To be honest any flight where it’s just me, no Jetlag & Mayhem is a LUXURY. So when I found myself flying longhaul economy from London to Hong Kong, I was delighted. I was actually excited to have 12 hours to myself; plonked in a chair watching movies, drinking wine and catching some zzzz.
If you’re flying the Hong Kong – London route you have several options, Virgin, Cathay Pacific and British Airways. Having tried all three on numerous occasions, I would say their economy product is quite similar. Rather than the airline, it is all about which aircraft you’re on. This is impossible to plan for as they swap the aircraft around constantly. You need to cross your fingers for a new-ish A380 as opposed to a creaky old 777.
I was on flight CX238 which departs London Heathrow at 17.15. It lands in Hong Kong around 1.15pm, so not a bad one to do with young kids. Online check-in opens 48 hours in advance. It’s well worth being on top of this so you can get a good seat.
I booked this ticket on the Cathay Pacific website using my airmiles. The reason you haven’t seen a review of my outbound flight is that I did it in business (thank you airmiles!) I have to say that Cathay’s business product is far superior to BA and Virgin. If I ever get to do it again, I promise to take some photos!
At Heathrow T3
As is usually the case, check-in was totally empty for Cathay Pacific at Heathrow T3. After Security I headed straight for the No1 Traveller lounge (through my Priority Pass) which is actually very good. For a long time, I thought the Priority Pass was this magical gift that I’d been sent giving me free lounge access. Transpires, you actually pay approx. $40 per lounge entry. I make the most of it buy drinking lots of booze, eating food and stealing all the magazines.
If you have cabin baggage, it’s always worth claiming a place early in the queue to get onboard so you can nab decent overhead locker space. We were flying on a 777-300 which has a 3-3-3 configuration in Economy. I think it’s best to get an aisle seat on a middle 3. If you’re in an aisle on the window side then you’ve definitely got 2 people climbing over you.
Lucky enough, I had the seat next to me free. So my other neighbour and I played the game of ‘who’s going to claim this seat’ (without actually saying anything to each other) and in the end we both shared it, a leg each.
In terms of amenities, you get a blanket, pillow and headphones. I’m sure in the good old days they used to give you an eye mask but I guess you have to ask for one now.
Cathay Pacific’s entertainment system is world-class. You won’t get a better selection of movies, TV and music anywhere else.
Here’s the food menu. I think I slept through most of it so I can’t actually help you with some foodie description. What I will say is that their version of BA’s ‘raid the galley’ is pretty cr*p. It’s basically a few pot noodles and bad tasting apples.
The toilets are at the back of the plane and were kept relatively clean throughout the flight.
The Cathay Pacific crew were extremely friendly.
My biggest takeaway from this flight is that it was like the Arctic onboard. I wore my big coat and blanket for the entire flight. Remember to dress your kids up warm!