Airline review: Cathay Pacific business class

THE PLANE

Boeing 777-300ER. Cathay Pacific has 53 in its fleet and has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900.

THE ROUTE

Sydney to Hong Kong.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Marco Polo Club. Points can be redeemed on Oneworld airlines, including Qantas.

CLASS

Business. Seat 20G in cabin configured 1-2-1.

DURATION

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Scheduled to be 9 hrs 20 minutes, we leave on the dot at 9.55pm and arrive 23 minutes early at 4.52am the next day.

FREQUENCY

Four flights daily between Sydney and Hong Kong. More than 70 weekly to six Australian cities.

THE SEAT

One of the best in the business. The controls are easy, the herringbone seat pattern brings privacy, there are lots of handy places to store things and the designers know most people sleep on their side, so the flatbed is wider where knees bend. It's 208cm when flat and the seat is 51.3cm wide.

BAGGAGE

The checked baggage allowance is a remarkable three pieces of 23kg each and two pieces of cabin baggage at 7kg each.

COMFORT

A soft quilt and pillow complement the flatbed and the amenity kit, in a snazzy two-tone bag, has lip balm, day and hand cream by Jurlique. There's a 14ml mouthwash capsule with the toothbrush and paste. The non-slip socks, with rubber grips, are a step above the norm.

ENTERTAINMENT

The airline's 116-page magazine Discovery has a movie mood guide "for the way you are feeling", with recommended films for "I'm exhausted, needing action-packed or funny"; "I want to get immersed"; and "I'm wide awake, give me something left-field". My choice, Queen of the Desert, is immersing and pre-general release. There are multiple film, TV, sports and music options.

SERVICE

There's not a spare seat in my cabin, so the crew has its work cut out, but service is slick and fast. The timing of breakfast is slightly odd with lights on two hours out of Hong Kong, and the meal served before the place is plunged into darkness again for the final 60 minutes. And I could not help but notice, seated nearby, the bathroom is cleaned with impressive regularity. Ah, if only that practice was universal.

FOOD

A good combination of Aussie and Asian dishes, from roasted lamb loin to kung po prawns with stir-fried vegies and a pleasant chilli hit. Local Aussie heroes (Maffra Sage Derby and Jindi Blue) rule on the cheese plate while breakfast includes excellent dim sum, glutinous rice and har gow. It's topped off with an Illy espresso. Perfect, really.

ONE MORE THING

The flight, CX138, arrives at 5am. Immigration, customs and baggage collection are seamless but the airport express train doesn't operate until 5.50am, so The Arrival – a lounge with showers, workstations and newspapers – is a great option for business class customers.

THE VERDICT

Swapping home for Cathay Pacific's on-board bed is no hardship. If breakfast was served later, it would amount to a very good, normal night's sleep.

Sue Bennett travelled as a guest of Cathay Pacific Airways.

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