The sleep test: Cathay Pacific's new business class mattress

By David Flynn, December 18 2017
The sleep test: Cathay Pacific's new business class mattress

Intent on lifting its game for premium travellers, Cathay Pacific is now trialling mattresses to help business class flyers sleep better above the clouds.

The airline’s flights to London’s Gatwick Airport and Chicago currently include what the Oneworld member calls a “luxurious new mattress pad.”

Many travellers find that when transformed into a flat bed, Cathay Pacific’s business class seats are a little too firm – and some savvy flyers ask for a second duvet use as a makeshift mattress to add an extra layer of cushioning.

Australian Business Traveller reader Nicole Tsyon last week flew on CX343 from Hong Kong to London Gatwick and tells us it definitely made for a more comfortable sleep.

“I don’t usually find Cathay Pacific business class that comfy as it’s not easy just to sit with your feet up due to the herringbone angle. I find the seats can be a bit firm and this at least took the edge off.”

“The mattress is very similar to what Qantas has in quality and thickness, but is white instead of grey and wrapped with the duvet and waiting for you when you boarded.”

However, Tyson notes that the crew seemed very disengaged when it came to helping passengers with the mattress.

“It was up to the passengers when they put the mattress on, and help was only offered if you requested it or crew were passing. The mattress wasn’t collected before landing. You could leave it on your seat if you wanted to. I took mine off and easily stowed away in the foot rest area.”

“Crew disinterest took the shine off a little as Emirates and Qantas make it more of an ‘event’ and this is a good step for Cathay’s business class product, something the crew could be proud of.”

Paired with a move to ‘dine on demand’ – which lets passengers choose what they want to eat and when they want to eat it at any stage during the flight – Cathay Pacific is aiming to sharpen its appeal to high-flying professionals.

“This trial is part of a further review of our sleep proposition that includes new services, dining and product concepts to help our customers sleep better, even on shorter flights,” a Cathay Pacific spokesperson said.

Cathay Pacific is also playing catch-up to competitors with the expansion of inflight Internet, which is currently exclusive to Cathay's Airbus A350 fleet but will be added to its international Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 jets from the middle of 2018 through to 2020.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 26

Similar disengaged crew experience had by Ms Tyson, was had by myself last week - dxb-hkg-syd in jclass. Very disappointing, after previous flights of what was once an award winning airline.

An airline can have as many bells and whistles as they like. Bottom line is - the crew make the flight!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 100

Agree 100 % on your Crew comment
CX in my limited experience can vary a fair bit in J
I find QF much more consistent in terms of service delivery

03 May 2013

Total posts 671

Would never fly a 777 on long haul-loud and poor air quality

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

I did CX in Business overnight from SYD to HKG and then to JFK and found the mattress Ok but my wife thought they were a tad firm. Both were B777 flights and were very comfortable with excellent flight crew attendence.

Returning in ANA First from ORD to HND and Business to SYD they had the additional fold out mattress and in First the attendant laid it out for us but not so in Business where I found the space so constrained that I just could not get it unfurled flat so gave up on it. It may have helped with crew assistance (but they were rather slack in just about every aspect).

Besides with the 'bed' / seat squab being just 20" wide (no wider than the Economy seat on the Qantas A380s incidentally) the thickness or thinness of the mattress was the least element of a very disappointing experience.

Best sleep ever in Business was upstairs on a United B747 in one of the backward facing seats.


03 May 2013

Total posts 671

Qantas, even with inferior seating on A380, is a much better J product...who would have thought CX could drop so signficanrtly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

CX as we know have wonderful lounges but their service has definitely dropped, and their ground service at transfer desks etc is woeful. In my view just terrible.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 18

CX service in business is pretty bad these days. Most of crews have attitude. service dropped significantly.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 98

Just took three CX J class long haul flights . Meals on demand have been abandoned following the trial as cabin crew complained about the additional work loads .Such a shame as the F & B service is back to the dismal unhygienic trolley service that drastically needs improvement .

I inquired with the crew regarding the seat pads they seemed disinterested in the enhancement and expressed their doubts on the need . I must say the service of the cabin crew was very inconsistent and would seem to be in decline , not sure what is causing the crew’s current level of complacency.

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