Reviews

Review: Cathay Pacific's new business class sleep service

It's now easier to doze on overnight Cathay Pacific flights with a new mattress topper, slippers, pillow and duvet.

By Chris Chamberlin, October 30 2019
Cathay Pacific's new business class sleep service
Aircraft Type

Airbus A350-1000

Airline

Cathay Pacific

Cabin Class

Business

Introduction

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.

Read: Cathay Pacific to upgrade business, first class sleep service

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.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

sunnybrae

sunnybrae

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 7

This may sound like a silly question, I know. But were Cathay NOT offering slippers on all their flights before this? I appreciate airlines that supply slippers since I like to kick off my shoes to get comfortable a.s.a.p.

PERflyer

PERflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 82

Only in First class.

jbradwyn

jbradwyn

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2019

Total posts 1

It used to be socks, not slippers

PERflyer

PERflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 82

Thanks for the good review. Great to have the 350-1000 on the nightly service to Perth a superb aircraft. Hopefully the morning service which is still A330 will go to 350 at some point also.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

Honestly Cathay whats the point without PJ's? You cant sleep comfortably in clothes, esp on long and ultra long haul) which leaves the hype of a new sleep service half hearted...

Valerio

Valerio

Velocity

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 12

Agreed - no pyjamas on a premium airline in business class seems cheap, no? Although it was crazy that there was no mattress topper on long-haul until this point either

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 105

Lots of airlines still don't offer pyjamas in Business Class including Singapore Airlines.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2948

I guess it's down to personal preference: Australian travellers are more likely to expect them as Qantas and Virgin Australia routinely provide them (and on Australia-Hong Kong flights, that's a noticeable difference when flying Cathay), but when jetting further abroad, PJs are more of a rarity in business class.

Arlen

Arlen

30 Oct 2019

Total posts 2

That's really harsh. Most premium airlines DON'T provide PJs. Singapore, Emirates, Japan, ANA, Swiss don't. Besides this really comes off as sounding like a first works world problem.

longwayaway

longwayaway

27 Aug 2017

Total posts 17

I flew Cathay Paris-Hong Kong on a rather tired and tatty 777 then a new A350 HKG to Melbourne a week later. The mattress idea improved comfort no end. I am able to compress my pillow into my carry-on and use that as the Cathay pillow is compressed into a too small case and is too thick and hard. Stay off the booze as it dehydrates. A good feed in the lounge before blast off and Temazepam looked after the sleep business. 10/10.

BevanMcBevan

BevanMcBevan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 134

Thanks for the review, Chris. I don't do CX much at all so always interested as a Europe option. Cheers!

gregctj

gregctj

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

26 Jan 2015

Total posts 7

Hi iwas a Diamond member for years,Cathay take so long to introduce anything, as a previuos writer said they got a tired aircraft to Europe and a better one home.Thats Cathay the y have taken away from flyers for so many years where others went and out there and continued to offer much more.Sorry but they did not listen and now they are chasing to get flyers back in.It was a great airline 10 years ago

saftoman

saftoman

17 Oct 2018

Total posts 2

Well about time Cathay. I had the worst ever business class flight with Cathay this year to Paris from Melbourne. I really do not think even with these nice sounding improvements that I would be prepared to try them again.

Arlen

Arlen

30 Oct 2019

Total posts 2

What issues did you encounter? Am considering them for a Melbourne to Paris trip.

gregctj

gregctj

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

26 Jan 2015

Total posts 7

Hi the hk lounges are great,thats it.Cathay use other lounges and seriously they are so poor.JFK first -lounge is was expecting Churchill to still be there as it was so old and tired.

Rome the same,BA so poor and crowded.I travelled monthly to JFK ,and worked in hkong ,as i said those inroductions that they are claimnung now will take 2 years at least to get on most legs.So dont expect these changes on the trips to Europe

longwayaway

longwayaway

27 Aug 2017

Total posts 17

Details would be good saftoman. Should we be on the same flight, I'll share my Temazepam with you. Problem solved. ... I forgot to add ... Since the start of the riots at the HKG terminal one has to leave the taxi with your possessions to walk to the entrance and ask for a luggage trolley/cart. As all taxis look the same, good luck in finding your one again. One then has to produce a document showing that you are a passenger. By great good fortune I took a screen shot of a bar-coded whatever-it-was that got me into the terminal. You then go to where the J Class has been for the last 5+ years to then be told it has moved 2 sections away. It would be so easy to send passengers say a link to a short video of what to do + a sign at the bottom of the entrance slope.

grov

grov

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 151

The slippers and quilt are a welcome addition. Always enjoyed flying Cathay J to the U.S. from Perth, but find the mid-flight meal from HK to the U.S. strange as it disturbs you when sleeping. PJs and dine-on-demand would be great for the long-haul flights.

OWF

OWF

06 Oct 2018

Total posts 7

I have experienced the absolute worst cabin service (to the extent it was horrific and beyond normal imagination) whilst flying CX in First from JFK back to HKG. To start off, jointly signed welcome card has my name spelled wrongly, followed by attitudes of SM, SP & FP on the day all being ignorant, fed-up and swaggering to say the least. Comparing with first services across airlines such as EK, EY, SQ and even MU, it is fair to say what CX has to offer nowadays are just below the bare minimum. It has become even more obvious since June 2019 that its employees have lots of deep-seated hatred towards the airlines, the government and the society, never themselves. Now Cathay wants to win back passengers by offering pillows and blankets… Honestly, tell them they are dreaming!

xtfer

xtfer

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 127

I've just flown MEL-HKG on Cathay in a 777, and frankly the socks were the best bit. In almost every other respect a bit of a let down. The Cirrus seat is pretty uncomfortable, which is why any serious business product add's a topper, and on the narrower aircraft (i.e. A350) suffers from a lack of foot room. These improvements might make me consider CX in the future though, so that's something.

Phil O'Paistree

Phil O'Paistree

10 Dec 2018

Total posts 27

PER HKG "... arriving well prepared for a busy business day ahead ...". Plausible, perhaps enhanced with the new sleep kit, if one finds sleep come easy on long haul. Perth and Hong Kong are, after all, in exactly the same time zone (7 minutes 11.47 seconds geographic offset at the respective airports). No jet lag equals 'well prepared for a busy day ahead'.


"... 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 ...". Doubt it. With 8 hours jet lag from either PER or HKG to (say) London or 12 to (say) New York, even the most capable long haul sleeper with the most comprehensive enhanced sleep kit is still going to be 'wacked out' with jet lag a few hours after stepping into his/her 'new' time zone.


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