Cathay Dragon is a fully-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific that connects Hong Kong with about 50 destinations in Asia.
Last month, I had a chance to try its business class on flights from Da Nang to Hong Kong and back. This review details my experience onboard the first of those two flights which was operated by an Airbus A320.
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Boarding Flight KA221 at Da Nang Airport
After a smooth flight from Bangkok and a not-so-smooth transfer, Yukihiro whom was traveling with and I headed to CIP Orchid Lounge, Da Nang airport’s sole international lounge. While we accessed it with our business class tickets, the lounge also belongs to the Priority Pass network.
At around 5:10PM, twenty-five minutes before the scheduled departure time, we left the lounge and headed to gate 6 which was just across from it.
By the time we got to the gate, the boarding was almost finished.
We got our boarding passes scanned, and walked down the jetway into the A320.
Passing through the galley – where some newspapers were available as well – we were greeted by one of the flight attendants. In the cabin, we settled in our first row bulkhead seats, 10H and 10K.
(Don’t ask me why Cathay Dragon starts the row numbering from 10…)
Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class Seat
The aircraft was equipped with 8 recliner business class seats (2 rows of 2-2) and 156 economy class seats (26 rows of 3-3) for a total of 164 seats.
Waiting on my seat upon boarding were a pillow and a blanket. Neither of those were anything special, but they were both perfectly fine for a short-haul flight.
As for the seat itself, it was an electronically controlled recliner seat.
It was suitable for the 90-minute hop from Da Nang to Hong Kong, but it wasn’t a seat that I would like to be in (compared to other business class seats, of course) on, let’s say, the airline’s four-hour red-eye flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo.
The console between each pair of seats, as is customary with this seat type, included a small drink table, the actual tray table, a storage compartment, the seat controls, as well as a universal power outlet. There was no USB charging port.
On the bulkhead panel (on the seat back in front for seats in the second row), there were a coat hook, a tablet holder, and a small storage compartment.
There was also the seat pocket with the usual safety card, in-flight magazine, and other documents. Simple (non-noise-cancelling) headphones could be found inside upon boarding as well.
Departing Da Nang Airport Bound for Hong Kong
The aircraft doors were armed at 5:18PM with seven of the eight business class seats occupied.
Not long after that, one of the flight attendants came around offering pre-departure drinks. The selection included screwdriver (vodka with orange juice), water, and orange juice.
Around the same time, the captain welcomed us onboard and provided us with some basic information about the flight.
Over the next few minutes before our pushback, iPads pre-loaded with entertainment options (more about that later) as well as menus were distributed.
We were pushed back at 5:40PM, five minutes behind schedule, and we took off at 5:49PM.
With Da Nang airport being located in the middle of the city, we were offered some great views after departure.
Cathay Dragon Short-Haul Business Class Meal Service
The seatbelt signs were switched five minutes after take-off, and another five minutes later, the dinner service started. Two choices of mains were offered. The side dishes were the same for either option.
Let’s start by looking at the menu.
While I decided to have the “Vietnamese roasted chicken with ginger sauce,” Yukihiro went with the other option – “grilled Australian beef tenderloin.”
Both of the dishes came with some bread, as well as a fairly large prawn and pork spring roll with sweet and sour sauce. For drink, I had Coke Zero and water.
The chicken was fairly good. As for the beef, according to Yukihiro, the sauce was good, but the meat itself was a bit too hard. We both enjoyed the bread (especially the garlic bread) as well as the spring roll.
Not long after the meal tray was cleared, one of the cabin crew members came around offering Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The flavors available included vanilla, cookies & cream, and blueberries & cream.
While picking one of the cups of ice cream, I also asked for a cup of peppermint tea which was brought just a couple of minutes later.
Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class In-Flight Entertainment
As mentioned earlier in this review, iPads pre-loaded with a variety of entertainment options were distributed to business class passengers before departure. And, mediocre quality headphones were available in the seat pockets.
This is in contrast with economy class on Cathay Dragon’s A320 where in-flight entertainment can only be streamed via wi-fi to personal devices.
The entertainment selection was more or less equal to Cathay Pacific’s.
There were dozens of movies and TV shows. There were also countless albums to listen to. In other words, there was more than enough entertainment to keep one busy on a 90-minute (or even a 10-hour) flight.
As for the TV shows, some of them had full seasons available. Others only offered a couple of episodes.
Arrival at Hong Kong International Airport
At 7:45PM Hong Kong time (one hour ahead of Da Nang), the captain addressed us over the PA once again, mentioning that we would be landing 20 minutes early.
Soon after that, we started our descent, and at 8:10PM, the landing gear was lowered.
We landed at 8:12PM, and parked at our arrival gate at 8:17PM – more than twenty minutes ahead of schedule.
Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class Summary
All in all, Cathay Dragon offered a decent service on this short business class flight.
The seat was adequate for the length of the flight, and the meal was decent. I also welcomed the fact that iPads were offered since the last time, when I was flying in economy, I wasn’t able to download the StudioKA app and so couldn’t watch any of the entertainment.
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