The advantages of traveling in business class are demonstrated in various ways. The higher the class of the cabin – the higher the status of a passenger. This difference between a regular economy and premium class is observed both in the air and on the ground. The premium class customers are entitled to privileges during the check-in, in the lounge areas, during the boarding and deplanement, and naturally in the cabin. It is commonly supposed that the key distinction of the business class is a comfort. Indeed, the comfortable conditions are observed in any detail of a flight – comfortable seats, comfortable servicing, comfortable lounge areas etc.
The adjective “comfortable” can be applied to the food making it one of the main distinctions of the premium class. Most customers suppose that the meal service in the economy and business class has no difference or differs a bit. This statement may be true for the medium-sized air companies, while the air corporations like Emirates or Cathay Pacific bring the meal service in the premium class on the higher level. Thus, the customers in business class are offered with the restaurant menus, various options of appetizers, main course, and desserts, as well as a wide choice of wine and other beverages. Some companies develop the onboard menus in cooperation with the famous restaurants or chefs. It is wrong to think that the dishes in the premium class are limited to “chicken” or “fish” options similar to the economy class.
The following article aims to review the food options and features offered for the business class travelers on the flights by Cathay Pacific. This review will embrace the meal serving in the air and in the lounge areas of this Hong Kong air carrier.
Food on the Ground
The world of the business class begins in the lounge area. Cathay Pacific offers the lounges almost in any part of the globe. However, the flagship of the lounges is located in Hong Kong. Actually, there are five lounge areas in the International Airport of Hong Kong – The Pier, The Wing, The Cabin, The Bridge, and The Arrival. Nevertheless, every lounge area of Cathay Pacific is a place of comfort and relaxation for the customers of this airline.
Our task is to review the food, so let’s stick to the topic. Any travel experience is closely related to the food and a certain cuisine of a destination. The lounges of Cathay Pacific demonstrate their commitment to optimization of this experience regardless of the place of departure and arrival. The Cathay business class lounges follow the outstanding culinary tradition to feed their customers to the full. When you enter a lounge area, you will always see a number of snacks at your choice. A special feature is the availability of a coffee bar where one can find the freshly made pastries.
If snacks and coffee are not enough for you, you may always visit a restaurant. For example, The Wing lounge offers the restaurant-style Noodle Bar for you to enjoy the freshly made noodles or other exquisite dishes. Depending on the location of a lounge, the menu offers the dishes of a particular region in addition to the common dishes of the Western and Asian cuisine. The selection of desserts will make happy any sweet tooth.
In general, the meal servicing in the lounge areas is above praise. But the most interesting thing is going above the ground.
Food in the Air
Finally, you have heard a captain’s welcoming speech and got ready to the flight. As a rule, the business class customers are provided with snacks and beverages shortly after the takeoff. In most cases, the Cathay premium customers receive a glass of champagne or some non-alcohol drink and some snack at choice. It is enough to refresh the inner man but the main course is ahead.
It is interesting that the official website of Cathay Pacific provides the samples of a dinner menu for the long-haul and short-haul flights in the business class. Let’s find out whether the sample menu and the actual menu are the same.
Business Class Dinner Menu (sample)
A regular menu for the long-haul flights includes starters (2 options), mains (4 options), dessert (3 options), cheese, and beverages at choice. The short-haul menu differs from the long-haul one by the lesser options of mains (3 options) and the lack of cheese at choice.
If you are a business class customer, you can enjoy a salmon gravlax or the mixed seasonal leaves with balsamic vinaigrette as a starter. The four options of main course can include a grilled Australian beef fillet with fine haricot vert, roasted new potatoes, and carrot; the prawns fried in the wok with asparagus, black truffle, and mixed vegetables in the steamed Jasmine rice; a truffle tagliolini pasta with Italian tomato ragout; a chicken teriyaki with Japanese rice and seasonal simmered vegetables.
The cheese option is represented with Cheddar, Fourme d’Ambert, or Reblochon served with the water biscuits or quince jelly.
A choice of desserts includes an ice cream, seasonal cut fruits or a “Black Forest” cake.
A selection of wines regularly varies. In total, around 80 options are available on all the routes of Cathay Pacific. As an example, the following wines can be found on the board of the business class cabin: D.V. by Doisy Védrines 2013, Tenacity Old Vines Shiraz 2016, Château Noaillac Médoc 2014 etc.
It should be noted that in a case of some inconsistency of the meals served on the board with the customer’s requirements related to medical or religious grounds, Cathay Pacific offers an opportunity to order the special meals 24 hours prior to the flight.
Business Class Food
Let’s find out what food the business class passengers obtain in reality. We rely on the experience of a passenger in the premium class who was offered with the following meal options:
- A salad with Italian vinaigrette or a green mango salad with spiced prawns as a starter;
- Four options of main course included a grilled Australian beef tenderloin with French beans, and roasted pumpkin; a sautéed pork ribs with Chinese sauce and steamed jasmine rice; fettuccine with Parmesan, tomato basil concasse, and carrot; a steamed rice with yellow curry halibut and spicy green beans;
- Camembert, St. Paulin, and Pecorino cheese options were served with spiced pear paste and water crackers;
- A plate of seasonal fruit and one dessert option – a chocolate Sacher torte.
As you see, the only discrepancy relates to the scrimped selection of desserts. The choice of other dishes fully corresponds to the sample menu. By the way, a selection of wines was really astonishing. The passengers were offered with Chateau du Retout Esperance, Peter Schweiger Grüner Veltliner “Zöbinger Terrassen” Kamptal Reserve 2013, Deutz Champagne Brut Classic, Haut Medoc 2013, Liberty School Central Coast Merlot 2012 and other bottles of this noble drink.
It is difficult to find the customers unsatisfied with the quality and taste of the meal served on the flights of Cathay Pacific. All the dishes look appetizing and taste great. However, tastes differ.
A special attention should be paid to the service during the mealtime. On the flights of the most airlines, the flight attendants come taking orders and then bring the ordered dishes. Such servicing is not practiced on the board of Cathay Pacific. The food options are consequently delivered to the cabin on the cart and the passengers can choose what they want. Some demanding customers might find such a servicing inappropriate.
According to the latest information, in the nearest future, Cathay Pacific will implement a new “dine on demand” service for the business class customers on the international routes. This service allows the passengers to choose any dish from the menu at any time of the flight. The new service ware and the revamped menus will be also trialed. These novelties are planned for the fourth quarter of 2017.
Based on the customer’s opinion and various reviews, we can state that Cathay Pacific has invested a lot of effort in the high-quality food servicing. The choice of meal options, as well as the selection of wine, is really impressive. Considering the upcoming innovations in the meal service, this Hong Kong air carrier will attract the new business class customers and return those who were unsatisfied with the previous servicing on the board of the flights.