We recently had the pleasure of flying with Cathay Pacific on our recent travels to Seoul, South Korea as part of an excursion to visit the headquarters of LG Electronics and to see a few auto manufacturers whilst in the city. It was our very first-time flying Cathay Pacific, and what started out as an uncertain, “we don’t know to expect from their inflight hospitality” qualm was shun the moment we arrived at the dedicated check-in desk at OR Tambo International Airport.
As we write this, we’re glad to report Cathay Pacific goes above and beyond to make the journey a pleasant experience in any class of service in a way that makes us look forward to getting on the plane. With that, and the warm towel and welcome bubbles handed on arrival in our seats, we’ve listed our 10 Reasons Why We’re Loving them right now.
1. The Inflight Entertainment
Cathay Pacific recently released a statement stating that customers that fly on any of their aircrafts have four-times the entertainment available to discover and enjoy every time they fly. We tested this out, and it’s true. The entertainment system features touchscreens, a selection of more than 150 films and TV shows and digital magazines to ensure that there’s no shortage on entertainment. The audio channel contains an interesting collection of Western album – a bit of classic rock, modern gospel, cheesy pop – plus the likes of K-pop and Cantopop.
2. Live TV
Only available on the Airbus A350 aircraft, newly available live coverage of the latest sports events was available to us to ensure we never missed any of the breath-taking moments from the Rugby World Cup Semi-finals. If that isn’t exhilarating enough, passengers can also catch all the unforgettable highs and lows from the UEFA Champions League as they happen even while in the air.
3. Leg Room
This was an unanimous decision from our editorial team to move leg room to the top 5 things we love about Cathay Pacific. Usually when flying Economy with other airlines we’d have to search and even pay extra for an extra legroom seat. This was not the case with Cathay Pacific, when we flew economy on our Hong Kong to Incheon three-hour flight, we discovered that the legroom and seating configuration was less daunting that we expected. I am about 1.9m tall and it was more than adequate for this haul.
Meanwhile, the configuration of Premium Economy seating as experienced on our Johannesburg to Hong Kong haul is 2-3-2, as opposed to 2-4-2 in economy, with 21 seats in total. The seat is like old-school business class, with a full leg-rest (front row only) and a good recline. With a complimentary blanket and pillow, you can be sure to get some shut eye without the aid of sleeping pills or booze. For technicalities, the distance from the armrest to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it is 96cm.
4. The Fine Dining Experience
We were spoilt for choice and at some point, had to stop ourselves from overindulging (it’s not a bad thing!). As our morning flight took off just in time for lunch, we had a choice of three main courses you could mistake from the business class menu. I order the pan-fried fish with tomato, seasonal vegetables and white rice, and it’s a meal I could happily have ordered from any restaurant menu. There’s a choice between Australian wine or international spirits if that’s your vibe, to help things along. Gordon’s Gin and tonic went down smoothly. A lighter meal was offered late in the flight.
5. Betsy Beer for The Win
Cathay Pacific recently relaunched Betsy Beer, its very own locally brewed craft beer, with a new look and a new flavour. We sampled it on our haul to Hong Kong International. Upon the first sip, it’s not hard to miss its citrus-forward flavours in your mouth, it’s a smooth pale ale that won’t overwhelm the newcomers to craft beer. Betsy is created in partnership with local Hong Kong brewery Gweilo Beer and is available to all passengers on long-haul flights in all cabins.
6. Friendly Staff
As is the Cathay Pacific standard, you can expect professional, efficient service. The cabin crew pays immaculate attention to detail regardless of which class you’re flying with regular – but not too regular – checks from attendants to see if snacks or drinks are wanted. All of this makes the airline the number one choice for any type of traveller.
7. The Pier Business Lounge
We have never been fans of any layover or connect, regardless of the length. That’s until we were introduced to the Cathay Pacific lounges at Hong Kong International. These lounges are another thing altogether, so good in fact that we even look forward to a having a long layover between flights here. We had access to The Pier, a 3,306 square meter First and Business Class Lounge near gate 65 as we waited for our connect to Incheon taking off at gate 69. The use of high-quality and natural materials gives a sense of generosity and permanence; Cherrywood, limestone and bronze, are soothing and sophisticated.
There’s a vast Food hall with self-serve or freshly made cooked-to-order dishes and the coffee cart that’s the most important thing for some passengers, greets you as you enter.
8. Self-Care In The Lounge
For the fast paced, we discovered a room in the lounge that is a place of pure relaxation filled with low upholstered loungers and footstools. Filtered light casts a shadowy glow, creating a transcendental atmosphere that’ll transports you to a different place – one where you can escape the noise and hubbub of the airport or doze for a short while after your shower. Better yet, there’s also a dedicated yoga and meditation space available. Divided into two zones – it features a space for gentle yoga with guided videos led by Pure Yoga teachers and The Mind Sanctuary, where travellers can meditate and focus the mind.
9. Baggage Care
When checking in, ground staff clearly mark your luggage as priority even when boarding Premium Economy. Cathay’s Premium Economy allows checked baggage up to 35kg, or 5kg increased baggage allowance for you souvenirs. Two pieces were allowed as opposed to the one piece for economy, while carry-on is one bag up to 7kg.
10. Convenient Check-In
Our journey was made smooth and easy with dedicated check-in counters at OR Tambo International, and priority boarding at the take-off gate and when connecting.
Cathay Pacific flies daily flights out of Johannesburg to Hong Kong international Airport. The flights connect passengers to over 200 destinations around the world including popular Asian destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, China and many more.
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