Cathay Pacific operates a all wide-body fleet, though their aircraft are configured differently for regional and long-haul trips. Often, you can luck out and end up with a fully flat bed on a one-hour hop within Southeast Asia.
I had been hoping to check out the Cathay Pacific regional Business Class product, and had been actively trying to find an opportunity to uble
so. However, this particular flight from Singapore to Hong Kong was one of the only times I was actually hoping for a long-haul product on a regional route instead. You see, the redeye flight departs from Singapore at around 1 am and arrives in Hong Kong at 5 am.
With a good number of “spare” long-haul configured aircraft at their disposal, you’d think this is a route that Cathay would try to use one on. However, perhaps it’s just not a flight that business travelers actually choose, or because the timing doesn’t work for Cathay’s schedule of aircraft utilization. Either way, here’s my experience on Cathay Pacific’s Regional Business Class product.
This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:
- The Emirates Lounge New York JFK
- Emirates First Class A380 New York to Dubai
- Grand Hyatt Dubai Grand King Room
- Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Concourse A
- Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Singapore
- Four Seasons Singapore
Cathay Pacific (CX) Flight 714
Singapore (SIN) – Hong Kong (HKG) | B777-200
0120/0510 (3 hours 50 minutes)
Business Class | Seat 14D
Since this is a short redeye, the main concern of almost everybody was to get as much sleep in as possible. For that reason, it’s not going to be an extensive review, but I figure I’d get to provide a general idea of what the service and seats were like.
Instead of a central checkpoint, Singapore Changi airport has security checks in front of every gate. I have never been fully able understand the benefit of this, though I can imagine it saving the cost of building separate Departures and Arrivals levels, and perhaps enabling some to shop at the airport without needing a ticket. It could also be nice for passengers who may be running late, since you’d only be stuck in security behind the people that are going on your flight.
The downside of this design is that once you get through security, you’re stuck in a “holding pen,” and in my flight’s case with no bathrooms. Business Class passengers did get their own security lane, but there’s really no rush to get into the secured area. This is because they didn’t really start boarding until the “holding pen” began to fill up, and Business Class passengers got to board first anyway.
I did appreciate that there was a special seating section designated for Business Class passengers in the waiting area.
Boarding was called about 25 minutes ahead of scheduled departure time, starting with Business Class passengers. My flight was operated by a Boeing 777-200, which is the only type of aircraft in Cathay’s fleet solely configured for regional service (they use 777-300ER for long-haul flights).
The Business Class cabin featured 42 seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seats didn’t feel very wide, considering that each row only had two less seat than the Economy cabin, and feature “double armrests” and literature pockets between seats. But they were definitely comfortable enough for a 3-hour hop (though Cathay will soon be rolling out 777s with 10 seats abreast).
Waiting at the seats was a pillow, accompanied by unwrapped blankets. The seats had “double armrests” with a small cocktail table, and a literature pocket along the side. It’s an efficient design, and one that I feel like is increasingly being adopted as the Premium Economy product for many airlines.
Each seat also had an in-flight entertainment screen with Cathay Pacific’s StudioCX selection of content. These screens were probably adequate a few years back, but they seemed really small nowadays. Next to the screen was a coat hook, a USB port, and a small pocket, which was perfectly sized for my 4.7-inch iPhone.
The tray table extend from under the IFE screen, and can be pulled towards or pushed away from the seat.
Flight attendants came by with pre-poured drinks on a tray as the pre-departure beverage service. I selected a “grape smoothie,” which was extremely sweet and pretty substantial.
I got settled in and soon enough we began pushing back. The captain came on to inform us the flying time of a little over 3 hours.
Once in the air, flight attendants began with a pretty simple dinner service. I had planned to skip it in order to maximize sleep, but (1) flight attendants were working very quickly and (2) I was getting hungry, so I decided to partake after all.
Everything was served on a tray, which is preferable on such a short flight. The starter was a mesclun salad with Japanese cucumber, radish, and tomato, with “oriental dressing” (I have never understood what that meant—it’s something that’s up for interpretation, I suppose).
I selected the fried perch with Nonya yellow curry sauce as mu main course, which was served with steamed jasmine rice, okra, and eggplant. Alternatively, there was also a grilled black Angus beef fillet on offer, serviced with pumpkin potato mash and baby carrots.
A chocolate caramel gateaux was included on the side as dessert, and I requested two pieces of garlic bread from the bread basket.
Cathay Pacific does not provide an amenity on this short flight, and I went to bed right after finishing supper. With a recliner seat (not even angled flat) and no real duvet, it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep scenario. Still, I managed to nap for about an hour, before I was woken up by flight attendants telling me that it’s time to prepare for landing.
Overall Impression of Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class
Overall, this was a pretty uneventful flight from Cathay Pacific. Of all the regional flights that Cathay Pacific operates with aircraft with long-haul configuration, I was a bit surprised that this wasn’t one of them. It did give me an opportunity to check out their regional Business Class product, though, so I can’t complain!
I will admit that sometimes I have higher expectations from Asian carriers, perhaps because of my prior experiences with many of them. With Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class, you can expect a seat with greater legroom than what you’d get on domestic First Class. I got a full meal, which many US carriers don’t even serve on a redeye flight like this one. The meal service was done efficiently, the food was delicious enough, and the service was attentive and friendly, though nothing to call home about.
Cathay Pacific delivered a pretty solid experience, both in terms of hard and soft product. It’s still not an “aspirational product” by any means, though that’s not something I’d expect from a regional flight anyway.