‘Who does she think she is giving us advice on flying with kids when she flew long haul business class?’
I know.. I know.. this flight review has a gilt-edge in that I did indeed fly business class from Hong Kong to London with my two young kids (nearly 4 and 17 mths). However, here is HOW I did it:
- Join your airline’s frequent flyer programme and don’t forget to add the details to the booking or show at check-in. I’m a geek but I also check my balance following a flight to ensure they’ve added my miles
- Bank up all your airmiles and save them for class upgrades or booking business
- Join a credit card that gives you airmiles per spend. I have a Cathay Pacific American Express card
- Get your kids signed up for airmiles and create a ‘Household Account’
- Book far in advance (I booked this trip to London a year in advance)
- Try and do it before your kids turn two. After that you have to buy them their own seat.
Now on to the flight review!
Cathay Pacific CX 253 Hong Kong to London Heathrow: departs HKG 3pm, arrives LHR 8pm
No queue to check in for Cathay business class. Friendly check in assistants but I noticed they forgot to give me my lounge invitation. Did she look at my kids and do that on purpose? Luckily I realised just as I was about to leave and she muttered an apology and printed one out for me.
‘The Wing’ – Cathay Pacific’s Flagship Lounge
I’ve written on how great lounge access is in a previous post. You save money with the free food/drink available for the kids and also somewhere spatious to release them out of the buggy/baby carrier and into the wild.
Lounge serving staff are very helpful and went out their way to bring me drinks and snacks for the kids. Having had a recent refit, it’s a spacious, clean area to enjoy before your flight. We hung out at the balcony level enjoying noodles, cakes and wine (me). However, I am surprised (Cathay are you reading this?) that there is no dedicated area for kids. So many lounges have this, even if it’s a few toys and books.
I took my stroller with me to the gate and then transferred my 17 mth old into the Ergo. Easy priority boarding. A collective sigh from the passengers as me and the two munchkins descended on our business class seats
In a word, phenomenal. Cathay have recently upgraded their seats and the new business class is a slick product, providing lots of space, privacy and storage. The TV screen is enormous and coupled with the Bose headphones, I could barely hear my four year old. Excellent choice of kids TV and movies.
Bedding comfy and luxurious. I had two seats between the three of us so we played musical chairs. We were given the two middle seats and there was lots of room for the kids to play on each seat.
Coping with kids in business class
I was conscious of keeping the kids as quiet as possible. Luckily my four year old is happy to watch TV for hours on end. I had brought a DVD player so the 17 mth old could be happily entertained by ‘the Wiggles’. To get her to sleep, I did have to create a tent with the duvet to darken the cabin for her but eventually she nodded off for about six hours. Despite being shot daggers as I boarded the plane, my kids received lots of compliments as we disembarked, the ultimate accolade for a kids travel blog writer!
Children’s meal your usual rubbish that kids enjoy but you’d probably turn your nose up at.
Adults meal delicious. On this flight you get lunch and then dinner. I don’t know what they do to it but Cathay garlic bread is amazing. I also sampled some great wines (hello I was eating cheese, you’ve got to pair it haven’t you).
What makes flying business so special (besides the flat bed) is the service. Super attentive staff to cater to your every whim, which is especially important when flying with young kids. I was able to escape to the toilet while they played with the kids and nothing was too much trouble. Cathay Pacific staff are known very their service excellence but in business they go the extra mile.