I’ve had the opportunity to fly to Asia with Cathay Pacific five times, going back to my first trip with them in 2004. The thing I love most is the consistency. Whether I’m in First, Business, Premium Economy or Economy, I know I’m gonna get attentive service, flights that leave on time and some great food. I just flew their Business Class service from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and had some incredible meals, both coming and going. It really is like visiting a fine restaurant in the sky, while traveling at 40,000 feet above the ground. I think it’s that quality of food and level of service that separates Cathay Pacific from the wide range of other Asia luxury air travel options. I wanted to review my recent flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles as a great example of that level of service and food I consistently find with them.

Cathay Pacific
Aboard Cathay Pacific

Aside from great food, I think a key part of luxury travel is convenience and Cathay Pacific delivers there as well. There’s no wait to check-in, the dedicated Business Class lines are always fast. A larger baggage allowance means easier packing, and waiting for the flight in the lounge is much more comfortable than in the crowded waiting area. Perhaps the best part of traveling Business Class with Cathay Pacific is how I can just relax once I get to the airport knowing my travel experience will be enjoyable. As opposed to dreading a 13 or 14 hour unpleasant adventure, when flying Cathay Pacific Business Class I look forward to the journey .

The food
I was lucky enough to fly during a promotion Cathay Pacific did with The Langham, Hong Kong featuring The Langham’s chef, Kwong Wai Keung. Chef Kwong, who runs the hotel’s famed T’ang Court restaurant, contributed special dishes to the inflight menu. During our lunch, his selection was the steamed halibut, cooked with garlic, bean paste sauce and spring onion. This was served with steamed jasmine rice and Shanghainese bok choy. I am constantly impressed by the level of cuisine Cathay Pacific offers, and keep in mind this was just one selection on a lunch menu that also included a grilled Australian prime beef tenderloin, chicken terikyaki or a wild mushroom and ricotta cheese agnolotti (like ravioli) with a tomato concasse and cherry tomatoes.

Cathay Pacific meal
Dinner is served

I had the grilled beef, cooked with a Madeira port wine sauce and served with new potatoes and ratatouille. Everything was prepared perfectly and I would compare the meal to any in a fine dining restaurant. This was all after starters of smoked gravlax salmon with asparagus and salad. Things continued with the cheese and dessert course, featuring some amazing Fourme d’Ambert (creamy, delightful French blue cheese), along with some cheddar and a Reblochon with apple and rosemary paste. Fruit came next, then the finale, a yuzu and milk chocolate mousse cake with a pear chutney. Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit, like a sour orange. What a wonderful meal.

Airline food
Delicious grilled beef

And that was all just lunch, served shortly after we reached cruising altitude. Halfway through the 13 hour flight, snacks were served including tomato and basil pizza with buffalo mozzarella, shrimp wontons in noodle soup and Haagen-Daz. Things got serious again for breakfast, starting with smoothies and fruit and some tasty bread, fresh croissants and rolls. Main courses included an omelet with pork sausage, bacon, peppers, potatoes and braised bean ragout or dim sum with chili sauce. The dim sum included pork shu mai with scallops, shrimp dumplings and awesome little chicken dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves. They were all offered traditional style, steamed in bamboo containers. The final breakfast main course option was a congee with chicken and mushrooms, served alongside a baked barbecue pork pie. Fresh juices, tea and coffee and cereals were also on offer.

Fresh fruit on Cathay Pacific
Fresh fruit for dessert

The wine
Good food is only great when accompanied by some fine wine and Cathay did not disappoint in this area either. I flew during their promotion for Spanish wines and the menu featured three special selections from Spain. These was a 2011 Borsao from Tres Picos, a 2006 Baigorri Reserva and a 2011 Matarromera Melior. I tasted the Melior and it was terrific, made from the Tempranillo or early ripening Spanish grape.

These Spanish vintages were joined on the white side by a 2012 Spa Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a Austrian 2011 Gruner Veitliner from Peter Schweiger. The reds were represented by a 2010 Quincho Reserve Syrah from Chile and a 2010 Haut Medoc from Chateau Hanteillan. My main wine selection was the Hanteillan, which was rich and perfect with my beef tenderloin. I also had to try the champagne, which was a Deutz Brut Classic. It was spectacular with the fruit and cheese and a new discovery for me, this was a brand I was not familiar with before the flight.