Natasha Judson flies aboard Cathay Pacific's CX256 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong.
Class: Economy — booked in November, seven months earlier when the $1850 return price tag from Auckland to London was irresistible.
Flight time: 11hr, 17m.
The seat situation: Prior to boarding, we jumped online to reserve seats, only to see there were no two next to each other available. We took the last two in the back row that was reserved for "Unattended Underage", hoping no kids would come between us. We boarded with no issues and it was surprisingly pleasant at the back of the plane. However, how full? Full. The third seat in our aisle was taken up by a businesswoman whose secretary had left the booking too late, missing out on First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy. She was stuck with us as well as Bath Royal High School's 2018 history class school trip to Cambodia.
The food: There was a good variety on offer. Dinner was a choice of two mains and side salad, bread and dessert, while for breakfast you had a choice of congee or sausages and eggs. There was also a snacks cart at the back. The Businesswoman had her secretary pre-order two low-carb meals.
The entertainment: There was an extensive library of Hollywood and Asian films, television and music. As I don't get to the movies very often I lined up films for the 11-hour flight.
The service: The Cathay Pacific staff will give you the warmest of welcomes when you board and this friendliness is carried through the full flight. Although as the flight was so full they were busy most of the time, and my cup-of-noodle order was forgotten.
Luggage: Two checked-in bags at a total of 30kg, which was not fully utilised coming home from a European summer.
Airport experience: Hong Kong airport is huge, bustling with people, and there's lots to do. We had a six-hour layover until our next flight, so we checked into the Plaza Premium Lounge (entry: $90). You don't need a membership or booking, so after disembarking we headed straight for the lounge, enjoyed a refreshing shower, quick massage and amazing meal within the first few hours. Then a few drinks before boarding.
The bottom line: I would fly with Cathay Pacific again. Despite how full the flight was and how busy Hong Kong airport was, the ability to check into a lounge so easily was amazing — and such a nice and relaxing way to break up an across-the-world flight.