Stephanie Holmes flies Cathay Pacific CX7402 Auckland to Hong Kong, operated by Air NZ.
The plane: A 777-200.
Class: Air New Zealand Business Premier. Although my ticket was booked through Cathay Pacific, this flight was operated by Air New Zealand under a code-share agreement. I love Cathay Pacific's Business Class product, and had never flown in Air NZ's Business Class cabin, so was interested to see how the two compared.
Flight time: Supposed to be 11h 55m, but we pushed back from the gate 20 minutes late and, due to strong head winds, landed 40 minutes behind schedule.
My seat: 7J. While the Business Premier seats are spacious and super comfortable, I'm not a fan of the herringbone layout — it means you spend a lot of your time staring directly at passengers a few rows ahead of you across the aisle. It doesn't give much privacy, but is good for those travelling as a couple — you can dine together facing each other.
Fellow passengers: A mix of Kiwi and Chinese passengers in the Business cabin.
How full: Completely.
Entertainment: The Air New Zealand entertainment system is great, with superior playlist functionality and a range of movies, TV shows, music, podcasts and audiobooks.
The service: An all-male cabin crew looked after the premium cabin and did a sterling job. One crew member advised me not to spend too much time in the duty free as I had no time to lose thanks to our delays.
Food and drink: Champagne on takeoff, followed by a lovely pinot noir with dinner. Although it was very late by the time dinner was served, the menu was too tempting to simply have the express option of soup and a lime/coconut mousse dessert. I went for the full dinner — beetroot cured salmon with pickled fennel and cucumber, followed by chicken Marbella on a creamy polenta and roasted kale base. The main dish was created by Michael Meredith; there was also a beef cheek option from Peter Gordon.
The toilets: Pretty standard, just with the added option of a hand lotion.
Luggage: Air New Zealand allows Business Class passengers two pieces of cabin baggage weighing up to 14kg, and three pieces of checked luggage, weighing 23kg each. Cathay's allowances are different (two pieces of checked luggage weighing up to 40kg) and, as I had an onward connection with them, I had to abide by their rules. It's worth paying attention.
The airport experience: Auckland International Airport had a number of flights departing post 10pm, but things were moving smoothly when I arrived. Check in at Air New Zealand's self-check in went smoothly for me, event though a number of self-service machines were out of action. After dropping my bag I breezed through security in less than five minutes, and headed straight to the Koru lounge for some wine, free Wi-Fi and the chance to catch up on work.
The bottomline: If you're booking with Cathay Pacific and are picky over privacy in the Business Class cabin, you might want to make sure your flight is operated by Cathay and not Air New Zealand. But you really can't fault the great Kiwi service.