Cathay Pacific has unveiled plans to roll out a new dining concept for long-haul business class passengers, that will see both the meals served and the way in which they are offered get an overhaul.

The airline unveiled the new concept at a media briefing in Toulouse, France ahead of the delivery flight of its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft on Tuesday. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific is in Toulouse for the delivery ceremony and will be accompanying the delivery flight.

Under the new concept, passengers will have greater flexibility in choosing the number of courses they will be served during their meals. Passengers will be served plated meals from an a la carte menu and will have the option of up to three appetiser choices and up to six main course options, but can opt to have fewer courses if they wish, including smaller “supper plates”.

The dishes themselves are set to be “lighter and healthier”. Sample menus have not yet been unveiled, though the airline has been exploring a number of dishes that so far have included roast lamb rack with mint sauce, rice in a lobster soup, noodle dishes, and char siu barbecued pork.

Meanwhile, the airline is also doing away with its current breakfast offering and will be introducing a new “room service” style concept. This will entail passengers being given a room service breakfast card on which they can tick their meal choice. This can include either a full meal or an “express” breakfast of bread, pastries and coffee.

This system will notably enable cabin crew to serve breakfast closer to landing, meaning passengers will be able to get in a bit more sleep. Typically, Cathay Pacific requires passengers to wake up about 120 minutes before their flight lands in order to be offered breakfast, however with the new offering this can be delayed by between 30 to 40 minutes.

“We listened to our customers and what they were telling us was they wanted four different things from business class dining: better quality food, more interaction with our crew, a better personalization programme, and more control over how they want to eat their food,” said Kinto Chan, director of corporate affairs for Cathay Pacific.

However, Chan noted the new service will differ from a typical dine-on-demand service.

“There’s still structure, so we will also encourage our customers to eat immediately after take-off. But because the menu has been made in such a varied manner, you can actually order something mid-flight when you wake up and you can decide when you want to eat.”

Unfortunately, online pre-ordering is currently not available under the new dining offering, though this could be introduced at a later stage.

The new concept – currently without an official name but referred to as the “New Business Proposition” – is set to begin rolling out in July this year on select routes, with full rollout expected to be completed gradually over the next 12 months.

The full schedule for the rollout is as follows:


Roll out month Ports
Jul-18 ORD
Aug-18 LGW
Sep-18 FRA, MAN, IAD
Oct-18 AMS, CDG, JNB
Nov-18 MAD, BRU, BCN
Dec-18 LHR
Jan-19 BOS, EWR
Mar-19 LAX, SFO, TLV
Apr-19 JFK, YVR, YYZ

As for economy, Cathay Pacific is currently working on a revamp of its menus but has yet to confirm details or a roll-out date.

“We are working very hard and there will be changes we will be announcing very soon,” Chan added. “It is ongoing, but it will definitely be a revamp to the proposition we are offering in our economy class cabin.”