Transport : Airlines

When comparing British Airways Vs Cathay Pacific, which is the best option when travelling in Business Class?

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We have reviewed both British Airways in Business Class (many many times!) and Cathay Pacific in Business Class so you can read my separate trip reports for an in-depth analysis.

Headlines

British Airways has been subject to horrific headlines lately. bed bugs in Business Class, drunken pilots and a general lack of care when compared to Cathay Pacific (who have not headlined in the same way). Purely based on the truth behind these headlines, I would choose Cathay Pacific. however small the risk, I don’t want bed bug bites when I fly Business Class!

Airport & Lounges

Cathay Pacific operates from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), while the British Airways hub is London Heathrow (LHR). Both airports are excellent offering decent restaurants, world-class shopping with haute boutiques, and a wide range of leisure facilities. Hong Kong airport even has a golf courses (HKG).

Hong Kong Airport has a more impressive look – with soaring spaces bathed in daylight under a vaulted roof, London Heathrow is the airport closest to my home and I particularly love Terminal 5 which the majority of British Airways flights leave from. It has excellent British Airways airport lounges and is a marvel of engineering and design (at least by British standards).

I have reviewed the best airline lounges at Hong Kong airport for a comparison, but there is little to choose between the in-lounge experience between the two airlines.

Of course, your opinion may be swayed by which destination you want a layover. Both cities are fun and lively and both offer an excellent array of luxury hotels so from this perspective, the destination choice is purely personal.

Cabin

I actually like the style of both the British Airways and the Cathay Pacific. They are both stylish and I don’t have a particular favourite. British Airways planes offer classic style in a blue hue.

Cathay Pacific’s planes feature an understated, white and minimalist kind of modernism. The neutral white colour palette of the cabin is given a touch of vibrancy with green seat cushions and light grey carpets, while small, elegant white floral displays decorate the cabin, adding to the overall luxurious feel.

Both British Airways and Cathay Pacific offer a consistent Business Class product across most of its long-haul fleet.

Pilots

As a nervous flyer, I like to fly British Airways as the pilots tend to keep you informed of turbulence and tend to have a rather comforting (for me) British accent. Many have a background in the RAF. I am sure pilots from other airlines are equally competent but there is no other airline which has the Biggles style British Airways pilots.

Best Business Class Seat

Cathay Cathay and Cathay for so many reasons! British Airways Business Class seats are poor. Thin foam, thin seats, no direct aisle access for many of the seats. They were groundbreaking when they were launched, but other airlines have improved on their model, and are now much, much better than the seats on British Airways.

Cathay Pacific’s aircraft, with the exception of its regionally outfitted B777s, have a 1-2-1 layout with a reverse herringbone configuration offers a slightly greater amount of privacy since seats on the side are angled toward the window, while the seats in the middle are angled towards each other.

I think the best wide-body Business Class layout & seats are (in order from excellent to OK):
Cathay Pacific B777, A330, and A350.
Cathay Pacific B777 (with regional configuration).
British Airways (all planes).

Business Class flatbed

Cathay Pacific has the best Business Class flatbed. This, alone, is a reason to choose Cathay Pacific over British Airways. The “Cirrus seat”, is one of the best Business Class seats in the sky. It offers plenty of space, privacy, storage room, and turns into an excellent flatbed.

British Airways Club World seats are currently lie flat, but thin, which means less privacy when you are trying to sleep to the point that you can feel quite vulnerable to passing traffic on these seats. Of course, if you have a non-aisle seat you will feel less vulnerable, but you do not currently get aisle access from a non-aisle seat, so you have to climb over neighbours to get out.

Food

I have never been wowed by the taste nor presentation of the food onboard Cathay Pacific or British Airways. I guess a preference would be as to which style of food you prefer. British Airways food is very British with offerings like their afternoon tea, Cathay has a more Asian twist, as you would expect.

Amenity kit

Cathay Pacific’s Business Class amenity kit has been created by Seventy Eight Percent, a Hong Kong-based design company that creates high-quality bags for globetrotting professionals. The wash bag contains Jurlique products (natural lip care balm, balancing day care dream, and citrus hand cream), anti-skid socks, eyeshade, toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs and monitor-cleaning cloth.

BA offers a luxury amenity kit with Elemis skincare products and accessories in Business Class which is not noteworthy. Both kits are similarly good.

Conclusion: British Airways Vs Cathay Pacific

British Airways and Cathay Pacific both offer solid Business Class products. Cathay is positioned as one of the best in the skies, with the exception of the Middle Eastern Carriers, British Airways is not as good, but is still an enjoyable experience.

Crucially, it is easier to sleep on the Cathay Pacific seats. However, if the cost of the Business Class ticket is the most important aspect of travel for you, you may choose to pick whichever is cheapest.

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