After our trek in the Annapurna, and our remaining time in Kathmandu, it was time to head home. For me this meant flights from Kathmandu to Chicago on Cathay. More specifically, Cathay Dragon Business Class to Hong Kong, and then Cathay Pacific Business Class to O’Hare. For this trip, in the interest of earning some AA EQM and EQD’s, and thanks to cheap premium fares departing Kathmandu, I bought a business class ticket. Better yet, I booked this through Chase Ultimate rewards, and I mostly used points. The ticket was about $1400 for KTM-HKG-ORD, and I used 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points and about $200 cash for this ticket.
The flight from Kathmandu to Hong Kong wasn’t ideal, at least for my usual preferences, given that is is a short overnight flight in a subpar seat. But the timing was hard to beat, and other options would have meant a much longer trip. A short night of sleep onboard isn’t ideal, but I knew I’d have time to relax on my layover in Hong Kong and sleep on the much longer flight to Chicago.
My flight departed around 11pm. Since my friend’s flight wasn’t until the next afternoon, we had the room for that night, so it was nice not to have to pack up and wait most of the day for the late departure. I took a shuttle from the Hyatt to the airport, which was free as a Regency Club guest. There was almost no traffic, so the trip to the airport was fast.
Before departure in Kathmandu
Once at Tribhuvam airport (KTM), getting inside and checked in was a little chaotic, but not too much of a problem. Clearing passport control, but not security, lounges are located here. There are 2 lounges at Kathmandu, a Thai Airways lounge, and the Executive lounge operated by Radisson used by most other airlines, also accessible to via Priority Pass.
The lounge was surprisingly nice for a shared lounge. Not something to arrive early for, but a spacious and well equipped space. Not particularly relaxing due to frequent announcements, but there are various areas, including some nice lounge chairs for those wanting to nap. I had more time here than needed since I was concerned about how much time I would need to get through check in and security, etc.
Once my flight was announced, I headed through security and to the gate. There are no jet bridges in Kathmandu, so gates are just waiting areas, and then a walk across the tarmac. If there was priority boarding, I missed it, so I just got in the queue. Despite being in Business Class, someone insisted I move to the stairs near door 2. Not a big issue, but I tried to plead my case, and the agent didn’t have the authority to let me go to the other line…very efficient. Oh well, once I got on board, I found my seat in the business class cabin, a window in the second row.
Cathay Dragon Business Class on the A330 to Hong Kong
Once at my seat, I was warmly welcomed on board, offered a drink, snack and prepackaged towelette. Just like on Cathay Pacific, the in-flight manager personally welcomes all Oneworld emerald passengers aboard. I also received an amenity kit. Branded as Cathay Dragon, but otherwise the same contents as the Cathay Pacific business class amenity kit. Not much has changed since I received one of these back in 2016.
Service consists of a meal service after departure, then drinks. Then presumably sleep. Here is the menu:
Not really hungry, or needing a meal at this late hour, but I did take some food. We’ll call it blog research. The meal began with a fruit plate.
For my main, I went with the Achari Chicken.
Cookies and Cream is one of my favorites, so admittedly I had more of this than I should have…
After the meal I tried to sleep. I did a little, but didn’t find the recliner seat very comfortable for much more than some brief naps.
Cathay Dragon Business Class seat on the A330
This flight is considered regional, and at less than 5 hours, that is true by most measures. It is the same business seat Cathay Pacific uses for their regional flights. Drastically better than first class on US domestic flights, but a recliner with electric movement, in a shell. Here are some marketing photos from Cathay:
This wasn’t a luxurious flight by any means, but I enjoyed the personalized service. Obviously the lie flat seats of the long-haul fleet are preferred, but presumably Kathmandu doesn’t have the demand, and its a relatively short flight back to Hong Kong. I would be in a much better seat for the much longer flight to Chicago.
My Hong Kong Layover
I’ve connected in Hong Kong multiple times this year. I always enjoy it, especially with first class lounge access thanks to my Oneworld Emerald status. My layover was a little long, and I could have left the airport, and maybe gone for a hike, but I had plenty of that already on this trip. Instead I just made the most of my time walking around the airport and relaxing in the lovely Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong. My first stop was my favorite lounge, the Pier First Class. With the short night and limited sleep on board, made a massage booking for later and then asked for a room in the Day Suites.
I overcame my desire to watch planes and slept for a bit.Though I did see the plane that took me to Hong Kong:
After that, I left the lounge and stretched my legs a bit, eventually making it all the way back towards the low numbered gates and the other First Class lounge in HKG, the Wing.
Much better views and more open air here, but I still do prefer the design of the Pier. Eventually I headed back to the Pier; for a massage, a meal and a shower. I really love this lounge…
Final Thoughts – Cathay Dragon Business Class on the A330
As often happens at the end of a fun trip, there are mixed feelings. Sad my trip was over, but glad to be heading home. My trip home from Kathmandu started with a short-ish flight on a regionally configured Cathay Dragon A330. Business Class is not cutting edge, but it was fine for this flight. I enjoyed my Hong Kong layover as I always do, before my long flight towards home.
Have you flown Cathay Dragon business class? How was your experience?