Review: To London and Paris – Cathay Pacific 239 Hong Kong to London Heathrow Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Introduction
The Qantas Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 239 777-300ER Business Class Hong Kong to London Heathrow
Hotel Indigo London Kensington
Eurostar 9018 E300/British Rail Class 373 Standard Premier London St. Pancras to Paris Gares du Nord
L’Empire Paris
Cathay Pacific Lounge Paris Charles de Gaulle
Cathay Pacific 260 777-300ER Business Class Paris Charles de Gaulle to Hong Kong


Cathay Pacific Flight 239
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 64 Dep: 12:20 (12:40)
Destination: London Heathrow (LHR) Gate: 40 Arr: 18:10 (18:20)
Duration: 12 hr 50 min (12 hr 40 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 12A/11K (Business Class)

This flight couldn’t be timed worse, as it departs Hong Kong while we’re all bright eyed and bushy tailed at noon, and arrives London at midnight Hong Kong time, leaving us there feeling really tired.

I was the first to board, where all business class passengers board through the front door. While Asia Miles only opened to one flight, it was one without first class, which has upsides and downsides. It was my first time on the plane, but Jason’s review sums it up, so I won’t cover the seat in so much detail.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seatmap

Cathay Pacific has reverse herringbone seats set up in a 1-2-1 configuration, which meant our family was set up through an entire row. I wanted the rear cabin, as it was definitely going to be quieter during the flight, but unfortunately it was all blocked off, so I chose the front row on the plane.

Unfortunately, what was probably a baby bassinet issue booted me from seat 11D to seat 12A, something I couldn’t change, even at check-in. I wouldn’t mind the extra window seat, but whoever from the family was sitting in 11G (in this case, my sister) wouldn’t say the same, I guess.

I was welcomed onboard by the purser, who brought me to my seat (and subsequently informed me that I could change with the person in 11D if I could get them to agree).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

The colour tones of the cabin, in my mind, were gorgeous. They don’t look like much from the pictures, but each detail on the seat is really refined.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 12A

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 12A

Even from behind the cabin looks nicer than it does in pictures.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

I decided not to get too comfortable in the seat to keep the person I would most likely be switching with happy, so I only briefly checked out the details at the seat. I’ll be recapitulating all this at the seat I moved to.

The retractable armrest pops up when you push the latch.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Retractable Armrest

There’s a panel for seats 11D and 11G, though you do have slightly more space (and slightly less privacy) because of how the panel stays flat instead of curving in.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 11D

I have a non-secret special admiration for how the panel curves in on the 777, and to be honest, row 12 is the best place to experience it. You see where it ends and slightly curves into the front of the aircraft, whilst in row 11 you don’t really “feel” it above you. There’s a significant upside to row 11, though.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class View from Seat 12A

Meanwhile the seats at the very back of the cabin have a wall behind them, though I feel like the shells are a little too low, given that if you’re not in row 11 you basically see all the heads above the seats (again, minor details that can kind of make a difference on such a long flight).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 19D and 19G

The lady in 11D came on, and gladly offered a spot switch. My family went on the plane at this point, where my sister wanted to sit with her mother, and my dad was on my side of the aisle, so I hopped over to the other aisle onto 11K. Fussy travel is not my forté. 😛

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 11K

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 11K

Much like seat 12A, waiting on the seat was a pillow and a wrapped blanket.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Wrapped Blanket

On the right is the reading light panel, the TV controls and the seat controls. I found the seat controls to be especially clunky, especially for a seat that had won so many awards.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Panel

Then there were 110V plugs and a USB port.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class USB plug and power port

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Power Port

I think that buttons would be much more durable than these large blocks. That being said, the seat was really quiet (though I’m half sure buttons would have made a minimal difference).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat Controls

The headphones were inside the cupboard, which featured a mirror. Now, the headphone plug was also inside the cupboard. While it’s a good idea in theory and makes the whole listening process less clunky, I would have appreciated if there was a bigger hole for the cable to get through in the cupboard. The cupboard is spring operated, and when you push the door, it doesn’t open unless you push hard enough as there’s a cable between the damn door and the cupboard that was thicker than the space the tiny little recess allowed.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cupboard and Headphones

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Headphones Plug in Cupboard

The headphones were good quality. They weren’t the best, but they weren’t bad.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Headphones

Legroom was more than adequate, as expected, of course.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 11K Legroom

The major thing about seat 11A and seat 11K on this configuration is that it’s in the front of the plane, so it’s extra private in terms of how it’s laid out.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 11K

The TV screen was pushed out enough, but it wasn’t nearly as sturdy or adjustable as I’d have liked. Fortunately, it had a nose camera, which makes up for anything.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Screen Camera

There were two windows per seat, which is awesome, and you could push your seat forward to admire the view (I wasn’t sure if it was allowed, but I did that anyway – after all, it’s not reclining your seat).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Windows (and view out of it)

One thing lacking was padding – I’ll explain that later.

Overall, the seat was definitely more balanced (between privacy and spaciousness) than any other business class configuration I’ve been in, but I do feel like it could’ve been better designed, something that I hope will be fixed in their new Airbus A350 business class. I mean, you have Korean Air’s new(ish) business class seat which isn’t the most private but has every aspect designed faultlessly, and you have this seat, which is definitely more private, but isn’t the most polished. What would I prefer? I’m not sure. But it was definitely a good seat.

Not long after I sat down I was offered a hot towel and a Cathay Delight (which was unfortunately downed before I could take a picture).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

Not long after the seat kerfuffle was settled and calmed, the safety video played. I didn’t pay that much attention, as I’d be surprised if I’ve seen the video less than ten times.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Safety Video

Amenity kits and menus were passed out. While I can’t say much to the menus (Jason can, though, which he’ll talk about in his reports), the amenity kits were sufficient for the flight. The biggest lack was a pair of slippers.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Amenity Kit

I surveyed the menu, and was looking forward to lunch much more than dinner based on the menu choices alone.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Menu HKG – LHR

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Menu HKG – LHR

It was a long taxi to the runway, but there were a few heavies along the way (apart from the Cathay Pacific ones I’ve been seeing for over a decade), so I didn’t mind so much.

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KLM Boeing 747-400 Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Traffic Hong Kong Airport

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Traffic Hong Kong Airport

Fine, they weren’t all heavies.

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ANA Boeing 737-700 Hong Kong Airport

I saw an Asiana Airbus A330, which I could have taken to Seoul (though Korean Air was the better bet, with fully flat beds/Boeing 747s).

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Philippine Airlines Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

We took off on runway 25L after a ~10 minute wait, and we were off for Europe. Yay!

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Runway 25L Hong Kong Airport

I turned on the outside camera, but ultimately the quality up there is nowhere near as close as the quality out the window.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Outside Camera

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin during Takeoff

I was kind of sleepy, but didn’t want to miss out on meal service, so I set up my bed, deciding to have lunch in bed (an idea that didn’t work out, but hey, I deserve credit for that). The bed is long, the pillows are big, the blanket is sufficient, but the padding is pretty bad – it feels like you’re sleeping in a tent on top of textured grass. Fine, it’s a business class seat on an airplane and I should be lucky that I had what I had to start with, but an extra cushion on the seat wouldn’t hurt, would it?

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

I tried playing with the tray table, which could fit a laptop.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Tray Table

At this point I explored the plane a bit. First of all I needed the lavatory, and of course when it comes to airplanes, you need ones of the best quality, right?

Forget every other aspect of the flight, when it comes to using a first class toilet on a business class fare at the age of fourteen, y’all need to start writing me my swan song, given it’ll be hard to get into any other toilet from now on. 😉

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

The bathroom featured Jurlique amenities.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory Amenities

I also took a few pictures of the other lavatory, which was standard.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

I wandered into the back cabin, which had two empty seats (the only two empty seats on the flight).

Seats 20D and 20G seemed empty, though somehow that was subject to change…

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 20G

At this point nuts and drinks were about to be served, so I wandered back into my seat. I love how Cathay Pacific serves heated nuts in business class – it’s a decreasing trend nowadays.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Drink Run

Cathay Pacific has a fairly extensive system, though no good movies were on demand. Fortunately they had MasterChef Junior, which solves every possible problem an inflight entertainment system can have.

I did watch a little of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, but grew tired of it (I’d watched the movie quite a few times).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mr. Popper’s Penguins

The appetiser was soon served. I love mozzarella, and while bocconcini balls are kind of textureless on their own, with tomato, it is absolutely sublime. The mozzarella was awesome, the salad was dressed (unlike the side salad – eugh), and the ham was good.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Appetiser – Prosciutto, bocconcini, asparagus and black Ligurian olives

The appetiser came with bread which was nothing special.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Appetiser Bread

For the main course I selected the fish, which you can’t really go wrong with (cuts of fish are edible even when overcooked, which helps). The fish was just slightly overcooked, as expected, the sauce was delicious (but I had no idea what it was – it wasn’t cheese), and the tomato concasse was non-existent (unless their idea of concasse is cut-in-half cherry tomatoes).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entrée – Roasted salmon, asparagus, potatoes, herb, Camembert rarebit and tomato concasse

The cheese course then rolled by, and I asked for the mildest cheeses.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cheese Course

I was plated some fruit to go with it.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cheese Course

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cheese Course and Fruit Course

I went and had a look at the premium economy cabin, which had finished their meal.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Premium Economy Class

I came back in time for the dessert raspberry tart. The raspberries were fresh, cold, the pastry was coloured and the pastry cream was set and rich. It was a fantastic combination, though I had a bite out of it before I remembered to take a picture.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dessert – Raspberry Tart

The meal service was finished right over Taiyuan, three hours into the flight.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Location at the end of Meal Service

Mood lighting was put on after meal service, a sunset effect.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mood Lighting

I reclined and slept really well for three hours (despite the padding, I was really tired at this point). I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed over Russia and asked for a burger (I was hungry, yes) and a milk tea, as well as some Cathay Delight.

I like Cathay Delights (I don’t love them, but they’re good), and the burger was perfectly cooked inside, except that the pickle was as big as Canada. It was something I’d order at a restaurant. The milk tea was interesting – considerably better than that on Dragonair, but I’ve had better.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Snack – Grilled Australian prime fed burger, Swiss cheese and pickled gherkin, tomato ketchup

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cathay Delight

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class View upon Waking Up Over Russia

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Position when Waking Up

I wanted to give my plate back, so I pressed the call button. Now, what happened later could have related to this, so I’m forgiving, but the crew ignored my call button five times. Going in I was really pissed, especially given that Cathay Pacific service is usually above and beyond, but in retrospect, the emergency could have happened.

I then did a survey (I didn’t get a survey and specifically had to ask for one – the crew skipped over me. Dude, I’m not five, I’m fourteen). My reviews were mostly negative, though in retrospect I’m not sure if that was right.

The emergency

The crew then came over the PA and said that they required emergency medical personnel. Now, I have aspirations to become a doctor in the future, but I’m not, so I couldn’t help out with that. My father and mother have both been doctors for a long time, so I pointed them out immediately to the crew. Both of them disappeared into the second cabin, so I had to stay awake for the next few hours to look after things during emergencies.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Position upon Emergency – CX 239

I kept myself updated by wandering into the rear business class cabin every now or so, and really, I was disgusted by what I saw. The flight attendants were kneeling down and helping my father out in holding things, and my parents were giving an analysis on the little girl who had pretty advanced stomach infections, apparently. I looked around trying to find the parents. The mother was beside, looking blankly at the scene, and the father (my dad had to tell me that the guy was her father) was just in 21K watching TV as if nothing had happened. This really angered me, as the girl could have died.

While I was talking to my sister, one of the flight attendants (kind of) kept us updated on what was happening.

Me: “How’s everything back there?”
Flight Attendant: “It’s not okay, she’s not well.”

I said to my sister that there could be an emergency landing once we got to urban Russia, though the flight attendant overheard and turned that down, saying that was probably unnecessary.

After a few saltwater needles (and my prayers) my father said that the girl was most likely going to be fine until our arrival in London. None of us know her fate, but with those parents, I’m kind of mortified at this.

Back to the flight

After all the kerfuffle, I headed back to my seat and tried to sleep. But I couldn’t. I rolled around in the world’s most private business class seat, and I couldn’t sleep. Partly because of the milk tea and also what happened, I suppose, but I can’t believe how bright I was during the flight (at the hotel in London, the elephants fell on my eyelids while I was trying to work, so damn it).

The flight (not just this part, the whole flight) was rather turbulent, which could have hindered my chances at sleeping.

I was given landing forms, though I wasn’t in the mood to fill them out so asked my dad to do so for all of us. I saw No1 immigration cards, which is given to all business class passengers.

Looking back, there was the bright seatbelt sign (the biggest one in the cabin) above me, so that could have caused some of the problems. But I realized that the biggest problems included a blanket slightly too small and the lack of a mattress pad. Is it better to have a textured seat when you’re awake and the huge aircraft is breaking like crazy during landing? Of course. Sadly the same doesn’t apply to a flat bed.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class View Over Poland

The dinner service started at about 4pm London time, a bit over two hours before the end of the flight, over what was probably western Poland. It started with fresh fruit (which was good, but not exactly the stellar appetizer you expect in business class).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Appetiser – Fresh Seasonal Fruit

I ordered the fish again for the main course, as I’ve heard that Cathay Pacific’s Asian fish courses are sublime. The fish itself was kind of bland and definitely a few minutes overcooked, though it had a sauce to go with it. In that case it would’ve been a good thing if the sauce wasn’t as strong as it was. It made a weird combination.

Also someone tell me if “pak choy” or “bok choy” is the correct romanisation of the Chinese 白菜.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entrée – baked halibut, pickled plum and bean sauce, Shanghainese pak choy and steamed jasmine rice

Dinner ended with a lemon tart. The pastry crust was just slightly too blond, the tartness of the lemon was great, there was minimal raspberry, the almond worked, but the pear chutney completely spoiled the dish. Big time. It was like sewer water (I’m not a fan of cooked pears, but this is to a new level). Fortunately there wasn’t much of it so I scraped it aside. Also, I stuck the fork in before I remembered to take a picture, though it made for a nice presentation, I guess.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dessert – Almond lemon curd tart, raspberry and pear chutney

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dessert – Almond lemon curd tart, raspberry and pear chutney

Dinner was finished an hour before the end of the flight, where I went to sleep and slept like a baby (it was pretty late back home, so I was tired).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Position After Pre-Arrival Service

I woke up to the landing call, and put my seat back upright.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin Pre-Landing

I pushed my seat forward and admired my first touchdown in Europe. The views were stunning. I could see the River Thames, the Shard, everything…

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

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Landing London Heathrow

After the beautiful countryside (and city) views, were were on final descent into London Heathrow.

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Final Descent London Heathrow

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Final Descent London Heathrow

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Final Descent London Heathrow

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Final Descent London Heathrow

Touching down, I looked out at the traffic. All the heavies made me really excited.

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

Among the traffic was a Virgin Boeing 787-9.

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Virgin Atlantic Planes London Heathrow

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Traffic London Heathrow

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Emirates Airbus A380-800 London Heathrow

We parked right at the end of Terminal 3, next to nothing.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Parked London Heathrow

We were one of the first off after my parents received a fresh bottle of wine as gratitude from the flight attendants, and I admired the plane that had flown me my longest flight so far. Damn, was that a scary flight.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER London Heathrow

Bottom line on Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

I liked the seat. I thought there could be a little more refinement, especially on the padding, though overall it was a great seat.

The service wasn’t amazing, but I appreciate how the emergency was handled, so overall I can’t rate the service on this flight given what happened.

Obviously, with all the kerfuffle, it wasn’t the best flight of the year. But I wouldn’t hesitate to fly this product again on great fares.

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