Cathay Pacific: Vancouver to Hong Kong

cathay pacific plane

[trip style = luxury]

Editor's Note: This is the first post in a series I'm writing about my March trip to Asia. Look for continued coverage over the next two weeks. 

With direct flights to New York and Hong Kong from Vancouver, flying Cathay Pacific has been a regular part of my life at 35,000 feet for the past 15 years. For both of these routes, I'm so Cathay-loyal, I won't fly any other carrier because the Hong Kong-based airline flies circles around its competitors when it comes to professionalism, graceful service and attention to detail—have you ever seen a red-suited Cathay flight attendant with so much as a hair out of place? 

While I've always flown economy with Cathay, the more I travel, the more I try and fly business class on transcontinental flights {as a frequent flier, the sleep-tential in fully flat seats is my sky survival}. Traveling to Hong Kong and Thailand in March, I did not have to go through my regular dance trying to sort out which points I could gather or upgrade fees I could fandangle to fly biz. Due to my four-year investment in Trip Styler, I was invited by Cathay to lie-flat in their business class and explore Asia. Obviously, I said yes because I'm already a fan of the airline. 

Before liftoff: Cathay's signature and antioxidant-enriching Original Breeze, combining sour plum tea and cranberry juice with honey, fresh lemon juice and rose water. It's as refreshing as it appears.

Before liftoff: Cathay's signature and antioxidant-enriching Original Breeze, combining sour plum tea and cranberry juice with honey, fresh lemon juice and rose water. It's as refreshing as it appears.

After nibbling on a few pre-flight bites in the Vancouver Cathay lounge for an hour, I boarded my bird in the wee hours of the night at 2.25am—the second of two daily, non-stop flights to Hong Kong from Vancouver. I dig this departure time because it fits nicely into the night-versus-day time-zone tango. You get on the plane tired, hopefully sleep, and arrive in Hong Kong 13 hours later at 7am as if you hadn't jumped a calendar day.

While I don't normally drink on flights due to alcohol's moisture-sapping effect, when in business class, you must celebrate with at least one flute of brut. So I did. After settling into pod 20c, cleansing my hands with a hot towel and placing my down comforter over my legs, I was ready to relax for night.

Since I was unable to take photos of myself sleeping, here's one to give you the gist

Since I was unable to take photos of myself sleeping, here's one to give you the gist

Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep immediately, I clicked my TV button and a 15" screen appeared from the depths of my pod. Eyes fluttering in lala land, I half-watched two movies {Dallas Buyers Club and Diana} while nibbling on salad and fine cheese until my lids requested I manoeuvre my chair into the horizontal position. Almost asleep, I remember thinking my seat-bed was wide enough for my starfish-like sleep positions and long enough for a leggy supermodel; turns out it's one of the longest and widest provided on any commercial airline. 

Indulging in on-demand Haagen Dazs {obviously}

Indulging in on-demand Haagen Dazs {obviously}

As the lights came on, the cabin filled with the scent of coffee and a multi-course breakfast arrived at my pod starting with tropical fruit, a croissant, yogurt and a landing 'elixir' blending papaya, kiwi, honey and mint.  

Fully awake and well fed, I slipped into the lavatory to check for pillow marks on my face and get Trip Styled for touchdown. I was met by a vase of orchids and citrus-scented Jurlique products, which I slathered over my skin while brushing my teeth. Now I was presentable enough for Hong Kong, where I'd spend a few days before taking a Dragonair {Cathay Pacific sister company} flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Personal amenity kit by agnes b. with products from Jurlique

Personal amenity kit by agnes b. with products from Jurlique

If you have airline status or fly in business class on a regular basis, you know that airline loungesespecially the flagship locationsare an INTEGRAL part of the jet-set experience, and in some cases make you long for a lengthy layover. 

The Wing

The Wing

Such is the case with Cathay's The Wing lounge in the Hong Kong International Airport {one of six Cathay lounges at the airport}. At over 4,500 sf including the Business and First Class lounges, The Wing is a modern labyrinth dressed in Carrara marble, live bamboo, Italian leather, warm woods and 24 shower suites.

The Wing has many nooks and crannies. Trip Styler Tip: Explore the entire footprint before settling on a place to sit.

The Wing has many nooks and crannies. Trip Styler Tip: Explore the entire footprint before settling on a place to sit.

Shower Suite

Shower Suite

Three spaces that made me wish my flight was delayed were The Noodle Bar, The Long Bar and The Coffee Loft. The Noodle Bar feels more like a woodsy-sleek and sun-filled restaurant than an airline lounge, and therein lies its brilliance. Though, at a restaurant you pull out your wallet and wait for your food. At The Noodle Bar, you peruse the made-to-order menu and your ramen or char sui bao is prepared in about three-to-five minutes at no cost. 

Made-to-order ramen in The Noodle Bar

Made-to-order ramen in The Noodle Bar

The Long Bar is as it sounds, clocking in at 23 meters. Twenty five seats line the lengthy white-marble slab and when I perched myself at one of the leather bar seats, I found a stash of fresh-baked croissants to pair with my mimosa {it was 8am}.

The Long Bar

The Long Bar

The Long Bar morning croissants

The Long Bar morning croissants

Finally, tucked into the far back corner of The Wing, The Coffee Loft is the newest addition to the mega-lounge sporting Foster bar stools, Knoll armchairs, and butter imported from France for the pastry selection. In the morning, real coffee is ground and frothed by a barista, and in the evening, the lights dim and the environs shimmies from cappuccinos to cocktails. And for the record, like on the plane, you can request a Haagen Dazs here, too. Cheers.

The Coffee Loft

The Coffee Loft

The Skinny 

  • From Canada: Cathay Pacific offers twice-daily non-stop service Vancouver/Hong Kong, and 10 flights weekly non-stop Toronto/Hong Kong, plus daily non-stop service Vancouver/New York (JFK).

  • Approximate Fares: Vancouver/Hong Kong return, Economy Class $1,367, Premium Economy Class $2,321, Business Class $4,926, First Class $9,778.

  • From the US: Cathay Pacific offers daily non-stop service to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York {JFK & EWR}.

  • Once in Hong Kong, connect to locales like Bali and Thailand with sister airline, Dragonair.

[photos by trip stylersome courtesy Cathay Pacific Canadataken while as a guest of the airline]