Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok – Singapore and Louis Tavern CIP Lounge

Must-read Earlier Installments:

Cathay Pacific operates a number of ‘fifth freedom’ routes which start and end outside of their home base of Hong Kong. For instance they fly New York JFK – Vancouver (and on to Hong Kong), and they fly from Bangkok to Colombo, Sri Lanka. They also fly once-daily Bangkok – Singapore. (About a decade ago Cathay unsuccessfully sought authority to fly New York – London, that would have been cool – a true round the world opportunity flying Hong Kong – Vancouver – New York – London – Hong Kong.)

Cathay Pacific CX713 flies Hong Kong – Bangkok – Singapore and gave me an opportunity to use British Airways Avios to connect my award into Bangkok and out of Singapore.

It’s not an expensive flight to begin with, and indeed Thai Airways sells business class for under $450 one-way. Singapore Airlines and Cathay both wanted over $700 for business.

For such a short flight business class is hardly necessary, although some will prefer it for the shorter check-in lines, priority boarding, extra baggage allowance and lounge access.

As an American AAdvantage (and British Airways) elite member I’d have the ground benefits of business class even if flying coach, so I gave a though to spending just 7500 BA points for the flight. But I also have a reasonably large stash of Avios — over half a million, and the ability to transfer in at will from my larger piles of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards (not to mention Starwood Starpoints!).

I generally think that as quickly as I spend miles I don’t spend them nearly fast enough since I earn more than I burn. So spending double points — 15,000 miles — for the one-way business class ticket made sense for me.

I checked in and was given a lounge invitation to use either the Concourse D Cathay lounge or the Louis Tavern CIP lounge directly across from the departure gate.

I’m looking forward to the new Cathay lounge opening in the spring. In the meantime I’m a big fan of using the lounge nearest my gate, so I went over to the fairly non-descript contract lounge.

It was new and fresh, clean and bright, and was a place to work with free wifi. That’s really I saw the lounge as and I only had about half an hour to spend there. But it makes for efficient use of time since it’s directly across from the departure gate. I didn’t have to wonder how long a walk the gate would be, I could just leave the lounge a short while after boarding commenced. Which — for a short lounge visit — is one of the most important things.

Boarding was probably halfway done when I walked across and downstairs to the departure gate.

I went straight onto the jetway without delay, and once onboard in the business class cabin I finally had the chance to try Cathay Pacific’s new regional product. All of my short haul Cathay flights have had their long haul product, which is fantastic of course, and most people wouldn’t be thrilled with six-across recliner seats instead of four-across lie flat seats. But it was about a two hour flight, so this was fine, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing these seats for about two years!

Honestly it’s not revolutionary compared to what they offered before, but as I say perfectly comfortable and adequate for a short flight — and good enough to make me jealous considering the domestic premium cabin seats I’m used to flying for one to five hours in the U.S. (Although U.S. domestic first class will make Europeans jealous compared to intra-European business products.)

Here was the menu from our flight:

    (Click to enlarge.)

The meal is nothing special of course, but it’s more than adequate for Bangkok-Singapore!

The pomelo and prawn salad was quite tasty.

Cathay’s Thai pork dish was perfectly fine.

And they always end with Haagan-Dazs ice cream. It’s not a sundae, just a single flavor, but quick service comfort sweets.

Landing in Singapore was uneventful and taxi to the terminal quick. We walked through the terminal to immigration, where there was no line, and over to baggage claim where premium bags came out within a few minutes. And I was on my way to the Grand Hyatt, which had arranged a complimentary airport car after having failed to show up as promised on my previous visit.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks Gary and Happy New Year!

    Can you describe the leg rests on the plane? I think I had it HKG-SIN and was disappointed on the plane I was on, even though it was new, it didn’t have a foot rest. And although that leg was short, I began my journey at LAX.

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