I have flown this sector about a year ago on Cathay Pacific. It was a birthday upgrade on a regional product (back in the days when I was still a loyal Marco Polo Club member) and I was left somewhat unimpressed. This year, as part of my big trip to Hong Kong, I am flying Cathay again, this time paid in Business Class, to check them out again. Two months prior to my flight, an A350 was swapped into the schedule and I was so happy to get the long-haul product.
Fast forward to June when I flew. Cathay flies up to 9 flights a day to Singapore, including the rotation that goes via Bangkok, which I flew in just days ago and was extremely impressed of. So, at any given point, you would see a few Cathay planes on the ground in Changi. Of course, this is back in the days when Cathay was still in Terminal 1:
In terms of lounges, Cathay Pacific used to use the Dnata Lounge in Terminal 1, which was lacklustre to say the least. I prefer the Qantas lounge here (the BA one is not good) and so I spent all my time in the Qantas lounge. I do wonder how the Cathay lounge in Terminal 4 now stacks up with the competition but the lack of showers in the Cathay lounge does militate against it though. I gained entry by virtue for flying Business Class on an OneWorld airline, but equally I could have got in via my OneWorld Emerald status if I am flying in the back.
Once you walk in, there’s a lovely bar, with a bartender and barista
Selection of mocktail
Selection of beverages: Australian sparkling wine and sparkling water
Selection of made-to-order hot dishes
Selection of food from the buffet
A flat white to finish off a lovely meal
The Qantas lounge is very spacious and even during peak hours (last I visited on way to London), it was never too crowded and always quite easy to find a place to sit down
I enjoyed my stay in the Qantas lounge very much and I do believe that Qantas has one of the best lounges in the world, as I look forward to visiting the London lounge and the Los Angeles first class lounge before the end of this year (woohoo!)
I made my way to the gate as soon as the gate opened to avoid having to queue at security and to catch a glimpse of my ride. The Qantas lounge is located near the C gates so it was a bit of a trek to the D gates where my Cathay flight departed. Cathay Pacific, unlike Singapore Airlines, segregates its security and boarding gate area into business class (and OneWorld Sapphire and Emerald members), premium economy (and Marco Polo Green) and economy class, which is often welcomed so that priority boarding will be respected.
My ride today
Boarding was called on time and I was among the first to board
View from my seat – 21A
A hot towel was offered
Watermelon juice as pre-departure drink!
My favourite inflight entertainment – the cameras!
Pushback was delayed due to earlier incident at Changi clogging up departure
Lining up with runway 20C
3 hours 21 minutes to Hong Kong
View of Changi at sunset
My usual selection: a G&T with a sparkling water
John Wick being my movie choice
The seat controls for the A350. As opposed to the older business class, pressing the ‘bed’ button once will get you the fully flat bed
Now this is where things get a bit boring as the meal served here is exactly the same to the lunch I had a year ago, but here goes
Cured salmon with fennel citrus salad and crème fraiche cucumber roll
I had the champagne to go with the starter. This would be the last time I have the Billecart-Salmon Champagne as it is being phrase out from Cathay
As an OneWorld Emerald member, I have been asked what I wanted in advance of the cart being pulled out and been given my dinner choice well in advance. I chose what I chose last year:
Braised duck with mai chy preserved vegetables, broccoli, shimeji mushrooms, carrots, and steamed jasmine rice
In retrospect, the fish looked very nice too, and I passed on it twice!
The usual cheese and fruits selection
By this point, we are nearly there
But there is still time for ice cream
And a hot chocolate
Descent began soon after
At gate with a bit of delay
This was a decent flight. The long haul cabin helped a lot – the space, the privacy and the ease in getting in and out. The food and beverage were above par and I enjoyed the Singapore catering very much. This was an exceptionally full flight and next to me were two customers who would not stop chatting with each other and played videos on speakers… I have complained to the cabin crew but to no avail. Service was a bit of a hit and miss – too short a flight and too many passengers. I am starting to understand the difficulty to pull off service on the A350 – as a similar flight on an A330 would have been done much quicker.