Aircraft Type: 777-300ER aircraft
Class: Business Class
Flight time: 12hrs30mins
Date: October 2015
Best For: Regular travellers connecting from Germany to Asia with all of the ease of a direct flight. With four flights a week taking place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, this new route is already proving hugely popular.
The Crowd: As with all Cathay Pacific flights, it was completely full. The affordable fares and high quality of customer service that the airline have become known for ensures there is a good mix of business travellers and pleasure seekers heading to luxurious far flung vacations.
Business or Pleasure: Whilst the direct flights will clearly have huge appeal for business travellers, the extensive onboard entertainment programme and lack of wi-fi means that you can relax during the flight.
Routes: Cathay and their OneWorld partners mean that pretty much anywhere in the world is available, although Cathay offer frequent connections to all major business capitals of Asia, Europe and the US. The direct route from Dusseldorf to Hong Kong is a brand new direct route which launched September 2015 and bolsters their ever growing European network whilst further cementing Hong Kong’s position as one of the world’s greatest international aviation hubs.
Frequent Flyer Programme: Marco Polo, which is part of the OneWorld family. It has many perks and good spending power. Cathay looks after its most prestigious flyers too.
Best bits: Seat comfort, inflight entertainment route network and customer service.
Worst bits: Whilst very much a leader in most aspects, the business class product has a few areas in need of a little refinement. The main area for development in our view is the presentation of the food and availability of vegetarian options, however all of the other impeccable amenities and service more than make up for this.
Written for TheDesignAir by Mel Kirk | Cathay Pacific were kind enough to fly us out to Hong Kong to experience their new direct flight from Dusseldorf first hand. The addition of the new route sees a further expansion to the airline’s European network and will help meet the rising demand from business and leisure travellers between Germany and Hong Kong. Dusseldorf is not only the financial hub of Germany but is also an airberlin hub making it a practical addition for passengers who wish to connect through it’s OneWorld network.
[Editors note: Sadly a corrupt photo-card meant images were lost and shots are limited from this trip, so some shots have been substituted from the TheDesignAir archive on Cathay Pacific but reflect the product experienced]
On the Ground
Cathay operate from Departure Level 1 in Dusseldorf’s International Airport. Utilising check in desks 176-181, they offer separate check in for premium economy, business and first class passengers, meaning that check in is quite and easy. On arrival to the area, we were quickly guided to the check-in desk for business class passengers which had no queue. Just a couple of moments later and we’d been handed our boarding passes and lounge access invitations.
The whole process couldn’t have been any smoother.Cathay Pacific business class passengers have access to the Open Sky Lounge on Pier C. The lounge is fairly basic but comfortable, offering plenty of seating, refreshments and snacks and is well positioned for access to the gates.
For our return flight, the kind team at Cathay Pacific once again granted us access to their new state of the art First Class Pier Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. You can read our full report on the lounge here. It’s services are extensive, including spa facilities including foot, neck and shoulder massages, full shower amenities and day lounges which give you a private area to relax and take in full view of the runway.
Separate dining rooms and bar really set this lounge apart from any of it’s competitors. When we were seated for dinner, we asked to see their vegetarian options, to be presented with an extensive vegetarian menu. We genuinely couldn’t ask for anything more and the service was impeccable.
On arrival, boarding had commenced and we were directed down a separate jet bridge to the aircraft. The aircraft offers 4 classes – first class, business class, premium economy and economy. We were directed through the first class cabin before locating our business class seats in the cabin directly behind.
Inside the business class cabin, Cathay have opted for muted and early green tones for the seat and flooring, whilst lighter cream and off white tones cover the walls and ceilings offering a calming atmosphere.
As for layout on this 777-300ER, the cabin of 53 business class seats is split into two cabins, the most appealing of which is the small micro cabin of 8 seats situated just behind the first class cabin and in front of the main doors. The rest of the cabin follows the 1 x 2 x 1 herringbone configuration behind the main door, in a large sea of seats, with alone standalone seat (15A) which has no neighbor (and no window).
The toilets are fairly standard but offer an extensive range of Jurlique products, including a foaming facial cleanser and rehydrating spray which is invaluable when you need to freshen up mid-flight.
We still love this Zodiac Cirrus seat. Each one is exceptionally large, spacious and angled towards the window (or towards your fellow passenger in the centre of the cabin). Once sat you immediately get a sense of privacy and space. There is ample leg room, meaning that even the tallest of passengers is ensured a comfortable flight.
We were seated in the centre of the cabin, with our seats angled towards one another. The seat offers plenty of storage facilities and your own overhead cabin meaning that there’s no issue with storing your carry on bag. Each seat has its own small cupboard which opens up to reveal your headset and a lit mirror. There are a number of different lighting options available from your overhead light to your personal directional reading light meaning that each seat can fulfil a number of different requirements.
The seat was incredibly comfortable and fully reclines to a 6’10” flat bed. Combined with a soft padded cushion and thick duvet, the airline have done everything to ensure passengers have a good sleep whilst on board.
The touch-screen TV when stowed allows you to make the most of the mini-suite. However when popped out, it sits comfortably a few feet away from the viewer, allowing you to fully enjoy the extensive entertainment programme on board.
There is a full table which extends out of the arm of the chair which gives you plenty of room to enjoy your dining experience, before quickly and simply being stowed as soon as you’ve finished.
Cathay has an extensive in flight entertainment programme, which is updated monthly. We were massively impressed that on our return flight at just 00:10 on the 1st of the month, the entertainment had already been updated. If you’re a movie buff, there’s a large collection of Hollywood Blockbusters along with international films. However, if movies aren’t your thing, there is a huge collection of lifestyle documentaries and TED talks. In addition to the flight’s in flight entertainment, there are a whole host of charging ports for your own personal electronic devices.
As previously reported, the dining experience onboard is a little mixed. The food is generally of a very high standard however the presentation could be improved on. Once we’d taken our seats, we were served a glass of wine and again offered another glass before the flight took off. As soon we were airbone, it was time for lunch. We were handed a full menu with a number of different options for both food and wine.
Whilst the standard selection of wines and champagnes was very well balanced, there was the additional French selection of wines, for a limited time, for us to choose from too. These wines included:
- Morgon, Les Granites Roses, Domaine Franck Chavy 2014
- Julienas, Domaine Bergeron 2014
- Moulin-à-Vent, Crois Des Verillats, Château du Moulin-à-Vent 2014
- Brouilly, Château de Saint-Lager 2014
We were able to select from a wide range of main courses, although all our trips had a singular choice of starter. For our Dusseldorf leg, we started with a smoked peppered tuna Nicoise salad with tonnato dressing. The tuna was perfectly seared and delicate in flavours. To follow, we chose a delicious Fried Sea Bass with spring onion, steamed jasmine rice and choy sum. The meal was nice and light and perfectly proportioned.
To finish dinner, we were supplied with a cheese and fruit plate. After lunch had been given a chance to digest, we were offered teas and coffee. In the first and business class cabins, they serve freshly brewed Illy coffee in china mugs – great for making you feel like you have the comforts of home around you with barista quality coffee.
After a lengthy sleep, we were greeted by the cabin crew delivering breakfast. We refreshed our pallets with an orange juice followed by sun-dried tomato and feta frittata with pork sausage, back bacon and oven roasted potatoes. This was accompanied by breakfast breads served with preserves, honey and butter. We stupidly forgot to pre-order a vegetarian meal online and disappointingly the cabin doesn’t carry any spares which means that we had to revert to croissants. We personally found this a little disappointing for a business class service but realise that this wouldn’t have been an issue if we’d pre-ordered.
Cathay offer a wide range of amenities and their kits have a decent selection of Jurlique products. Each of the kits contains a cleanser, moisturiser and spritz spray along with bed socks, toothpaste, a toothbrush and lens wipe.
As with all Cathay Pacific flights, their service is impeccable with the staff going out of their way to ensure that you have all that you need to give you the best possible experience. The beds are incredibly comfortable with plenty of leg room and the little extras will really make the difference in making sure that you have a good sleep onboard.
If you’re a traveller looking to make the most of the OneWorld network, the addition of this new route to Cathay Pacific’s already extensive list of destinations is going to come as a welcome addition. We’re already looking forward to flying with them again in the near future.