Living in Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific as our home airline spoiled us when it comes to air travel. We are very biased when it comes to the question of which is the best pacific airline. They go above and beyond to make the journey a pleasant experience in any class of service in a way that makes us look forward to getting on the plane. I’m thrilled to write this long-overdue post as part of the Cathay Pacific Ambassador program.
Cathay Pacific offers the most nonstop service to Hong Kong and beyond, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Newark Liberty, San Francisco and was recently named World’s Best Airline (for the fourth time) at the 2014 World Airline Awards. Starting May 3, a new route from Boston to Hong Kong will provide another easy gateway to Asia for East Coast residents.
If you are flying to Hong Kong or need to connect to another destination in Asia, here are ten reasons why Cathay Pacific is the best airline.
1. Impeccable Service on Board and on the Ground
I can’t recall a time where I’ve crossed a cranky flight attendant or had an on board request not delivered within minutes of asking. Service is where the airline really stands out.
They’ve done everything for me from warm up baby bottles to remembering which chocolates in the after dinner box I like (back when we flew transpacific enough to recognize the flight attendants). Ground staff helped fold up strollers and carry my heavy carry-on bags down the jetway when I was flying with my baby. I could go on and on.
2. Awesome Lounges
It’s worth achieving airline status or buying business class or first class tickets just to use the Cathay Pacific lounges at Hong Kong International Airport. We usually wind up in The Pier (pictured above) but those with oneworld Emerald status (including American AAdvantage Executive Platinum) should take advantage of The Wing First Class Lounge (The Pier is in the process of adding a first class lounge) which has awesome cabanas with tubs to refresh in, a champagne bar and a sit-down restaurant.
The Pier’s Long Bar is just that and an excellent place to sip a cocktail or a healthier drink from the juice bar while waiting for your flight. Not to mention if your flight is after mid-morning, the noodle bar is open (try the dan dan noodles). Otherwise, there are usually little sandwiches, cheese, cookies and some Chinese dumplings to snack on. The lounging area has tons of plugs and little cubicles with TVs and sound-proof headphones. Floor to ceiling windows allow plenty of natural light to flood the space as well as scenic view of the planes. These lounges are totally a reason to get to the airport early. In fact, plan on it.
3. Cathay Pacific Kids Meals and Amenities
Cathay Pacific is very kid friendly. Regardless of which class of service chosen, you may call in advance to request a special kids meal (or meals addressing other dietary preferences) that comes with a juice box and a cute curly straw that is yours to keep. The items can be more kid friendly than the adult version (you may want to ration the sugar), but note that if you’re in business class, the dessert course includes a cracker, cheese and fruit option that is definitely kid friendly, too. You may also request jarred baby food but they can’t guarantee which flavor you’re going to receive. It’s nice nonetheless!
Before or shortly after take-off each child receives an activity pack that has saved me during times when electronics needed to be turned off. I also used to request baby packs that came with a few extra diapers and some Mustela diaper creams and lotions. All are subject to availability, but they were always available in our case. Diaper changing tables are in some bathrooms.
4. CX Studio Inflight Entertainment
With all of the Cathay Pacific inflight entertainment options, it’s pretty hard to run out of things to watch on TV. Tons of movies ranging from those that have just left theaters to old classics are available along with a massive number of TV shows, documentaries, news stories and more. The video game and music selections are quite varied as well. Everything is on demand, including on our recent flight from Hong Kong to Singapore in economy class.
Business and first class passengers are given sound-proof headphones and a slightly larger selection of shows.
5. Almost Never Delayed
I can only remember one time over the last decade that I was delayed more than an acceptable amount of time which in my book is less than 30 minutes. It’s usually never. This airline is efficient.
6. Cathay Pacific Food
Though we are always in business class transpacific, we do occasionally fly economy regionally within Asia. While the Cathay Pacific food and drink in business class is usually excellent all around, I find economy class meals tastier than most other airlines.
My favorite is the business class port, cheese and fruit selection after the main course. The wine selection is also very good with free-flowing Krug in first class.
7. Awesome In All Classes
Believe it or not, we’ve experienced three different business classes in the decade or so we’ve been flying Cathay Pacific which signals to me that the airline is constantly improving. The most recent change resulted in wider, more spacious seats in lieu of the herringbone formation, which still flies regionally to some destinations in Asia and some long-haul routes.
Now that my daughter is older, I prefer the herringbone formation (which is in the process of being retired). We barely talk to each other during the flight because we stay put in our own little pods. The only thing she asked me on this flight to Tokyo was whether or not she could eat my Haagen-Dazs, a common dessert offering on some flights.
We recently flew in the new economy class from Hong Kong to Singapore and I found there to be plenty of legroom, electrical outlets, great entertainment on demand and a decent meal. The wine is a little less free-flowing because the flight attendants have more people to serve than in business class, but that’s to be expected.
8. Hong Kong Station Check-In
I can’t tell you how convenient it is to check your bags before boarding the Airport Express train to the airport. Check-in at Hong Kong Station in Central (steps through the IFC mall from Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong) and Kowloon Station is available up to 24 hours before your flight. The lines here are much shorter than at the airport, you can board the train without juggling big luggage and once you arrive at the airport, head straight to security since you’ll already have your boarding pass. It may not sound like it, but this option is enormously convenient and only available with select airlines.
Tip: Buy discounted Airport Express train tickets on Klook.
9. Earn Asia Miles or Miles Within the oneworld Alliance
Members of the oneworld Alliance can earn miles on partner airlines when flying Cathay Pacific. This includes American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, airberlin, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines and other partner airlines.
10. It’s a Gateway to Asia
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the easiest and nicest airports to use as your base in Asia. It’s clean and easy to navigate with the ability to shop, spa, drink and eat outside of lounges while you wait for your flight. Between Cathay Pacific and its partner airline, Cathay Dragon (formerly Dragonair, which we also love), you can fly to most major and a number of minor cities in Asia with ease.
Have you flown with Cathay Pacific lately?
*This post is written in partnership with Cathay Pacific. However, in this case, I’ve definitely put a lot of my money where my mouth is. Trust me.
The Pier lounge photo and economy class photo are used courtesy of Cathay Pacific.