BEST FOR: Comfortable, fully lie-flat seats, comprehensive entertainment, caring and attentive service
PRICE: Roundtrip business class fare started at $5,354.
FLIGHT TIME: 13 hours
VERDICT Easy and quick connections, seamless service and consistent and quality lounge product make Cathay Pacific an easy choice for sophisticated service from the US to Hong Kong and beyond to cities in Asia.
Since I was returning to the US from Bangkok, the first leg of my journey was from Suvarnabhumi International to Hong Kong in CX premium economy. Check-in at BKK was easy with no line. I sailed through and was offered a fast pass through security, which I took but did not need. Cathay operates a branded lounge in Bangkok, which was quiet, uncrowded and comfortable when I visited.
The design themes and flow of the lounge are consistent based on the airline’s signature lounges in Hong Kong, where I spent my layover waiting for the midnight return to LAX. Here in the serenity of the Wing Lounge, I discovered there are no boarding announcements, but fortunately the gate was an easy sprint.
Boarding the flight was little chaotic. I was then randomly chosen for a security check. Once on the plane, I passed through the First Class cabin and sat in 11A, which is the first row behind First Class. The aircraft offers four classes of service, including a comfortable Premium Economy cabin. The 52-seat Business Class is configured 1-2-1 and divided into two sections by the galley.
The Business Class seat is a Cirrus design by Zodiac Aerospace. All seats have direct access to the aisle and recline into fully lie-flat beds. Each has a 17-inch pull-out IFE touchscreen, plenty of storage space, noise-canceling headphones, power plugs and USB ports.
As I like to sleep on these flights, I chose a single seat on the side. However, the seat was in the first compartment by the galley and bathrooms so was, at times, noisy. The herringbone layout means all seats offer privacy from one another and each had a pull-out divider for added seclusion.
Champagne and a hot towel came my way once seated and settled. Although it was just after midnight, dinner was served shortly after take-off. The menu included wok-fried seafood in lobster broth, stir-fried pork and shallot in chili tomato sauce on egg noodles, or chicken pizzaiola with polenta. Dessert choices were a cheese plate, a cream and shortbread crumble, ice cream, and seasonal fruit. Snacks available throughout the flight included various sweet and savory items, such as popcorn, chips and an interesting attempt at a hamburger.
Closer to our scheduled landing which was around 9:00 PM LA time, brunch was served with the usual version of airline egg scramble and seasonal fruit.
Wines included South African chardonnay, cabernets from France and Spain and a Duetz Brut Classic NV. The flight added its own signature cocktails: the non-alcoholic Cathay Delight with kiwifruit juice and coconut milk, and the Pacific Sunrise combining Champagne and Drambuie with orange and lemon zest.
The service I would rate as a little uneven, possibly due to language barriers. Requests for coffee were misunderstood. However, once communicated, everything was managed quickly. Trash was collected quickly enough at the seat but bathrooms remained less tended than one would want. WiFi was not included in the business class ticket, but was available onboard though GoGo inflight for $10 per hour or $20 per flight. As WiFi on international flights seems nearly always to be spotty I did not try it out. Rather, I chose to catch up on my sleep for much of the flight.
We touched down in Los Angeles a bit early and had to taxi around the airport until a gate became available. It took more than 30 minutes for luggage to arrive at the carousel at LAX. Bags came one at a time and no priority was given to First or Business Class – probably an airport issue, not the airline’s.