While the hard product is really beginning to show its age, the soft product is top-tier, between good catering, amenities, and great WiFi
In August 2023 I flew Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class from Hong Kong to London Heathrow. I was excited to fly it, as I hadn’t flown Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class in over five years. I last flew Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class in 2018, where they’d yet to introduce their new soft product. I wanted to see how the product was holding up.
I last flew Cathay Pacific business class in 2022 onboard their A350 from Zurich to Hong Kong, and remember being very impressed by the new soft product that had been rolled out in the meantime, both on the amenities and catering front. I wanted to sample Cathay Pacific’s longhaul business class on a daytime flight to London, where I’d get to sample how their soft product held up if I wanted to stay awake.
Here’s my review of the flight, where I’ll detail the seat, amenities, entertainment and WiFi, catering and service, and more.
Booking Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class
I booked Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class as a one-way ticket with 65,000 Asia Miles and HK$1,278 (£128) in taxes. This was before Cathay Pacific’s award chart devaluation, so a similar ticket now would cost 84,000 miles. While redeeming Asia Miles on longhaul Cathay Pacific premium travel isn’t as good of a deal anymore, Cathay Pacific isn’t particularly generous with releasing award seats to partner airlines, so it probably is the best way to redeem miles for the product.
I almost never see award space between Hong Kong and London, so considered this to be a “unicorn” award (I was just trying to find options between Hong Kong and London that would allow me to review a premium cabin I hadn’t tried in a while,
21/08 CX253 Hong Kong – London Heathrow dep. 13:20 arr. 20:35 [Business]
Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Ground Experience
Cathay Pacific has lots of solid lounges at Hong Kong Airport, including The Pier (by far the lounge I’d recommend) and The Deck. I’d also recommend dropping by The Qantas Lounge, which Cathay Pacific business class passengers would have access to.
I decided to check out The Wing this time, as I hadn’t been in a while. I’ll review it in a separate installment, though the lounge is just a bit sad now – the shower facilities are closed, and nothing makes the lounge stand out. Even one of the lounge attendants recommended me to check out The Deck after asking further about their future lounge plans.
I made it to gate 5 before a scheduled 12:50 PM boarding time.
Cathay Pacific 777 at Hong Kong Airport
Sure enough, boarding began at 12:50 PM, 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time.
Cathay Pacific Flight CX253
Monday, August 21, 2023
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 5 Dep: 13:20 (13:35)
Destination: London Heathrow (LHR) T: 3 Gate: 42 Arr: 20:35 (20:35)
Duration: 14 hr 15 min (14 hr)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER Reg: B-KQP
Seat: 23K (Business Class)
Before exploring the business class cabin, I got to peek at the aircraft’s premium economy class cabin. I reviewed Cathay Pacific’s 777 premium economy class on my outbound flight.
Cathay Pacific 777 Premium Economy
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Cabin and Seat
Cathay Pacific features reverse herringbone seats across all of their longhaul fleet, and their 777 business class is no exception, despite being the “older” version of the two (I’ve flown Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class and reviewed it last year).
I was flying one of Cathay Pacific’s 777s that didn’t feature first class, which means that business class was the front-most cabin class on this aircraft. This was separated into two cabins – the forward cabin features 26 seats, whereas the rear cabin features 14 seats. I chose to sit in the rear cabin this time round.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Cabin
The middle seats are angled towards each other, though the seats are set fairly far back, so you wouldn’t have to face your seatmate if seated next to a stranger. The seats can move forward by 11 inches if you wish to do so, though.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Center Seats
I wasn’t travelling with anyone, so selected a window seat, 23K. This was the window seat in the last row of the business class cabin.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Seat 23K
Exploring my seat, to my right was a tray table, which came in handy for placing laptops and other larger items inflight.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Side Table
Underneath this side table was a little cubby with a netted pocket, well-placed for storing smaller items such as a wallet or a watch.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Storage
I could also choose to store items in a cubby located to the right of my seat, which housed the amenity kit, a bottle of water, as well as headphones.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Storage
Directly to my right was a panel with intuitive seat controls, a TV remote, a reading light, a universal power port, a mini-DIN and USB power port.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Side Control Panel
Below the seat to my feet was a separate storage cubby hole for some shoes.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Shoe Cupboard
Located in front of me was a large ottoman. You won’t struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position in Cathay Pacific’s business class unless you’re really tall, as the ottoman is one of the least constrained ones out there.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Ottoman
To my left was an armrest that could be raised (it had to be lowered for takeoff and landing). This became part of the bed if you decided to lower it – more on that later.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Armrest
The tray table folded out of the side table, and was bi-fold, and fairly sturdy.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Tray Table
I’ll talk about bed mode in detail in a bit.
While starting to age a bit and be surpassed by newer, glitzier seats (including Cathay Pacific’s own A350 seat), this seat fires on all the cylinders that I’d hope for in a business class seat. It’s wide, spacious, features direct aisle access, features good storage, and is spacious in bed mode. This seat really was cutting edge in 2011, and continues to hold its own today.
Cathay Pacific is introducing a new 777 business class seat with doors this year, and I’m eager to try it out.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Amenities
While the seat is from 2011, Cathay Pacific has upgraded their amenities in the meantime. Waiting at my seat was a large and plush Bamford pillow.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pillow
Waiting on the ottoman was a pair of slippers, as well as some bedding, including a mattress pad and blanket.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Bedding and Slippers
There was also a pair of noise-cancelling headphones – these aren’t great, but they do the job.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Headphones
Also provided was an amenity kit, which was housed in a leather pouch. I’m not sure where the photo I took went, but it featured socks, eyeshades, and more Bamford amenities.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Amenity Kit
Not only does Cathay Pacific provide all the amenities I’d hope for in a business class product, but these are all high-quality amenities (bar the headphones, which could use an upgrade). Cathay Pacific has made quite a few investments to their soft product over the past few years, and it really shows that they are making an effort to be competitive.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pre-Departure Service
Around 15 minutes after boarding I was welcomed by name, and offered a welcome drink. I decided to go with the airline’s signature Cathay Delight, which was delicious as always.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage
I was also handed a menu.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Menus
The flight attendant serving my aisle came back to take my meal order before departure.
Departing Hong Kong Airport
At around 1:25 PM, the captain came onto the PA to announce our flight time of 13h 27m. He apologised for the hot cabin (it was a warm summer’s day, and the cabin reflected that), and said that the cabin would cool off after we were underway.
We pushed back at 1:30 PM, and I had a view of the airport’s new Skybridge, as we taxiied over to runway 25L.
Traffic at Hong Kong Airport
Runway 25L heads west towards the sea, so initially there wasn’t far too much in the way of views.
Departing out of Hong Kong Airport
However, we did a 270° turn left before heading northbound towards London, so were able to circle back over Hong Kong Island. We had stunning views over the island as well as parts of Shenzhen.
Views out of Hong Kong Airport
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Post-Takeoff Meal Service
The meal service kicked off around 20 minutes after takeoff. The menu read as follows:
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Menu
Meanwhile, the wine and drinks list read as follows:
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Drinks Menu
There were three starters and five mains to choose from during this first meal, as well as a plethora of wines, cocktails, and signature drinks – my only nitpick would be that they could offer a couple more mocktails, though I’m sure you can order a virgin version of any of their cocktails if you wanted.
The meal service began with a hot towel.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hot Towel
I was asked what I wanted to drink, so went for another Cathay Delight, which was served with some hot salted nuts.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Cathay Delight and Nuts
Later throughout the meal service I wanted another drink, so asked for a mojito.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Mojito
Meals were brought directly to my seat, though a tray was used to bring my appetiser over. I ordered a spiced cauliflower soup, which was beautifully presented and very flavourful, though not particularly hot. Shortly after being served the soup, the crew came around with a breadbasket.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Meal Appetiser – Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Spring Onions
The main course however was absolutely sublime – the lamb rack was fork tender (albeit tasting quite slow-cooked), the polenta was gorgeous, and the sauce was delicious as well. Even the carrots were quite well-cooked.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Main Course – Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder Rack with Prune Sauce
Talk about having a delicious piece of meat on a plane – this was very, very tasty!
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Tender Lamb
My tray and tablecloth were cleared after I finished my main course, though I was offered dessert. I asked for an Eton mess, which was also very tasty.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Dessert – Eton Mess
The meal service concluded with some pralines.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pralines
The meal service felt elaborate, everything tasted flavourful, and the presentation was very high quality – no complaints at all. Additionally, this meal service was wrapped up around 90 minutes after takeoff, which was a good pace for a daytime flight.
We also had a very nice view over western China by the time the meal service had concluded.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Views Over Lunch
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Bed
It was time to get a nap in after lunch, so I tested out the bed as well as the bedding available. Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class seat turns into a very spacious bed – most passengers definitely won’t feel constrained in this seat.
My only gripe is that the seat itself isn’t the most well-padded out there, though fortunately Cathay Pacific has introduced a mattress pad that helps with this. The pillow and blanket are also plush – this is a very comfortable way to spend a longhaul flight, especially if you’re flying overnight.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Bed
One thing to note – I do prefer the A350 seat to this one by a margin in bed mode. While this was a perfectly good way to sleep and felt spacious, the A350 seat maximises space to an even greater extent, as well as generally feeling sturdier. It’s not to say that this seat felt lumpy by any sort, though I did notice how much “flatter” of a surface the A350 afforded. That’s fair, because this seat is older.
This is nothing to go out of your way over, but worth noting if you’re trying to choose between a 777 and A350 flight leaving 15 minutes apart (as can be the case when flying select longhaul routes on Cathay Pacific).
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Service Between Meals
We were on a daytime flight, so I wasn’t looking to get a huge amount of sleep. Thankfully Cathay Pacific kept me entertained using my favourite way of passing time – eating. Cathay Pacific doesn’t offer their full menu as dine-on-demand, though they do offer an all-day menu which you can order anytime between meal services. Generally this consists of two of the “lighter” main course options from the first meal, as well as some of their specials, including a beef burger.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Mid-Flight Snack Menu
The wok fried seafood sounded delicious, so I ordered it. Indeed it was – it came with a piece of succulent shrimp, and puffed rice in a flavourful broth. This was served around 10 minutes after I ordered it.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Mid-Flight Snack – Wok Fried Seafood in Lobster Broth
I also indulged in a Hong Kong-style milk tea from the drinks menu.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Drink – Milk Tea
Later I decided I’d be bereft in my duty not to at least sample their champagne as well, Deutz Brut Classic, which was quite nice.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Drink – Champagne
If for some reason you’d prefer some pre-packaged snacks or fruit over an on-demand menu, there is a small selection of snacks by the galley. However, I’d say this is a moot point, given their excellent on-demand selection.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Galley Snacks
Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class Mood Lighting
On this daytime flight, Cathay Pacific kept mood lighting on between meal services, instead of turning the lights off completely. I was personally fine with this as I wasn’t looking to get a full night’s sleep – in my memory, they do turn the cabin lights all the way down on nighttime flights.
This wasn’t a particularly full flight, and a few of the seats in the rear cabin were empty, so I got to take the cool pictures below.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Mood Lighting
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class WiFi
One thing I really appreciated about this flight was the ability to connect to WiFi without data caps. Cathay Pacific’s WiFi pricing is as follows:
- US$9.95 (HK$77.5/£7.90) for a one-hour pass
- US$19.95 (HK$155/£15.83) for a full-flight pass
Unfortunately there isn’t any “carry-over”, which means that if you’re connecting, you’ll have to purchase two separate WiFi passes if you want to stay connected on both flights. Speeds were generally good on this flight, with a few “dead” spots over Eastern Europe.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Entertainment
If you’d prefer to watch movies or TV shows, Cathay Pacific’s 777 features an extensive selection of movies, and entire seasons of TV shows. The selection itself is one of the most extensive selections offered by any airline.
Unfortunately here’s one aspect where the product was really showing its age – the touchscreen function on the TV wasn’t very responsive, and I found the actual screen quality to be quite low-res.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Entertainment System
The moving map is quite interactive, and features a few different “views”.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Airshow
While there is a belly camera on the 777, this is one of the rare cases in which I probably wouldn’t have it up by choice, given how low-resolution it is.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Outside Camera
This is another aspect of the experience where the newer A350 shows its advantages, though you still won’t get bored if you don’t mind the lower video quality.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Mid-Flight Meal Service
I struggled to nap much on this flight, so alternated between that, working, and sampling different parts of the menu (pictured above). Weirdly on this daytime flight, the second meal service was scheduled four hours into the flight. That’s very odd to me, though not hugely problematic, given that most people would probably be awake at this time (unless connecting on a very odd itinerary, given even in Australia it would’ve still been daylight). This aligned somewhat with lunchtime in the UK and/or dinnertime in Hong Kong, though we did all have a very late lunch. The crew cued this by setting “sunrise” mood lighting, where the cabin lit up orange.
The dinner menu read as follows:
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pre-Landing Meal Menu
I decided to order the pork and chorizo burger. This was served with fruit and a tasty banoffee pie. The burger itself was quite nice and flavourful; the fries, while not particularly crisp, were as good as they get on a plane.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Pre-Landing Meal – Pork and Chorizo Burger
Following along with the “dinnertime” theme, I decided to pair this burger meal with a negroni.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Drink – Negroni
The light meal service was quite good, and I appreciated that it was on a single tray. I’m not sure how I feel about the meal service being placed where it is – on one hand I’d personally have preferred to just have a full meal service before landing, especially with the presence of an on-demand menu between meal services, though on the other hand I didn’t see a reason why anyone would particularly mind? The meal service wasn’t inappropriately timed for anyone who was sensibly connecting on this flight. I’m aware that Cathay Pacific has chosen less well-received second meal service times in business class for select flights to the U.S..
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Lavatory
Cathay Pacific has three lavatories between 40 business class passengers on this 777. The rear lavatory is fairly large, though otherwise standard for a 777.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Lavatory
Meanwhile the forward lavatory resembles the first class lavatories Cathay Pacific had on their older 777s, since the planes were originally meant to be retrofitted with first class. I didn’t use that lavatory this time round, but this picture is from a previous flight that I took a few years ago.
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Lavatory
All lavatories feature Bamford toiletries.
Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Service
Daytime flights are a tall order for Cathay Pacific flight attendants, due to the on-demand menu available. Service was efficient and well-executed on this flight, and the meal services felt restaurant-style with the lack of trolleys. However, service didn’t feel particularly personable in most cases.
One of the flight attendants was a delight, and I remember having this interaction with her, when trying to sample different parts of the menu at once before landing:
Me: Can I please have an egg tart?
Her: Sure! Would you like anything to drink with it?
Me: A glass of port would be really nice actually!
Her: Egg tart…and port.
Her: What about a cup of Hong Kong-style milk tea? That might match more…
Me: Thanks for that, but I’ve already had the milk tea and wanted to try something else!
Her: Okay, your egg tart and port are coming up. Please give me 15 minutes to warm up the egg tart!
Cathay Pacific Business Class Egg Tart…and Port
A Stunning Landing into Heathrow Airport
Around 30 minutes before landing, the captain gave the standard “30 minutes before landing” announcement, saying that we’d have good weather landing into Heathrow. The sun was just starting to set at this point.
Sunset upon Landing into Heathrow
As we approached Heathrow, we flew over parts of Essex as the sun set, and headed further west into Heathrow.
Landing into Heathrow Airport
The final approach was simply stunning, as we had gresat sunset views over the City of London, the Shard, the Thames, and Wembley Arena. I’d experienced a similar approach into Heathrow during sunrise on an Etihad flight the month prior, though I’d argue the twilight landing made this approach even more magical.
Landing into Heathrow Airport
It was fully twilight once we landed onto runway 27R.
Sunset at Heathrow Airport
A Not-So-Fun 2.5 Hours at Immigration
I’d been tracking FlightRadar24 using inflight WiFi just as we were beginning to land, so I knew that arrivals was going to be an interesting process. We arrived gate 42 at 8:35 PM, and deplaned at around 8:40 PM.
Cathay Pacific 777 at Heathrow Airport
Gate 42 is the furthest gate from immigration at Terminal 3, so I knew not to be fooled by the fact that the pathway to border control felt empty. The first signs of a fairly eventful immigration experience were when we passed a few widebodies, all of which had just finished deplaning after arriving a few minutes earlier. This included a LATAM 777, and Vistara and Hainan 787s (not pictured was an Emirates A380).
Aircraft at Heathrow Airport
Sure enough I was right – the immigration hall was so packed that they weren’t even letting people in initially. Albeit having landed at 8:30 PM, it was 11 PM by the time I was leaving Heathrow Airport. The big stinger was that I had paid for the Registered Traveller Service (which would’ve allowed me to get through the airport’s e-gates), but was just no longer eligible due to my switch to the BN(O) visa.
Conclusion: Cathay Pacific’s 777 Business Class
Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class is around 13 years old now, and it continues to hold up despite showing its age. The seat itself is still comfortable, spacious, well-designed, and has a good amount of storage – I have a preference for the A350 seat, though that’s a good sign, since the A350 seat is newer. Cathay Pacific is rolling out a new business class product on their 777s soon, and I can’t wait to try it out once it launches.
Cathay Pacific’s investments in their soft product show, and I appreciated them – the bedding and amenities were top notch. The meal service was very good and well-executed on all counts, even with the odd timing of the second mid-flight meal service. I also appreciated the range of food options that I could order between meals.
Cathay Pacific offers a well-rounded business class product that still leads the pack, especially compared to European competitors on similar routes. I’m still keen to try business class on Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, as well as some other east Asian airlines, as I know they offer a similarly elaborate soft product on their flights.
Have you flown Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class before? How was your experience?