Stephanie Holmes flies CX198 Auckland to Hong Kong.


Airbus A350.

Class: Business.


Price: From $5990.63, return.

Luggage: A very generous 40kg of checked baggage, and 10kg of cabin baggage.

Check-in: I checked in online two days before flying using Cathay's website, which was simple and fuss-free. I dropped my bags at the service counter, and they were checked all the way through to Tel Aviv, my final destination.

Airport experience: Excellent. It was a Saturday lunchtime on a day when thick fog had descended on the city at 9am and wasn't looking like letting up any time soon. Apparently the domestic terminal was chaos, with more than 50 flights affected by cancellations or delays. International was, however, fine. The Cathay check-in area was queue-free, as was immigration. Security moved fast. Although I was flying Business Class, I didn't have lounge access in Auckland, so I browsed some shops then found a quiet spot to do a bit of online admin using my Strata Club 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi. At Hong Kong I cleared security quickly and hot-footed it to the wonderful Pier lounge while I waited for my connecting flight.

Flight time: 10 hours 50 minutes.

On time: We were slightly late taking off, thanks to a bit of backlog from the fog. But no significant delays.

Seat: 21K. Cathay's business class pods on the A350 are spacious, private and comfortable. My seat was in the second part of the business cabin, which has only two rows of four seats. I was by the window on the starboard side, with two large windows.

The seat, which lies completely flat, was roomy and could convert to a bed at the touch of a button. It was angled diagonally, to create an even greater sense of privacy from my neighbours.

How full: Mostly.

Entertainment: I couldn't find much that appealed in the movie selection, but the TV category was a different story. There were so many great boxsets of new series that I almost wished the flight were longer so I could watch more. I also got a bit addicted to some of the games, which I could play using the hand-held, touchscreen remote control device. Who Wants to be a Millionaire (highest score $32,000), and numbers game 2048, which I just couldn't put it down.

Service: Polite and efficient. The cabin crew were all impeccably presented and fast to respond to requests.

Food and drink: Again, excellent. Starter was prawns with a mango panna cotta and green salad. I chose the vegetarian option for my main - linguine with courgettes, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and parmesan. Hot, comforting, delicious. I learned that asking for a spicy tomato juice on an Asian airline is quite different to one on Air New Zealand. The tabasco level left my lips tingling for a good while after. Dinner was served before landing - I had prawns in a delicious X.O. sauce, with vegetables and rice.

Fellow passengers: I was the only non-Chinese passenger in my part of the cabin. The other Business Class passengers seemed to be a mix of nationalities.

Toilets: Fresh flowers, Jurlique facial cleanser and hand cream, and always clean and well stocked with paper towels.

Amenities: A neat little kit, with all the essentials - dental kit, including a single use mouthwash, socks, eyeshade, earplugs, Jurlique facial mist, serum and balm.

Would I fly again: I would love to, Cathay's service was top notch.