a row of seats in an airplane

Trip report: Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong

I had been a little too ambitious with my pre-flight lounge visit and ended up with only 3 minutes to get to my gate. As it turned out the gate agents had delayed boarding slightly, so whilst I was the last of the business class passengers to board, nearly all the economy passengers hadn't started yet.

There were separate queues and jet bridge entrances for the Business and Economy class passengers. Not that I needed separate lines in this case!

And so onto the flight.

Cathay Pacific 463
Taipei (TPE) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Monday 18th February 2013
Depart: 06:20AM
Arrive: 07:55AM 
Duration: 1hr 35min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Seat:  15E (Regional Business Class)

The cabin was approximately 1/4 full for this journey which surprised me a little. I had expected it to be nearly full at the front, as it was in economy class, given the first working day since Chinese New Year. Nevertheless I grabbed my apple juice, placed my carry-on bag in the overhead lockers and got the obligatory empty seat shot.

a seat on an airplane
Sorry this one's slightly blurred!

Now I've been a little spoilt  in that I haven't flown long haul economy class for nearly a year when I did LHR-HNL with a 2 hour stopover in LAX, but this seat seemed to feel a little on the narrow side despite having no-one sat next to me. Or the whole aisle for that matter.

a row of seats in an airplane

I was fairly satisfied with the leg room though:

a person's feet in a seat

As soon as the seat belt signs switched off, the four air stewardesses (two per aisle) plus their purser went straight to work and started drinks and meal service.

I wasn't really given much of a choice for food. Or perhaps I was simply half asleep when they brought food out. But I certainly was expecting a better presentation than this:

a plate of food with shrimp

Yes yes, I know that photo above is out of context with the rest of the tray, but since it's the supposed highlight of the whole meal, I thought I'd give it special emphasis. Here's the rest of the meal:

a tray of food on a table

Now that I remember it, I think I had the option of “vegetarian or not vegetarian”. For a ticket that costs about 3-4 times more than economy class (under normal circumstances!) I would have hoped for an improvement on food at least.

During the meal service the stewardesses made one pass for tea and another for coffee, then one more to clear up the trays, but they mostly stayed out of the passengers' way for the whole flight.  I don't remember being offered a top up of my water/juice/coke at any point during the flight.

Maybe my mind had been distorted slightly from the, admittedly incomparable, long-haul flight I did last November, but even when I fly Club Europe on British Airways there's always plenty of food and drinks being offered with an attentive service.

But still, for such a ‘premium' service I'd have expected slightly more. The flight landed on time but I felt a little unsatisfied with the whole experience. This was the first time I'd flown the Regional Business Class, since I'd flown Dragonair's Business Class on the outbound journey, but I knew things could be better. Thankfully I was prepared to give the benefit of the doubt since my next sector was HKG-SIN in Regional Business Class again, so I could give a direct comparison of services.

If I really had to give a score (which I don't usually) this one scored a pretty pathetic 2/10 in my books. This is probably the only way I can quantify my dissatisfaction!


  1. This is something I’ve noticed on CX, even on long-haul flights in J. The FAs don’t really come around to top off beverages, and once the meal service is over the FAs pretty much disappear, though you are free to press your call button to ask for additional beverages, etc. (And the FAs will rush to your seat once the call button is pressed.)

    Of course, this is a huge contrast to American carriers, where in premium cabins the FAs will continuously come through to top off your beverages during and shortly after the meal service… though I suspect this is because they don’t want to be bothered once the service is over.

  2. If there is one thing that I can’t stand is having oriental breakfast. I just simply can’t stand the idea of shrimps and noodles at 7 am. And that presentation is just disgusting !!!

  3. Sorry if it doesn’t fit your palate, but those noodles look very tasty to me. This is also a flight with flight time that’s just over an hour–what do you expect????

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