Dan Ahwa flies from Hong Kong International to Charles de Gaulle on Cathay Pacific CX261.
Class: Business Class.
The plane: Boeing 777-300ER.
Price: Prices start from $7109.
On time? On time. Departed Hong Kong International airport as scheduled and arrived half an hour earlier than scheduled at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
My seat: 12G (towards the front in the centre). There are 40 Business Class seats and they all fully recline so you can lay flat and fall asleep for 12 hours if you want. It feels like a condensed version of a contemporary upmarket hotel room, complete with modern art hanging on the wall, mood lighting and a vase with fresh orchids for each seat. There are plenty of side compartments for storage, your own set of quality headphones attached inside a side compartment that has a mirror. The overhead locker is generously spaced and probably more than one person would need, and you don't have to share it with anyone else. There's plenty of leg room, a duvet, pillow, a large TV screen and an Agnes B travel case with socks, an eye mask, Jurlique hand cream, lip balm and face cream.
Fellow passengers: Departed around midnight Hong Kong time so mostly French businessmen and a couple of Hong Kong buyers on their way to Paris Fashion Week. The seats are angled so you don't run the risk of being stuck in an awkward conversation with someone you probably won't ever see again.
The toilets: No queues. Slightly roomier than economy with more Jurlique product at your disposal, including a communal face mister. Every time the toilets were used, they'd be serviced for the next person, right down to the triangular folds on the toilet paper.
The service: Excellent. Upon arrival you are greeted with the option of a glass of Champagne, fresh juice or a kiwifruit and coconut smoothie, the latter the perfect antidote for travellers with nervous stomachs. Service throughout the flight was efficient and friendly.
How full? Business was full and Economy had several empty seats so there was room for people to spread out a bit during the flight.
Food and drink: Fine cuisine style with all the extras thrown in, from seasonal fruit to savoury dips, cheese platters and smoothies. A full wine list offers options from New Zealand, France and Portugal. There's a selection of aperitifs, cocktails and liqueurs too. Everything is served on a white tablecloth with solid silver cutlery and the dim sum with chilli sauce, dumplings and ho fun noodle soup is a nice point of difference for the airline.
Luggage: Standard, with plenty of room for carry-on bags.
The airport experience: Cathay Pacific representatives at Hong Kong airport were accommodating and friendly. The Lounge is the perfect place to freshen up in between.
Would I fly this again? Definitely. Travelling for more than 24 hours, this seems like the only sane way to get through it, plus this particular route into Paris is a little less taxing compared with others.