Review: Cathay Pacific 530 Taipei to Nagoya Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Cathay Pacific Flight 530

Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Origin: Taipei (TPE) Gate: B8 Dep: 12:30 (12:30)
Destination: Nagoya Chubu Centrair (NGO) Gate: 17 Arr: 16:00 (15:30)
Duration: 2 hr 45 mins (2 hr)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 11K (Business Class)

Boarding was called approximately 30 minutes before departure.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Boarding

I know this is a minor gripe, but the jetbridges in Taipei are horrible. Not only are they decorated with possibly the tackiest carpet ever, but they constantly stink of B.O and are so claustrophobic. Where did the good old days of drive up airstairs go?

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Boarding

We were once again welcomed by the friendly crew aboard the flight. As the last flight was really rushed, we didn’t really get a “feel” for their style of service, so I was really looking forward to the flight (for the review, of course).

The Business Cabin is crafted effortlessly. Kudos to Cathay Pacific’s product manager for nailing it. The cabin’s a mixture of the signature CX seat colour, bright paintings by a local artist and stylish walls. It’s simple, yet sophisticated.

As I already went into a lot of detail about the seat just now, I think I’ll skip a more in depth introduction. However, I must once again stress that it’s one of the best Business Class seats in the skies, even after 3 years. Everything is within your fingertips, the finishes are beautiful and it’s a really comfortable seat.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat

The airshow was on the screens during boarding. Much to my dismay, we were on time, and the wind allowed us to arrive almost a whole 30 minutes earlier into Nagoya. Boo, why can’t I just spend more time in this seat!

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Display

We were quite rushed on departure, and the safety demo was shown while we were taxiing.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Safety Video

There also wasn’t enough time to hand out pre-departure beverages. Hot towel it is then…

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

The takeoff roll was smooth, and we were in the air quickly. There was a lot of traffic to the gate.

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Traffic Taipei Taoyuan Airport

We climbed out at about 12pm, bound for Japan.

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Climbout Taipei Taoyuan Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cruising Altitude View

Once airborne, I realised that the service aboard the flight was watered down. While I’m not saying that the major issues in the world are poverty and Cathay Pacific’s e- Taipei flight services, it was quite alarming considering that other competitors offering a cheaper price point were providing a higher standard of inflight service.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at today’s menu:

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Menu

As you can see, Cathay eliminated the “starter” and replaced it with a salad with a wee bit of protein. That’s quite odd given that on flights that are blocked at similar flight times (Beijing and Bangkok being some notable examples), you’re provided with a whole starter dish.

As for the wine list, Cathay also changed up some of the wines (well… champagne) aboard this flight. Instead of the normal Billecart Salmon, Cathay seems to be serving a Henriot champagne instead. I’m under legal drinking age, but it seems that the latter is less well regarded…

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Wine List

As it turns out, Cathay Pacific serves a different set of wines aboard their Japanese flights, so First Class passengers expecting Krug aboard flights from Hong Kong to Japan are going to be greeted with Armour De Deutz Champagne. It’s cheaper than Krug, so I imagine it’s a bit of a downgrade…

While waiting for flight attendants to emerge from the galley with our meal trays, I found that Cathay doesn’t provide movies on a flight that normally takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. That’s right. No movies on a flight of this length. Heck. In Dragonair Economy to Shanghai (Blocked at 2:30, which is 15 minutes less than TPE-NGO), you still get the standard selection of movies found on any Cathay Pacific/Dragonair longhaul flight. Is my logic wrong here?

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entertainment Interface

The meal started off with a drinks run. However, no nuts were given. Aww, nuts!

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cathay Delight

Then, meal trays were distributed. Each contained a small side salad with a wee bit of seafood in it, presumably to appear more “upmarket” than the competition.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Tray Setup

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seafood Salad

I do really love the small glass of water they provide with the meals, it’s incredibly thoughtful, and also presumably decreases the workload of hurried crew members who no longer have to run around providing glasses of water. I guess it’s the little things that matter.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Water

The main courses were then rolled out. I selected the halibut, which looked the least unappetising. Seriously, I’ve compared Cathay Pacific Business meal presentation to cheap takeaway, and I’m sticking to it.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Halibut Dish

I shovelled a spoonful of halibut and rice into my mouth, expecting it to be a gastronomic disaster. I was really pleasantly surprised. Okay, that’s an understatement. The dish was f*cking awesome. The halibut was flaky and perhaps slightly over-seasoned, the miso glaze was absolutely fabulous and not too salty, balancing out the slightly over-seasoned fish. In terms of other components of the meal, the rice was nothing to write home about, and the veggies were crisp and seasoned perfectly. I was recently asked by friends what dish I would live off. They thought I was crazy when I suggested this dish. Sorry buds, I’m standing up for my decision ;).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entrée

Ice cream was handed out after that. It was harder than the piece of cheese I left in my fridge for half a year by accident. Fortunately, I was aware that due to some “magic”, I was able to eat it nicely. We have reader Frequent Flyer to thank for that discovery ;).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Ice Cream

Chocolates were also offered. They were slightly rancid (the inside was half melted).

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Chocolate

Now, let’s talk service. As I had referenced many times, the crew aboard this flight were amazing. Out of 6 regional business class flights, this was the crew that shone out the most. While the ISM took a customary “hands off” approach, and didn’t really show herself throughout the cabin, the rest of the crew were fabulous. The flight purser working my aisle was extremely friendly, personable and had a great eye for attention to detail. While she wasn’t really polished, she had a great attitude that impressed me. However, what was so amazing was that she tailored the service to individual passenger needs. For example, she was rather motherly when dealing with me, but professional and friendly as per passenger attitude. I’m not sure if this was intentional but it impressed the hell out of me.

As I referenced above, I was extremely tired, so I tested out the bed and found it to be okay. It was a notch below the herringbone seats, but still satisfactory for a good night’s sleep.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed Mode

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed Mode

Before I knew it, we had begun our descent into Nagoya.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Descent Into Nagoya

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Descent Into Nagoya

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Descent Into Nagoya

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Landing In Chubu Centrair

After a transit, two flights, and lots of food, the first portion of my trip to Nagoya had ended.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Arrival Screen

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat Whilst Parking

With my mother and father in tow, I bid farewell to the crew, thanked the captain for a safe flight and went on my way to the Mariott Associa Nagoya.

BOTTOM LINE

I think we all know that the Cathay Pacific business seat is one of the best in the industry, and will possibly remain the best for a long time. With the introduction of a brand new seat next year, things can only go upward.

As for the service aboard the flight, the crew were fantastic, and textbook Cathay, with a personal touch added to it. I only have great things to say about them.

However, what really disappointed me on this flight was the watered down service. I understand that airlines want to cut costs, but providing an entertainment and dining service that is not only worse than competitors but all also not compliant with industry standards was what really left a sour taste in my mouth.

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