I arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport(CDG) off the 07:20 BA304 British Airways flight from London Heathrow. Being bleary-eyed from an all-nighter I was concerned that my Cathay Pacific flight which I booked only 10 hours before through American Airlines (AA) hadn't been ticketed. I called AA 3 times whilst at Heathrow to ask where my ticket was. First they told me that I had given the wrong credit card number (even though I checked online and I could see payment had been taken), then secondly I hadn't paid my airport taxes (This flight was purchased using AAdvantage miles thus the separate charge, but still my online statement said otherwise), and lastly but most helpfully that I had done everything correct and it was in fact their internal ticketing process that had held things up. I would instead have to pick up my paper ticket (when was the last time you didn't use an e-ticket I wonder?) landside at CDG then recheck-in at the desks.
After that mildly-stressful ticketing incident and finally getting back on track I started to look around at my surroundings. Given its traffic I was still surprised to see CDG in its near-dilapidated state. You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in military barracks instead of one of Europe's busiest airports.
Sadly for Cathay, the lounge's entrance at ground level gives a less-than-auspicious welcome too.
Once at the entrance level however things start to look more promising.
Bearing in mind I landed at CDG at around 09:20am, I managed to walk into the lounge at around 10:30. The moment I entered I asked to use their shower. This is amongst the best privilege of using most airport/airline lounges. Being sticky/smelly/uncomfortable from the nomadic previous night required a way to freshen up. Most lounges' showers provide towels for you so there is no need to take anything in, other than a spare set of clothes if you plan for it.
Being very hungry I had to grab a large tray of food. Cathay's lounges are renowned for their legendary Noodle Bar,
…and also a few local delicacies.
Cathay Pacific 260
Paris (CDG) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge
Tuesday 20th November 2012
Arrive: 06:45AM (+1 day)
Duration: 11hr 20min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 18K (Business Class)
At around 11:45am an announcement was made in the lounge for my flight. There was a lady and child sat beside me in the lounge who were on my flight, but connecting onwards to Australia, and was receiving some sort of preferential treatment from the lounge staff. He said that they needn't leave the lounge so early and could carry on until around 12:00. Despite my boarding pass telling me to arrive BEFORE 12:00, I decided to follow the staff's advice.
Boarding had already started when I arrived at the gate (I tend not to bother arriving before boarding begins anyway), and I made my way to my seat. This was the first time that I got to fly Cathay Pacific's business class, and my goodness what a beautiful hard product it had to offer. I chose 18K from the fairly-limited selection because it was right in the middle of the whole business class section. This would ensure minimal passenger footfall during the flight as toilets were at the front and back of the cabin.
Once on board they started their pre-departure beverages and handing out of their Agnes B. amenity kits.
I was incredibly sleep deprived from my all-nighter and promptly drifted off to sleep before even taxiing. To my surprise we were still on the ground about 30 mins after scheduled departure. Still feeling dozy, I battled the fatigue head-on with my pre-meal beverage.
Here is the menu from the flight:
And may the service begin:
After dinner service I went straight to sleep. It's been a while since I slept horizontally on an aircraft, and the sleept quality must have been fairly decent too because even though it was only 6 hours, I woke up feeling pretty good and didn't sleep for the rest of the flight.
I watched a few more TV shows and listened to the radio, before opening the blind briefly to see that the sun had started to rise. Right on cue breakfast service began.
Around 1 hour after breakfast we began our descent into Hong Kong. The sun had now fully risen and I could see the mountains in the distance. I switched the AVOD to the fuselage camera and opened the blinds fully (I did check to see if other passengers were awake first!)
And despite the initial delay, we landed on time and concluded the journey.
I'm pleased to have finally flown the new Cathay Business class. From what I gather the seats are very similar to British Airway's new first class (which I have not yet flown), just a bit smaller. Not that this matters to me given my moderate stature. The hard product is fantastic.
The food was nice, but a little substandard for what I'd have expected from a 5-star airline's business class. The air stewardesses' service did make up for this. Not once did it feel like they were fawning or intrusive, but there was always someone keeping an eye and clearing used glasses. Even whilst I was asleep they managed to clear an entire table's contents and stow it away without me noticing. However, I'm very satisfied with this flight and could thoroughly recommend Cathay based on this flight.
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