BACKGROUND Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific operates 177 services across 44 countries worldwide. From Mumbai, there is a daily and an additional thrice weekly to its hub.
CHECK-IN I arrived at Mumbai International Airport at 0900 and proceeded to a smooth check-in, security and immigration through the special access pathway for business and first class passengers. Boarding was at Gate 73.
BOARDING There wasn’t a long line for boarding by the time I reached the gate at 1035. I was directed to my aisle seat 20D and was welcomed on-board with pleasantries, drinks and assistance to hang my jacket at my personal coat hanger.
THE SEAT The business class cabin is quite roomy and configured as 1-2-1. The freshly cut orchids placed in the middle of the centre two seats complement the artwork of Hong Kong-based artist Maria Lobo in the cabin. The idea is to make you feel at home and Cathay Pacific does that with a sense of luxury. This is ensured by the rich tones of olive, champagne and brown that add a contemporary feel to this large seat that is angled to ensure ultimate privacy. Equipped with a charging point, USB port and multi-port convertor that includes an RCA port, this seat is a cosy cocoon of utility too. A tray slides out folded from the right where I placed my laptop and plugged it in the multi-port to charge. The ample storage space is impressive — from the shoe locker to the side storage. The armrest comes out from the left and a chunky, leather seat belt can be tied over the fluffy duvet, once you’ve completely flattened the seat. Headphones are stored in a compartment on the right and in-flight entertainment has a range of Western, Chinese, Asian and art house cinema.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? The last time I flew this route, I sat on a window seat. This time, since I had company, I opted for the very private aisle seat that isn’t inconvenient if you wish to have a conversation with your co-passenger.
THE FLIGHT I was greeted on a first-name basis and provided the menu card for the night. In-flight catering manager Kim Chong claims to offer light and fresh dining options paired with a well-curated selection of wines and other alcohol. The meal began with fresh seasonal fruit and was followed by two Indian options — chicken biryani with yellow lentil stew served with pickle and yogurt or tomato simmered vegetables, pea basmati rice and black lentils served with pickle and yogurt. There was also a Cantonese option of stir-fried egg noodles with prawn. I picked Indian non-vegetarian due to my allergy to shrimp. Considering that Indian food can be intense with flavours and thus heavy on the stomach for a flight, I relished the delicate aroma of this meal — light yet authentic. To finish, there was red cheddar, brie and Danish blue cheese, white forest chocolate gateau and vanilla sauce along with Illy coffee and JING teas. There is a large collection of wines on-board including Billecart-salmon Brut champagne and Yealands Estate Land made Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015. I chose the French Clos Bellane Cote Du Rhone Villages Valreas 2013, a deep purple medium-bodied wine with a subtle blackcurrant aroma. Other drink options include aperitifs and Cathay’s signature cocktail — Cloud Nine, a refreshing combination of vodka, Cointreau, Sprite and lemon. I slept through the flight and woke up before landing. Jurilque products in the chic amenity kit including the rosewater balancing mist, herbal recovery advanced serum and lip-balm made sure I was fresh upon arrival in Hong Kong.
ARRIVAL I landed at Hong Kong International Airport on time and spent an hour at The Arrival — the airline’s arrivals lounge. After a quick shower and light breakfast, I departed on the Airport Express for Kowloon.
VERDICT Excellent flight service accompanied by a large and comfortable seat that ensures a good night’s sleep.
PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight from Mumbai to Hong Kong in May start from HK$18,954 (₹1,59,285).