“For many of us who have lived in the East for some time, Cathay Pacific IS Hong Kong, it represents the amazing combination of oriental heritage with modern efficiency that defines Hong Kong culture”, writes Alistair Speirs, who recently re-discovered the delights of Cathay Pacific’s business class on his way to and from Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific is very contemporary Asia, combining heartfelt warmth with considered simplicity as expressed in their brand manual, but it’s the “joy of discovery” leading to “a life well-travelled” that really appealed to me. What a great definition of the old jet set aspirations! But to deliver these values takes a lot more work than it used to, especially when dealing with the demands of “well-travelled” business passengers used to pampering by modern airlines.
But Cathay’s well thought out product is the result of intensive and relevant research and has produced a service that delivers comfort, versatility and function. Of course leaving from Jakarta airport inevitably means the lounge is a shared service rather than Cathay’s own but the exclusive check-in and the separate immigration make up for this.
Stepping on board quickly reassures you as the charm and efficiency of the multi-national inflight service team takes over. Jackets are hung, bags are stored, drinks and nuts are served (and replenished!) with a minimum of fuss. The fun has begun.
It’s hard to improve an already good product but the new Cathay Pacific business class has done. The storage space is well thought out, with the seat and the controls engineered for comfort and ease of use. You really do feel as if you are in a private cocoon. Of course the menu is equally well conceived with a large variety of cocktails and excellent wines available throughout the journey.
Arriving in Hong Kong at the relatively new International Airport HKIA is a painless and efficient experience, with a minimum of hassle at customs and immigration before gaining direct access to the MTR network, which whisks you underground and underwater to all parts of HK and the new territories. I didn’t feel the need to even think about a taxi or limousine.
But it’s the outward journey from HK where the service delivery gets even better through Cathay’s own business class lounge, The Pier, located next to Gate 65. The Pier was designed by London-based Studioilse and is conceived as Hong Kong “street life” elevated to luxury level. It embraces either “the fast lanes” with food and beverage stations, or “the slow lanes” with comfortable seating and green and restful surroundings. A smart combination.
The whole place is finished with high quality natural materials, designer furniture, good use of plants, and practical placing of tables, lights and sockets. The food and beverage are based around equally smart ideas: The Coffee Cart, The Noodle Bar, The Tea House and the extensive selection at The Bar. Nothing has been missed.
If you want to escape even this relaxed atmosphere, you can head to the relaxation room where loungers and footstools await. Just don’t doze off and miss your flight.
In fact, it really is a struggle to leave the comfort and convenience of The Pier, but the flight is called and it’s a brisk walk to the plane. But remember, this is Cathay Pacific and the charming folks in business class welcome you back and the journey begins again with smiles (and a glass of champagne).
It really is the only way to go to Hong Kong.