Few business classes do minimalist travel better than Cathay Pacific. Their lounges are in transition from being kitted by Forster+Partners to Ilse Crawford replacing bright, airy and efficient spaces with more warm and comfortable elegance. Professionally economical is their service and aesthetically adult are the fittings, you are distracted little from concentrating on things that matter to long haul travel like catching enough sleep and sufficient hydration. No hi-viz amenities, uniform that looks like a set of malfunctioning traffic lights and fluorescent lighting which wakes you out of your jet lag. No phones necessary for that Instagram shot in a Cathay journey.
So if Cathay can improve… those improvements will do wonders for the aspiring airlines sponsored by emirs and city states. And here are some noteworthy considerations.
Water glasses half the size of the wine bowls need recalibrating. Measured Cathay attendants know better than to pour overly generously like it’s in a Johannesburg pub at 30,000 ft. By the time I could see the bottom of my Malbec on my bowl, it was three water refills later. Big bowls do disservice to the wine selection (recently Cathay added flight specific regional wine promotion-like the Argentinian offering on my flight-to an already excellent one) as it is prohibitive to sample more than a bowl.
Wafer thin knives and forks you need at least three attempts at picking them up, especially when there are two sets of them-as seen on Downton Abbey- is a nuisance. Crockery this sturdy and well proportioned deserves real utensils. Knives and forks are meant to rise at its heels so that resin need not be accompanied with your meal.
Cereal must feature more prominently in the breakfast menu. After fruits and beverages and before the choice of eggs and congee you’re asked the question ‘would you like some cereal’ as if one couldn’t possibility want more food at God-knows-what-time in the day. Even when asked being served corn flakes from paper boxes is unseemly. Cathay deserves a properly chilled muesli making its way into the lineup by portion controlling other items.