A380 Extravaganza: Cathay Pacific Business Class Singapore to Colombo

Filed Under: Awards, Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific 711
Singapore (SIN) – Colombo (CMB)

Friday, January 18
Depart: 9:00PM
Arrive: 10:15PM
Duration: 3hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Seat: 15C (Business Class)

Compared to the amazing condition that Cathay’s longhaul 777s are in, it’s always a bit depressing to see their regional configuration.

Business class consisted of seven rows in a 2-3-2 configuration, so there were a total of 45 seats upfront (there are only three seats in the first row). We were seated in 15A & 15C, about mid-cabin on the left side.

The seats are a bit more comfortable than domestic first class seats in the US and a bit less comfortable than old business class recliner seats. They have 40-odd inches of pitch, with a legrest and reasonable recline, all of which is manually controlled. There was also a small pillow and blanket at each seat.

Our seats

View from our seats

Seat controls

Once settled in we were offered pre-departure beverages from a tray. I had a glass of champagne, which wasn’t very good. It’s funny because I always assumed the difference between “good” champagne and “meh” champagne was little more than the prestige/name, but after drinking nothing but Dom and Krug on planes for years I found this stuff damn near vile. 😀

Pre-departure champagne

We were also offered hot towels and the menu for tonight’s flight.

Shortly before departure the captain came on the PA to advise us of our flight time of 3hr21min, which would put is into Colombo on-time. He also added his welcome from the first officer, who was female (I mention that because it’s the first time I’ve had a female pilot on an Asian airline).

As the cabin door closed the business class cabin was at most a third full, and coach was probably even less full than that.

To space out a bit I decided to move forward a row, as my friend wanted to sleep (after flying in from San Francisco the same day), while I wasn’t tired yet.

The in-flight service manager, Alice, made her welcome aboard announcement and played the safety video as we began to push back.

Our taxi to the runway was fairly quick, and we encountered a bit of chop on the climb out.

View after takeoff

After takeoff I played around with the entertainment system for a bit, though there was nothing on demand (rather it was looping videos), so I decided to entertain myself with resizing and editing pictures for the rest of the flight.

About 30 minutes after takeoff supper service began. The menu read as follows:

And the drink/wine list read as follows:

The flight attendants came around the cabin with a cart offering drinks. I ordered a Diet Coke, which was served with a ramekin of almonds.

Diet Coke and almonds

That was followed by the appetizer, again off a cart, which consisted of a salad and smoked duck breast. They also had a bread basket on the cart, and I selected a couple pieces of garlic bread.

Smoked duck breast with tea smoked raisin and mustard dressing

For the main course I ordered the pan-roasted cod, which was served with broccoli and fingerling potatoes. It was moist and tasty.

Pan-roasted cod on tomato caper sauce, buttered fingerling potatoes, broccoli and roasted pumpkin

For dessert I had the mango cheesecake with mixed berry compote, which was excellent as well.

Mango cheesecake with mixed berry compote

After dinner I ordered some Hong Kong milk tea, which is probably my favorite drink on Cathay Pacific. Along with it I was offered some pralines out of a box as well as a bottle of water.

Hong Kong milk tea and pralines

Overall this was a really impressive meal service for such a late night departure, in my opinion. After the meal we had about 90 minutes to go to Colombo, and I managed to stay awake and work on my trip report most of the way, thanks in no small part to the generous refills of Hong Kong milk tea from the crew.

The crew on the whole was extremely friendly. They were a bit more junior than other Cathay Pacific crews I’ve had, and all Hong Kong based. They were attentive and always smiling, so on par with what I’ve experienced on their longhaul routes.

In the middle of the flight I took a quick look at the coach cabin, which has over 350 seats.

Economy cabin

Economy cabin

About 30 minutes prior to landing we began our descent, and shortly thereafter the seatbelt sign was turned on. We encountered quite a bit of chop on the descent into Colombo, and had a rather rough touch down, followed by a quick taxi to the gate.

We bid farewell to the crew, and found ourselves in what I consider to be one of the most charming airports…

  1. I flew the same aircraft SUB-HKG and while I agree the seats are antiquated, the service was excellent… loved the cod too! 😉

  2. Just to let you know, this is just a regular B777-300 not 777-300ER 😉

    Another thing, we have a new regional business class on the way with touchscreen AVOD so be sure to check that out!

  3. I would’ve certainly picked the mutton….

    The crew was more junior because none of the CX crew likes to fly to Colombo and if given the route, they would do everything to swap it. Junior crew wouldn’t have the seniority to swap yet.

    Also, that HK milk tea they serve on CX can be purchased in boxes (it’s powdered) in any Chinese grocery store. Just sayin’…

  4. Two things: 1) no lime??? 2) Billecart salmon was that bad? Been a while since I drank it but that used to be one of my favorite non vintage champagnes. Maybe not Krug, but definitely not vile!

  5. The 3hr flight in NA would be on an A319 and you’d get a choice of a medium-sized cracker or an apple.

  6. “but after drinking nothing but Dom and Krug on planes for years I found this stuff damn near vile.”

    Good thing you haven’t had the *really* good champagne…you might have ended up spitting it out 😉

  7. Lucky,

    CX seems to be leading the pack on female pilots. My captain on JNB-HKG (a 747) a few weeks ago was a woman as well.

  8. @ Mike — Whoops, you’re absolutely right, my mistake.

    @ MilesAbound — Like most foreign carriers no lime, unfortunately. Hah, as far as the champagne goes I thought it was pretty bad, though maybe I’m going crazy…

    @ Ken Y. — Does the fact that it can be purchased in any grocery store make it taste any less good on a Cathay flight? 😉

  9. The last photo does not look like a meal in an economy cabin to me. Are you sure you were not mistaken ? (I’ve never flown with Cathay Pacific)

  10. So you did a quick turnaround SIN-CMB-SIN? How did you get to transfer and get your return bp as Sri Lanka requires a visa?

  11. You went from being someone who didn’t care about champagne much to being the pickiest person I know. Billcar-Salmon is considered a fine champagne by most ( me included). Light-years ahead of anything served on US international planes.

    Assuming no lay over, would you route to Colombo via Singapore or Bangkok on CX? I’m doing this next year.

  12. @ Beachfan — I’d do it out of SIN as the flight is a bit shorter. No reason to spend more time in regional business class than you have to.

  13. Did you stay in the aircraft while in CMB while others disembarked? Sorry for all the questions. I guess the turnaround was for miles?! 😀

  14. @ Mike — No, you have to deplane given that the plane is on the ground for more than two hours. The outbound was an award ticket while the return was the start of an ex-CMB fare. I was positioning in CMB to take advantage of the reasonable first class fares published out of there.

  15. @ Lucky

    Thanks! So HKG-SIN is a better plane than SIN-CMB in J? (sorry if I didn’t mention I’m starting in LAX).

  16. Oh ok. So how’d you get up to the departures area? Sorry for the questions once again. Can’t wait for the rest of the report! 🙂

  17. @lucky – Never mind. Somehow on my iphone the last photo of your post is replaced with the appetizer photo (smoke duck breast).

  18. I have to concur, of all the non-vintage Champagnes, Billecart Saumon is one of my favorites. I do like Pol Roger better though.. can’t wait to try the Winston Churchill on Asiana F.

  19. @ beachfan — It all depends on the flight. If you’re on the “direct” flight from Hong Kong to Colombo it’s the same plane all the way through, though Cathay Pacific does fly some longhaul configured aircraft Hong Kong to Singapore, so if you can get on one of those I’d highly recommend it.

  20. @ Mike — I didn’t have to go up to the departures area. The flight let out in the terminal, just a two minute walk from the lounge.

  21. I have to agree with many others B-S (pardon the abbreviation) is lovely IM(not so)HO. Maybe you had a bad bottle?

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