JONAS
Jonas Rask Eilersen
Cathay Pacific A330-300 Business Class
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Hong Kong, Airbus A330-300 Business Class
23rd September 2015

Quality-wise, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s true heavyweights, with an impeccable reputation, a global network from the world class hub of Hong Kong International Airport, and an enviable track record in terms of accolades and awards. We tried them out on a regional flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.

Check In
I arrived at the cavernous Suvarnabhumi airport by taxi about an hour and a half before scheduled departure, and relatively quickly found the Cathay check-in desks. All formalities were dealt with swiftly and my seat assignment/choice honoured. I was furnished with a fast track pass for passport control and security; highly appreciated as the queues were long.
The Lounge
Suvarnabhumi is a truly huge airport, and the walking distances are long. Although I thought I’d arrived well in time to the airport for the flight, I realised that I only had five minutes to kill at the Cathay lounge. That I had little time turned out to be good, because this lounge is really not a patch on most other Cathay or OneWorld lounges around the world. Staff seemed disinterested, and the lounge really quite small, although the big windows helped. There was a small selection of food; and a better drink selection. Still, nothing particularly inspiring, so I simply grabbed a sparkling water and left for the gate.
Boarding
Boarding was called at the gate some 20 minutes before departure, and priority was given to business class and elite frequent flyer card holders. Gate personnel were friendly, efficient and seemed like they “knew their stuff”. Good customer interaction and everything done on time. All very satisfactory.
The Cabin, Seat and Service
Flying Cathay is usually a treat, and they delivered once again. Very well kept cabin, very well groomed staff. Seating is fantastic for a flight of this duration; fully flat seats in a herringbone layout (1-2-1). It’s an incredibly luxurious way to fly.
Although hardly necessary for a flight of this duration (just less than three hours), the seat can be turned into a bed, has a myriad of settings to play with and offers a massage function. I had barely sat down before I was offered a chilled glass of Billecart Saumon. The Indian female Maître de Cabine introduced herself, and was a little brusque but very professional.
Food and Drink
Well, I will admit that I’d actually expected a little more – not in terms of the pomp and circumstance, though. Cathay offers printed menus for both food and drink, and the selections and offerings plentiful. It was just that what I ordered (a chicken dish – apologies for not providing more detail) wasn’t very good. That said, I wasn’t very hungry, so I left most of the meal. It was beautifully presented, course by course, table laid with white cloth and so on – the taste just left a bit to be desired. What really did surprise me was the genuine interest the crew took in me not finishing my meal – I was able to give feedback on it and the crew actually listened.
Inflight Entertainment
Another winner; the system on board Cathay is one of the best, with hundreds of hours of entertainment and information options available. Easy to use, very fast, ample selection. Full marks – almost (it is still not quite up there with Emirates’ ICE system).
Arrival
Crew tidied up the cabin so it appeared completely clean and fresh (it’s baffling how few airlines have protocol for this; how many times have you not walked down the aisle on your just arrived aircraft and thought to yourself “what barbarians have I just flown with?!”)
The taxi took a while, but that’s not the airline’s fault. On disembarkation, everything just went quickly – from immigration to baggage pick up (already on the belt) and on to the Airport Express. This just works.
Verdict
Cathay is up there with the best of the best, in any category, on any route. Were it not for the slightly disappointing food and drink, this would have been a flawless flight.