What is it like flying business class for the first time on-board one of the world’s top airlines and in the newest aircraft released by Airbus?
I came to the airport without any clue that I would be one of the lucky passengers to be upgraded to business class of Cathay Pacific’s A350-900 flight CX 906 from Manila to Hong Kong. I thought I was already lucky to have a Premium Economy ticket and avoided the 1 kilometer queue in Economy Class. But to my surprise, I was told by the ground staff during check-in that I was just upgraded to Business Class. She handed me over my ticket and checked it many times to be sure that I heard her right about the upgrade.
I have flown to almost all types of jets except to Boeing’s 787 and Airbus’ A350 so I was really ecstatic to take this flight. I consider myself a frustrated commercial pilot and addicted to airplanes so I enjoy every single moment of flying. And since I am in a Business Class and Airbus A350-900 this time, let me share to you my first-hand experience.
When I set my feet in a very unfamiliar segment of the airplane and settled my body on a fancy seat at 17K by the window in my own pod sipping my welcome drink, I honestly did not know what I was doing there exactly. It is the moment that every traveler dreams but I was not expecting that it would come that easy. As a frequent flyer and traveler, this is definitely a milestone moment.
Cathay Pacific’s A350 started operating on July 01, 2016. It has an extra-wide cabin and with windows affording panoramic views. Its business class consists of 38 reverse herringbone seats designed by Studio F.A. Porsche that can transform into a complete flat bed and offers the perfect privacy. It has an L-shaped ottoman and an excellent legroom for great comfort and has a side storage that can fit a huge laptop.
To the right of my seat is a panel with intuitive seat controls that is a total stranger to me which I easily figured out to operate. The panel also has an adjustable reading light and a touchscreen remote control.
My own pod also has a table finished with faux butternut wood that has a compartment which features a mirror, mobile phone holder, headphones, power port and USB port. The headphone is a high quality one which is totally different from the ones I used before in economy class.
Another feature that amazed me is its 18.5 inch multimedia touchscreen TV and 4.3 inch video handset than can work as a remote control or a standalone entertainment device. You can watch a movie in your big screen and at the same time; monitor the map in your video handset. The TV screen can be pulled closer but cannot be tilted up and down. Anyway, I enjoyed browsing their entertainment system and they have loads of movies, TV series, music and games. The devices have a very responsive touchscreen capability as well which makes browsing pretty simple and easy.
Upon reaching the transition altitude, the flight attendants handed out the menu for lunch. I ordered for a baked salmon, zucchini, capsicum, new potato and tomato concasse as my main course served with Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz McLaren Vale 2014. If it was a long-haul flight, I would definitely try the liqueurs and whiskies which all come as complimentary in this flight. I can honestly say that the food is good but not exceptional. However, the Australian wine and chocolate hazelnut cake for my dessert made my meal complete.
Even though my flight was just less than 2 hours, I did not miss the chance to try the full capacity of my seat with the bed extension after my meal. I set it as if as I was going to have a long snooze during the flight and felt the comfort of being in a business class.
I love flying with Cathay Pacific even in Economy Class but the service and coziness that I experienced in Business Class is definitely incomparable. No wonder why those people I know are willing to spend extra bucks to upgrade their seats to business class during long-haul flights.
The opportunity to fly business class for the first time is a welcome experience for me. But is it worth to spend extra cost to upgrade to business class seat? Well the answer is entirely all up to you. They said that only rich people can fly in business class, but I think hardworking people can also afford to fly in style and luxury.