Cathay New Business Class superior to BA First Class

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  JohnHarper 19 Mar 2013
at 10:36

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  • Anonymous


    I don’t often meddle in the often paranoia postings on this site, however I must conclude that based on some recent experiences travelling around the world I should try and be as objective as possible, relating to the last 4 weeks of travel.

    I have completed 4 sectors in BA First and 4 sectors in Cathay Business over the past 4 weeks. I may have mentioned in previous posts, that I hold Emerald One World Status with CX, QF and BA – I do a lot of travelling! I prefer QF, as the wine is great and beats most airlines hands down (as BT Traveller has confirmed over the previous years).

    Having just compared the two products BA First and CX Business, it has a slam dunk to CX! In the last four weeks I have had the pleasure to travel on CX, on the A330 and 77W plus BA in First on the 777 and 744. BA First tries hard, but is inconsistent, has dreadful food and tired cabin crew, who seem to think that they are doing us a favour by being available to serve, whereas the CX Business crew, are constantly in the cabin, actually serve two hot meals on an 8 hour flight and are attentive and seem to always appear to be enjoying their work, nothing is too much trouble.

    I know there are many advocates of BA on this site ( I travel them a lot) – but it sadness me to say, that they are just not in the game. I used to watch the BA planes land at LHR as a child and always aspired to travel ” the world’s favourite airline”, it was a novelty at the start of my flying career, but now it seems that BA is sadly resting on it’s laurels and is in fact a very average airline.

    I would suggest that Willie and Keith Williams take a journey on CX and QF to experience great customer focus and service, before Qatar joins One World, to understand how far they need to “catch up” before BA becomes the “world’s least favourite airline”.


    Forget to mention – do try the new Cabana’s at HKIA, Amazing



    I would have to agree that CX new business beats BA First hands down….and therefore by default is light years ahead of NCW.

    That said BA can delivery world beating service even with dated hard products and remain a force to be reckoned with.

    Your 15 posts to date are all either very pro CX or very anti BA and so whilst I share some of your sentiments I could not agree that BA was universally poor.


    Infidel – points about CX taken but if you look at the collapse in their profits (announced this week) which are attributed to a sharp decline in premium traffic, I reckon you need to enjoy what is there while it lasts. I would expect some real belt tightening in CX First and Business Class over the next period.


    Infidel I agree with you…… to a degree. I think Cathays new J class seat is pretty spectacular as far as business class offerings go.

    Is it better than BA’s First? IMHO – depends. Having flown both recently some flights would be yes, others no.

    I think that where Cathay is amazing is it’s service consistency. I recently did four sectors in the New J and each sector was a mirror of the previous – exemplary service and the seat is just great. Charming inflight managers that came to introduce themself on every sector. Even one that was particularly witty.

    With BA, some flights definitely leapt ahead of CX’s new F (LHR – NRT for instance). Concorde Room @ LHR, new F, flawless and attentive service, great recognition from the CSD and superior catering to CX J. And others fell well below par (PHX-LHR) – old first, crew that obviously couldn’t wait to get us all to sleep, a CSD that couldn’t be bothered introducing himself, poor catering. The problem with the service in BA F is that crew choose their working positions based on seniority. So you get some crew that have done 30 years service and work in First because they love giving extra attention and going the extra mile. And their vast experience enables them to read passengers wants and needs like a book. And you get other that have done 30 years service that choose to work up there because they deem it ‘an easy life’ (ie minimal work/effort). This differs to airlines like QF for example, where crew go through an interview process to work in F/J and are ‘promoted’ on merit and demonstration. BA needs to concentrate on consistency like CX. I don’t know if i’d agree that CX new J is better than BA F overall, but as a J class product it certainly is amongst the best out there – and yes, far superior to CW.

    Btw, slightly OT…..but why do CX have that bizzare style of service on their OZ – HKG routes where they serve the first meal and clear in. Then serve the second meal two hour afterwards…..and nothing before landing? Call me old fashioned but I much prefer a meal after take off, some sleep and maybe a movie, then a meal before landing.


    So that I don’t upset any of the pro BA contributors, please note that BA First is a favourite of mine much of the time. When an option for CX arises, it’s always been a preference. CX’s new J product is so good that I’m finding it difficult to justify the cost of CX First Class.

    The latter being in a league of it’s own, not only with CX top food & service, but a 747 seating plan where 9 seats occupy the same space as BA’s 14.

    ‘CX, it would be great if you could begin a transatlantic service from London to New York’.


    r ferguson I agree about the strange meal arrangements on route to OZ ! Odd very odd although on a recent one they served the 2nd meal a little later.
    While I agree that the new Cathay business class seats are much better than the equivalent BA I still think BA first is a little better although the cost is higher. BA does struggle with consistency but I have noticed a recent dumbing down of the Cathay service refills not being offered so often if at all, and less Fluent English being spoken.


    I haven’t tried New CX Business Class yet, but looking at the seat plans and pictures, they seem to mimic the BA First class.

    I don’t rate BA First Class at all. When travelling back from HKG on B777-300 aircraft, there were 16 First Class seats! Too many seats for too little privacy space and feel cozy in the first class cabin. Moreever, I noted 2 toilets to share the whole cabin.

    Recently flown CX252 First class to HKG from LHR, and enjoyed their First Class cabin. It’s spacious, personal and only 9 seats in the cabin. Nonetheless, CX serves Krug champagne, Caviar as starter… something that BA doesn’t provide.


    All sounds good, but having recently seen profits fall by almost 85%, let’s see how long Cathay can sustain the current offering.

    Far be it for me to defend BA but some belt tightening may be in order.


    Freqtraveller…..sorry to correct you but BA’s B777-300 aircraft only have 14 seats in First.


    Freqtraveller you raise very valid points. Not that it should ever be an excuse for poor product, the variation in F offerings are often down to the main markets an airline operates in.

    I guess CX’s main market is within asia and transpacific from asia, as well as flights to europe. This would put it up against the likes of SQ, MH and TG all of which have similarly superb F products. Most of these carriers offer the benefits of flying in F with CX that you mention – less dense cabins, caviar and the like.

    It’s the same with the gulf airlines. They have to add something more luxurious to lure passengers away from the direct flights to/from europe and onto their F class seats via the middle east.

    Although BA’s is far from industry leading, it’s main competition is other european airlines and especially the transatlantic routes where the demand for F is highest. And against the european and north american airlines BA still offers a competitive product. The exception to this is Lufthansa. LH decided to invest hugely in their F product some years ago, both in the air and on the ground. But was it a success? Considering their announcement just a month or so ago that they are slashing F class from many routes, i’d say not.


    I can see why you think CX business class mimics BA first however it differs and most obviously in seat pitch, also BA offers a foot rest that can be used as a companion seat CX business class does not, added to that the free to dine any time, PJs and slippers, without the quality of the food and wines and you will see while similar it is not the same but then neither is the price, although sometimes CX business pricing can be as high to use the words out there with the faries.
    CX first is great although you do have to manage the service a little or they would have you eating when they want rather than when you do however a gentle guiding is all that is needed and then there is the caviar !

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