Cathay Pacific A330-300 Business Class, Dubai International – Hong Kong.
For this trip, we were looking for business class tickets from Dubai to Hong Kong and Bali. We had two choices, the first being flying from Dubai to Hong Kong on the Emirates B777-300ER, Hong Kong to Bali on the Garuda Indonesia A330-300, and lastly Denpasar/ Bali to Dubai on the Emirates B777-300ER. These days a 2-3-2 configuration is not what you’re expecting for business class. The other choice was flying from Dubai to Hong Kong on the Cathay Pacific A330-300 with the excellent reverse herringbone seats in business class, Hong Kong to Bali and back on the regional B777-300 with shell seats which seem fine for a short daytime flight, and finally from Hong Kong to Dubai on the A330-300.
The Cathay Pacific experience began from the chauffeur service they offer for passengers from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai to Dubai International Airport. Please note, this service is only eligible for passengers flying to and from Hong Kong in business class. Passengers flying Dubai to Bahrain and Bahrain to Dubai (The fifth freedom flight Cathay Pacific flies) do not get the service. A GMC Denali was offered for the 90 minute drive to Dubai. The driver was fine, just wish he had better driving skills. Cathay Pacific operates out of Terminal 1 (Concourse D) at Dubai International Airport.
We arrived at 2:40PM for our 5:05PM departure to Hong Kong. So the drama began here, we were traveling in a group of four. The friendly agent checked two of us in and printed their boarding passes. When she tried to print the other two, the system broke down. Apparently the system had issues with Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong as all airlines seemed to handle passengers smoothly. The employees working for Cathay Pacific tried to smooth things down by calming the passengers. Thirty minutes later, there was no response from Hong Kong. After a few calls, agents were allowed to do manual boarding passes for business class passengers which included writing all the information on an empty boarding pass. Finally at 3:50PM we got our manually written boarding passes to Hong Kong and our lounge invitations. At this point I knew that the flight would be delayed since boarding was scheduled at 4:15PM and by the time we got out boarding passes, there were about 75+ passengers queuing for check-in. We cleared security within 15 minutes and were on the train to Concourse D a few minutes later.
Cathay Pacific business class passengers are invited to use the Lufthansa Lounge at Dubai. The Lufthansa lounge was okay, there are showers which is pretty good for an out station business class lounge. The food quality was fine as well. The spread included salads, cold cuts, finger sandwiches, a pasta dish, white rice, and Thai curry. Drinks are also available. My complain about the lounge is that it is really small, but it seemed like a good place to spend thirty minutes or so.
Following the system failure, departure was delayed to 6:05PM instead. We showed up at the gate at 5:30PM since the agent who checked us in said she’ll give us our baggage tags at the gate. Boarding did not start until 6:20PM, starting with business class passengers. It was not until 6:30PM when the agent showed up at the gate with our baggage tags. Oh well, she seemed exhausted.
Scheduled Departure: 5:05PM.
Scheduled Arrival: 5:05AM.
Flight Duration: 8 Hours.
Flight Number: CX 746.
The eight-hour flight from Dubai to Hong Kong is operated by a 2-class A330-300 configured with 39 business class seats and 223 economy class seats. This flight was operated with the 5-year-old B-LAN which was the first aircraft in the Cathay Pacific fleet to have the new cabins installed.
I boarded through door L1 where the inflight service manager Clavel from the Philippines and Ching from Cambodia, one of the business class flight attendants welcomed us onboard and pointed me towards the left aisle. The 39 business class seats are spread across two cabins. The first cabin with 28 (7 rows) seats is between doors L1 and L2, and the other cabin with 11 (3 rows) seats is behind door L2.
Cathay Pacific has reverse herringbone seats on long haul configured A330s. These seats can also be found on the B777-300ER. The seats are configured in a 1-2-1 configuration which is perfect for a business class product.
Each seat turns into a fully flat-bed. Also, each seat has direct aisle access. For this flight I selected seat 18G which is in the last row of the first business class cabin.
Already waiting at the seat was a soft pillow and an extremely comfortable blanket. The seat controls were on the left with a controller for the personal television, a light bulb, the seat controls which were easy to use, a power socket, and a USB port. There is also a small cabinet to store things like your passport along with a mirror and the headphones inside. The tray table can be folded from the left hand side, there is also an exposed storage compartment.
Down to the right was the rack which had a magazine, duty-free magazine, and the safety card. Below the seat to the right is also a shoe storage area.
There were five flight attendants serving business class. Clavel and Norene from the Philippines, Ching and Joyce from Cambodia, and Kris who was Mandarin. All five were true gems, seriously better than all the flight attendants I previously had, be that on Emirates or Etihad. As soon as I settled into my seat, Joyce offered me a beverage. Choices included apple juice, orange juice, and water. I went with the orange which I spilled a few seconds later, oh well at least I drank a bit and it was refreshing. Refills were also offered though I passed. Hong Kong landing cards were also passed to passengers. At 6:40PM, Captain Jason who was British came on the PA to welcome us onboard, he apologized for the delay and stated that today’s flight shall take approximately seven hours and forty minutes and that we’ll be pushing back in the next thirty to forty minutes. A few minutes later, the flight attendants passed around the amenity kits which included an eye mask, socks, earplugs, a mouthwash, a tooth-brush, a tooth paste, a lip balm, an herbal recovery advanced serum, and rosewater balancing mist. Not bad for an eight-hour flight!
Finally at 7:10PM, the aircraft doors were closed with two empty seats in business class, and a full economy cabin. At this point, passengers were already reclining their seats. The safety demonstration was screened in both English and Mandarin. At 7:15PM we began our pushback out of gate D3 and 5 minutes later we commenced our 10 minute taxi to runway 30R were the cabin lights were dimmed. During the taxi, the traffic was really interesting with two Kuwaiti B777s one arriving and the other departing, a Saudi B777, the Singapore B777, Korean Air and China Eastern A330s, and finally the Thai Airways A350. At 7:30PM were number two at runway 30R for takeoff behind the Kuwaiti B777-300ER bound to Kuwait City. At 7:35PM, we were finally cleared for takeoff with a 45 second roll to Hong Kong.
Fifteen minutes after takeoff, Norene came to my seat, adressed me by my name, and presented me with the menu of today’s flight. From that point on, each of the five flight attendants adressed me by “Mister ________”. The dinner service started 25 minutes after takeoff when Kris presented with the appetizer which was a smoked salmon tartar, grilled prawn and chive creme fraiche. There was a small mixed side salad as well. A minute later, Ching came with the bread basket which I choose the garlic bread from and served me the drink, I went with a Coke.
The grilled prawns were light and perfectly cooked, the salmon remained untouched as I never ate smoked salmon. The flight attendants were extremely engaging. The one thing I appreciated was how fast were they in doing their service. As soon as I finished my appetizer, Joyce cleared it within seconds. I have to note that Cathay Pacific’s garlic bread is delicious. The main course cart was rolled on the aisle so passengers can choose whatever they want, and there were four options. Stir fried chicken with jasmine rice, slow cooked beef with mash potato, hamour machbous, and ravioli with tomato sauce. I went with the chicken which was literally the best dish I had in an airplane.
I also had the chance to try to ravioli which was very good as well.
The flight attendants then rolled a cart with fruit and cheese. I had a fruit plate which was refreshing.
Lastly it was time for some dessert, the dessert served was a pistachio and chocolate cake which was spectacular. I asked for some Hong Kong Style Milk Tea which was a bit different from the Milk Tea in the UAE.
The meal service was finally done at 9:20PM, just under two hours after departure. At this point, I decided to check out the lavatory which was pretty basic. There are two lavatories in front of the forward business class cabin and another between the two cabins.
I needed to get some sleep since it has already been a long day. As I mentioned above, the blanket was amazing that made it easy to sleep; however, a guy sitting in the middle of the cabin was snoring in an intense way which made it hard to sleep so I decided to put on the earplugs and got a solid three hour sleep. I woke two hours out of Hong Kong, just over Kunming, China.
Joyce approached me to see if I wanted to have breakfast, and what would I want to drink. I decided to have some orange juice. The continental breakfast consisted of a fresh bowl of fruit, bircher muesli and raspberry, and cinnamon raisin danish. There was also a breadbasket to choose from, I had a croissant.
At 6:35AM Hong Kong time, the Captain came on the PA to update us with the arrival time and the weather in Hong Kong. About 20 minutes out of Hong Kong, the cabin was prepared for landing where we began to hit some chop as it was a windy day in Hong Kong. At 7:05AM sharp we had a hard touchdown at Hong Kong International Airport’s runway 7L as the aircraft was swinging in both directions on approach. Upon touchdown, it was a five-minute taxi to the gate. At 7:15AM doors were opened having finally arrived after a two-hour delay, I thanked the crew for the amazing flight and there were many employees waiting outside the gate area for passengers connecting to Manila since 60% of the passengers seemed to be connecting to Manila. Actually, there were some passengers connecting all the way to Los Angles! There were also some Cathay Pacific employees with 100$ vouchers to all the passengers as an apology for the delay. It was a short walk to immigration, and our bags were the first ones out, we were at the taxi stand within 20 minutes of disembarking the aircraft, amazing!
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class Bottom Line
Cathay Pacific offers the best business class seats from the UAE to Hong Kong. It easily beats Emirates and Etihad. The service was exceptional, the food was great, and the flight attendants were proud in doing their job. This maybe my new favorite business class product, and yes I do think it’s better than the Emirates business class.
Seat Comfort: 10/10.
Service: 10/ 10.
Food: 9.5/ 10.