Stephanie Holmes flies CX676 from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong


Cathay Pacific A350.

Class: Business.


Price: Prices for Auckland to Tel Aviv (via Hong Kong) start from $1669 in Economy Class, $4119 in Premium Economy Class and $6879 in Business Class.

Luggage: Up to 10kg of hand luggage and 40kg of checked bags for Business Class passengers.

Check-in: I checked in online (, which was easy and fast.

Airport experience: Intense! Make sure you allow plenty of time before your flight as getting through Ben Gurion International Airport's departures procedure can take some time. All passengers must queue up to enter the check-in area and the queues were huge when I arrived, although moving pretty quickly. When I reached the front, I had to answer questions from a security officer who was very thorough. As I was journalist travelling alone, she took it upon herself to give me a rigorous interview - I was with her for about half an hour, and asked about every part of my itinerary, had to show photos I'd taken on the trip and prove who I worked for. She was polite yet firm - the whole thing was quite stressful. But as soon as she was satisfied I was who I said I was, I was let through to the Cathay counter where I dropped off my suitcase, which was checked through to Auckland.
After that, getting through bag screening and immigration was a breeze.

Flight time: Nine hours 15 minutes.

On time: We were about 30 minutes late taking off - the captain said this was because Israeli air traffic control were "metering departures".

Seat: 20A, a window seat in the second part of the Business Class cabin. Cathay's A350 business class seats offer excellent privacy, a comfortable seat which reclines to a fully-flat bed, a storage locker, and adjustable armrest with space for a water bottle and tablets/small laptops.

How full: It was a fairly empty flight, and of a potential eight seats in my part of the cabin, only four were used.

Entertainment: Cathay's Studio CX system is excellent, with a range of Western and Chinese movies, TV shows, music, radio, podcasts and on-screen magazines. There's also the chance to watch live news and sport.

Food and drink: Business Class passengers get a great selection of food and drink - champagne on arrival, a four-course dinner after take off, and full breakfast before landing. The only disappointment was the fruit served at both meals - it was unripe, flavourless and pretty much inedible.

Service: Warm, polite and efficient.

Fellow passengers: A mix of Chinese, Israeli, Brits and Antipodeans.

Toilets: Fresh flowers and Jurlique toiletries were nice added touches to a standard aircraft bathroom.

Would I fly again: Yes. I fell in love with Israel and Cathay's direct service from Hong Kong is the best way to get there. But I'd prepare myself for a potentially stressful departure from Tel Aviv!