The Cathay Dragon Business Class Review (With Tips)

On my recent trip to Shanghai and China with Cathay Pacific I got the opportunity to sample the Cathay Dragon Business Class service between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Formerly known as Dragonair until November 2016, Cathay Dragon is now operated by its parent company Cathay Pacific and operates the majority of Cathay Pacific’s regional flights in Asia.

Cathay Dragon Business Class Cabin

CATHAY DRAGON BUSINESS CLASS A330 VS. A321

My two journeys on Cathay Dragon Business Class, from Hong Kong to Shanghai and back, were on different air crafts, an A330 with three-class configuration and A321 with two classes. The three class configuration includes eight First Class seats which are almost identical to the seats Cathay Pacific use for their long haul business class. The Business Class seats are the same as Cathay’s former Regional Business Class seats – prior to the Dragonair takeover.



Cathay Dragon Business Class Seats
Cathay Dragon Business Class Screen

SEAT & LAYOUT

The hybrid design of the Cathay Dragon Business Class seat borrows some elements from an angled lie-flat seat and applies them to a reclining seat housed in a shell, protecting you from the recline of the person in front. Seat controls allow you to independently control the recline and leg rest, along with an adjustable headrest. The seats recline to a point, as a lie flat would prior to flattening out, but they don’t go flat because they don’t serve routes long enough to bother. The result is a very ergonomic and comfortable seat with a range of positions for reclining or with simple accessible controls and plenty of considered space. Additionally, you have some well-located pockets to stash your phone if you have one that fits.

DELAYS

Those of you who have flown in and out of Shanghai will know that delays are inevitable. Fortunately, I avoided them on the way in but we were left to sit on the tarmac for an hour pre-flight (something about military activity) on the way out. We were offered reading material and drinks to pass the time.

Once we’d been cleared to taxi to the runway I was in a very nice place, relaxed and ready for takeoff. I can’t imagine I would have been as pleased had I been down the back, although I’ve heard stints on the tarmac at Shanghai can last for 8 hours which is just ludicrous.

Cathay Dragon Business Class Seats
Cathay Dragon Business Class Seats

DELAYS

Those of you who have flown in and out of Shanghai will know that delays are inevitable. Fortunately, I avoided them on the way in but we were left to sit on the tarmac for an hour pre-flight (something about military activity) on the way out. We were offered reading material and drinks to pass the time.

Once we’d been cleared to taxi to the runway I was in a very nice place, relaxed and ready for takeoff. I can’t imagine I would have been as pleased had I been down the back, although I’ve heard stints on the tarmac at Shanghai can last for 8 hours which is just ludicrous.

Cathay Dragon Business Class Seats
Cathay Dragon Business Class Tray

AFTER TAKE-OFF

The majority of the cabin settled in for a sleep with blankets and pillows provided. I went for a cruise around the cabin and snapped some shots before retreating for a read. There’s a handy-sized table stored in the seat in front which extends and unfolds for basic storage, dining or work. I used mine to store a pre-flight snack and tipple.

For the next two hours, we copped some of the worst turbulence I’ve experienced in all my days. I attempted to sleep but it was futile, but I do know the seats are capable of supplying a good rest from the flight on the way over.



Cathay Dragon Business Class Menu
Cathay Dragon Business Class Menu

MENU

Breakfast was served about halfway through the flight due to the turbulence, a nice continental option followed by a hot choice presented on a dining cart. I chose Dim sum, as I always do.

Fortunately, I got to sample this product twice, because the turbulence was absolutely nauseating. Unfortunately, I slept the entire way on route to Shanghai so I don’t have a lot to say about it bar the fact that the seat was actually very good for a quick recharge.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Considering that other carriers are offering Economy seats with a blocked middle seat or a domestic business class seat as regional or short haul international business class I think this product from Cathay Dragon is actually very strong. The seats offer plenty of room, nice width and lots of elbow space and are easy to access in a 2-2-2 configuration. I was also very impressed with the leg rest, doing a great job at supporting your weight without making you feel like it’s being strained. Finally, you’re getting service at Cathay standards and it’s exceptional. A reason itself to chose Cathay Dragon.

For more information on Cathay Dragon Business Class head to their website. Check out our review of Cathay’s Hong Kong lounges here as well.