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Flying Business Class With Kids – Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong to Los Angeles is a looooong flight.  Especially when you have two young kids in tow.  As a family we spend all year banking up our air miles through flying and spending on our credit card.Then we splurge and upgrade from either Economy to Premium or Premium to Business Class on one long haul flight.

CX - Boarding Sign - Shrink

Booking that upgrade ticket

The trick to this, especially when booking multiple tickets, is to book far far in advance.  Airlines try to make it difficult for you to spend those hard earned miles so it pays to be flexible and book in advance.  You don’t actually need vast amounts of air miles to do a roundtrip upgrade with Cathay Pacific (30,000 from premium to business).

The first step is to phone the Marco Polo Club and ask them to find a flight with 4 upgrade seats available.  Step 2 is to return to the Cathay Pacific website and book 4 Premium Economy tickets on that flight, ensuring to pick the ticket type that will allow you to upgrade (you might also be able to do this through an actual person although it was easy enough to do online).  Step 3, phone the Marco Polo club again with your newly booked ticked confirmations and have them put the upgrade through.  They then also allocated our seats.

Hong Kong Airport

We were booked on CX898 departing 09:30. I would normally have gone for a night flight but as I was desperate to fly business, I took any flight I could!

Being a saturday, the airport was jam-packed with families heading off on their summer hols. We had a brief pit stop in the first class lounge for the obligatory glass of champagne (I NEVER get to do this!) then headed for our gate. US flights have an extra layer of security just before you board and won’t allow any liquids onboard.

On board

Nobody wants to see a family with small children step into business.  Luckily we were seated in a small section, just behind first class which consisted of 8 seats only and it felt very separate from the rest of business.  If you are flying with a baby, I don’t think there’s a bassinet in this section but if you are flying with young kids, I would definitely recommend booking these seats (11 A, D and 12 A, D on the 777-300).  A&D can see each other but you need to crane your neck round.  I did get woken up halfway through the flight by cabin crew who informed me that my daughter was wandering the aisles and looking for me!

CX Our Section of Plane - shrink

The seat itself is unbelievable – roomy, squashy with plenty of storage space.  The only downside of the business seat configuration is that you can’t really see other people that easily e.g. your own children

Cathay’s onboard entertainment is excellent and I love the fact you can start watching it before takeoff.  My kids were delighted with all the kids TV.

The vanity pack is a nice touch.  My daughter enjoyed smearing herself with moisturiser during the flight.

CX Vanity Pack - Shrink

The kids pack is ok – a few stickers, colouring and a random plastic box you put together.

This is a tough flight as you should really sleep but as you’re flying during your daytime hours you might not be tired. I tried to sleep by drinking as much alcohol as possible but I really don’t recommend this as I started to feel quite hungover towards the end of the flight.
CX Sleeping People - shrink

The food
I had pre-ordered standard kids meals and suddenly felt bad they would be missing out on the delicious business class fayre.  Then I realised that my kids were delighted with the spaghetti bolognese, juice carton etc!
CX Kids Meal - Shrink

My food was good, especially the cheese board.  Oh how the other half live.  I also pocketed as much free stuff as I could do hoard for later on in the journey when weren’t flying in such splendour (there’s a help yourself snack area in the galley).

Landing
LAX’s International Terminal has had a much needed facelift.  We arrived in a gleaming immigration hall, opened only 7 weeks previous.  Always budget up to an hour to wait in US immigration although we were lucky and got through in about 20 mins.

 

Nicola’s Top Tips

  • Pack your charger in hand luggage so you can charge onboard and at the airport
    CX Charging Phone - Shrink
  • Sign up to the Marco Polo club to start collecting those air miles. The club is open to aged 18 and over.  However, you can sign your kids up to the British Airways Executive Club (Household Account) and collect Avios which you can spend on any OneWorld airline.
  • Plan your trips far in advance to take advantage of those reward flights
  • If you will be transiting through LAX, take a stroller.  It was a convenient place for us to store those jet lagged kids!

 

9 comments

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  1. MaxC

    Hi, I’ve followed your blog for a while and enjoy it. My wife and I with our two kids (8 and 6) will also be flying CX business next year. I was interested to read your comments on seat assignment. In hindsight, do you think the A-D combination you chose is better than D-G? I was also concerned about having to crank the neck around to see the kids. Thanks for any insights

    1. Nicola

      Hi Max, yes I think A-D combination is definitely better than D-G. You will have to crane your neck round to see them but that is unavoidable on the CX configuration. However it is easier to see A-D I think. Happy flying!

      1. MaxC

        Nicola, just a quick note to say that your recommendation for A-D combination was spot on. The flight was excellent. Thanks so much! Enjoying HK right now… Although wow it is hot!

        1. Nicola

          Great to hear and enjoy HK!

  2. Laura

    Hi, just saw this post as well as your earlier CX business class review. Did you prefer having these four seats in the smaller business section (with an isle in between you and your kids) or did you prefer sitting in the middle seats in the bigger portion of the business class? If flying with a 26 month old, which would you suggest? I noticed the seats in the smaller section seem to be less staggered than in the larger section, is that the case? How old was your youngest one when you were flying this time? Laura

  3. Laura Reuling Schukar

    Hi, Nicola! I thought I sent this earlier but it is not showing up. I was wondering which seating arrangement you preferred when traveling CX with your children, the small business class section with an isle between you and your kids (11A&11D, 12A&12D), or the larger business section in the middle two seats? Are the seats in the smaller section more in line with each other or staggered like the bigger business section? The seat maps make them look like they are not staggered at all. ?? Did you find the close proximity to the lavatories in the small business section bothersome? How old was your youngest when you took this last flight? My daughter will be 26 months and I’m trying to have some kind of comparison. Thanks again! Laura

    1. Nicola

      Hi Laura
      Yes the seats in the smaller section are more in line with each other so you could even reach over the aisle and hold hands. Lavatory proximity not a problem at all – it’s business so there are lots of toilet options available so never anybody queueing. And when you’re travelling with a kids it’s great to be so close to the toilet! My youngest was 2.5 so slightly older than your daughter. The only issue you might have is whether she is comfortable being in her own seat for take off & landing. However worst comes to worst, they can swap you into premium seats and then you can move back to your business seats once you are up in air (Virgin did this for me and the passengers were happy to swap for about 10 mins – think they might have been hoping to have my seats for the entire flight!)

  4. Laura

    Thanks! My hope is to book rows 11 & 12 (seats A &D) but I realize that they may not be available. That said, if we are forced to sit in the larger business class section, how would you do it with four people (one of which is a 26 month old)? :). Would you stick with two on each side of the isle, (A&D) or do four all across the plane or do two sets of two middle seats (D & G)? If we were to do A & D, would I be able to hold my daughters hand or they just too staggered in this section?

    1. Nicola

      2 sets of middle seats might be the best way to go in the staggered section. I would phone up and double check the aircraft model it’s likely to be and see what their guidance is too

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