I have translated this particular report to showcase the product delivered by Cathay Pacific in their new business cabin. But if you can read French, or are just pleased enough with photos, feel free to browse the other legs of this routing that I have made on three different airlines :
I do not complexify my routings just for fun : although I may be enthousiastic about flying, I would still take the direct flight if it were the cheapest one. But this never happens and as I always try to find the smartest fare around, I end up with complex routings. Nevertheless, I try to keep a relax pace by making stop-overs on the route, when these are permitted of course.
It is the case here : I came to Dubai specifically to enjoy CX fares ex-UAE, but enjoyed a three days break in Dubaï by coordinating my inbound and outbound tickets. I will then start this report by a quick tourist brief to introduce the destination.
The foutains at Burj Khalifa.
Before the 2700 feet tower was raised, an icon of the city was Ski Dubai with its 1200 feet of slopes under the sun.
It's fun to try, at least to say I did it :) But the whole Dubaï crazyness does not replace the pleasure of a trek in the desert in the simplicity of its calm immensity.
Especially at the end of the day when animals come out and provide a five stars sunset ;)
As for accomodation, I visited at the end of October and at this time opened in Dubai the tallest hotel in the world (if we exclude the hotels occupying a part of a higher tower but used for another activity) : the JW Marriott Marquis Dubaï.
The rooms are large and nicely decorated (especially by UAE standards ^^) but the actual feature (which is not seen much in the photos) is to provide an opportunity to wake up in the morning at the Empire State Building observation deck height !
From the window, you realize how the city came out of nowhere.
But enough bonuses of all kinds and let's head to the airport. Traffic signs remind us who's the boss here : you either take EK or you do not take EK ;)
And no EK for me today. My destination was terminal 1 where CX is located. I dropped the car at the rental return and quickly made my way to Cathay Pacific check-in booths. Dedicated lines for J pax (no P on the plane), status holders, Premium Economy and drop-off.
All well organized and staffed, so check-in was a formality. The check-in attendant requested me (I know the procedure existed but it never happened to me) to show the credit card that was used for the payment of the tickets. Probably an alert raised by the use of a French card to pay for ex-DXB tickets.
Priority tags were attached next to the yellow label that some of you may know well ;)
Flight documents : my boarding pass for the continuation to Phuket was issued in Dubaï, and I was given an invitation for British Airways lounge together with a printed map of Hong-Kong airport to ease my transfer.
The T1 is not as nice as the T3 (Emirates) but it carries the same interactive information panels. You just input where you want to go and an itineray is drawn on the screen.
Before I can reach the lounge, I have to go through immigration. Unfortunately, there's a single FastTrack lane for P and J pax of all companies, and it will take at least 20 minutes before I can get my passport stamped.
It will be the same for security but with more dedicated lanes, so it will be faster. Funnily, security measures make it impossible to go through screening with a bottle of water, but you can bring along your falcon !
After these formalities, I proceeded to a long tunnel which links terminals 1 & 3 and I actually found myself at the C gates were many EK flights are also operating.
Being neither a shopaholic nor a spotter, I immediately proceeded to the lounge.
Very nice but small. I chose an armchair by the window to watch the trafic…
But there is not much to see but EK, EK and EK….
If you're ever in DXB and you would like to do much more spotting that I did myself, a good place is the Mc Donald's on the second floor, offering sweeping views of the tarmac.
Anyway, back to the lounge, which is hardly empty. I was not surprised as I foresaw only 5 passengers in J from the availability that I had checked earlier. Nevertheless, the J cabin will prove almost full ; I believe the Y was overbooked.
The lounge is small but one can find wireless internet, a good selection of magazine, clean toilets, confortable chairs and lots of liquors. What else ^^ ?
Ok, you may ask for more food choices, as it was limited to some cold sandwiches.
My selection : cashews were as bad as they look on the picture ! Champagne was self-service, which is uncommon in a BA lounge.
Boarding on time.
Crystal clear directions… but there was no other way possible anyway ;)
And finally I get to discover this cabin which has received so much praise on this website (among others). There's an immediate feel of spaciousness and comfort : flight is definitely promising. Moreover, the 1-2-1 layout is clearly qualitative for a J cabin.
But if the praises seem totally justified for the window seats offering comfort and intimacy to the lone traveler….
…the feeling is not just the same with the middle seats. I chose them on purpose because I do not travel alone on this flight. Large screens and nice touch with the fresh orchid.
The welcome drink is served very quickly : if you look at the photo of the cabin taken when I was boarding, a FA was already in the cabin with her tray, taken care of the first seated passengers.
Once the doors closed, an oshibori is offered with a smile, but unfortunately poorly heated (hot outside and cold in the middle of the roll).
The safety video is played during the taxi.
And we quickly take off while the night comes over Dubaï.
Flight attendants, once unbuckled, delivered the menus, a bottle of water and an amenity kit (signed Agnes B., a big trend in Hong Kong, so I understand CX choice, but I find it quite ugly).
Food offering on this flight is not very enticing with a chicken terrine as the only option for starter and a choice of pasta, shrimps or salmon (two fish and a veggie, so no meat…) for main course. The wines are not the finest, but they're okay.
The only premium liquor would be the Johnny Walker Gold label ; the rest is just a standard bar list.
A cart has been dressed up for the drink service. It is elegant, but seeing on it the juices cartons isn't. Nuts were warmed in the galley but I don't think they will remain so untill the last passenger is served.
We will always be called by name, which is a nice touch, but a bit too artificial as you could see the flight attendant check her list (foreground of picture) before adressing you.
I tried a Cathay Delight: one of their signature drinks with Champagne, Gin and orange zest. I did not really like, but this must be due to my taste in drinks, I think it was well done.
But it would be perfect for Leadership as the orange peel brings many irregularities that are sources of bubbles, thus helping this photo ;)
Waiting for the meal service, I play a little with the IFE. It is reactive, has a large screen and provides a lot of choice. Almost perfect but I note three bad points. First, this magazine is useless : it gives the name of the movie, time and language. Nothing that can help you determine whether or not you want to watch this movie.
Second, there are 5 minutes of commercials before the movie, and you cannot skip them ! I really hate that.
And finally, a disruption of the clock that made this message (however well intentioned initially) pop-up everytime I tried to watch something.
I just have time to watch a short show before the service begins. The table is set and a tray containing all the cutlery, the appetizer and a salad is given. Then another FA offers a selection of breads. It is stylish and well orchestrated but you can see that they did not synchronize the two alleys : my friend even before my drink has been cleaned up.
The garlic bread is delicious :) The appetizer is very disappointing, quite tasteless. The salad does not look very fresh, and is served with sauce in a plastic jar (the ones you would find in a fast food joint).
For the main course, another cart has been dressed up : the good thing is that you can review all the options before making your decision. Unfortunately, none was very engaging. Being very fish , I opted for the salmon, but without conviction.
Indeed, this is an industrial-cut rectangle of fish with stripes of cooking food coloring ; broccoli remind me of ex-USA catering (no offense to the US readers !) and if I take the fish, I expect a low calorie option. But the whole is drowning in oil…
My friend opted for the pasta. It doesn't look great either.
CX did better with the cheese. Nice selection, again presented on a cart to choose from complete cheese board, and served with a port that I found very good. For dessert, the choice was quite limited between blackcurrant cheesecake (my choice) and fresh fruits (providing they were fresher than the salad…)
After this dinner, that could be improved but wasn't so bad, I tried to watch a movie but I fell asleep after a few minutes : maybe this is a proof of how confortable these seats are.
The only thing about this seat that I could complain about is their length : it is a bit short for me (62) and finding the adequate position for my feet wasn't obvious.
Another good idea of this seat is that in bed mode, the remote control shows the progress of the flight (so no need to turn on the IFE). Unfortunately, it suffered the same clock timing problem as the IFE and the information was irrelevant.
Nevertheless, I had a wonderful night in these seats. I didn't even hear the breakfast service and consequently skipped it. The cabin crew let me sleep as long as possible : it means they only woke me up when it was time to set the seats back to the upright position and buckle up for landing.
We arrived 30 minutes early, which means 4:30 am in an almost empty airport….and lots of time before our next flight :)
British Airways Lounge
Dubai - DXB
Hong Kong - HKG
I had high expectations for Cathay Pacific (it was my first flight with them) and I was not disappointed. It was not perfect, especially because of the catering. I had minor issues with the IFE but this can be corrected easily. Commercials should be removed too.
The seat is perfect. You can't really beat this in a Business class cabin. But the challenge is not easy : I could have taken so many great compagnies between the Gulf and Southeast Asia !
The cabin crew was great but they follow a bit too artifically their procedures : they lack of passenger interaction and they don't go out of their way (for example, I wish we could have been served dinner together with my friend).
It was a great flight. I would take CX again, no problem !
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