrooms means you have better service and you’re enjoying a bubble that doesn’t feature on any other plane. All the seats upstairs are similar – go for the middle of the cabin to minimise noise from the bathrooms if you can.
Cathay Pacific 747 Business Class Conclusions
Cathay Pacific’s 747 business class is not for everyone – the extreme privacy means you will either love or hate this product, so check out our review of their new 777 business class seat to see which you prefer. The soft service – food, drink, staff – were not all perfect, but were generally very good. The attention to detail and kindness shown by everyone we interacted with made it clear why they have more planes on this route than their competition combined. If you get the chance, Cathay Pacific is a great airline to fly.
Want to see the Cathay Pacific 777 review?
For a review of Cathay Pacific’s business class on a 777 click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.