I had not flown with Cathay Pacific for a long time, so the experience of flying two long haul sectors (Auckland to Amsterdam via Hong Kong) – one in Economy, the other in Business – this month was the opportunity to refamiliarise myself with an airline of which I have positive recollections. My memory had not let me down: from the check-in process to quality of food and inflight entertainment, the journey was a pleasure.
As a European, I had almost forgotten the joy of being greeted on board by an Asian crew who have an innate sense of quiet, friendly service that has all too often been dulled to the point of bluntness on European (and even more so, American) airlines. It makes such a difference when a passenger feels welcome rather than an inconvenience to be tolerated. Cathay Pacific do this well, both in Economy and Business class.
As for the food, I might have guessed the Business Class offerings would be excellent, and indeed they were; a nice touch is added by the availability of one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic cocktail, which changes monthly. I was therefore more impressed to discover that the dishes available in Economy far exceed the quality of anything I have eaten in Economy class on the airlines I have frequented recently (KLM, Lufthansa, BA): for lunch, a tasty starter featuring prawns, tempting choice of 2 main courses, and a simple but delicious dessert, all of which I ate with relish. There was then a lighter supper served before landing, which again was of a very high quality.
Since my first flight was a daytime one, I was planning to see a film or two, so was delighted to discover that, even in Economy, the choice is very wide – far wider in fact than the magazine suggested. Even better, the flight was already showing “The King’s Speech”, a film which I was keen to see but has not yet reached the cinemas where I live, so I was more than satisfied!
Do I have any criticisms? It is hard to think of any. I guess I was a little disappointed at my choice of seat on the Economy leg as the rear of the plane is quite noisy; but that was my choice. As for the Business Class seating, the “fishbone” style individual cabins, I have read criticisms of these from passengers who find them claustrophobic and unfriendly if travelling with a companion; but, while I can see the point, they suited me very well and the fact that the bed folds completely flat is a huge advantage, permitting me to enjoy 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
In summary: I would go out of my way to fly CX again.