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Flight review: Cathay Pacific A350-900 Business Class

Flyer: Christine Retschlag
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Class:  Business Class
Route: Brisbane – Hong Kong (CX156)
Aircraft: A350-900

This flagship Hong Kong airline has just clocked up 71 years of flying under its current slogan A Life Well Travelled. In the Chinese Year of the Rooster, Cathay Pacific has much to crow about.

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The seat

Cathay Pacific’s A350 aircraft boasts 38 business class seats designed by Studio FA Porsche, renowned for its quality and expertise for seat ergonomics, functionality and comfort. Designed in a herringbone pattern, you’ll find a 1-2-1 configuration, which allows easy aisle access for every passenger. On the A350, there’s a main business class cabin, plus a smaller one, which would be ideal for business colleagues or well-heeled family and friends flying together. Once fully reclined, the seat extends to a long bed, and at 190.5 centimetres, there’s room for even the tallest traveller. Each business class seat is equipped with a pillow and soft-fabric doona.

A new addition to storage includes side cabinets for smaller items, such as a laptop, which become part of the bed once closed for a wider sleeping surface. There’s also overhead cabinets for larger pieces of luggage and space under the ottoman for storing smaller items such as shoes and bags.

Business class guests are presented with a luxury amenity kit containing Jurlique skincare products, soft socks, a sleep mask and toiletries. A highlight of this kit is the refreshing Rosewater Balancing Mist to spritz on your face to stay hydrated.

The dining

Given its home port – Hong Kong – guests are promised some of Southeast Asia’s best onboard meals. The three-course business class menu is created in collaboration with chefs from prestigious restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong. Think seasonal ingredients such as salmon gravlax, wok-fried prawns, grilled Australian prime beef tenderloin, chicken teriyaki, truffle tagliolini pasta and black forest cake. The crockery is a simple, elegant white, the cutlery silver, and the table cloth a crisp white.

On this flight, I chose the grilled lamb backstrap with sweet potato purée, roasted Tuscan vegetables, tomato and olive jus. Unfortunately the lamb was overcooked. Curiously, Cathay also does not automatically serve salt and pepper with its meals, and guests are required to ask for them, which are then presented in small plastic pods. While dessert is served on the tray – in this case, seasonal berries – guests must ask if they want a cheese platter.

There are two red wines and two white wines from which to choose on the dinner menu, including Australian, Austrian and French drops. The Château Noaillac Médoc 2014 from Bordeaux was excellent.

The service

Despite the scheduled late-night departure out of Brisbane – it leaves five minutes before 1am – check-in staff are relaxed, friendly and professional. On board, staff are pleasant, polite and professional, but the dinner service is a little slower than other airlines and somewhat confusing. While some guests were being served dinner, others were being handed immigration cards and it lacked consistency. In another anomaly, guests were given a coveted hot towel just after take-off, but nothing upon waking.

Cathay Pacific Business Class

The entertainment

With more than 250 movies from which to choose, plus video games and the latest newspapers and magazines, you won’t be bored on this flight. Each business class seat comes with a 47-centimetre personal television paired with touchscreen video handset.

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The lounge

Cathay Pacific has no lounge in Brisbane, but guests are granted access to that of its OneWorld partner Qantas here, which, on this particular night, serves the likes of dim sum and spring rolls, as if to set the mood for the destination ahead. In Hong Kong, The Pier is Cathay Pacific’s largest and latest lounge. This sanguine sanctuary offers a food buffet with a selection of quick bites, sandwiches, desserts and fruits. But the real highlights here are the exclusive Noodle Bar where fresh dishes are created and a Teahouse with a variety of artisanal teas on offer. Refresh in one of The Pier’s 14 shower suites replete with premium bath products and towels, and unwind in the rest and relaxation room with resting pods in which you can catch a nap between flights.

The glam factor

With the addition of The Pier last year, Cathay has pushed the boundaries on airline lounges to new heights. This lovely space is more like an elegant hotel than an airline lounge and, with so many different spaces in which to relax, it’s the perfect perch from which to launch your flight home.

The checklist:

Pyjamas No

Designer amenities Jurlique

Limousine transfers No

Celebrity chef A team of leading chefs from Hong Kong restaurants and hotels collaborate on the menu

Signature champagne Champagne Deutz Brut Classic NV