PLANE TYPE 777-300ER
SEAT CONFIGURATION 1-2-1
SEAT PITCH 82 in/208.2cm
SEAT WIDTH 21 in/53cm
SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
PRICE Online round-trip business class fares start at $5,687.
VERDICT: Cathay Pacific consistently wins top honors as one of the planet’s premier long-haul experiences. This was my first flight with them, and it was easy to see all the many ways CX has developed such a loyal following. Add me to the list of fans.
CHECK-IN AND BOARDING: Thanks to an earlier connecting flight, I arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the late afternoon, considerably ahead of my scheduled 1:35 AM departure. The sign on the Cathay Pacific check-in desk said it’s not actually staffed until some hours before flight time, which I found a bit disheartening, since the American Airlines lounge where I’d counted on whiling away the hours lies on the other side of security – which I could not get through without a boarding pass. As I waited, a thoughtful Cathay employee came up to the desk and offered to check me in, even though it was almost an hour before the desk was due to open. It was a gracious and welcoming start to my experience aboard Cathay Pacific.
Having survived the JFK’s stultifying security lanes (as I shuffled through the line, I kept thinking, “There has to be a better way…”) I made my way to the American Airlines Admirals Club on Concourse A, which hosts customers from other oneworld airlines including Cathay Pacific. Last time I flew out of JFK, this lounge had been closed, so this was my first opportunity to check it out. It was a spacious and comfortable place to work, and the food was plentiful if uninspiring. Nonetheless after several hours, when my flight was called I was glad for a change of scenery.
THE SEAT: The business class cabin on the 777 is arranged 1-2-1, so all passengers have direct access to the aisle. The leather seats have obviously seen some miles, but everything was neat and comfortable; the IFE remote control, power plugs and seat adjustments were all conveniently located to one side at eye level.
THE FLIGHT: The flight attendants were quite efficient, moving smartly about the cabin to offer pre-flight welcoming beverages. I chose a glass of the Champagne, and began looking over the menu which included main courses of stir fried chicken or beef filet. Even though it felt too late at night for a heavy meal, I picked the filet which turned out to be an exceptional choice – perhaps the tastiest beef I’ve ever had in flight.
Typically during my inflight dinner I prefer to keep the headphones on with one of the IFE music channels selected. However I soon began to notice a pop in the audio and noise cancellation cutting in and out – very irritating. Apparently I was not the only one, because I saw a couple of other passengers flag down the flight attendant to swap out headsets. She graciously did likewise for me which immediately fixed the problem.
Following the red meat and red wine – an admirable California pinot noir from the Block Nine winery – I thumbed though the extensive movie listings, but decided that sleep was the first order of business. The seat reclined easily to a fully flat position and I curled up with the pillow and duvet to slumber for the next several hours. Upon awakening, I elected to go with a lighter continental breakfast. Refreshed, I spent the remainder of the flight with a popular first-run movie from the impressive selection of on-demand entertainment – the replacement headphones working flawlessly.
ARRIVAL: We happily landed ahead of schedule at Hong Kong International. It’s always an amazing thing to me when immigration lanes operate so smoothly you hardly notice them, but that’s simply the way it is at HKG.