Our journey with Cathay Pacific from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was set to take around 12 hours – not including a three-hour dawn stopover – so the prospect of doing the longest leg in comfort lessened the trepidation.
Involve the socks and eye cover that the smart, cheerful staff supply in a worth-keeping goody bag and you’re be all set for a flight with a difference. Just be sure not to flatten the fresh orchid placed beside your designated spot.
There is plenty of shoe and laptop/handbag storage space at your feet and side and considered positioning of each ‘booth’ means you are afforded a decent level of privacy with direct aisle access, as well as generous elbow room within which to enjoy your choice of dinner. Central seat pairings are angled for companion travellers to interact more easily, while outboard seats angle towards the windows.
The only issue, however, is that Cathay’s in-flight entertainment system supplies an extensive choice of films and TV shows on a 15.4 inch screen, with connections and sockets available to link up your own devices should you wish.
The above is far from a problem, of course, but it does mean willpower is required if you are not to trade the prospect of a good snooze (or getting that on-deadline feature penned) for potentially gorging on three blockbusters back to back.
Fortunately, once that button had been pressed by yours truly to transform said seat into one of the longest and widest flat beds available on a commercial airline, common sense and tiredness prevailed.
Having caught a couple of decent movies and a fulsome merlot to accompany a tasty, balanced dinner of herb-crusted lamb, classical music replaced Pierce Brosnan’s tough on-screen antics in November Man to usher in slumber ahead of a rudely early landing at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Island airport.
Although our onward connection down to Vietnam was a short hop by comparison, it is possible to continue the pampering in Business under Cathay’s "Life Well Travelled" philosophy.
On the return Hong Kong to Dubai leg two weeks later, we sampled the high life in Premium Economy. While the Economy connection from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Hong Kong was comfortable enough, Premium tenders a very welcome and desirable extra degree of space between yourself and your neighbours, as well as a swifter exit from the aircraft on landing back in the UAE.
The in-flight meal remains at a strong and enticing level and - while your seat doesn’t impersonate a bed - if use your space and time wisely you’ll sleep soundly through the bulk of your journey back to DXB.
CATHAY Pacific flies twice daily from Dubai to Hong Kong, at 5.10pm and 11pm.
THE return Business Class inclusive fare for Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City starts from AED 8555.
FOR more on Cathay Pacific flights, lounges and prices, visit their website www.cathaypacific.com