Review: OneWorld Extravaganza – CX 292 Rome to Hong Kong A340-300 Business Class

Introduction
W Taipei
CX 401 TPE – HKG 77W J
CX 251 HKG – LHR 77W W
Sofitel London Heathrow
BA 572 LHR – MXP 319 Y
Hotel Villa Franceschi Venice
The Style Florence
St. Regis Rome
Le Anfore Lounge Rome
CX 292 FCO – HKG 343 J

Comfort 4/5 Service 5/5 Amenities 4/5 Little things 4/5 Meals 4/5 Overall 4/5

The A340 is such an exciting aircraft. We normally overlook it, but it’s so rare, Alvin and I have taken it once each in our lives (comparison: Alvin has taken the A330-300 six times in the past half year). This was my first time on the A340-300, as stated above, and I was damn looking forward to it.

Cathay Pacific Flight 292
Friday, August 8th, 2014
Origin: Rome Fiumicino (FCO) Gate: G3 Dep: 12:30 (12:50)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 33 Arr: 06:35
+1 (06:25)
Duration: 12 hr 05 min (11 hr 35 min)
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A340-300
Seat: 20A (Business Class)

IMG_0002

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Fuselage

We boarded the aircraft and turned left, and my seat was the first up, in the last row of business class.

IMG_0003

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

While the herringbone configuration is pretty old (especially given the fact that I’d just flown the new product a month ago), it does the trick pretty well, and I wouldn’t reroute to avoid the product.

We weren’t greeted by anyone upon getting onboard, but purser Joey immediately rushed in, apologised and said that the gate crew let us in without letting the flight attendants know. She was extremely apologetic, so I’m not complaining.

The refreshed product looks pretty nice, if not slightly bland, but the mood lighting kicked in soon after so I won’t complain.

IMG_0004

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

IMG_0005

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

IMG_0007

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Seat 20A

To my left were the seat controls, which were intuitive. Having a power port didn’t hurt either, though I couldn’t for the life of me find a USB power port (not that I minded either).

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Seat Controls

The screen was also to my left, and was big enough.

IMG_0009

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Screen

I realised we were onboard quite early, which made rushing to the aircraft rather useless.

IMG_0012

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Airshow

We were passed out duvets, which were pretty damn comfortable. While Cathay doesn’t do turndown service in business class, they do hand out comfortable duvets that you can just throw down on the soft seat.

IMG_0013

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Duvets

My view, unfortunately, was blocked by the jetbridge. Also, I only had one window and had to stretch my neck to look out the window (not that there was anything to look out of). Damn. I spent taxi time craning my neck, but soon gave up.

IMG_0014

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class View (or lack thereof)

There was a reading light, which was strong enough. I really hate it when you’re provided a reading light that provides as much light as a candle, and this wasn’t the case here.

IMG_0017

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Reading Light

IMG_0018

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class unfolded screen

IMG_0019

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class screen latch

While I’m usually not claustrophobic, I felt a little enclosed in the area. Not that I minded, especially given that I don’t eat much (i.e. my sides weren’t touching the walls of the seat), but I just felt funny when in the seat.

IMG_0020

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin

20140810-115803-43083345.jpg

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin

IMG_0040

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin

Soon we were passed headphones, which were pretty high quality and same as the Premium Economy ones.

IMG_0025

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class headphones

Not long after we were presented drinks, which I ordered an apple juice. It was really sour, which was nice (I like it as sour as possible as long as the acid inside doesn’t melt any of my body parts).

IMG_0021

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class welcome beverage

My father was served a glass of champagne, which was, as is the norm, Billecart-Salmon Brut. While I’m under the legal drinking age, I’ve heard good things about Billecart-Salmon, so I was quite surprised when my father called it “crap champagne” (not out loud, quietly to my mother later during the flight).

Being on an A340 for the first time was thrilling, especially when looking at the safety card. I have taken the CX 747 numerous times though, but only in economy, so this was the first time I have tried Cathay’s herringbone business class.

IMG_0022

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Safety Card

IMG_0026

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin pre-departure

To remind me that I was on a new exciting aircraft, I scanned the safety card. Reminds me of the seat I was supposed to be stuck on… 😮

IMG_0027

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Safety Card

IMG_0028

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Safety Card

My seat didn’t have a window, so I was stuck to watching people go back and forth towards the toilets and back. Well, I normally like people watching in different countries, so…

IMG_0030

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class view from seat 20A

Entertainment on the ground doesn’t apply to Cathay Pacific, so I browsed the available selection as boarding continued.

IMG_0031

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class StudioCX magazine

IMG_0032

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Discovery Magazine

Amenity kits were passed out. They were substantial and were Agnes. B branded.

IMG_0034

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Amenity Kit

Hot towels were passed out alongside the amenity kits.

IMG_0035

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Hot Towel

I looked around. There’s not really much privacy in my seat, but at least it feels less encased, which my mother pointed out. To be honest there’s not much privacy in any other seat, as you’re actually facing the aisle and can be seen unless your screen is unstowed. At least there were no fumes from the feet sticking out!

IMG_0040

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class view from 20A

Soon the safety video played, and Joey came around and made sure all screens were unstowed so they could make sure we all got it.

IMG_0036

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Safety Video

All screens were then to be stowed. Wow. 😦

We taxied around for a bit, but at the time my neck already started stiffening up from looking to the left, so I left the views. We took off, and thankfully (especially given we were in these seats) it was smooth.

We levelled off at about 13:00.

IMG_0052

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Cabin after takeoff

At this point the moving map started lagging, and the crew rebooted the system before turning on StudioCX.

IMG_0050

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Lagging Screen

The menu read as follows:

IMG_0044

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Menu

IMG_0045

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Menu

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the wine list, but it was pretty extensive.

The meal service was preceded by Joey and the other flight attendants rushing around “because the baby pooped the bassinet was faulty”. They were truly devoted to fixing the incident, and I had good impressions of the service from then on.

Service began with warm cashews and drinks. I took a Coke (as they were out of Oriental Breeze) along with the hot cashews. I don’t really like almonds (or any other things airlines put in their nut mix), so cashews are perfect for me.

IMG_0053

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Hot Nuts

IMG_0054

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Drinks

IMG_0055

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin upon drink service

I went to the bathroom. It can be differentiated from the Economy bathrooms with tiles by the mirror, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same.

IMG_0047

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bathroom

IMG_0048

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bathroom

IMG_0049

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bathroom

I was served the appetiser not long after returning to my seat. It was smoked salmon with some salad and swordfish with sundried tomato yoghurt (wtf?), and tasted okay.

IMG_0058

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class appetiser

IMG_0059

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class appetiser

I tucked into some Diary of a Wimpy Kid before the main course.

IMG_0056

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Soon the main course was served. They were out of chicken and fish, which is acceptable given that I was in the last row and the food is served from the front row on CX 292. I had to choose between a cheese and polenta ravioletti and a Chinese beef rice meal. I chose the latter, which was surprisingly nice, especially given that it was presented with wooden chopsticks and not plastic ones that broke upon bending.

IMG_0060

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class main course

IMG_0062

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class main course

There was nothing interesting for dessert, so I skipped and went straight to pralines. I had a hot cocoa with it – what am I, five years old? Well, I’m close…

IMG_0066

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class pralines

IMG_0067

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class hot cocoa

The finale of the meal was a steaming hot towel that took five minutes to cool down to a temperature that I can pick up.

IMG_0068

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class hot towel

The meal service was spectacular. Joey was on top of her game, but I couldn’t help but notice that the others were lagging behind on catching up with Joey’s speed. It wouldn’t have been noticeable, but I was watching closely, so…

The mood lighting kicked in. While my friends normally rave about it, lulu and I were not too impressed.

IMG_0065

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin after meal service

The meal service was done approximately three hours into the flight.

IMG_0064

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class time to go after lunch

I reclined my seat into the bed position. I don’t know if seat 20A has more space by the galley or what, but the seat did feel much wider in lie-flat mode, and there was lots of head space.

IMG_0069

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bed

I watched a little of Harry Potter, but got bored and just decided to go to bed (I’m a sleep anywhere, anytime kind of guy).

IMG_0070

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Chamber of Secrets

IMG_0071

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin after lunch

I slept a bit, and woke up above Georgia near the Caspian Sea. If I had a window I’d have looked down at the awesome sights immediately.

IMG_0073

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class airshow

I explored the seat in bed mode a little more. It was actually pretty spacious in bed mode, and pretty stylish too. While the new product is more stylish, comfortable, and strikes the perfect balance between privacy and openness, this seat is actually nicer in terms of the finishes.

IMG_0079

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class wall lights

IMG_0076

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bed with sheet

The bed was pretty wide for me, and had a few places where I could store stuff like my phone. I tend to procrastinate on my phone before bed, and I could do it here (though looking at the pictures was the only option regarding the lack of WiFi).

IMG_0074

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bedside container

IMG_0082

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin over Caspian Sea

I put my seat halfway up and briefly looked over the StudioCX selections. They weren’t any different from the London flight except that the movies were different (but equally unsuitable for a young man like me).

IMG_0072

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class StudioCX

IMG_0108

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class StudioCX

I settled on Planes, which was a nice kiddy movie.

IMG_0084

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Planes movie

I pressed the call button and Joey immediately appeared, and I asked for a chicken noodle soup. It definitely was as good as the duck noodle soup, if not better. Also, Joey remembered my choices of Coke twice throughout the flight, so gave it to me automatically, which is a nice touch.

IMG_0081

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class chicken noodle soup

IMG_0083

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class chicken noodle soup

IMG_0086

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin inflight

I was still hungry, so I ordered a chicken pie along with it. Mmmm…

IMG_0087

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class chicken pie

IMG_0088

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class Planes movie

I slept for another part of an hour after the movie was finished. It’s worth noting that the refreshed old product and the new product have the same padding (and seat material), which is amazing. Cathay’s new regional business also has the same padding.

IMG_0093

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class bed

IMG_0094

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin

As the morning came, three hours from Hong Kong, I woke up again, a little before the meal service. The mood lighting was a little brighter now, which I did appreciate.

Up until now I hadn’t been really irritated by galley noise, and this continued throughout the flight.

IMG_0095

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class time to Hong Kong

IMG_0096

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class mood lighting

As the lights got brighter, I was passed out a hot towel by Joey. It was cooler than the one I got after the meal, so was the perfect temperature.

IMG_0097

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class hot towel

After reclining my seat and waiting for a few minutes, breakfast service started. At this point I felt like going to the washroom again, which was a challenge, as my table was out. It’s worth noting that both in bed mode and when the tray table is out this seat is hard to get in and out of.

IMG_0101

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class set table

IMG_0102

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class fruit and croissant

Yogurt was served. Normally I don’t really like ACT yoghurt, but I found this just fine, surprisingly.

IMG_0103

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class yoghurt

Soon I was served the main course, some bouncy eggs with some edible bacon and sausages. I find Cathay’s breakfasts to be extremely underwhelming (well, everything with egg in business, premium economy or economy class is underwhelming), and this was no exception.

IMG_0104

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class breakfast

IMG_0106

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class cabin during breakfast

I was then passed another hot towel. That’s four.

IMG_0105

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class hot towel

IMG_0109

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class leg space

Soon after breakfast the captain came on to announce a ten-minute early landing, and concluded with “cabin crew, 30 minutes till landing”, as is the norm on Cathay Pacific.

IMG_0113

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class seat by 12 hours

Joey came by and wished us a wonderful time in Hong Kong. Thank you, but…I live here…

Landing was flawless – the weather was good, and we didn’t have to go around or anything.

IMG_0110

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class screen upon landing

IMG_0114

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class screen upon landing

We arrived at gate 33 at 6:25am, where I was the last in Business off the plane, as we deplaned through the front door. I snapped a few cabin pictures as we went by.

IMG_0115

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class ottoman

IMG_0116

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

IMG_0117

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

IMG_0118

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

IMG_0119

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class artwork

Soon we were on our way home after this fun trip.

Bottom line on Cathay Pacific A340 Business Class

Overall I found the flight to be awesome. The seat was substantial if not great, the food okay, but the service awesome. That’s what I expect in Business Class.

I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Cathay Pacific’s business class, old or new, again.

Bottom line on my OneWorld Extravaganza

Overall I had an amazing, amazing trip. London, Venice, Florence and Rome are all places I wouldn’t hesitate to return to. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that I enjoyed each and every moment of it (take, for example, check-in at The Style Florence), I really enjoy taking these trips and spending time with family, and also enjoy sharing with you. I’ll be back reporting on my travel experiences whenever I can.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s