Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Jakarta

Introduction
British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge Chicago Airport
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Chicago To Hong Kong
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Jakarta
Transiting Jakarta Airport
Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Jakarta To Tokyo Narita
Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Tokyo Narita To New York JFK


My flight was departing from Hong Kong at 4:05PM, so I got to the airport at 2:45PM. I was already issued my boarding pass in Chicago a couple of days prior, so proceeded directly to immigration and security, which took about 15 minutes.

I briefly stopped by Cathay Pacific’s First Class “The Wing” Lounge, which I had access to thanks to my oneworld Emerald status. I had a couple of glasses of champagne, and then at around 3:30PM headed to my departure gate.

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Cathay Pacific’s “The Wing” champagne bar

My flight was departing from the far end of the concourse, so by the time I got to the gate at around 3:45PM they were on final boarding call, and I was among the last people aboard.

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Cathay Pacific A330 Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific 719
Hong Kong (HKG) โ€“ Jakarta (CGK)
Sunday, February 15
Depart: 4:05PM
Arrive: 8:00PM
Duration: 4hr55min
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 16K (Business Class)

I was curious to try Cathay Pacific’s new regional business class. I’ve flown their old regional business class many times, which basically consists of rather tired but comfortable recliner seats, which are marginally more comfortable than domestic first class within the US.

Cathay Pacific’s regional A330s consist of a total of 42 business class seats, spread across seven rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. I assigned myself seat 16K, which was a window seat in the third to last row of the cabin.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class A330

The seats are quite interesting given that they’re actually “shell” seats. When you recline your seat you’re reclining forward in your “space,” rather than “into” the space of the person behind you. While I like shell seats for longhaul seats where there’s plenty of legroom, the concept is a bit perplexing for regional seats.

The legroom is marginally better than domestic first class within the US, though I find the whole shell “casing” to be a bit restrictive, personally.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class A330

Each seat had a personal television, and then the tray table folded out from the seat in front, which sort of reminded me of what you’d get in economy.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class legroom A330

The area for your feet was quite small, especially when the legrest was placed up.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class legroom A330

The seat controls were located on the center armrest, right above headphone jack.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class seat controls A330

Then between seats were small storage pockets, where you could place glasses, phones, etc.

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Cathay Pacific regional business class storage A330

As I settled in I was offered a pre-departure beverage, though I passed, since I stayed well hydrated during my short visit to The Wing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Shortly thereafter I was offered the menu and wine list for the flight.

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Cathay Pacific business class menu

As the departure time rolled around the captain (I believe he was British) came on the PA to welcome us aboard and inform us of our flight time of 4hr25min. JJ, the senior purser, also introduced herself over the PA and started playing the safety video. The cabin was quite full, aside from a couple of seats not being occupied.

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Cathay Pacific business class cabin A330

We pushed back at 4:15PM, and taxied out to runway 7R. It was an overcast day, so the views weren’t all that great.

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View on taxi at Hong Kong Airport

We made it to runway 7R at around 4:35PM, at which point we were immediately cleared for takeoff.

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View on taxi at Hong Kong Airport

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View on taxi at Hong Kong Airport

Our climb out was smooth, and the views of the terminal were nice on departure — that’s the one benefit of taking off from the far end of the airport.

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View after takeoff from Hong Kong

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View after takeoff from Hong Kong

About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the crew sprung into action and began with the meal service. On this flight orders weren’t taken in advance, but rather the cart was rolled through the aisle course-by-course.

The dinner menu read as follows:

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And the wine/beverage list read as follows:

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To start I ordered a Diet Coke, which was served with some nuts.

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Cathay Pacific business class Diet Coke and nuts

About 20 minutes later the cart was rolled around with the appetizer and salad.

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Cathay Pacific business class dinner starter

The appetizer consisted of smoked salmon and was delicious. It reminded me of the days where Cathay Pacific served salmon in first class (though their new caviar presentation doesn’t suck either!).

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Cathay Pacific business class dinner starter — smoked salmon

The salad, while small, was tasty. I especially liked the citrus vinaigrette.

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Cathay Pacific business class dinner salad — mixed seasonal greens with citrus vinaigrette

A selection from the bread basket was also offered. I selected some garlic bread.

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Cathay Pacific business class garlic bread with dinner

For the main course I ordered the Thai red curry, which was more or less inedible. I know I’m on the picky side when it comes to meat, but it was dark meat and quite chewy.

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Cathay Pacific business class dinner main course — Thai red curry chicken

On the plus side, I had no complaints about the Haagen-Dazs cookies & cream ice cream, which was served for dessert. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Cathay Pacific business class dinner dessert — Haagen Dazs ice cream

The meal service took about 90 minutes, and was decent enough. The crew was friendly, attentive, and genuine, though with a 42 seat business class cabin you can’t help but feel like you’re just part of an assembly line.

I briefly browsed the entertainment selection, though nothing especially interested me, so I instead got some work done on my laptop.

The views were gorgeous as the sun began to set, so my eyes were glued outside the window for a while.

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Beautiful sunset view enroute to Jakarta

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Beautiful sunset view enroute to Jakarta

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Cathay Pacific airshow enroute to Jakarta

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Cathay Pacific airshow enroute to Jakarta

Eventually we were starting our approach into Jakarta, and about 30 minutes out the captain came on the PA again to inform us that we’d be landing at 8PM.

We had a smooth touchdown at 8PM sharp, and at 8:05PM made it to our arrival gate.

Little did I know what an exciting transit I’d have ahead of me…

Cathay Pacific regional business class bottom line

I think Cathay Pacific’s regional business class can best be described as comfortable but unmemorable. The crew was friendly and food (mostly) edible, though it’s not the most personalized experience with 42 seats.

And while I appreciate that the new regional business class seats look fresher, they’re not really more comfortable than the old product, in my opinion.

But then again, for a four hour daytime flight, what more could you really want?

I do think it’s worth pointing out that Cathay Pacific flies a lot of longhaul aircraft within Asia, so if you can snag one of those I’d highly recommend it. The way to tell whether it’s a longhaul aircraft is if business class is in a 1-2-1 configuration, which would mean you’re flying their product with reverse herringbone seats and direct aisle access at every seat.

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Comments

  1. Hmmmm…the entree looks like something from economy class.

    Is the Hong Kong weather you experienced common or do you also see sunny days on your visits?

    Waiting for the Maldives post which can only be deemed comprehensive if it includes a selfie in the new swim attire. Maybe an attention-grabbing headline like “Lucky in Male”? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ben,
    I could be wrong, but I’m confused by the timing you put up for the flight. Am I missing something?

    Sunday, February 15
    Depart: 4:05PM
    Arrive: 8:00PM (+1 day)
    Duration: 4hr55min

  3. @ Peter — ROFL! As far as the weather goes, it does tend to be overcast in Hong Kong quite a bit, so not too unusual, unfortunately.

  4. Lucky me…my CX HKG-BKK-HKG flights later this year are on A330s with the newer reverse herringbone seats. Surprised to see them on such a short route.

  5. i don’t eat meat but i am quite puzzled by your hate against dark meat chicken… i think it’s only an american thing, in many parts of the world white meat chicken is considered dog food because it’s dry and chewy.

  6. I agree with @Lantean. It seems like you have developed a recent aversion to dark and/or fatty meats (i.e. the best tasting ones).

  7. @ Tom — It’s not recent, I’ve never liked dark meat. And like I said, this was especially chewy.

  8. I was on CX139 last week from HKG to SYD (as if the BNA-LAX-SYD trip isn’t long enough already, I flew CX through HKG for an extra 7000 EQM cheaper than the shorter QF route…win)! That menu looks identical to what was given in premium economy on a 777. Most of the food selections are the same, too. So it seems the regional business class isn’t largely different than the international premium economy.

  9. I flew HKG-BKK during the month of January on the same aircraft you flew to Jakarta, while the service was incredible as usual from CX – I was struggling to find the “Comfort spot” to sleep since the angled bed position in business class it’s rough..The blanket also seemed to be fairly ran down which is something I would like to see them improve. Great report Ben!

  10. Oh god, what mess did CGK get itself into this time?

    Define “exciting” transit please. I’m curious =)

  11. April and May will have very few 77W (4 classes) flights between Hong Kong and Singapore/Bangkok again.

  12. Lucky, I will have to disagree with you regarding the new regional business class to be no better than the old one… I thought it was miles better than the old one… The old one had a plastic piece around the knee around that keep hitting your knee… And the old one never recline enough nor does the foot rest raises high enough to make into a comfortable sleeping position. At least with this new one, it attempt to get you into a lazy boy Z position. Which sleeps miles better! You will understand it if you fly alot of red eye flight around Asia with it! I absolutely hate the old seat with a passion!

  13. I was very disappointed with the new regional business seats. The use of a legrest, but not a real footrest, meant pressure under the thighs. If you aren’t overnighting in Hong Kong, then connecting to one of these leads to an uncomfortable flight (i.e., from a Transpac)

  14. I’ve done the regional thing twice on CX. To BKK and to SIN. I lucked out on one of the SIN legs with a 77W, which is of course lovely for a 3-4 hour flight. That said, I thought the A330 was fine. With the meal and a magazine, we were there before I got a chance to get bored or uncomfortable in the seat.

  15. Having done Trans-Continental on New York to West Coast in UA J, and Intra-Europe’s J, there is absolutely nothing to complain on Asia’s Regional J by CX.

    You get widebodies planes for CX, really good seats even if it’s still considered sort of a recliner for some of their older regional planes, and even champagne for short flights.

    For CX flights from HKG to TPE, a short 500-mile flight gives you a full meal, with wines and champagne. Try that in Europe. An Econ seat, with the middle seat blocked, and sold as business class. Try the recline. I need not mention about food and wine.

    When I took UA’s J from New York to West Coast, it was narrowbody, and the food and wine cannot be compared to CX. Not to mention even older recliner seats.

    And if we want to compare Fs of Transcon in US vis-a-vis Regional F within Asia? Try CX’s F from HKG to HND.

    And SQ flies F to quite a few routes within Asia as well. Some are using their A380 which comes with Suite F class.

    If the comparison is CX regional J with other airline’s longhaul J, then it is no longer apple vs apple. If we are comparing CX regional J with Intra Europe’s J or Intra North America J or even Transcon J, seriously, CX would easily come out tops.

    Even within Asia itself, CX’s regional J is extremely competitive. And the new generation A330 regional J from CX is a 1-2-1 Flat bed.

  16. I was also lucky and got a 1-2-1 on an A330 next week HKG-PVG. Is it exactly the same hard product as on their longhaul flights on a 777 for example or maybe slightly modified for regional routes?

  17. @ Thomas — It’s the same A330 they use on longhaul routes, so is virtually the same seat.

  18. hey lucky great report! Myself and partner will be flying next Sep on the same Aircraft SGN to HKG

    Looking for some advice on seat choice please? We were going to book seats 11D and 11G, but ive read that folk on the left hand side of the aircraft use the space in front of these seats to get to the toilet, is that correct?

    We cant book 11A/C or 11 H/K as these are basinets.

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