I was so excited. I live in Brussels and found a great business class deal with Cathay from Amsterdam to Seoul via Hong Kong. It was an offer too good to refuse and coincided perfectly with my birthday. It was also my first time flying on Cathay's Boeing 777-300ER, a fleet of over 60 aircraft! I have tried Cathay's business class product on the A330-300 before between Hong Kong and Sydney but as I understood the seat was slightly narrower to accommodate the narrower cabin. I was keen to compare the two aircraft.
On the morning of the 16th of September I packed up my car, said goodbye to my cat and set course for Schiphol airport, just outside Amsterdam. The drive took me under two hours and I had already pre-booked airport parking at a very reasonable price. Once the car was parked I hopped onto one of the regular shuttle busses to the terminal.
Check-In and Security
Check-In was painless with my baggage sent all the way through to ICN. No queues, and no hassle. I was so happy not to be flying in Economy as the queues were horrendous with lots of passengers travelling with a lot of luggage!
Once checked in, I headed upstairs to clear security. In recent years AMS has undergone a major change and now separates arriving from departing passengers (with the addition of an extra floor), meaning that centralised security checks can now take place. Previously, security in the Non-Schengen part of the terminal took place at the individual gates which meant having to turn up earlier. I had access to priority boarding, which was pretty painless. I was through in a tick.
Cathay Business class passengers and One World status holders are eligible to use the British Airways lounge, situated in the Non-Schengen part of the terminal. The lounge has recently been renovated and has some wonderful views of the apron. As it was still relatively early, I treated myself to a Bloody Mary preferring instead to await the culinary delights on board. The lounge was nice and not too crowded - the food could be improved with only light snacks on offer but as it is primarily used by short-haul BA passengers it was ok.
Boarding & Seat
Always the part I hate the most! Due to the copious amounts of hand luggage, Economy passengers were queuing very early for the flight blocking the gate area. There were also lots of people eligible for priority boarding, which was open was One World Sapphire, Emerald as well as Cathay Business Class passengers. As I recall there was also a separate priority queue for Premium Economy passengers. I arrived pretty late but was still able to board as one of the first passengers, which was nice. AMS also has dual bridges at the G-Pier with dedicated bridge for Business Class. The departure gate was G3.
Once on board I was shown to my seat, 16A, in the forward Business Class cabin on the left hand side. Cathay uses a reverse-herringbone configuration for its long haul business class in a 1-2-1 format. It is by far my favourite configuration and has been adopted by many other airlines. The seat offers privacy as well as ample legroom and comfort. I had to strain my neck a little to look out of the window but that wasn't a huge issue.
At my seat was a pillow. A menu and amenity kit was then handed out. A blanket was placed under the footstool for easy access during the flight. In Business Class amenities are provided by Australian cosmetics company Jurlique in an attractive blue pouch. I didn't take a photo of the contents - sorry!
As boarding continued I was offered the choice between a glass of water or champagne. Naturally I went for the champagne, which was Deutz Brut Classic.
Departure was very smooth with a short taxi to the runway and no queuing. All in all a fuss-free start to the flight!
As you can see below, an extensive menu was handed out prior to departure. As the flight was a lunchtime departure, we were serve lunch after departure and breakfast prior to landing into Hong Kong. The cabin crew came to take our orders shortly after the seatbelt signs had been switched off, including our first drink order. I started with a further glass of champagne and some warm nuts.
For lunch I had the following:
Starter - Chorizo, Serrano ham, fuet with manchego and tapenade Main - Stir fried prawn with ginger and shallot sauce, broccoli and steamed jasmine rice Cheese Course Desert - Fig compote
The food was all in all very good! I just wish they would work on presentation a little better. Also the meal was served onto a tray, which I didn't particularly like.
For breakfast I had the following:
Main - Stir fried noodle with mixed vegetables and shredded beef tenderloin in oyster sauce
The breakfast was of course accompanied with coffee, muesli, fruits and juices. The only thing we could choose was the main course, which was very nice! I love Asian breakfasts!
Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the inflight entertainment but it was extensive with many choices. I did sleep for much of the flight but when I was awake I did not have the chance to be bored!
We arrived into Hong Kong on schedule and it was still dark outside so the views weren't terribly good. We parked towards the end of the main terminal but as I was transferring to another flight I didn't have to walk far. I then decided to visit the Pier lounge, which is newly renovated and absolutely stunning. I loved it! At that time of the morning there weren't too many arrivals and I was one of the first people through transfer security. It was nice after a long flight. I love Hong Kong airport!
All in all a very good service from Cathay. The crew were polite and intuitive albeit not particularly warm and not too keen on general chitchat. The seat was very comfortable as was the duvet and pillow and the food was great, although I've had better. I'd always recommend Cathay, especially now as their new A350 aircraft come online with an enhanced product.
British Airways Lounge
Amsterdam - AMS
Hong Kong - HKG
A flight from Amsterdam Schiphol to Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok with Cathay Pacific in Business Class. A comfortable flight in a great product with good food and good service.
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