Glenn Hart flies aboard Cathay Pacific CX0198 from Auckland to Hong Kong.
Price: As a guest of Huawei NZ, I have absolutely no idea — pretty confident that's the only way I'll ever be able to afford to fly Business.
Flight time: 11 hours.
My seat: 14A
Fellow passengers: Huawei orientation team.
How full: Completely.
Entertainment: 18-inch touch screen with handheld controller — a good-sized screen a comfortable distance away for optimum viewing. There's even the option to display something different on the controller (such as the flight map maybe?) Various in-flight
Wi-Fi packages were on offer, starting at US$20 ($29). I didn't log on, although the message telling me "Wi-Fi is now available" appeared several times during the flight, which made me wonder if sometimes it wasn't.
The service: Hot towels, bubbles, water or juice at take-off ... You know, all that groovy Business Class stuff. The crew were attentive without being intrusive. One of my colleagues was flying further back in the plane and was lucky enough to be sitting next to a "medical emergency" caused by an English football fan who'd been ordering two beers at a time. The staff up the front of the plane never let on there was any drama.
Food and drink: The menu really was standout — more courses than I could keep track of for lunch, followed by a two-course "refreshment" later in the flight. Probably too much for any normal person to eat ... But I ate it all anyway.
The toilets: I was in the ideal position in terms of access to the loo. 14A is the second seat back from the toilets so I wasn't right next to it but just a few steps away. It was slightly weird, but kind of cool, to have a window in there.
Luggage: I never have enough belongings or shopping to create too much luggage, so no one looked twice at my two tiny bags.
The airport experience: Auckland was under construction as usual. I'm sure other airports in other countries must undergo renovations from time to time, but I guess they just close off those bits and don't continue to force their passengers to walk through them. Unclear which queue was for which class. Kind of a cattle call that wasn't quite the opener I was hoping for in my first Business Class experience. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, Hong Kong was a crowded but pristine picture of efficiency — as usual.
The bottom line: As anticipated, my Business Class foray was easily the most pleasurable long-haul trip of my life — as I've come to discover on subsequent flights, the Cathay Pacific seat configuration on the A350-900 is far superior to some of its competitors. It's a generally roomier design that offers plenty of privacy when it comes to sleep time.