Thursday, May 29, 2014

SIN-HKG-CTS in Cathay Pacific business class

Since economy class to Singapore was painful, I spend the extra 10k AAdvantage miles to book business class for my return.  In order to make it onto the token 9 am flight for HKG-CTS, I had to fly on a redeye flight for SIN-HKG, which would be killer in coach.

SIN-HKG Cathay Pacific biz

SIN is a massive Star Alliance hub and one of the best airports in the world.  With access to Europe and North America, it's strategic location makes it a good stopover for the Kangaroo Route.  However, Oneworld flights are limited to a handful of intra-Asia routes, Australia, and London.  CX flies mostly regional planes to SIN, so the seat disappointingly wasn't even angled lieflat, which is the standard for intra-Asia biz.

I was one of 3 passengers in the cabin as it appears that all the business travelers skipped out on this one.  The seat was similar to AA's old transcontinental business class recliners, which are comfy but not conducive for sleeping.

Recliner seats defeat the purpose of biz seats for a redeye flight, but I was so tired that I passed out nonetheless promptly after dinner.

HKG layover

The flight arrived into HKG at 5 am, which gave me nearly 4 hours at the CX Wing first class lounge.  I grabbed breakfast at the lounge's famed Haven Restaurant, booked a private Cabana room, and crashed on the futon.  The next thing that rang was my 8:30 am alarm clock reminding me of my 9 am flight.  Since my gate was at the opposite end of the terminal, I essentially raced to make it.  For a full review of the Wing first class lounge, see my previous post.

A la carte breakfast menu

HKG-SIN in Cathay Pacific biz

I got to the gate 15 minutes before departure and was amongst the last to board the plane, thanks to the Wing's awesome sleeping room.  I had pre-selected the upper deck seat right behind the cockpit, which is as private as they get for a biz seat.  It's also been a good 15 years since I last got to sit on the upper deck of a 747, which CX is phasing out within a year.


CX uses their old herringbone seats on their 747s, which offer good privacy but can be claustrophobic and overly seclusive if flying with a companion.  The vast number of complaints stemming from claustrophobia prompted CX to change to their flagship reverse herringbone configuration that can be found on 773s and A333.  Fortunately, my flight was only 4 1/2 hours and I only wanted to sleep.

Shortly after takeoff, lunch was served.  I opted for the seafood meal, which consisted of a shrimp appetizer and grilled sea bass main course.

As usual, I wasn't especially hungry after coming out of the first class lounge.  After finishing the food, I slept until landing.  Behind the cockpit, I could hear the captain and first officer verbally issue altitude readings upon landing: "50 . . . 30 . . . 10 . . ."

Bottom line

Cathay Pacific intra-Asia biz seating configuration is a mixed bag, so be sure to do your homework to make the most of your miles.  I wasn't given much of a choice with only 1 daily flight between HKG-CTS and only one SIN-HKG flight that could connect me there in time.  I was surprised that CX would use a subpar product on SIN-HKG, which is a heavily traveled business route.  Last year, I flew on their flagship 773 on a 1 1/2 hour flight between HKG-TPE, which is a second-tier route with over a dozen daily flights.  Always shoot for the 773 and A333 to maximize your experience.

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