Click the video above to see Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class reviewed on a flight from Hong Kong to London.
Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class
Cathay Pacific has a great reputation, especially for the service it offers in its business class. Its older business class seats though were criticised by some for being too private and even claustrophobic – although we quite liked them for solo travellers.
Cathay Pacific listened carefully to this feedback, and totally redesigned their business class seats for their 777s and A330 aircraft with the aim of having the very best business class product on the Hong Kong to London route. We decided to put them to the test to see how they compare to the competition, and to their previous generation business class seats.
Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Check-In Experience
We took the excellent Airport Express train from Central out to the airport – this is certainly the way to go, as they run every 10 minutes and take about 25 minutes to drop you off right next to the terminal. It was just a short walk to drop off our bags at the Cathay Pacific business class check-in, before we went through security and down to the maze of duty free shopping! First class passengers are able to avoid the detour through the shops, but we had no such luck!
The boarding pass wallets from Cathay Pacific had a helpful map showing where their business class lounges were located. They have exciting names – Bridge, Pier, Cabin – but we picked the closest, the Wing. Without a doubt, this is one of the very best business class airline lounges you’ll find anywhere in the world – Cathay are giving Virgin and Qantas a run for their money. It doesn’t try to be the flashiest business class lounge you’ll ever see, but it excudes confidence and class.
It’s split in to a number of distinct areas, providing different features depending on your needs. There’s a fancy coffee lounge with good views, where you can get sandwiches, biscuits and a coffee made by a top barista to keep you going between flights. Or there’s a made-to-order noodle bar, with quality meals made quickly and served in a restaurant setting. Or there’s a set of shower rooms, fitted out with marble and quality fixtures – very similar to a top-end hotel, and a world away from the plastic & leaky showers you’d find at Heathrow in British Airways’ lounges! There’s also a large area to relax in that has a long bar, with servers offering cocktails, wines and champagnes.
None of this is revolutionary, and none of it is a surprise to anyone who has ever visited a half-decent hotel. However, it is a significant step up in quality from what you’d normally find in a business class lounge. All Oneworld business class passengers can access the Cathay Pacific lounges, so it’s worth visiting even if your flight is on British Airways or Qantas.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it was soon time to head to our gate for boarding. Priority boarding was – as ever with Cathay Pacific – organised well, and we were soon heading down the jetbridge to our awaiting 777.
Onboard Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class
First impressions were great – this plane had the wow factor! OK, it was helped by the fact the sun was streaming in through the windows, but the cabin felt bright, airy and spacious. Cathay Pacific’s trademark dark green was present on the seat cushions, but this was more than balanced by the lighter plastic surrounds.
The seats were laid out 1-2-1, so everyone had direct aisle access, and the funky seat shapes meant that there was a feeling of openness (very different to the older business class seats Cathay Pacific had) whilst the staggered layout meant privacy was still good, if not as great as the old seat.
Similar to American Airlines’ business class, this seat turns in to a fully flat bed – your feet fit in to a smail cubby hole in the seat in front. Annoyingly, when the bed is ‘fully flat’ the cushions don’t quite line up properly, so there’s a few bumps where everything joins up. The armrest sinks in to the seat giving you a wide bed – it’s not quite as big as their competitor’s first class seats, but it’s not far off.
The new Cathay Pacific business class seat is well designed and easy to use. There’s plenty of space to store things within arms reach, and the seat controls are designed to be understood by idiots (or drunk passengers who wake up jet lagged and confused!) as they’re laid out in the same shape as the seat and you just slide the bit you want to move. There’s a proper power plug (no funny adaptors needed), a readling light and a handset to control the TV. This remote control has a great feature which shows you on a little screen how long you have left in your flight – a small, but much appreciated, feature.
Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class Food & Drink
As people came on-board our plane, the crew came around with a variety of drinks for business class passengers. Naturally, we helped ourselves to the champagne – a rather decent Billecarte-Salmon. We also got a fancy agnès b. amenity kit which had all the essentials in it – but note Cathay Pacific don’t provide pyjamas or slippers for their business class passengers.
Soon after we took-off, lunch was served. Cathay Pacific put a tablecloth on your table, but like British Airways, serve your food on a plastic tray which is reminiscent of a canteen! It would be an upmarket canteen though, as everyone had proper salt and pepper pots and a butter bowl. Cathay Pacific put all the main courses on a trolley, so you can see what you want before you order – a nice touch. Unlike British Airways, the rice is cooked and served separately (so doesn’t become overcooked or clagged), and there’s even warm garlic bread on offer!
The stir-fried beef with vegetables was tasty, and the simple food worked well being re-heated onboard. Many airlines try to impressive sounding menus and fail in the execution – we much prefer them delivering straightforward menus well. Dessert was a simple cold cheesecake, and we were able to have some cheese as well to wrap up lunch (unlike British Airways who make you choose between dessert and cheese).
The wine list didn’t have a huge amount of choice, but the wines on it were decent quality; we stuck to a deliciious sauvignon blanc as lunch was cleared away and we passed the afternoon away watching movies on demand. The Cathay crew even offered ice cream – it was like being in a fancy movie theatre, travelling at 600mph! Other substansial snacks (like a beefburger!) were available if you were somehow still hungry after lunch.
The plane had multi-coloured mood lighting installed which didn’t add a great deal to the flight experience, but maybe helped everyone settle down to sleep by making it feel as though we’d experienced a relaxing sunset. After a few hours sleep in the very comfy flat bed, it was time for dinner before we got to Heathrow.
Cathay Pacific had loaded a lot of fruit for us, presumably as this keeps quite well on a cool plane – it featured both as a starter and a dessert. The main meal was cod, and was nothing to write home about – although the rice had been cooked separately, the cod and vegetables had been overcooked together in the same bowl. The fruit gateux was more pastry than cream – all in all, very forgettable.
Best Seats in Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class
Cathay Pacific’s new business class seats are great if you don’t mind your feet going in to a box area under the seat in front. The pay-off from this compromise is a wide area for your upper body, and direct aisle access for every passenger.
The space you get means that it’s not great for families travelling together – couples should pick the middle seats, and be aware that even then it’s a bit of effort to see each other. If this is important to you, British Airways’ Club World seats are much better – you have the choice of facing each other, or having a double bed.
Solo travellers should definitely pick window seats – Cathay have a mini-business cabin in rows 11 and 12 which are great as they have very little passenger traffic in the aisle, although are close to the galley so there’s a risk of noise. The safest choice is to go a few rows back in the main cabin – these seats all have windows, and are far enough from the galley & toilets.
Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class Conclusions
Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class is very impressive, with similar seats to American Airlines’ new 777s. Direct aisle access for all, combined with reasonable privacy means they are beating the competition on most of their routes. Cathay Pacific’s soft service elements – 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 are doing well, and we happily recommend Cathay Pacific as a great airline to fly.
Want a BA First Class Review?
For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.