Stephanie Holmes flies with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Auckland.
Class: Business, of which there are 38 seats available on this aircraft. There are 28 Premium Economy and 214 Economy class seats.
Price: Auckland to Hong Kong return Business Class fares from $5079, on sale until Jan 18
Flight time: The flight was scheduled at 10h 50m, but the captain's pre-flight announcement said it would be 9h 50 minutes. We pushed back from the gate 10 minutes late, yet still arrived 40 minutes ahead of schedule.
My seat: 20A, a window Business Class suite at the bulkhead, just after the second cabin door. In this part of the Business Class cabin, there are only eight seats, compared to 30 in the first section. Although it means you are served meals last, it gives a better level of privacy and peace. Cathay's Business Class seats are incredibly comfortable, converting to fully lie-flat at the touch of a button, as well as different options of leg rest, back rest, and seat position. There's a storage locker next to the window, as well as a retractable armrest/shelf to the aisle with storage for small essentials — perfect for easy access.
Fellow passengers: Majority Kiwis, a few Brits and Chinese, and two big groups of school kids in Economy.
How full: Completely.
Entertainment: The functionality of Cathay's system is great — touch screen, option to create your own playlist, with movies, TV shows, podcasts, music and magazines. The service: KK, a Thai crew member, looked after me very well. She was friendly, funny and caring — worrying about whether I'd had enough to eat, and regularly checking on me.
Food and drink: It was 9pm local time when we took off, so 1am NZ time. Trying to defy jetlag and reset my body clock, I wanted to eat quickly and go to sleep as soon as possible. I chose not to take one of the four main meals on offer (Chinese style beef brisket, pan fried atlantic cod, Japanese pork, or vegetarian rigatoni), and just eat the starter — prawns with pomelo and green papaya, and a mixed green salad. But when KK came back with the cheese tray, offering three types of cheese, crackers, an apple slice and cabernet paste, I couldn't resist. Breakfast was a bit of a disappointment — I wanted the parsley omelette but there was none left by the time I was served so I received scrambled eggs instead. They were watery and tasteless. The bircher muesli was delicious though.
The toilets: Clean and mostly tidy whenever I used them.
Luggage: On flights that transit through Hong Kong, Business passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage weighing up to 40kg, and one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 10kg. If you're on a direct flight from Hong Kong to Auckland or Christchurch, with no connection or transit, you can check in three pieces weighing up to 23kg each.
The airport experience: I had flown in from Bangkok on an earlier flight, so made my way through the transit security screening without having to reclaim my luggage. With less than 90 minutes between flights, I went straight to the nearest Cathay Pacific lounge — in this case The Bridge — and had a quick hot shower, a small plate of cheese and crackers and a refreshing ginger and lemongrass tea. The bottom line: I actually really enjoyed this flight, and would have even been happy if it was a bit longer so I had more time to watch movies, eat more and get a bit more sleep. I know, I know, I'm strange.