Review: Cathay Pacific 777 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong

Introduction
Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
InterContinental Osaka Deluxe Twin
InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Superior Residence
InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Deluxe Residence
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Lounge Pacific Osaka Kansai Airport
Cathay Pacific 777 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong


While this flight was originally scheduled to be operated by one of Cathay Pacific’s three-class 777-300ERs, our equipment was swapped to one of Cathay Pacific’s regional 777-300s a month out. As disappointing as that was, it was a smart move for Cathay Pacific – Cathay’s 777-300s have the most seats out of any aircraft they operate, and all flights out of Osaka were packed to the gills as the end of Easter break was approaching. With that in mind, I was excited to be flying on their regional business class product for the first time since 2014.

Cathay Pacific 507
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Origin: Osaka Kansai (KIX) Gate: 5 Dep: 18:00 (18:00)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 3 Arr: 20:55 (21:05)
Duration: 3 h 55 min (4 h 5 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Seat: 18K (Business Class)

After turning right through door 1L into the business class cabin, I was welcomed by the inflight service manager (who I only saw twice throughout the flight – during boarding and deplaning). I was pointed to my seat by the friendly purser, and took a few photos of the empty cabin along the way.

DSCF6022Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin

Cathay Pacific’s 777 regional business class cabins all consist of 42 seats, arranged across eight rows in a 2-3-2 configuration (row 11 only consists of seats D, E and G, while row 18 only consists of seats A, C, H and K).

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 21.14.17
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Seatmap

DSCF6024Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin

Due to the 2-3-2 configuration, the cabin features six middle seats, which you wouldn’t want to get stuck on – especially since some of the seats on this four-hour flight were retailing for over HK$25,000 roundtrip.

DSCF6025Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class

I had reserved seats in the last two rows of the right side of the business class cabin. I assigned my father and my sister seats 17H and 17K, and my mother and I seats 18H and 18K respectively.

DSCF6033Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Seats 17H, 17K, 18H, 18K

DSCF6027Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Seats 18H and 18K

I wasn’t paying attention to SeatGuru after the equipment swap, so I failed to realise that my seat would be next to a missing window. I wasn’t too concerned, as I was still able to grab pictures out of the window adjacent to the seat, though others could be slightly disappointed.

DSCF6035Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Seat 18K

Before I settled down, I took a few shots of the economy cabin, which consisted of Cathay Pacific’s dreaded shell seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Cathay Pacific’s shell seats are known to be hard as a rock and uncomfortable in terms of lumbar support, so I sure was happy I wasn’t seated there!

DSCF6029Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Economy Class Cabin

DSCF6030Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Economy Class Cabin

Cathay Pacific’s regional business class seats are pretty high-density – almost uncomfortably so, as you only get marginally more space than you otherwise would in a very good premium economy product.

DSCF6028Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class

Despite the fact that they weren’t the most comfortable, I found the cabin to be pretty sleek, and the green, matte colour tones visually appealing.

DSCF6031Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class

It was my first time flying Cathay Pacific’s regional business class seat in quite a while, so I spent some time getting acquainted with my seat. The seat controls were intuitive, individually controlling the seat’s legrest, seatback and having a “takeoff/landing mode” setting – though unlike most business class seats, there wasn’t a single button that could bring the seat into full recline.

DSCF6086Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Seat Controls

The legroom was more substantial than you’d get in a premium economy product, though was more limited than just about any other modern business class seat you’ll find out there, even including angled lie-flat seats.

DSCF6041Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Legroom

I quite liked the practicality of the tray table, which slid out from the seat in front. This meant no fiddly armrests and shoulder space was maximised on a seat that was otherwise spatially limited.

DSCF6043Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Tray Table (closed)

DSCF6044Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Tray Table (half-open)

DSCF6105Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Tray Table (open)

Each seat contained a universal 110V power port, which I can appreciate, as the seat is definitely better designed for working than for sleeping purposes.

DSCF6157Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Power Ports

In addition to universal power ports, there were also USB ports, which were located next to the personal TV screen.

DSCF6051Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Power Ports

Beside the USB ports were pockets that were meant for storing smartphones and tiny cameras. I appreciated that they were placed next to the USB ports, and they weren’t too far out of reach due to the relatively inexcessive legroom.

DSCF6052Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Phone Pockets

The seat featured red pillows, which looked nice, though were much thinner than their longhaul counterparts. Fortunately, in the meantime, Cathay Pacific has decided to equip all of their aircraft with their longhaul pillows, which I appreciate. On this flight, blankets were only provided on request.

DSCF6061Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Pillow

Each seat also features a nook handy for coats, though I’ve learned that they aren’t for glasses at all.

DSCF6054Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Coat Nook

On 2-3-2 configurations the attendant working the left aisle tends to serve the middle seat, so I was happy to be on the right side.

I watched from the aft right corner of the cabin as it filled up.

DSCF6036Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin

DSCF6038Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin

I love the large overhead bins on the 777, as they can store much more capacity than, say, an A330 can.

DSCF6046Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Overhead Bins

The sun was starting to dip down while we were still parked at the gate, but I knew the “real” sunset wouldn’t be until we were up in the air cruising.

DSCF6039View from Window Osaka Kansai Airport

Shortly after I was seated, the senior purser came by with some orange juice or champagne. I chose orange juice (since I’m underaged for champagne). I also requested a blanket which was shortly provided after.

DSCF6056Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Drink

The blanket was clearly meant for regional flights, though it was inoffensive – it wasn’t scratchy, and it was alright on the skin.

DSCF6040Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Blanket

Shortly after my parents and sister boarded, we were presented with hot towels. Nowadays I find it more of a trend that people wipe their face, and sometimes I like to question the sanitary element of doing that.

DSCF6059Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Hot Towel

I was thrilled to see that our 777 featured a outside wheel camera, a feature integrated into the entertainment systems of Cathay Pacific’s 777-300s and 777-300ERs (not their 777-200s), as well as their A350s. While it’s pretty low quality, it’s always nice to have multiple perspectives of takeoff and landing.

DSCF6060Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Wheel Camera

Parked next to us was an A330 that would be flying back to Hong Kong an hour after us. This plane featured a reverse herringbone seat, so I was disappointed that we weren’t able to switch to that flight.

DSCF6064Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Osaka Kansai Airport

After everyone boarded, both cabins were pretty much full. The safety video then played. It’s much more interesting than the old video, but still pretty boring, in my opinion.

DSCF6067Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Safety Video

We pushed back at exactly 6 PM, and slowly made our way around the terminal towards the runway.

DSCF6069Views upon Taxiing Osaka Kansai

DSCF6072Views upon Taxiing Osaka Kansai

We taxiied up to runway 24 in about ten minutes, where we began a very long takeoff roll, as you’d expect for a high-capacity 777 that was packed to the brim.

DSCF6076Views upon Taxiing Osaka Kansai

DSCF6083

Views upon Takeoff Osaka Kansai

DSCF6085Views upon Takeoff Osaka Kansai

DSCF6090Views upon Takeoff Osaka Kansai

We progressed along the night, making for even better sunset views.

DSCF6096Sunset Osaka to Hong Kong

DSCF6101Sunset Osaka to Hong Kong

I worked for a while after the sunset, and after that took a look at the dinner menu, which read as follows:

DSCF6100DSCF6102DSCF6103Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Dinner Menu

First I ordered an Oriental Breeze, which was promptly served by the senior purser. I didn’t love the rosewater in the drink, though I was really dehydrated so appreciated the cold beverage.

DSCF6104Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Oriental Breeze

The cabin crew started to jump into action as the meal service began. The senior purser was on top of his game, and I really commend his efforts – if there’s one thing that makes up for a crap hard product, it’s good service.

DSCF6106Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin During Meal Service

While I avoided soda on the flight, I was served nuts. I love toasted “real” nuts, but the “Japanese mix” served with wasabi nuts etc. was a little too much for my tastebuds, so I just had a few and passed.

DSCF6109Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Nuts

The appetiser was served after, which consisted of a rather tasty duck with a mustard mayo that wasn’t too overpowering. It was served with a salad (complete with a vinaigrette, of course) and some soba noodles, as is the norm on Cathay Pacific’s Japanese flights.

DSCF6113Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Appetiser – Roasted Duck, Pickled Ginger and Mustard Mayonnaise

It was served with a selection of bread, for which I picked garlic bread. It wasn’t as crusty on the outside and buttery soft on the inside as I’d hoped, but any garlic bread is good garlic bread.

DSCF6114Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Garlic Bread

Since I’d eaten in the lounge, I just went with the ling fish for my main course, which was mediocre – I liked the rice and the seasonal vegetables that went with it, but the sauce was really weird, and the fish painfully overcooked.

DSCF6117Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Main Course – Baked Ling Fish with Sansho Miso Sauce, Vegetable and Jasmine Rice

DSCF6118Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Main Course Ling Fish

My mother ordered the steak, which wasn’t much better – it was also overcooked and served with bland bell peppers.

DSCF6115Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Main Course – Grilled Australian Beef Tenderloin, French Bean, Capsicum, New Potato and Red Wine Sauce

DSCF6119Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Main Course – Steak

My sister also ordered the steak, which was medium-ish – a much preferred temperature, showing that the steaks were unevenly cooked in the convection oven.

DSCF6120Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Main Course – Steak

I ended the meal with dessert, which consisted of ice cream, which you can’t go wrong with – apart from the fact that it was rock hard.

DSCF6124Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Dessert – Ice Cream

The meal was finished two hours out of Hong Kong, which is a reasonable pace, as I still had a little bit of time to work and rest.

DSCF6123Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Meal Service Ends

Service during the meal was flawless, and the crew member serving our aisle was on top of his game. Ultimately it’s hard to be personalised when you’re talking about a 42-person cabin on a shorthaul flight, though this crew was poised and professional.

I briefly visited the lavatory after dinner, which was rather standard for a business class lavatory on Cathay Pacific.

DSCF6125Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Lavatory

DSCF6126Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Lavatory Amenities

DSCF6128Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Lavatory

I also had a look at the economy cabin for the first time in long, which consists of the dreaded shell seats which I haven’t sat in since 2014. I don’t hate them as much as others might, though the economy cabin of Cathay’s 777-300 certainly isn’t a desirable place to be.

DSCF6129Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Economy Class

While I was intending to work on the flight, I was so tired that I just decided to nap until landing. This seat definitely isn’t the best for sleeping, though it did recline into somewhat of a lazy-Z position, which wasn’t actively uncomfortable. I managed to sleep all the way to Hong Kong.

DSCF6132Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Reclined Seat

At around 8:30 PM, the captain came on the PA and gave his “30 minutes till landing” announcement, and sure enough we touched down ten minutes behind schedule, pulling straight into gate 3.

We descended seaside and my camera was playing up more than usual, so I couldn’t grab any decent pictures upon landing.

DSCF6148View upon Touchdown Hong Kong

DSCF6151Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class Cabin upon Landing

We were some of the last in business class off the plane, and I took one last look at the plane that flew us back from Osaka, before making my way to baggage reclamation and getting on the train home.

DSCF6158Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport

Bottom Line

Cathay Pacific’s regional business class seat is an underwhelming transition from the reverse herringbone seat that we were initially scheduled on. I’m not a fan of the seat’s padding and recline – the seat goes marginally further back than recliners on narrowbody aircraft, only masked by the fixed shell and electronic controls. In a way I feel like Cathay Pacific could have spruced up a seat with the same “bones” to feel more premium – they’d really benefit from some sort of a privacy partition between seats, as well as much superior padding. I wouldn’t want to take a redeye in these seats, though Cathay Pacific’s doing pretty well avoiding scheduling these seats on premium shorthaul redeye flights as of late. That said, for this particular four-hour flight, the seat was adequate, if not worth the price difference.

The fact that Cathay Pacific charges the same price for their industry-leading reverse herringbone business class seat and this seat is mind-boggling, though it’s a common practice for airlines to charge the same for their regional product as their international product. The food also underwhelmed on this flight, though the shining star on this flight was our proactive crew. Had they not been as energetic and friendly as they were, this would’ve been a seriously underwhelming flight.

Have you flown Cathay Pacific’s regional business class? 

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