Parents flying with kids in business class on Cathay Pacific understandably want to know where to sit. I certainly did before boarding my first long haul flight on the airline as a mother.
Cathay Pacific (and their regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon) was our primary airline for the five years we lived in Hong Kong and, to this day, I’m constantly waxing on about how fantastic they are from a passenger’s perspective.
I receive a number of questions regarding the inflight experience in Cathay Pacific business class, so it’s high time to update this post. I’ve experienced three versions of their business class (four, if you count their new regional business class).
My daughter and I flew the most recent business class configuration a few weeks ago from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and back. Based on popular demand, this post now features more information about the inflight dining experience in addition to where to sit with kids.
It is hard for me to articulate how much I love this airline. They make flying enjoyable and worth every penny (or mile).
How to Sit with Kids in Business Class on Cathay Pacific
The current award-winning Cathay Pacific business class has one seat on each window and two in the middle. When flying with kids, you might think that the two middle seats are your best bet and reservations agents might suggest this.
The parent who will tend to the child most should sit across the aisle from the child. If I am flying alone with my daughter, it is far better for her to sit on the window side with me across the aisle from her. For example, this would be seat 22K (window) and seat 22G (aisle).
The reason is that there is a partition between the middle seats. In order to access your child, you’ll need to walk all the way around the business class cabin to the other aisle in order to assist your child which is a hassle during drink service, meal service, and when the seat belt sign is on. You can step over it, but even at 5’9″ I find doing this uncomfortable and awkward.
Now that my daughter is 9 years old, she prefers that we take the middle seats because her line of sight to me is better than if we sit across the aisle from each other. When in the middle seats, we can easily hand each other things over the partition and I can easily help her with homework.
If you choose middle seats, your child will board the plane through the aisle opposite to you, which my daughter used to find a bit nerve-wracking. Also, kids are unable to put carry-ons into the overhead compartment without help so if we are sitting this way I place her carry-ons in my bin so they are easier to access.
Middle seats will be difficult if flying with young kids like a 3-year-old who will need assistance with seat belts, toys, and eating so it is wiser to take the window and aisle seat as I’ve suggested above.
Being seated across the aisle from her, allows me to quickly duck in and out of her space without disturbing other passengers as much. I can stealthily help her when the seat belt sign is on with dropped toys, snacks and more. The downside is that I can’t see her as well without leaning forward. I still find this arrangement preferable when kids are young.
From a lifetime of practice, she’s happy as a clam in her pod and a better flier than a lot of adults—leaving me to drink wine and watch movies in peace.
Kids Amenities in Business Class on Cathay Pacific
Kids ages 3-6 also receive an amenity kit on some long haul flights that changes with the seasons. It usually has a bag full of activities like puzzles, stickers, and coloring.
CX Studio, the inflight entertainment system, has video games for older kids and more movies on demand than the younger set can watch on a long haul flight. The Disney Channel is a highlight for my daughter. Speaking of Disney, if Hong Kong is your destination, do take the kids to Hong Kong Disneyland.
Every seat will have a duvet and a sizable pillow as well as a decent amount of storage. Note that laptops, purses and anything large will need to be stored prior to take-off and landing. I often put smaller items in the shelf area or in the cupboard that holds the sound-proof headphones (though laptops are too large to be stored here).
Now that she’s 9, she receives the same amenity kit that I do.
Kid-Friendly Cathay Pacific Business Class Inflight Dining
Call in advance to reserve your child a kids’ meal which usually has selections like pasta or noodles (geared toward Asian preferences, however) and things like this.
When she turned 7, I stopped ordering the kids’ meals because she loves Cantonese food so much.
There is usually a dim sum option for breakfast or lunch and plenty for her to choose from throughout each meal’s multiple courses. In business class, plenty of kid-friendly rolls, fruit, and cheese are passed around for the entire cabin to enjoy. I usually order a different entree just in case she doesn’t care for the one she chooses.
Breakfast course includes a choice (and you can choose them all if you like) fruit, yogurt, cereal followed by a main course and breadbasket.
Mid-flight choices include small snacks (Haagen Das cups, too) and larger courses like a burger or noodle soup.
Dinner includes a starter course, entree, bread, selection of fruit and cheese as well as a dessert. To give you an idea, this is what our last meal service looked like.
The Cathay Delight kiwi smoothie is also a favorite of my daughter’s and served in the Hong Kong lounges and sometimes on board.
Cathay Pacific also has baby food available (do call to verify availability) but you are not able to reserve flavors in advance so passengers receive whatever flavors they have. Flight attendants are not allowed to reheat or refrigerate baby food or milk so plan accordingly.
The Old Business Class on Cathay Pacific
The “old” Cathay Pacific business class was introduced around the time my daughter was born in 2007 and still flies on some regional and long haul routes.
Like the current business class, these pods are in a herringbone configuration but the seats are slightly offset and designed so that it is a little tougher to fly with kids or socialize with a travel partner. The pods are skinny without lines of sight into other pods, which is great for business travelers though less comfortable for tall people like my husband. These are small complaints for still an awesome flight experience, however.
In the photo above, I am sitting in the aisle across from my daughter (my husband is next to her). Instead of booking seats 25A and 25D, you can see much better into your child’s pod if you stagger your seats so that the window seat is slightly behind you. So, my daughter would sit in seat 26A against the window and I would take the aisle seat in row 25D.
Reservation agents know what type of business class is featured on your flight, but keep in mind that it is always subject to change in the rare instance that they switch planes.
I also check SeatGuru.com which tends to be accurate most of the time. I believe this configuration has been fully phased out though I have flown it within the last few years.
Regional Business Class on Cathay Pacific with Kids
The new regional business class has side-by-side seating so just reserve your child a seat next to you and you’ll be fine. There is ample legroom, the same expansive movie and TV selections and more-or-less the same dining with starters, entree (forgot to take a photo last time), cheese selection and desserts.
I do wish the longer routes like Tokyo – Hong Kong still had the lie-flat business class (some still do so check with reservations) but this seems to be the way many airlines are headed.
Child Safety Restraints and Bassinets
If you plan to bring a car seat to use onboard, you must make sure that it’s permitted in the class of service. The CARES harness can be used in economy class and premium economy class but does not work in business class or first class seats.
Instead, Cathay Pacific has a belt that will attach to yours so that you can hold your child on your lap during takeoff and landing. We used this restraint until my daughter was 3, I believe.
Cathay Pacific does have bassinets available in business class at the bulkhead. Make sure these seats are available before booking as many families fly business class to and from Hong Kong.
Purchasing Cathay Pacific Business Class Tickets
Discounted business class tickets are hard to find unless there is a Cathay Pacific sale. I monitor flight pricing on Google Flights and subscribe to their emails for sale alerts.
I also try to use American AAdvantage miles. It is now 70,000 miles each way to fly in Cathay Pacific business class and these seats are hard to find unless you can either book at the last minute or 330 days in advance. If you are short on miles, it is very easy to purchase AAdvantage miles. You may also buy British Airways Avios and use them to book on Cathay Pacific
First Class on Cathay Pacific with Kids
If the opportunity arises, while business class on Cathay Pacific with kids is awesome, first class is a bucket list experience to take advantage of. Read about our recent experience in first class on Cathay Pacific.
Why We Love Cathay Pacific
I haven’t yet received sub-par service on a Cathay Pacific flight. I would guess we’ve flown well over a hundred flights on the airline in the last 15 years.
I often flew long haul alone when my daughter was a baby and the flight attendants were incredibly helpful with my bags, warming up her food and more. They were never cranky or rude and, to give you an example, one of the flight attendants on our last flight roamed the cabin and introduced himself by name. His demeanor was fantastic with my often-shy daughter. When we were more regular fliers, some began to recognize my daughter and I remembered which chocolates out of the after-dinner box we liked.
I only remember one flight that was delayed more than a half an hour, otherwise most take off when promised though recent air traffic control issues on mainland China mean these flights can be delayed. The lounges at Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok) are also top of the line. The wine and food in any class is excellent for an airline. I could go on and on.
See my article about jet lag and kids for advice regarding how to handle the first few days after a long haul flight.
Don’t forget to check my guide to flying long haul with kids.