Review: Cathay Pacific 846 Hong Kong to New York JFK 777-300ER Business Class

Better late than never, right? Here’s, finally, the review of the flight that Jason has consistently raved about since October 2015.


Late last year, I travelled from Hong Kong to New York with Cathay Pacific in Business Class. Needless to say, it was an absolutely phenomenal experience. However, I had been putting off reviewing the flight because of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver reruns. However, after watching virtually every single clip, I thought it was time to actually get some work done, so here goes.

We arrived at Cathay Pacific check in during noon because we wanted to go on a lounge tour. The Business Class line was mercifully short and we were helped by a friendly ground agent shortly after arriving at the airport. She swiftly helped us check our bags in and was really friendly. Kudos to her!

IMG_3358.jpgCathay Pacific Business Class Check-In 

After clearing security, we spent our time in the Qantas Business Class lounge which Alvin has already reviewed (The Pier, which Alvin always gloats about, wasn’t open at the time). However, I’ll note once again that it’s a fantastic, well-designed space that’s a nice place to spend a couple of hours with friendly and attentive staff.

We eventually made our way to our departure gate after a quick shower and admired the beauty that was the aircraft flying us to New York.

IMG_3409.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

As the sun set, boarding was called for all First, Business, Marco Polo, and oneworld Premium members. It was a little chaotic, to say the least. However, I was amongst the first to make it aboard the aircraft.

IMG_3415.jpgCathay Pacific Boarding Sign Hong Kong Airport

We were cleared down the jetway and went through the (rather superficial) security check which saw AVESCO staff grope around my baggage blindly, before clearing us to board the aircraft.

IMG_3417.jpgHong Kong International Airport Jetbridge

Cathay Pacific Flight 846
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 2 Dep: 18:45 (19:00)
Destination: New York (JFK) Gate: 5 Arr: 22:40 (22:15)
Duration: 15 hr 55 min (15 hr 15 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 24K (Business Class)

As we boarded, Dawn, the friendly Inflight Services Manager welcomed us aboard and directed us to our seats, which meant passing through the First Class cabin. Those seats look really spacious and comfortable. Oh well, I can only dream of this luxury…

IMG_3418.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER First Class Cabin 

IMG_3419.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER First Class 

As well as the mini Business Class cabin, which looked like a nice, private space. Unfortunately, the seats in this area are quite popular and we weren’t able to reserve them.

IMG_3420.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mini Cabin

IMG_3421.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mini Cabin

After passing through the mini cabin, we were then welcomed by Coey, the phenomenal Flight Purser who would be serving our aisle.

IMG_3423 (1).jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

After a short walk, I made it to my seat, which was right in the middle of the cabin.

IMG_3424.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat

When sitting down, I accidentally pushed the television screen into the latched position. Unfortunately, the whole “unlatching” mechanism for the television didn’t appear to be working, so I had to call over a flight attendant who literally stabbed the button with a pen until the screen would finally release itself. Cathay, you really need to work harder with maintaining your planes…

IMG_3425.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Television Screen

As you can see in the image above, there was also comfortable duvet waiting at each passenger’s seat. It was quite thick and hotel-quality, it was too warm, especially given that Cathay generally keeps it’s cabins at warm temperatures.

IMG_3426.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Wing View

Here at YTHK, we’ve already reviewed the seat. However, I’ll just not once again that the seat is extremely well designed. It’s private while being spacious, while little things such as lights, power ports and seat controls are easy to access and use. The cherry on top are the storage areas, which are plentiful and well designed.

IMG_3427.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class IFE Controller, Seat Controls, Power Ports and Reading Light 

IMG_3430.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Armrest and Padded Hip Area

IMG_3433.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Legroom

IMG_3434.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Storage Area

IMG_3435.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Armrest

Shortly after settling into my seat, I was greeted by the friendly flight attendant serving my aisle whose name I, unfortunately, didn’t get, and was offered a drink. As they had (unfortunately) run out of Cathay Delight, I was stuck with the orange juice which was sour as ever.

IMG_3441.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Welcome Drink

At around this time, the captain turned on the fasten seat belt sign as refueling had already been complete. Immediately afterward, the Inflight Services Manager made an announcement telling everyone to get back to their seats.

IMG_3448.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat Belt Sign

Hot towels were also passed out by Coey, the Purser that would be serving my aisle. She was incredibly friendly. Quite possibly the best flight attendant that I’ve had on Cathay Pacific in a very long time. More on her later.

IMG_3453.pngCathay Pacific 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

Shortly afterward, the doors were closed and the safety video began to play, which was boring as usual. Thankfully, that video has now been replaced.

IMG_3458.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class 

After the video was played, the mood lighting was switched on, complemented by the Inflight Service Manager’s welcome aboard announcement which was coupled with the obligatory “no congregating in the galley with other passengers” announcement for U.S bound flights, which I really don’t see the point of, nor do I think is particularly valid. I mean, Virgin Atlantic has bars on every single one of their planes which are designed for interaction with other passengers…am I missing something here?

IMG_3465.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mood Lighting

As we taxied out further to the runway, the lights were completely switched off with the exception of some light blue hues in the “coves” above the overhead bins, which I don’t really get the point of. It doesn’t add much of an ambiance to the experience and is so weak that it’s effectively useless.

IMG_3474.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

At this time, the entertainment system was switched on.

IMG_3470.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entertainment System

Eventually, we started our takeoff roll, marking the beginning our 16-hour long journey to New York.

IMG_3477.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Takeoff

IMG_3480.jpgBuh-bye, Hong Kong!

IMG_3484.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Airshow During Takeoff

I conked out for the rest of our climb until the mood lighting was switched on and the service began. While the mood lighting looks nice and all, I don’t really understand the purpose it serves. Hey, at least it’s cool.

IMG_3487.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin After Takeoff

I took the chance to visit the toilets, which were stocked with the obligatory Jurlique toiletries, as well as a flower. The toilets were also really spacious, which makes it easier to change into sweats.

IMG_3491.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Toilet Toiletries

IMG_3493.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Toilet Floral Arrangement

The service started with the distribution of amenity kits and water bottles off a tray. The amenity kits were of the older “washbag” variety, which looked cool but was a total b*tch to use in practice. Those have now been replaced with a more conventional “pencil case” design which is uninspiring but at least not an annoyance. The flight attendants also handed out a bottle of Evian.

IMG_3497.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Amenity Kit and Water Bottle

The kits were stocked with eyeshades, non-slip socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, a glasses cloth and three Jurlique skincare products. I found the lip balm especially useful, as I find that my lips always get dried out when I fall asleep on planes. Aside from that, however, I didn’t really use any of the products. Some passengers didn’t even bother opening up the kit. Maybe reassessing the contents of the kit and taking out the things that aren’t truly necessary would be a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly move.

IMG_3501.jpg

Menus were also handed out. The menu design really irritates me. It looks like some intern spent 5 minutes on Photoshop whipping up a design. While it kind-of-not-so-really fits with the whole concept of “considered simplicity” that Cathay seems to be going for, it just looks like a half-assed effort at trying to be minimalistic.

IMG_3498.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Menu

A flight attendant then came around handing out tablecloths and placing them on tables. While it’s a “premium” element of the meal service, what’s the point of these things? Cathay serves every course on trays with the exception of coffee and dessert.

IMG_3502.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Tablecloth

I decided on watching Pitch Perfect 2, which was a movie that I’d wanted to see for a long time. While it wasn’t nearly as good as the first movie, it was still a commendable effort.

IMG_3509.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entertainment

The actual meal service started out with warmed cashew nuts, which were nicely salted. This was followed up with a Cathay delight, which looked like puke but tasted pretty good. It’s a shame that they run of the of the drink right after the first meal service. Given the popularity of the drink, wouldn’t it be a smarter move to stock more of it?

IMG_3514.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cathay Delight with Nuts

After a short wait, a starter of prosciutto with mozzarella cheese and rocket was served by the Flight Purser. The prosciutto was quite nice and mozzarella cheese was tasty. However, the rocket was stale and borderline vile. The dish itself was also really dry, so there’s that.

IMG_3518.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Starter

There was also a side salad, which was quite fresh. Unfortunately, it was served with a Citrus Vinegarette which was borderline vile. It. Was. So. Sour. Thankfully, they’ve replaced the dressing with a bottle of olive oil with vinegarette now.

IMG_3519.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Salad with Dressing

The flight attendant serving my aisle then came around with a bread basket. I selected the garlic bread, which was perfect. Crispy on the crust while soft and tasty in the middle. Despite how inconsistent Cathay Pacific’s catering can be, they consistently nail their garlic bread.

IMG_3524.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Garlic Bread

As is the norm on Cathay Pacific’s Business Class, the main courses were served on a trolley. While many airlines have ditched the trolley for hand delivered meals, Cathay is clearly staying #teamtrolley. It’s a nice concept, given that passengers can see their meals before selecting their main course, but it looks kind of tacky at times.

IMG_3527.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Meal Trolley

I selected the steamed chicken with rice, which seemed to especially delight Coey. She talked for a while about how she recommended the chicken because of how it was prepared and promised that it would be really tasty.

IMG_3529.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Course

She was right. The chicken was cooked perfectly and was really tender, the sauce was tasty and flavourful, the vegetables were crisp and the rice was soft and warm. Cathay Pacific really knocks their Business Class Chinese dishes out of the park consistently. Kudos to CPCS. Kudos.

The trays were then cleared, and dessert was served, with a choice of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, specially made pralines as well as a blueberry tart…hmmm. Where have I seen that before…

IMG_3536.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dessert

Oh…so they’re recycling desserts on flights from Hong Kong. So much for having “ever changing menus”. Fortunately for Cathay Pacific, despite being anything but creative, the tart was a fantastic blend of sweet and acidic flavours. I had a mug of milk tea to go with the meal which tasted fine. I also selected a praline. Cathay Pacific seems to have revamped their pralines to include some really interesting flavours, including sesame and sea salt.

A hot towel was handed out at the end of the meal.

IMG_3541.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

By this time, I had started settling in for the rest of the journey by making a total mess out of my seat…oops!

IMG_3542.jpgShenanigans at 35,000ft 

The mood lighting was set to an even darker setting, presumably so everyone could sleep.

IMG_3543.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mood Lighting

Eventually, the lights were turned all the way down. However, the cabin was still quite bright as many people turned on their reading lights.

IMG_3544.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lights Out

I settled on watching “Boychoir”, which was an incredible movie. Kudos to Cathay for offering the movie!

IMG_3547.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Movie

Eventually, I made my bed and went to sleep. Although the seat was comfortable for sleeping, it still wasn’t padded as well as I would’ve liked it. The pillows and blankets were quite nice, but the blanket was too heavy for an airline which keeps it’s cabins at “Mid-Summer Hong Kong” temperatures. Despite the cabin temperatures, I rested for a solid two or three hours.

IMG_3549 (1).jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

Unfortunately, I woke with a start with a sweaty head. Gah! Lower your cabin temperatures, Cathay!

At this time, the sun was just beginning to rise which made for some Instagram-worthy really nice pictures.

IMG_3561.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Sunrise

I ordered snow fungus and chicken noodle soup, which was prepared in around 20 minutes by the phenomenal flight purser, Coey. She even remembered my drink order of a Diet Coke and brought it out with my meal, which was a really nice touch. Something that really sets (some) Cathay cabin crew apart is their incredible attention to little detail and how much they care about the little things that really make a customer’s experience so much better.

IMG_3568.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Midflight Snack 

The dish was phenomenal. The chicken was tasty, the choy sum crisp and the noodles tasty. It hit the spot nicely for a mid-flight snack.

I worked on my laptop for a while, before the mood lighting was switched on again. Hot towels were handed out at this time.

IMG_3573.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

Tablecloths were then handed out by the friendly flight attendant.

IMG_3574.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Tablecloth

I settled for The Big Bang Theory, which was hilarious as usual.

IMG_3576.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Television

Trays containing fruit were distributed. The fruits were refreshing, tasty, and cold. I was also given a croissant, which was flaky, buttery and flavourful.

IMG_3577.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Starter

IMG_3580.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Croissant 

As I was finishing up my fruit, the drinks cart came around. I picked the smoothie, which was fantastic.

IMG_3581.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Smoothie

A cereal cart also came throughout the cabin. I picked corn flakes with milk, which you can’t go wrong with.

IMG_3582.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cereal

Shortly afterwards, a cart containing all of the mains came throughout the cabin, with a choice between dim sum, congee and an egg souffle. I picked the souffle.

IMG_3583.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Breakfast

The dish was fine. The eggs were quite fluffy but a tad bit greasy, while the potatoes were bland and dryer than a bone. Meanwhile, the sausage was cooked quite nicely and seasoned well.

I passed on coffee and tea. Shortly after breakfast service had ended, the captain came back onto the PA to announce that we were beginning our initial descent into New York.

IMG_3590.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin 

On a side note, the cabin crew aboard this flight were abso-fricking-lutely phenomenal. I’ve never seen a group of Cathay flight attendants so enthusiastic, friendly, yet professional when serving customers. I was so, so, so impressed by the warmth of the crew and how they were willing to go above and beyond to make the passenger experience as awesome as possible. This just proves that if Cathay Pacific does inflight service better than any other airline in the world on a good day. Kudos to the inflight service manager as well, who was really engaged in the service and played an active role in serving customers. Overall, I was so, so, so impressed by the flight attendants.

At this point, my camera stopped working, so I have no pictures of our descent into New York. However, I did have some spectacular views that I wished that I had gotten on camera.

We landed on time and taxied over to British Airways’ Terminal 7, which is unfortunately a complete dump. I mean, it’s disgusting. Fortunately, we had a friendly CBP officer who was welcoming, and before we knew it we were heading out to the National Car Rental office.

Bottom Line

Cathay Pacific’s Business Class is a fantastic way to get across the Pacific. The seats, although poorly maintained are still amongst the best in the industry and are really well designed. The food is poorly presented, but generally quite tasty and at a bare minimum edible. What really impressed me the most about the flight was the service. The flight attendants were phenomenal. Polished, poised, yet friendly and caring. It’s a perfect balance that many Cathay Pacific flight attendants nail. Don’t get me wrong, the product has its flaws, most specifically regarding catering, but still I’d highly recommend Cathay to anyone.

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