Cathay Pacific's business class passengers can look forward to a better night's sleep as the airline rolls out new night-time amenities to make dozing in the sky easier and more comfortable.
Executive Traveller was aboard one of the first flights with the upgraded sleep service – Cathay Pacific's inaugural Airbus A350-1000 flight from Perth to Hong Kong – to bring you this first-hand report.
Cathay Pacific sleep service: what's new?
Long known for offering fully-flat beds with direct aisle access on every long-range flight, Cathay Pacific's new business class sleep service adds a mattress topper, slippers, and a new duvet and pillow into the mix.
Until now, passengers either slept directly on the seat itself, which proved to be quite firm, or fashioned a makeshift mattress out of their blanket, which also wasn't ideal.
Cathay Pacific trialled business class 'mattress pads' back in 2017 on selected flights from Hong Kong to London and Chicago, although the 2019 rendition is a little different, coming in partnership with UK designer brand Bamford.
These new amenities are being progressively rolled out on flights from October 2019, with similar improvements for first class flyers also.
Cathay Pacific sleep service: on board
Taking your seat finds a new zipper bag in front, with slippers distributed by the crew shortly after take-off.
That bag avoids the waste of typical airline plastic wrap, and is where you'll find the plush pillow, which is sized to fit the seat perfectly. As the seat already has a headrest, it's most useful when sleeping on your side, keeping your head at a good height.
Also inside, a mattress topper, which hooks around the seat's fixed headrest, lies along the seat, and has indents at the right place to accommodate the seatbelt.
While not especially thick, it does still cushion the seat for added comfort, particularly around the hinge line at waist height.
Finally, a plush duvet, which is long enough to reach from the seat's tip to tail. Of course, if you're on an Airbus A350 flight, be sure to raise the bed's aisle-side extension as pictured above, so that you can stretch out more, below:
The new amenities complement parts of Cathay Pacific's existing business class service to help maximise rest.
For example, breakfast orders are taken before heading to sleep via a hotel-style card. Each option lists how long before landing it can be served, and when taking that card, the crew check whether you wish to be woken for the meal or left to sleep longer.
Particularly on Airbus A350 flights, LED mood lighting helps transition between 'night' and 'day', by brightening the cabin with cooler colours, and gradually introducing warmer tones, mimicking a sunrise.
Before heading to sleep on an overnight flight, the crew also check that all windows are closed, so that the morning sun doesn't wake anybody in the cabin – at least, until breakfast is ready.
However, pyjamas remain BYO, which Qantas and Virgin Australia both provide on overnight flights between Australia and Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific sleep service: the verdict
Although the 7hr 35min trek from Perth to Hong Kong is too short for a complete, eight-hour night's sleep – the same being true of most other overnight flights from Australia to Asia – mixing a solid flatbed seat together with the airline's broader approach to service helps maximise the rest you can get.
Case in point: this writer drifted off to sleep almost as soon as the head hit the pillow, and woke 50 minutes before landing for breakfast, arriving well-prepared for a busy business day ahead.
Particularly on quick overnight flights like this, you simply can't beat that – and on longer routes, such as from Hong Kong to Europe or North America, this sleep service would easily allow for a full night's rest to truly hit the ground running.
Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Cathay Pacific.