Review: Hong Kong to LAX on Cathay Pacific CX880, Business Class

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At the Airport

I checked in about two and a half hours before departure. I had an economy class (V class) ticket and was allocated a seat in row 63.

Then, at the boarding gate, I was told that I had been upgraded to business class. It is usually good to get an upgrade and as this was a double upgrade, bypassing premium economy, I was particularly happy.

Equipment

This flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER (registration B-KPJ).

The seat had a weighty blanket and a fairly standard (though comfortable) Cathay pillow upon boarding. This seat reclines fully and is long enough for me at 5”7 but if I was a few inches taller it would be less comfortable. The seat has a large-sized screen and comfortable, noise cancelling headphones which are cased inside a small cupboard. That does mean that they have to be put away prior to the descent for landing. There was the usual Cathay entertainment selection although it was not available until some time after we were airborne.

Flight

The section of the business class cabin in which I sat was full. We pushed back from gate 3 and had a fair amount of turbulence throughout the flight. I feel pretty safe in a 777 whatever turbulence comes, in any case. I was also awoken at some point, despite multiple nightcaps and wearing earplugs, by a screaming child in the cabin. The flight ended up taking a little longer than forecast, I think because we were diverting around some turbulence although that was not elucidated, and landed at LAX fifteen minutes behind schedule. Coming off amongst the first passengers, there was no queue at immigration yet with Cathay and another Asian carrier disgorging large aircraft simultaneously, within a couple of minutes there was a long queue which sadly is more typical of Tom Bradley terminal at that time of night.

Service

Before takeoff the cabin crew offered welcome drinks. That was followed by a warm towel. Shortly after takeoff, there was a drinks service followed almost immediately by the dinner service which was offered as per the menu either as an abbreviated service or a full meal service. I chose the latter.

By this time it was past one in the morning, but nonetheless the meal service felt rushed to a point where it diminished the experience. I was offered a praline while halfway through my main course. I am a very slow eater admittedly, but the pralines never came back and neither did anything else – I was subsequently offered no cheese course, or teas or coffees. I could have proactively requested them but felt that I shouldn’t have to do that. The meal service simply ended, abruptly. I found this dropping of the second half of the service bizarre.

In general the cabin crew were fine without feeling especially warm, but I was impressed that when one of them noticed a fairly small stain on my white shirt she offered to get me a wet cloth or bicarbonate of soda to clean it.

 Food and Drink

The menu and drinks list read as follows. Cathay’s need to proofread menus rears its head again, as they misspell the name of their champagne producer.

The dinner starter was packaged breadsticks with dips which I found a bit odd, though maybe this is an American dish? It was tasty enough, even though two different dips were served in one plate.

For the main I had the prawns, which were tasty. The Bordeaux was pretty green.

I had a midflight snack more for this review than from a desire to eat a hamburger, but I was very impressed – it was a full size, tasty hamburger hand assembled in the galley and served with passable chips. It came with a paper serviette not a cloth napkin. I thought that was not especially premium but worse was that the sauce dripped out of the bap (hence my stained shirt) in a way which would not have mattered had it been served with a cloth napkin.

The breakfast service came in parts, starting with hot drinks, juices and a choice of bread or croissant, with fruit, then passing onto Swiss yoghurt and finally onto the main. I had the dim sum which was serviceable.

Conclusion

Having an economy class ticket and getting business class service is always a bonus. I got excellent sleep on this overnight flight thanks to the comfort and space of the seat. The food and drink was alright but not world class for business class. I found it odd that the dinner service simply halted. Overall, though, I was grateful for the upgrade and happy with the flight.

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