Review: Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class (HKG-CGK)

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Cathay Pacific flight details

Airline : Cathay Pacific
Flight No : CX719
Departure City : Hong Kong (HKG)
Arrival City : Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta (CGK)
Equipment : Airbus A330-300 (B-LAK)
Blocked Time : 4h55m
Seat No: 14A

After spending four days in Hong Kong, I flew back to Jakarta on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330-300 Business Class again. Although the airline used to regularly roster its Boeing 777s and A350s on this route, this hasn’t been the case in a while. As such, because the flight features the same product as my flight from Jakarta, I’ll just rehash those details in this review.


After checking out of the excellent Cordis Hong Kong, I took a taxi straight to Hong Kong International Airport. I was dropped off at the departures lobby, which had been undergoing some renovation work. From there, I headed to the Cathay Pacific First Class check-in, courtesy of my Cathay Diamond membership.

Hong Kong International Airport drop-off
Check-in hall

While there were a couple of other people checking in at the First Class desks, I was helped immediately thanks to the many agents stationed in this area. After confirming my membership status, I was checked in within minutes by the courteous Cathay Pacific ground agent. She then affixed a sticker to my checked bag, which was later carried to the conveyors by a baggage assistant. Finally, I was also handed a courtesy channel voucher, which I didn’t end up using given how empty the checkpoints were.

Cathay Pacific First Class check-in
Cathay Pacific First Class check-in

I’ll note that the Business Class check-in counters were similarly empty at the time. There was only a single party checking in despite the counters being fully staffed.

Cathay Pacific Business Class check-in


Cathay Pacific Business Class passengers are spoilt for choice in Hong Kong International Airport. Here, the airline operates five lounges, three of which can be visited by Business Class passengers and oneworld Sapphire card holders. These include The Wing, Business (near Gates 1-4), The Deck (near Gates 5-9) and The Pier, Business (near Gate 67).

Cathay Pacific The Deck Lounge

There is also a Qantas Business Class Lounge, also available to Cathay Pacific Business Class passengers, which I reviewed in a previous instalment. Finally, there are also two First Class lounges – The Wing, First and The Pier, First – open to First Class passengers and oneworld Emerald card holders.

Qantas Lounge Hong Kong


After spending my time between The Pier, First and the Qantas Lounge Hong Kong, I decided to head to the gate a bit early so I could do a bit of planespotting as well. There was a Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300 (which I’ll be reviewing in Business Class soon) doing an earlier flight to Jakarta.

Hong Kong International Airport
Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300

But what caught my eye was this gorgeous Philippine Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. I swear they never schedule these beautiful widebodies whenever I contemplate flying Philippine Airlines to Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Singapore. Should I fly with them anyway? Let me know in the comments!

Philippine Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

I arrived at the gate with five minutes to spare before the printed boarding time of 15.10, finding the lines empty. Despite the promises of on-time boarding, preboarding only started later at 15.18. As preboarding was underway, a few others joined me in the First Class/Diamond line before being shuffled away to the Business Class line by the ground staff, much to their disgruntlement.

Gate at Hong Kong International Airport

General boarding later commenced at 15.20, with passengers in the First Class/Diamond line invited to board first, followed by the Business Class/Gold line. Flying us to Jakarta today is B-LAK, an Airbus A330-300 delivered new to Cathay Pacific in February 2011.

B-LAK at the gate

Cathay Pacific A330 Cabin

Like the flight from Jakarta, this flight is operated by a 33E-configured Airbus A330-300 with 39 flatbed seats in Business Class and 223 seats in Economy Class. This configuration is unlike the 33P-configured aircraft that I flew to Manila, which features recliner seats in Business Class. As the details of the cabin are identical to my last flight, I’ll merely rehash them here.

Business Class

Business Class has 39 reverse herringbone seats, divided between two cabins totalling 10 rows. The seats are a fully customised version of the Zodiac Cirrus, which you’ll otherwise find on China Eastern and Vietnam Airlines. Aside from Cathay’s signature green upholstery, the seats are trimmed with many features not available on other airlines.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

Given the 1-2-1 configuration, every seat has direct aisle access. As such, you don’t potentially need to jump over someone to leave your seat. Additionally, due to the design of the centre seats, it’s hard to talk to your companion face-to-face. Because of that, I’d pick a window seat whether I’m travelling solo or with someone.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

Seat details

On top of being beautiful and sophisticated, the cream and green pod seats are pragmatically designed. First, a large wing is attached to the side of the seat’s shell for added privacy. To the side, you’ll find the buttons to control the seats, USB-A and universal power outlets, a reading light, as well as the entertainment remote control.

Business Class seat
Business Class seat

Then, there is an enclosed cabinet with a mirror, in which the headphones are stored. The cabinet has a bit of space, making it an ideal place to store a phone, passport, and/or wallet. Next to that is the side table, from under which the tray table comes out. There is then a narrow open storage area, with a small pouch that fits a water bottle.

Business Class seat
Business Class tray table

Across is the 15-inch LCD entertainment screen, which features Cathay Pacific’s excellent StudioCX system. The touch-screen monitor pops out with the press of the button on the side. However, note that it has to be stowed for taxi, takeoff, and landing. Under the screen, you’ll find the padded ottoman, which has a relatively spacious footwell.

Stowed entertainment screen
Unstowed entertainment screen

Then, under the seat, you’ll find a small shoe storage locker that can be closed. In addition, a fixed literature pocket is built onto the shell of the seat in front. Finally, while the cabin sadly does not have overhead air vents, Cathay Pacific thankfully keeps its cabins cold – at least compared to other Eastern Asian airlines.

Literature pocket


Unsurprisingly, the provided amenities were only limited to a Bamford-branded pillow, which was very plush and rather firm, at the very least. However, blankets weren’t proactively offered, which is disappointing for Business Class. As always, a bottle of water was already placed on the seat at boarding, along with the inflight menu card.

Water and menu card

Departure from Hong Kong

Pre-departure service

As I settled in my seat, I noticed that they were playing Yanni as part of the boarding music playlist. What a blast from the 90s! My contemplation of the boarding music was cut short when I was greeted by the Inflight Service Manager Evelyn, who thanked me for being a Diamond member. After greeting me, she invited me to make the meal orders for later in the flight, to which I gladly did so.

View at the gate

As boarding continued, the crew came by to individually offer pre-departure beverages. Offered on the tray were champagne, orange juice, water, or Cathay Delight. While I’ve had some bad Cathay Delights over the past couple of years, I was delighted to see that this one was as great as it should be. Yum! Warm towels were then offered after this.

Cathay Delight
Warm towels

After most of the passengers have boarded, the purser welcomed us and announced the details of our flight. As is standard on Cathay Pacific, this was done in English and Cantonese, with a supplementary announcement in Indonesian that followed. The doors were then closed at 15.56, prompting our captain, Alec To, to welcome us onboard on the intercom.


We pushed back shortly after at 16.00, during which time the safety video was screened. Despite that, as we taxied towards the runway, I couldn’t help staring out the window at all the different Cathay Pacific planes parked at the airport.

Safety video
Cathay Pacific Safety Video
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300
Cebu Pacific Airbus A321neo
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000
Cathay Pacific Airbus A321neo
Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900

After a lengthy taxi to Runway 07R, we took off at 16.15, finally ascending to the skies towards Jakarta! The views were incredible as we left the airport and flew past Hong Kong. Frankly, no matter how many times I’ve seen this, it remains a sight to behold.

Takeoff from Hong Kong International Airport
Takeoff from Hong Kong International Airport
View of Hong Kong from the air

Dinner Service

Six minutes after takeoff, the captain switched off the seatbelt signs, prompting the crew to prepare for the meal service. As we flew over the daytime, the meal service was a bit more elaborate compared to the one-tray service I received on the late-night flight from Jakarta. This began with warm nuts served with a drink of your choice. I got the peppermint tea from JING, which I found to be excellent.

Warm nuts and tea

After the apéritif service, the meal service started. For reference, the following is the food and beverage menu on this flight.

Dinner Meal

For the starter, I opted for the ‘Gravlax Salmon with Fennel Salad’, which is a classic appetiser on Cathay Pacific. The gravlax is a dish I’ve had several times and liked on past Cathay Pacific flights. Unsurprisingly, it was good, being a light and fresh starter, particularly with the dill and lemon on the side. This was served on a tray with a side salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing, and later, alongside some bead.

Appetiser – Gravlax Salmon with Fennel Salad
Garlic bread and bread roll

The mains were served 20 minutes after the appetisers. I wasn’t feeling like eating lamb or anything spicy, due to my sore throat, so I opted for the Chinese option. This was the ‘Braised Prawns with Bamboo Pith wrapped in Bean Curd Skin’. As far as regional Cathay Pacific catering goes, this was pretty good. The dish tasted light although it was also a bit bland and slightly overcooked. Still, it was edible.

Main – Braised Prawns with Bamboo Pith wrapped in Bean Curd Skin

After the main meal was completed and my tray was taken away, the crew later came passing through the aisle with a cheese and dessert cart. I ended up getting both some cut dragonfruit and apples, in addition to the Eton Mess with Lemon Curd. The latter turned out to be a nice and light palate cleanser after the meal. All in all, a fine meal service but also nothing out of the ordinary.

Fruit and Eton Mess with Lemon Curd
Eton Mess with Lemon Curd

Inflight Entertainment

After browsing the selection before departure, I decided to watch a movie with my meal. Unlike the flight from Jakarta, this aircraft has been updated with StudioCX’s latest interface. While modern and simpler, I felt that the hardware struggled to keep up with the interface, given the screen’s regular lag. Again, the provided noise-cancellation headphones weren’t especially great either, so I used my own pair from Bang and Olufsen.

StudioCX inflight entertainment
StudioCX inflight entertainment

Having said that, the StudioCX inflight entertainment system was excellent. In fact, it might be the best aspect of this flight. In addition to the many new films available, there were also films grouped based on their themes or distributors. Seeing that there is an A24 collection, I decided to rewatch Past Lives, which is my favourite movie of 2023. You can also check the latest film library on the Cathay Pacific website.

A24 collection
Past Lives

This upgraded StudioCX system also features a new moving map, which is very intuitive. However, later in the flight, I noticed that the aircraft depicted on the map was a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER instead of an Airbus A330-300. How peculiar!

Moving map
A Boeing 777-300ER?!

Finally, in addition to the excellent StudioCX system, there is also the Cathay inflight magazine. While originally called ‘Discovery’ (alluding to the airline’s former Marco Polo branding), the magazine remains good and informative after the name change.

Cathay magazine


I headed to the lavatory to freshen up after the meal and to check its state. With this A330-300 configuration, there are three lavatories in Business Class, two of which are located in the front. Due to the curvature of the Airbus A330, the lavatory felt a bit tight. Thankfully, they were clean and well-kept, as is always the case on Cathay Pacific.

Forward lavatory
Rear lavatory

Furthermore, a bottle of hand sanitiser was available, alongside a Bamford hand wash and body lotion. There were no other special amenities aside from that.

Hand sanitiser, hand wash, and body lotion


Compared to the sloppy service on my flight from Jakarta, there was nothing special about the service on this flight. That’s not to say it was bad since the crew working this flight were friendly and polite. But that was it, nothing really stood out as special or great or anything. I suppose this was just a run-of-the-mill Cathay Pacific flight.

Arrival in Jakarta

About 35 minutes before landing, the captain went on the intercom to announce our descent and our arrival details. Specifically, he expected us to land at 19.30, fifteen minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival time.

View approaching Jakarta

As we neared our final approach, 20 minutes before landing, the captain instructed the crew to prepare the cabin before switching on the seatbelt signs five minutes later. We touched down smoothly at 19.35 on Runway 24, parallel to Terminal 3.

Landing in Jakarta

After taxiing to Terminal 3, we ended up parking at Gate 2 next to a Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8. I actually reviewed the Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 previously, both in Business Class and in Economy Class. As I left the aircraft, I made sure to thank the crew and bid them farewell.


Overall, I had a relatively fine experience on this Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Jakarta. While I liked the excellent reverse herringbone seats and the exceptional StudioCX entertainment, everything else was just average? From the service to the food, nothing stood out to be especially special. Although that is good enough for a random airline, it’s still a bit sad to see this being the state of Cathay Pacific. One can only hope that things will get better in the future, especially with the introduction of the new Aria Suites in Business Class.

Read more from An Emerald Farewell here!

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