A 777-300ER. Cathay operates 17 of these aircraft and has two different cabin configurations. The version working this route has six First Class suites (the other cabin configuration has no First Class and bumps up the numbers in Economy).
Class: Business. The cabin is set in a herringbone layout, with four abreast (a big difference from the three-abreast layout in the A340-300 that Cathay presently runs out of Auckland). The Business cabin is divided into two areas, with just eight seats in a smaller space ahead of us. If you fancy a bit more privacy and a quieter space, that's the area to go for.
Price: Business Class return to Zurich from Auckland starts from $7019.
My seat: I'm in 16G, one of 53 seats in Business Class. It's at the front of the main Business cabin, so there's extra space in front of me. There's a galley just ahead of this seat (noise didn't bother me) and a cupboard where crew keep their personal stuff (occasionally someone would access it - but, again, it's not a biggie).
This fully lie-flat bed is rightly acclaimed as one of the best in the skies.
Flight time: This baby is down for 11hr 5m. Departure out of Zurich is scheduled for 1.30pm, but there's a 24-minute delay. Due to touch down in Hong Kong at 7.05am, we hum in there around five minutes late.
Fellow passengers: This is a busy connection between two major financial centres, but most passengers seemed to be holidaymakers. There were about six suited dudes in Business Class who stayed awake working on spreadsheets and plotting how to profit from the next Global Financial Crisis.
How full: There are two empty seats in Premium Economy - so 273 passengers on board in total. Staff in the galley tell me it's pretty much always this busy.
Entertainment: There it is again: Family Guy.
My sleeping pill hit me with 10 minutes remaining in Steve Jobs. I still don't know how it finishes.
The service: Smart, cordial and efficient.
Food and drink: A special treat - they're serving four wines from Languedoc-Roussillion alongside the regular complement. Seriously good wines.
I had the Kung Po chicken for lunch - it was excellent; a fellow passenger reported that the lamb loin was also very good. To finish: A very Swiss apple cake and selections from a first-rate cheese trolley.
The toilets: Clean throughout the flight.
Luggage: You're allowed up to 30kg total.
Airport experience: Zurich Airport is a sprawling affair with too many smoking lounges. The Swissair lounge was basic, but their rabbit stew was good.
Would I fly this again? Yes. An excellent service.