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Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class – Singapore – Hong Kong

Background

Back in 2013, Cathay Pacific introduced its latest regional business class product, which can be found on its Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A330 aircraft with regional configuration (though some aircraft still feature the seat’s predecessor).

I had a chance to try the product between Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok (HKG), connecting with an overnight in Hong Kong to Tokyo Haneda (HND) the next day, as a way to break up the 7+ hour journey between Singapore and the Japanese capital. Flight CX636 left Singapore at 20.15, arriving in Hong Kong just after midnight. My flight was on a Boeing 777-300, but the Airbus A330 is used on the route as well.

At the Airport

I took a taxi to Changi Airport early evening and used the dedicated business class check-in to get boarding passes for both my flight to Hong Kong and my flight to Haneda the next day. Cathay Pacific uses the Skyview Lounge in Terminal 1, which is located on a mezzanine level and open to the rest of the terminal. I was not very impressed with the lounge; it’s not particularly big, nicely designed, or has anything to it that is at all memorable. There were some decent spring rolls and food options, and free WiFi access.

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Boarding and First Impressions

I enjoy flying Cathay Pacific, and think that its livery always looks smart on the Boeing 777-300. Boarding was effortless through a dedicated business class lane. The regional 777 comes in a two-class configuration, with 42 business class seats and 356 economy seats.

The business cabin sits between doors one and two and is configured 2-3-2 across (economy is 3-3-3) between rows 11 and 18. That configuration should tell you that unless you happen to travel in a group of 3 (or a multiple thereof) you’ll be better off picking a window pair. The cabin looked stylish, with seats upholstered in a similar dark green fabric as the long-haul business class product.

I tend to pick a window seat, as I did on this flight. I stored my carryon and settled in, while being offered a drink by the crew.

The Seat

I remember when Cathay Pacific introduced its “revolutionary” fixed-shell international Economy product, which, instead of reclining like the competition, slid forward. While some enjoyed the fact that your personal space wasn’t invaded, it was pretty much a disaster on your lower back and knees, especially for tall people. Needless to say, its Economy product today has reverted back to the ‘normal’ seat-type, but the airline is having another go at the concept with this regional business class product.

Being well over 6’, I have to say even in business class, I’m not convinced it’s ideal. With the seat fully upright, I had plenty of room to stretch my legs. There is a double-width armrest between the seats, with a small square at the end for a drink or two. When I reclined to test out the various seat positions, it felt like I was being catapulted out of the seat, with the cushion coming up and out of its frame to take up a semi-z position. I couldn’t get comfortable, so ended up leaving the seat upright for the whole flight.

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Entertainment System

Each seat has a personal TV screen, which gives access to StudioCX, Cathay Pacific’s entertainment system. Given the flight time of just under four hours, dinner and a movie makes the time pass pretty quickly.

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Meals

Given that the flight is relatively late in the evening, I had a late lunch in Singapore and some food in the lounge before boarding, so I wasn’t paying particular attention to the food options. I had a salmon starter which was tasty. The flight attendants were friendly and polite, addressing each passenger by name.

Arrival

We landed at Hong Kong airport on schedule, and I was off the plane pretty quickly. I made my way out of the airport and through the terminal to the Regal Airport Hotel, where I tried to get some sleep before waking up to catch my early morning flight to Tokyo.

Verdict

A decent flight. Reliable as ever, Cathay got me where I needed to go. The business class cabin looks smart, but the fixed-shell seat wasn’t my favourite. I’d fly it if sleep wasn’t a priority, as in its upright position I found it comfortable enough.

 

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