I loved our two months in Taiwan, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to leave. Not because I was sick of the country, but because I had two business class flights on Cathay Pacific to enjoy. Not only that, but Breada and I had our “tour de lounge” planned for Hong Kong International Airport and I was super excited about that as well. Needless to say, we had quite the day ahead of us.
How Did We Book The Flight?
Points, of course! Cathay Pacific is a member of OneWorld and their flights can be booked with British Airways Avios. This particular set of flights cost just 24,000 Avios + $49 per person. If we had paid cash it would have been $445 each, which is surprisingly cheap considering Cathay flights are usually expensive. Normally this would make for a mediocre redemption at just 1.6 cents per point, but earlier this year there was a 50% transfer bonus from American Express to British Airways so my 24,000 Avios was really just 16,000 Amex MR points. This brings my redemption up to 2.5 cents per point, which isn’t great but it’s not bad either.
Check in was smooth and easy. There were more than enough dedicated business/premium economy counters so we waited maybe 2-3 minutes max. After the counter agent sorted everything out I asked him which planes we would be flying on our trip. After a quick look he told us an A330 for TPE-HKG and then, as he was reading the info for the next plane, his eyes lit up. We would have the brand new A350 for the HKG-BKK route. Today was going to be a good day.
I don’t want to write too much on the lounge because I plan on writing a comprehensive review of our “tour de lounge”, but I will talk a little since it was part of the overall flight experience.
Cathay Pacific is known for having some really awesome lounges and their Taipei branch was no different. It was equipped with multiple rooms to relax in so you never felt cramped, a spacious bar with a wide selection of drinks, a dedicated business area with 6 Macs to get your work done, as well as their famous noodle bar. All in all it was a pleasant place to spend the couple hours before our flight. If you’re ever in a Cathay Pacific lounge you must try the noodle bar. I got the beef noodle and it was delicious. It only raised my standards for the Hong Kong lounges, but more on that at another time.
Boarding was quick and efficient, as we’ve come to expect out of Cathay flights. There were dedicated entrances for economy and premium economy/business so I didn’t feel rushed to jump into my seat.
Due to the speed at which everyone boarded we actually left the gate a few minutes early. Not much, but it’s certainly better than leaving late!
Overall I was very happy with my seat (17G), but my expectations are much lower than most people in business class. We had just spent two months living in hostel dorm beds, so to leave Taiwan in lie flat, reverse herringbone business class seat was quite a treat. My only gripe is that Breada and I sat in the middle two seats (It’s a 1-2-1 configuration), but when you’re traveling with someone else that just makes sense. I just personally love to take a peek out of the window every now and again!
The cabin itself was quite nice and there was more than enough room to move around comfortably, as should be expected in business class. We were offered a pre-departure drink, which we accepted. I wasn’t in the mood for champagne so I opted for the fresh squeezed orange juice, while Breada had the champagne. One thing I really like is that they address you by name. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s a nice touch to the soft product that makes you feel like you really are getting a premium service. Also, props to the flight attendant for pronouncing my last name right. It’s not hard, but people always screw it up.
I would say the food was the weak point in terms of the entire experience, but I’m really digging here because the food wasn’t bad by any means.
The appetizer was a bowl of assorted fruits, which were very fresh and delicious. For the main course we had a choice of braised pork with rice and vegetables or roasted peppery chicken with broccoli and garlic potatoes. We both had the chicken, which was a poor decision because we should have gotten one of each to try them both. Anyway, the chicken wasn’t bad but it was smothered in a barbecue sauce that tasted almost exactly like Sweet Baby Rays. I thought it took away from the peppery aspect of the chicken and also made the dish altogether too sweet.
The desert stole the show. It was a slice of banana creme cake with shavings of white chocolate on top. If I could have swapped my main for a second piece of cake I would have! I probably could have just asked, but we had lots of food to eat in our lounge tour so I didn’t want to push it.
In Flight Entertainment
Cathay has a massive selection of TV, Movies, and games to keep you occupied during your time. I personally watched a couple episodes of Family Guy while Breada watched Game of Thrones. The flight was too short to really enjoy a movie, so the wide selection of TV was perfect.
And just like that it was over! It’s crazy how fast a flight can go by when you’re actually comfortable as opposed to being in a cramped seat sharing an armrest with a stranger.
We exited the plane quickly, in anticipation for our lounge tour. Be on the lookout for that post soon!
Have you flown Cathay Pacific? What are your thoughts on them? Feel free to comment!