Cathay Pacific Is Testing Mattress Pads In Business Class

While Cathay Pacific has an industry leading first class product, their business class has never impressed me as much. Their seat is great — they have reverse herringbone seats, and they were one of the first airlines to offer that. But other than that, I find the product to be pretty average in terms of food, the service concept, amenities, etc.

Up until now they haven’t offered pajamas, dine on demand, mattress pads, etc. Fortunately it looks like the airline is finally starting to invest a bit more in their business class experience. For example, we recently learned that Cathay Pacific will be introducing Gogo 2Ku throughout their fleet of 777s and A330s, and all of those planes should feature the service by 2020.

On top of that, Cathay Pacific ran trials on flights from Hong Kong to both Chicago and London Gatwick, where they offered dine on demand catering. This is supposed to be expanded to more routes in the coming months.

We’ve now learned the next way in which the airline is investing in their business class product. Danny Lee at the South China Morning Post notes that Cathay Pacific is presently offering mattress pads in business class on flights between Hong Kong and both Chicago and London Gatwick. This is being offered as a trial, and if successful, will be expanded to more routes.

In general I’m a bit conflicted when it comes to mattress pads. I love the idea of them, but airlines often don’t get them right. So many airlines have introduced “mattress pads” in business class, when in reality they’re just really thin sheets that don’t add much padding. This is what American has done in business class on select flights, and I don’t even bother using them, since they’re so thin and don’t make the sleeping surface any more comfortable. Who knows, maybe American’s will be better when they switch to Casper shortly.

Then there are airlines that have added mattress pads that actually increase comfort significantly, as they add a layer of extra cushioning. I’m thinking of the mattress pads offered in business class on United, Virgin Australia, etc.

Ultimately I think the Cathay Pacific business class experience could be improved materially with just a few changes. The airline has so many ultra longhaul flights departing late at night, so the ability to get a better night of sleep and to eat what you want when you want makes a big difference. Here’s to hoping that Cathay Pacific ends up following through with offering dine on demand and mattress pads on all longhaul flights.

How important are mattress pads in business class to you? Do you use them when offered?

Comments

  1. I flew JFK-HKG Oct. 30th and that flight had a mattress pad, as did my flight home on Qatar DOH-JFK. Was a first for me seeing mattress pads in J on both airlines.

  2. Hopefully both concepts make theyre way into the A350 flights from HKG-CDG. Taking that flight in early March.

  3. A good Mattress pad is a thing of wonder. They are 2nd to a flat bed in business as far as I am concerned. The Virgin Australia ones I have experienced are fantastic. If Cathay choose the correct padding, and have dine on demand, they will move onto my preferred list for traveling SYD-LON.

  4. Just flew ANA who have mattress pads in both C and F. The F ones are a bit thicker but the ones in C are actually quite good as well. Too bad the seat didn’t have any storage at all

  5. On very long flights, say more than 12 hours, I appreciate the extra comfort of a mattress pad. However, on shorter flights, e.g. TATL, I think it takes the flight attendants too much time to set them up and effectively shortens the – already limited – sleeping time. So I’d rate the extra sleeping time over the extra comfort.

  6. Skinny bony people like me will value this highly. I often use CX or BR from YYZ and it’s a stark contrast: Good Internet (listed first for a reason), pyjamas, DOD, bed padding, no carts in meal service, are all features of the EVA experience. How anyone can consider Cathay high-ranking is a mystery to me. It’s the Wi-Fi, stupid!

  7. Very important to me. I don’t like to sleep directly on the seat as I sweat and don’t want my seat to stink because of me. Even a think sheet would be fine, but I need something in between. Surprisingly many airlines still don’t offer it.

  8. From what I heard, the dine in demand will not be expanded as it was very challenging for crew to cope and they could not get it right.

  9. Liked it on my last Polaris fight. Made it much more comfortable and took only 1 additional minute to get in place.

  10. @Jerome,

    That is too bad. I think dine-on-demand would be the biggest single positive change CX could make. The meal timings are absurd on some of the transpacific flights, being woken up for dinner at the halfway point on flights to JFK, etc.

    CX catering has always been pretty poor in business class anyway so the lack of service flexibility makes it even worse.

  11. Cathay’s biz seat is tight across the shoulders – find it the weakest part – could care less about the rest.

  12. “Cathay Pacific has an industry leading first class product” Really? I hear others saying the same thing. I flew CX F round trip from SFO to South East Asia and was not that impressed. The food was just average and so was the service. I was most disappointed with the service. For example: on the SFO-HKG leg, when I wanted something sometimes I have to ask twice to get it. The SQ F was much better – when I asked for anything they always got it right away and I never had to ask for something more than once. Even when I travel economy class in SQ I never have to ask for anything twice. It was frankly mind boggling and totally unexpected for me.

    The best part of CX F for me was the pajamas and their First Class lounge in HK.

  13. I agree—a proper mattress pad makes a world of difference for bed comfort. I will chose United Polaris over many other carriers TATL because the mattress pad makes the seat so darn comfortable! I actually think the United mattress pad and overall bedding is better than what many airlines offer even in first class (especially BA, who I find myself flying a bunch to get a nonstop between JFK and LHR and because I appreciate the dining at the Concorde rooms).

    I disagree that the ANA mattress pad is comfortable. I find it too firm and springy.

  14. Just disembarked from CX Business. The duvet was so thick and heavy – and the cabin so warm – that I lay the blanket down as a mattress pad, and used the flimsier, economy-class-style blanket as a blanket. A handy fix (until they roll this out.)

  15. If CX wants to have a competitive business class, they have lots to fix. The biggest issue is their crew morale and crew-to-pax ratio. CX Secrets is pretty illumination as to what the crew thinks.

  16. How much is a matress pad? 200 USD? How many flight segments will it last? Maybe 400? So we are at 0,50 USD per flight segment. How much is a flight (one way)? 1.500 USD?
    Well, so now we are talking about 0,50 USD per flight segment….

    Same for amenity kits etc. etc.

  17. As I fly J on QF frequently I am so use to having a mattress pad to sleep on. So much so that I get a little shock when I fly another carrier and my seat isn’t made up with one if it is a sleeping flight. They do make a difference.

  18. CX FAs prefer to serve food based on what will reduce their workload (hence the sudden decisions on some ULH flights to serve food midflight rather than at the end). Of course they could not handle dine-on-demand. They probably thought it meant “dine when WE demand”.

    The mattress pad has the same problem. You can’t just throw it at the customers; you have to provide turndown service, on demand. And CX FAs will not want to do that. If they do it at all, they will want to do it when it is convenient for them, which does not work for passengers at all.

  19. The biggest problem with CX in business class has little to do with the comfort of their seats. Their hard product is comfortable enough, and offers ample privacy.

    My biggest frustration when booking with CX is their catering. I fly them often and find they have arguably the least impressive catering of the elite club of major airlines. It is often just flat out bad or at the very least boring. Service lacks personality and moves painfully slow during cocktail and meal delivery.

    Simply put, I rate CX highly (in J) on hard product and poorly on catering/soft product.

  20. I’ve gotten quite attached to South African’s thick, clunky mattress pads. It’s clear why nobody else uses them, as they take up a lot of space – by your feet at takeoff and during dinner, then in the overheads for landing. But sleeping on the seat fabric seems primitive once you’re used to a mattress pad.

  21. I wish all airlines had dine on demand. Whats the point of eating a ton of snacks or a full meal at the lounge, only to takeoff and be offered another meal again, where you have no choice but to eat it at that time! Urgh.

  22. Just as a newbie, what is meant by “reverse” herringbone seats?
    From what I see, this is angled.
    Reverse would mean facing back to economy surely?
    Appreciate the guidance on the terminology.

  23. @chuck

    “CX FAs prefer to serve food based on what will reduce their workload (hence the sudden decisions on some ULH flights to serve food midflight rather than at the end). Of course they could not handle dine-on-demand. They probably thought it meant “dine when WE demand”.

    The mattress pad has the same problem. You can’t just throw it at the customers; you have to provide turndown service, on demand. And CX FAs will not want to do that. If they do it at all, they will want to do it when it is convenient for them, which does not work for passengers at all.”

    You make it sound like CX FA is a bunch of lazy cabin crew and they at fault. But let’s consider the fact that CX has one of the highest pax to FA ratio in their premium class (or lowest FA to Pax ratio), which mean each FA has to serve more customers. It is rather hard to demand more from them. Other airline that offer dine on demand has at least 2-3 extra crew in J class cabin to provide the same service. Maybe you should ask CX management why they aren’t willing to provide the adequate man-power in-order for them to provide a reasonable service delivery time?

    in terms of mattress pad, didn’t they included that in the initial dine on demand trial?

  24. //Here’s to hoping that Cathay Pacific ends up following through with offering dine on demand…//

    Many CX cabin crew will hate you for that. Feedback from cabin crew about the dine on demand trials were particularly negative. They hate the new service. They call it ‘die on demand’ for good reason. They couldn’t get enough rest after this service, and the airline has also been cost-cutting on their time of stay in some hotels.

  25. Just stepped off the HKG-ORD flight with Cathay yesterday. They offered the mattress pads for both flights and I think they were done quite well. The pad is included with the blankets at every seat and is fairly thick. It secures t the headrest, and was generally comfortable. I think they did well with this pad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *