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Flying business class with the kids: Review of Cathay Pacific Hong Kong – London

‘Who does she think she is giving us advice on flying with kids when she flew long haul business class?’

I know.. I know..  this flight review has a gilt-edge in that I did indeed fly business class from Hong Kong to London with my two young kids (nearly 4 and 17 mths).  However, here is HOW I did it:

  • Join your airline’s frequent flyer programme and don’t forget to add the details to the booking or show at check-in.  I’m a geek but I also check my balance following a flight to ensure they’ve added my miles
  • Bank up all your airmiles and save them for class upgrades or booking business
  • Join a credit card that gives you airmiles per spend.  I have a Cathay Pacific American Express card
  • Get your kids signed up for airmiles and create a ‘Household Account’
  • Book far in advance (I booked this trip to London a year in advance)
  • Try and do it before your kids turn two.  After that you have to buy them their own seat.

Now on to the flight review!

Cathay Pacific CX 253 Hong Kong to London Heathrow: departs HKG 3pm, arrives LHR 8pm

Check-In
No queue to check in for Cathay business class.  Friendly check in assistants but I noticed they forgot to give me my lounge invitation.  Did she look at my kids and do that on purpose?  Luckily I realised just as I was about to leave and she muttered an apology and printed one out for me.

Daisy & Sky in the CX Lounge‘The Wing’ – Cathay Pacific’s Flagship Lounge
I’ve written on how great lounge access is in a previous post.  You save money with the free food/drink available for the kids and also somewhere spatious to release them out of the buggy/baby carrier and into the wild.

Lounge serving staff are very helpful and went out their way to bring me drinks and snacks for the kids.  Having had a recent refit, it’s a spacious, clean area to enjoy before your flight.  We hung out at the balcony level enjoying noodles, cakes and wine (me).  However, I am surprised (Cathay are you reading this?) that there is no dedicated area for kids.  So many lounges have this, even if it’s a few toys and books.

Boarding
I took my stroller with me to the gate and then transferred my 17 mth old into the Ergo.  Easy priority boarding.  A collective sigh from the passengers as me and the two munchkins descended on our business class seats

Daisy in CX Business Seat

The Seat
In a word, phenomenal.  Cathay have recently upgraded their seats and the new business class is a slick product, providing lots of space, privacy and storage.  The TV screen is enormous and coupled with the Bose headphones, I could barely hear my four year old.  Excellent choice of kids TV and movies.

Bedding comfy and luxurious.  I had two seats between the three of us so we played musical chairs.  We were given the two middle seats and there was lots of room for the kids to play on each seat.

Coping with kids in business class

I was conscious of keeping the kids as quiet as possible.  Luckily my four year old is happy to watch TV for hours on end.  I had brought a DVD player so the 17 mth old could be happily entertained by ‘the Wiggles’.  To get her to sleep, I did have to create a tent with the duvet to darken the cabin for her but eventually she nodded off for about six hours.  Despite being shot daggers as I boarded the plane, my kids received lots of compliments as we disembarked, the ultimate accolade for a kids travel blog writer!

The Food

CX Kids MealChildren’s meal your usual rubbish that kids enjoy but you’d probably turn your nose up at.

Adults meal delicious.  On this flight you get lunch and then dinner.  I don’t know what they do to it but Cathay garlic bread is amazing.  I also sampled some great wines (hello I was eating cheese, you’ve got to pair it haven’t you).

 

Overall…

What makes flying business so special (besides the flat bed) is the service.  Super attentive staff to cater to your every whim, which is especially important when flying with young kids.  I was able to escape to the toilet while they played with the kids and nothing was too much trouble.  Cathay Pacific staff are known very their service excellence but in business they go the extra mile.

Daisy & Sky in CX Business Class

10 comments

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  1. Matt

    hi there, i plan to travel w my 4 month old in business class. are you sitting in the front row where bassinet is an option? thnx

    1. Nicola

      My youngest was actually too big for a bassinet so we shared a business class bed. What airline are you flying? Cathay? You can check all the seat configurations on seatguru. Call your airline, check what aircraft model it’s likely to be (although this may change) and you can see where the bassinets are. 4 mths is a perfect age to fly as they aren’t moving!

  2. carmen

    Hi Nicola,

    Im planning to fly on business via Cathay this September from ORD-MNL. My son will be 3 and 2mos old by then and I was worried he might not sit still of the chairs seem so apart from me. He travels a lot and has always been a very good traveler, but thanks to miles we will finally be trying Business. are the middle seats ok for us to at least see each other and he knows I’m actually near him? Im so happy to come across your blog = )

    1. Nicola

      Thanks Carmen! The problem with CX business is that seats are in herringbone formation so it can be quite difficult to see your child at all times. The middle two are the best bet though but there is a partition between the seats. I’m sure once he is happily watching TV and eating all the nice food that he’ll be fine!

  3. Vik

    Hi Nicola, My wife would be travelling Cathay’s new biz class with our 4yr old and 8 month old. as she would get a bassinet and middle seats, can she still access the 4 yr old despite their being a partition ? OR would she be going round the cabin to access him ? Many thanks.

    1. Nicola

      Hi Vik
      Yes she can still access no problem. I found myself just standing up and stepping over the partition, you definitely don’t need to go round the cabin to access him. Hope that helps!

  4. Emma Bray

    Hi Nicola, I am travelling in April with my 9 month bay girl. I have read on their website that they will not reheat food i bring on board. Do you know is this is correct? I don’t want to rely on the food that they offer. Also do you know if they will give me boiled water for her bottles? Many Thanks Emma

    1. Nicola

      Hi Emma

      What airline are you travelling with? Yes likely they won’t be able to reheat for you so I recommend just having your girl used to eating the food straight out of the pouches etc. You can buy these really useful spoons that attach to the edge of things like Ella’s pouches. I’m also guessing at 9 months you can bring bits of bread etc.

      Yes they’ll give you boiled water from the kettle for her bottles. Just ask with plenty of time in advance to allow it to cool down.

      Happy flying!

      Nicola

  5. Laura

    Hi, Nicola! I will be flying CX new business from ORD to MNL with my husband, 8 year old son and, will be, 26 month old daughter. One leg is 16 hours – am I crazy?! Considering that there will be four of us, two adults and two children, what seat arrangement would you suggest? We recently flew an 11 hour flight business and the little one did great, but they were the angled lie-flat seats that were side by side. I’m concerned about her seeing me (she is struggling with separation anxiety right now, but praying she is over it by then) and staying in her seat during take off as they don’t allow car seats or CARES harness in the new business class. Thoughts? Would I be able to hold her hand during take off or the seats too far apart? Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Laura

    1. Nicola

      I would recommend getting the seats that we did (have a look in the review for the exact number). You should be able to reach across and hold hands ok. It is a bit annoying on the CX configuration that you can’t really get seats where you can see each other easily. Worst comes to worst, you can swap seats with 2 people in premium and have them take your business seats for take off, if you think your 26 mth old won’t like sitting on her own. They let me do this on Virgin, although as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign went off, i went straight back to reclaim our business seats!

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