Let’s spill the beans right away – this was an awesome flight with the well-oiled Cathay Pacific machine.
I had arrived early to check in after a bit of exploring in LA. It was open four hours before departure (there was also an earlier flight to Hong Kong) and check-in took all of a few seconds; no crazy back and forth.
Security at the International Terminal looks annoying, with lines sneaking all over the check-in hall. However, it was all good crowd management and there was literally no wait once I made it to the actual TSA checkpoint. Even more surprising – everyone was in their best mood and there was no yelling and no rudeness – just actual people. It was likely the friendliest TSA checkpoint ever! Since speed is encouraged at the airport, everyone was treated to TSA Pre-style checks – laptops stay in their bags, shoes stay on and there’s just a metal detector. It was amazing – and fast!
I had been to the LAX Oneworld Lounge – run by Qantas – before and when I arrived at 9PM it was bustling. But just shortly after three Qantas flights and two flights to Heathrow left, it was just me, a few more passengers on my flight and the staff.
I feel that the lounge doesn’t have the best food and lags behind the LAX Star Alliance Lounge by a mile, but it has a lot of premium drinks – many sparkling ones and lovely espresso from a semi-talented barista. The WiFi is fast, too, and since it was so quiet there, it was a wonderful lounge experience overall.
Boarding was right on time, as the flight itself pretty much was, too. It went quickly, seemingly with everyone knowing exactly what to do. Cathay staff are really concerned about efficiency.
I got a suite on the first officer’s side in the 1-2-1 configuration.
As mentioned before, I consider Cathay Pacific to be the best business class product to sleep in. I grabbed a glass of champagne and just a few minutes after our scheduled departure time we started our take-off roll out to the ocean.
It was almost 1.30AM, so I decided not to bother with the entertainment system and just go to sleep right away. There are no pajamas on this flight, so no need to wait. At 10,000 feet I declined my seat and would only wake up over the Russian town of Yakutsk (where I will be next year).
I walked around the cabin for a bit and felt sleepy enough to try to sleep again; when I woke up, we were just 90 minutes outside Hong Kong – I had snoozed for almost 12 hours nonstop thanks to Cathay Pacific’s excellent seat that goes into a fully flat position. Cathay provides an excellent blanket and it helped that the temperature was a perfect 68 degrees. Also, the cabin was so quiet – no babies or shrieking toddlers (unlike a recent Etihad flight of mine).
The cabin crew weren’t really present, but hey, everyone seemed to be sleeping anyways.
Breakfast service had already started when I woke up and I combined a few breakfast items with some dinner and snack items to try. Cathay isn’t usually my favorite airline food.
From all the items I tried, I thought the breakfast ones were the best, not that breakfast is a difficult meal to prepare.
A few more TV episodes and we would be approaching Hong Kong 30 minutes early.
Taxiing did not take long and the doors opened less than 10 minutes after touching down. Beat that, LAX!
In summary, this was a perfect night flight. I feel much more comfortable in the Cathay Business Class suite than in first class, which is too open and the seat is too soft. The food was just OK, but who cares for a night flight. The staff were overly friendly but knew precisely what to do and how to treat the rather diverse mix of passengers perfectly. The only thing missing was fast WiFi, which would complement the business-friendly flights Cathay offers.
Immigration was deserted that day and I was on the airport train in minutes.
I’m already looking forward to my next few flights in Cathay Business Class.