Airline review: Cathay Pacific business class

Our rating

4.5 out of 5


Sydney to Hong Kong


777-300ER. Cathay was the first airline to acquire this aircraft model and with 65 of them in its fleet, is one of the world's largest operators of the plane.


Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club frequent flyer programme, part of the One World Alliance. In Sydney business class passengers can enjoy Qantas lounge access. 


Business seat 21A


Nine hours, 40 minutes


Cathay Pacific has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities. There are four flights daily from Sydney – two on the Boeing 777-300ER and two Airbus A330. The airline also offers three flights daily from Melbourne, 11 flights a week from Brisbane, four flights weekly from both Cairns and Adelaide, and  10 flights weekly from Perth.


In the business class cabin the reverse herringbone seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration with a generous 82-inch (208cm) pitch, and width of 21 inches (53cm). The retractable armrest can be lowered to further increase sleeping space. The seat reclines to fully flat. The two preset settings for sitting and sleeping make reclining easy. All seats have direct aisle access.


There's a 30-kilogram limit on checked-in luggage, with no restrictions on the number of pieces. One carry-on item with a 10-kilogram limit is allowed. 


Passengers gets a fluffy quilt and pillow, and an amenities kit designed by Seventy Eight Percent with Jurlique skincare products, socks with treading, a sleep mask, and toiletries. Art works hung around the cabin and wall-mounted vases with orchids are a nice touch.



The StudioCX entertainment system offers 150 films including 30 new releases on a pop-out 39.1cm (15.4-inch) touchscreen TV with good quality noise cancelling headphones. There are also more than 500 TV shows, TED talks, 888 music CDs, audio books, 22 radio channels, and 70 games to play. There is also an international adapter and a USB port if you prefer to use your own devices for entertainment or work.


Attention to detail is paramount. When, upon boarding, a fellow passenger's glass of water is knocked over his seat by someone's bag brushing past, two flight crew promptly move him. Meanwhile, my welcome glass of Deutz Champagne is topped up and hot towel delivered and I am always addressed by name throughout the flight.


It's an overnight flight so food is served just after take-off. My choice for starter is a chilled plate of antipasto including bresola, chive cream cheese, melon, prosciutto, pastrami and caprese. Knowing there is an onboard skillet, the choice for main of seared beef fillet is a highlight. For dessert the options are displayed on a trolley and include triple chocolate mousse cake and fresh fruit as well as a cheese plate. There's a good selection of wines and signature drinks: on my flight the wines of beaujolais crus were being promoted. I am given a handy pamphlet explaining the region and the wines on offer. A box of pralines is offered afterwards as a bedtime snack before lights are dimmed.

Come morning there's a choice of frittata, dim sum or prawns and fishcake congee served with Illy coffee. I choose the former which is delicious, and the cafe latte is the best I have had in the air.


The small screen on the control panel which shows time to destination as well as local time at destination is handy when waking up, there's no need to check it on the screen. 


Service and food are excellent, but best is the comfort factor with seats so wide you can move around, bend your knees, even semi-spreadeagle on this overnight flight.

Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong Business Saver is priced from $6146 from Sydney to Hong Kong. See

Andrea Black travelled courtesy of Cathay Pacific