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Cathay Pacific Up There With The Best- A Flight Review

April 14, 2018 Headline News, Reviews No Comments Email Email

“Where are you going” she asked as I boarded the train at North Sydney heading to the international airport? “Hong Kong for the Rugby Sevens” I replied. “My son played Rugby for Australia” she announced, “Whittaker was his name.” she shouted as she headed to the northern line. “That would be Chris Whitaker the halfback,” I replied as we parted company.

Spot the rugby fan was easy among the train passengers (only way to go with the traffic as it is these days) and those who lined up at the Cathay Pacific gate to board CX 162 for the eight hour flight to Honkers. Sevens T shirts and all manner of Rugby paraphernalia sported by the mainly male members of the line, all heading to Rugby Party town for the three day Rugby Sevens competition. Campo, the iconic Wallaby with the goose step from the 70’s and a lot of other bruisers whose names have gone into the ether, were also spotted running the security and customs gauntlet. Cathay Pacific along with HSBC Co-sponsor this competition which has been running since 1976 and transforms the city and Hong Kong Stadium into party central.

Cyris Devi and Anna

Lounge access these days can be very confusing. Your ability to be admitted to a lounge depends on many things. What status your ticket has, what airline your ticket has been issued by, if you have been upgraded, if your carrier has a code share agreement and so on.  I see so many people returning from various lounges with long faces as they don’t understand the pre requisites and ultimately they don’t have the correct qualifications to gain entry. The competition for lounge access between the airlines is fierce and for passengers excellent lounge offerings and prices provide a great opportunity to fly J class. Today airlines aggressively compete to snag the business class traveller through their excellent lounge offerings and service.

We push back 20 minutes late but these days that is normal and we will make the time up during the trip. The business class and Marco Polo (CX’s loyalty scheme) lines are nearly as full as economy class as we board but once they start moving it takes no time.

I am delighted to be in 23A in business class in a full B 777-300ER.  I am on the last row of business class with a single window seat and flatbed (although it is a day time flight) in a configuration of 1-2-1. The cabin behind is Premium Economy 2-4-2 and economy is 3-3-3. Annie and Cyrus are looking after me and they are overseen by Devi, the very affable Inflight Service Manager who proudly discloses she has been with CX for more than 30 years. It seems nothing is too menial or challenging for them in terms of service.

Prior to push back, Piper Heidsieck, orange juice or a mixture is offered for business and premium economy class. When airborne the seven page drinks and food menu is produced highlighting a small selection of very classy wines including De Bortoli’s Regional Reserve Chardonnay 2016 and the  Pazo Pondal Leira Albarino 2016. In the red department a Chateau Pey La Tour Reserve 2015 and an Ingoldby Shiraz 2016 plus two desert wines which I didn’t think were so popular these days.

Cyris Devi and Anna

In the culinary department I opted for the Pork Terrine to start followed by Sichuan beef fillets, then the cheese and fruit and not to overdo it, I didn’t order the strawberry summer tiramisu or the chocolate and raspberry tartelette.  Other refreshments were served during the flight including a beef and mash pie and duck noodle soup.  The beer offerings are very basic with no premium or boutique on board. VB, Four X, Carlsberg and Fosters might not resonate with the Rugby contingent but there are many more top shelf items as an alternative.

VERDICT: A five star experience from the national carrier, friendly service, tasty food and a variety of top shelf beverages. Seating space in the three cabins is way above the norm and the overall experience is first class. There is a wide range of new movies, classics, TV shows for adults and children and a music channel plenty of entertainment for the discerning passenger. A stint in the new Deck Lounge in HKG on the return journey was also a positive experience.

Written by John Savage

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