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Cathay vs Qantas (Australia-Hong Kong)

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MEL_Traveller

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Had the opportunity to fly CX this week to HKG and back. The 'new' business class seats are good - certainly the longest bed I have experienced in any class of travel on any airline (they appear to be a good four windows long). The downside is they are fairly hard and if you use the blanket/quilt thingy as a mattress cover you have nothing for on top. Luckily our flights weren't too heavily loaded and there were spare pillows and blankets. In terms of privacy - these seats are hard to beat.

The striking thing about CX service is the speed in which they deliver a meal. The post take-off service was rolled out almost immediately after the seat-belt sign was extinguished, and was completed in 50 minutes. The second service (all five courses) was completed in 55 minutes.

The quality of the food is not as good as Qantas (it's not as good as QF premium economy), and the choice is not as great (3 mains, no choice of starter), but the trade-off is two hot main meals and six solid hours of uninterrupted sleep - at least one full hour more than Qantas can offer on the same sectors. If you wanted more sleep you could eat in the lounge and skip the first offering on board, safe in the knowledge you'll get a full meal before landing.

Cabin crew have the edge over QF by a fair margin - mostly due to the number of them and consistency, but also just much more pleasant to interact with. There is certainly no pretension that this is anything more than what it is: a cabin where you have paid for bed rather than a seat with a few miserable inches of recline (economy). It's not trying to be a First class in disguise with special service jackets and sommelier training for the crew etc.

Meal services were conducted with 4 crew working the 28-seat cabin at the same time - two serving meals from the trolley and two others offering breads, clearing plates, and bringing special drink requests not on the cart.

Lounges? CX wins for business class lounges. The food is more varied and doesn't have the 'cheap' feel of big bowls of low-cost salads as padding for the one hot offering. And of course with proper bars you can get a full selection of drinks including champagne.

I am sure Qantas will be more competitive with their new business class seats from later this year - but unless the service element matches, for short regional flights such as HKG, a 50 minute meal service with so much more sleeping time is going to be hard to beat.

If this was a once-in-a-life-time special trip and you want the full premium cabin experience with cocktails and Neil Perry 'cuisine' I'd probably recommend QF (until you get a card-board box for the refreshment that is!). If you want a good solid product with plenty of privacy and sleep, I'd go for CX without hesitation.
 

Limewood

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Have done long haul on both QF & CX many times in J, food on CX has always been good IMO but agree QF wins there just, service on CX excellent, found CX seats wider for some reason and their lounges in HK top notch, we always get there early to the Pier etc. :)
 

yohy?!

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good comparison and agree - CX gets the 'business' in Business Class correct way better than QF, ie maximise rest, quick-not-overly-familiar service, schedule and strong hard product.

not sure about QF having superior food though, i think in the past they may have been ahead for flavour and variety but not after so much cost cutting the portion sizes are ridiculous (not to mentioning lack of second meal/proper breakfast and not stocking enough to cater the whole cabin)
 

bismarck

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...CX gets the 'business' in Business Class correct way better than QF, ie maximise rest, quick-not-overly-familiar service, schedule and strong hard product...
This is spot on.

I haven't flown QF to Asia, but elsewhere I think they have a very compelling F&B service. Certainly their mix on my most recent trip to Dubai was very good.

CX on the other hand were a bit more clinical. It did the job, but I can't remember it being particularly good (or bad for that matter).

But for a business traveller coming back from HKG - particularly on the overnight flight - it was perfect. Quick meal in their excellent lounges, bed straight down after take off, wake up just before landing in Sydney for a quick bite.

I contrast that with the DXB-HKG leg (where I was trying to stay awake so I would sleep on the next leg) and I noticed the differences a bit more. I would've like some more attentive service to keep wine topped up, a bit of a slower meal etc. Wasn't really a problem per se, just an observation.

So....would rather Qantas if trying to stay awake, CX if trying to sleep.
 

Limewood

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Being in CNS going CX is a no brainer, just a 7 hour direct flight to HKG, near daily too, CX awards on QFF hard to find, flights both ways pretty full, never understood why QF gave up this route years ago.
 

HKGNZL

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CX over QF business any day. Consistency in service is the key. You know what you will get. CX F Lounge in HKG has great food/menu.
 

ReLoad

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The only part where CX is a massive fail to QF is when something goes wrong, CX are notoriously poor at service recovery even for J pax.
 
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MEL_Traveller

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Agree. Poor service recovery.
Agree CX is not the best - but even Australian airlines can't compare with the USA where agents will bend backwards to find alternative flights, even on other carriers.

CX can partially be countered by having the information ready you want them to act on (ie alternative flights) and getting them to actually try and do what you want.
 

knasty

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Benefit of CX is with 4 flights daily vs QF's 1 ex Syd, if there is an issue I feel like there's more contingency with CX than with QF.
 

yohy?!

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Have a feeling the service recovery woes are arising from out ports? I have had many excellent recoveries for ex hkg or hkg connection itineraries (typhoons, engine failures, China atc etc)

Service desk in The Wing F is also unmatched by QF...on departure upgrade, T-1 on asia miles anyone? :)
 

HKGNZL

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My first hand experiences of QF recovery had been all good - volcanic ashes; AJ grounding of fleet, QF cancelling routes/flights etc.
Back at the time when QF grounded fleet, they told me they had rebooked me on CX. When I turned up CX said QF had not done the paperwork, but the CX manager at the airport let me on. He said they would sort it out later, most important to get me there - I greatly appreciated that.
CX treats QF WP far far better than QF does.
 
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