Cathay Pacific Business Class Review - Auckland to Hong Kong
We are finally back home, and not as well rested as we would like seeing as it was straight back to work. However it's now Friday night, and I finally have some time to start writing about our 2.5 week trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
We left for Hong Kong from Auckland on the 22nd December. Our business class (also known by travel aficionados as 'J' class) flights to Hong Kong one way on Cathay Pacific did not cost more than about NZ$250. We used an assortment of Qantas Points (earned), and Mileage Plan Miles with Alaska Airlines.
Buying points with Alaska is one of the best deals around if you want to fly business class on the cheap - join up with their membership program, and then wait for their 3 monthly sales, where you can purchase points with between a 35% and 40% bonus. Keith from Point Hacks has written a great guide on how to use the points, and I recommend you have a read.
Cathay Pacific award availability is usually pretty good, however it is rumoured that they have been considering some changes in an attempt to prioritise their own membership base.
We made sure we arrived at Auckland Airport fairly early so that we could enjoy Air New Zealand's new International Business Lounge. Cathay Pacific does not have a dedicated lounge, but as they have a partnership on flights to Hong Kong, it makes sense that they share one.
Getting to the lounge was swift, thanks to business class dedicated check-in, and the economy line would have seen us standing for a good 30 minutes (I do however have Oneworld Sapphire membership through Qantas, which would have given us access to business class check-in with Cathay nonetheless).
I quite enjoy the new lounge. I think it's bright, airy, and well spaced out. It would be one of the better business class lounges that I have visited, and I think it gives the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge a good run for its money.
The lounge has an innovative coffee ordering system, where you select on an iPad what type of hot drink you would like, how strong, and then you input your name. When your drink is ready, they put it on the counter with a name receipt. If you are flying Air New Zealand and you have downloaded their app for your phone, you can order your coffee before you even get into the lounge, or whilst you're sitting and eating. The app will then notify you when it is ready to collect.
This was my partner's first time flying business class, so understandably, she was a little excited (per the above pictures).
You will notice that J is usually filled with passengers who dress comfortably - trust me, the most frequent travellers do not dress up. It is a common ruse that dressing better will get you an upgrade to business, but I just don't buy it.
I am liking the new amenity kits, however the tie rope is a little less practical compared to the pouch that Cathay Pacific previously offered. The quality of the material used however has definitely gone up a notch:
The Jurlique products are high quality and are manufactured in Mount Barker, just outside Adelaide in South Australia. For more information on the new kits, check out this great write up on SUPERADRIANME. The bag also comes with a Jurlique discount offer upon presentation in any of their retail stores (and I have experienced that when you mention it to them without this piece of paper, they're still willing to offer you the discount, so give it a go):
The food on board was lovely, as usual.
Overall, we were both really happy with the in flight service, and the cabin crew were efficient and friendly, as always. The plane is getting a bit aged, but they will be upgrading them this year. We taxied into Hong Kong about 15 minutes early, and seeing as we had some time to spare, we thought we would check out Cathay Pacific's 'The Arrival' lounge. The lounge is small and cozy, and generally not very busy, as admittance criteria is strictly those flying Cathay Pacific and Dragonair only, in:
- Business or First Class; or
- Economy and Premium Economy if you are a Gold or Platinum Marco Polo Member, or an Emerald Oneworld member.
It was nice to be able to have a quick shower to freshen up, and a snack, before heading on the MTR Airport Express Train into Hong Kong, en route to our hotel.
Remember - use Klook if you're going to book tickets on the train, they are cheaper than retail, and the collection coupon is delivered to your email instantly.
My next post will be about using Visa's Concierge service for Platinum (or above) credit card holders, and Hong Kong's coupon/deal culture that leaves tourists subsidising the dining and attraction bills of others.