Originally published in New Zealand Herald’s Travel
Tim McCready flew Business Class to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX198 and returned to Auckland on Air New Zealand NZ80.
Cathay Pacific: Boeing 777-300. Seven years old.
Cathay Pacific: I was sitting in 11A (directly behind the cockpit — Cathay starts its business class seating at 11). The cabin is configured with a 1-2-1 layout, and as the seats are angled gently toward the window, it felt very private. I was the only one sitting in the first row of the plane, and the rest of the cabin was fairly empty — it felt as though I had the entire flight to myself.
The seat was generous in size, and when reclined into a bed provided plenty of space with a 208cm length and a 70cm width (the width is boosted by the clever armrest extension). The blanket was a little thin, and the pillow was adequate, but nothing special. Convenient storage around the seat allowed me to store everything I needed throughout the flight within easy reach.
Air New Zealand: I was sitting in 9A — the last seat in Business Class at the left window. Air New Zealand’s herringbone layout felt a real contrast to Cathay’s. The 1-1-1 layout means no one has a neighbour, but instead of facing the window, in this configuration you are angled so you face into the cabin. From my seat, I could see every passenger throughout the duration of the flight. If you’re after privacy or enjoy watching the world go by outside, this is not the layout for you. The ottoman provides storage but also doubles as a second seat, allowing another passenger to share the oversized tray table and join you for dinner. Several passengers travelling together on my flight took advantage of this.
The leather seat converts into a bed, but the mechanism requires passengers to stand while the seat folds forward. A bedding pack is provided (with high-quality sheets, a blanket, mattress and several pillows) that transforms the bed into something more luxurious. It was amusing to watch the passengers and crew struggle for space in the aisles as they all attempted to set up their beds immediately following the meal service — while I snacked on cheese and port. The bed was very comfortable, although its 200cm length and 56cm width felt noticeably more compact than Cathay’s.
That said, it is hard to complain about a lie-flat bed on a long-haul flight. I had a comfortable night’s sleep.