RTW to Bali: Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Denpasar, Bali


Joann and I made our way through Hong Kong International, taking in the sights, people watching, and admiring the clean, bright conditions that HKG seemed to be in. It was a far cry from our home airport, EWR, that’s for sure.

HKG (Hong Kong) – DPS (Denpasar)
26 AUG 2012
Boeing 747-400
Business Class, Upper Deck

Seats 81A, 81K

Boarding & Settling In

When we got to the gate, Business Class was invited to board and we were the first ones on the this 747, the Queen of the Skies. I definitely wanted to make sure we got a shot of the stairs going up to the upper deck!

cathay pacific hong kong denpasar business class bali  hkg dps 747

Stairway to heaven?

The stairs lead to the aft of the upper deck cabin. A very friendly flight attendant greeted us and showed us to our seats at the very front, right behind the flight deck. It was really cool to be right behind the pilots on the upper deck.

We were offered pre-departure drinks and started back up on the champagne. I could get used to starting a flight with some bubbly!

Upper Deck Business Class

Upper Deck Business Class

The Seat

Business Class on Cathay’s 747 is their old Business Class – herringbone-style. It’s much different than the new Business Class that Joann and I experienced last year on our trip to Vancouver.

The layout on the upper deck is 1-1 since it’s narrower up there; on the main deck, the seat layout is 1-2-1. The positive is that everyone has aisle access. The negative is that if you are traveling as a couple, the 2 seats in the middle make it practically impossible to communicate since they face out and have a high wall between them.

As a note, there is a First Class cabin (similar to our JFK-HKG flight) on this plane but it is sold and served as Business Class. You can request these seats at the check-in counter. I was happy with our upper deck seats because it would be another unique experience.

Some have called these seats “coffin” seats because they are a little narrow so when completely lie-flat, you can feel like you’re in a coffin. I tend to agree. I could see how someone can get a little claustrophobic in there.

The "coffin seat"

The “coffin seat”

As a couple, Joann and I were OK on the upper deck because there is only a small aisle between each side, but either way you slice it, this layout is not at all conducive to couples travel.

If you ask me what I prefer between the new and old Business Class seats, I’ll take new biz ALL DAY. These herringbone seats just aren’t for me.

The view looking back down the lone aisle

The view looking back down the lone aisle


Lunch was served on this 4.5 hour flight. It wasn’t anything notable, but the service was great. Flight attendants were cheery and took the time to explain whatever we asked them about the meal.

The starter consisted of marinated prawns and a side salad. For entree, I went for the lamb with thyme-rosemary sauce. It was very good; definitely tasted better than it looked. There was an Indonesian option (because we were flying to Bali), but I figured that I’d get plenty of that in the next 7 days.

Overall, it was an average meal; stellar if you compare it to domestic First Class. The service, as I’ve come to know with Cathay, was impeccable. The flight attendant came by often enough to ask me if I wanted more wine/champagne/coffee/ice cream/whatever.


Pre-lunch service & Studio CX


Prawn starter with potato salad


Lamb with thyme-rosemary sauce

Everything Else

After lunch service, I just sipped on some coffee and watched some TV. Again, Studio CX is great as an entertainment system. It has plenty of selection, more than you’ll ever need for a 4.5 hour flight. The one downer was that the noise cancelling headphones were a little wacky. Seemed like a loose wire or something because every once in a while they would buzz or cut out. These planes ARE pretty old so it’s not really surprising.


On the approach to Denpasar, Bali

However old these planes are, sitting on the upper deck was new to us. While it was tough to see out the window without cranking your neck backwards (seats face inwards, away from the window), it was worth it to have a bit higher of a vantage point.

There are only two commercial planes with upper decks on them (Boeing 747 & Airbus A380) so riding on one is a really special experience for me.


Overall, I have to give Cathay Pacific an A+ for both this Business Class flight and our previous First Class flight. The hard products were out of this world (planes, seats, audio/video). The soft product was also stellar; the food was good-great and the service made us fans of Cathay for life.

We’ve made it our next goal to accrue more American Airlines miles so we can fly Cathay Pacific once again!

After a beautiful and scenic landing into Denpasar Airport, we were off to customs, passport control, and humidity. We finally made it!


3 Comments RTW to Bali: Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Denpasar, Bali

  1. Pingback: Let's Plan: 'Round The World to Bali in First Class - the #hustle blog - The #hustle Blog

  2. Dave

    Nice. I prefer lower though especially going to Bali and the closer to the exit door the better so you can be quick to get off the plane and beat the crowd for visa on arrival processing.

    1. the hustle blog

      From the reading I was doing on FlyerTalk prior to the trip, many were saying the lines weren’t bad lately. I decided to take the gamble and it paid off. There were no lines. The whole visa process took a few minutes.

      Thanks for the comment!

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