Dragonair is a lesser known carrier that is the regional sister airline of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Using an all-Airbus fleet of A330-300’s, A321’s, and A320’s, it flies from Hong Kong to various destinations in Asia. This week I was able to sample the Dragonair business class offering on a flight to beijing, so I decided it would be nice to share my experience.
As Dragonair is more or less the second-largest airline operating out of Hong Kong (after Cathay Pacific and in front of Hong Kong Airlines), it has twenty to thirty dedicated check-in desks located in aisle H of the Terminal 1 departures area. The counters are split into the categories of first class, business class, economy, and Marco Polo club (the same loyalty program as Cathay Pacific). The flight number was KA992, operated by an Airbus A330-300.
All business class passengers regardless of destination or fare type are invited to use any of Cathay Pacific’s several business class lounges in the departure terminal. I decided to try out Cathay’s newest lounge “The Pier”, which also happened to be located right next to our departure gate (Gate 63). For such a large lounge, the entrance was surprisingly small (but not hard to find). The decor of the lounge is nice and contemporary but not luxurious.
Dining options in the lounge a coffee cart with a dedicated barista and a food bar with various cold cuts, hot dishes (such as shepherd’s pie), and rack of lamb.I decided to go for a plate of some cheese, smoked salmon, and a piece of apple tart. The quality of the salmon was superb, while the cheese and apple tart were good but nothing extraordinary.
I also tried out the rack of lamb and spinach and chicken pastries. All three were great, especially the lamb, which was cooked beautifully.
Now it was time for boarding. Upon reaching the gate, I received a pleasant surprise; the aircraft for the flight was B-HYQ, the first Dragonair aircraft to be painted in the new Cathay Dragon livery after the rebranding. I honestly think the new livery looks quite ugly, but nonetheless this was a special aircraft.
Though the outside of the aircraft is different, the interior still carries the standard Dragonair product. The business class seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 layout with plenty of seat width and enough seat pitch for a 150º recline. Each seat comes equipped with a personal touchscreen audio/video on-demand in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and a handset stowed in the armrest. The IFE system has a decent selection of movies and TV shows that is supposed to be refreshed monthly.
Though the flight was only 3 hours long, a 2-course meal was served around 1 hour into the flight. This consisted of an appetiser with a salad and a piece of bread, followed by one of three entrée choices. The appetizer was a grilled scallop serviced with tiny cubes of (tasteless) green apple and cauliflower purée. The salad had a variety of greens and cherry tomatoes, topped with balsamic and olive oil. As for the bread, I was allowed to choose from a selection of hard rolls and garlic bread. I decided to go for the garlic bread, which was a bit cold and not very crispy.
Main course choices were stir-fried duck with rice, steak with potatoes, and the daily “Asian delight”, which in this case was curried snapper with rice. I decided to go with the steak, which was about as good as it could possibly get on a plane. Unfortunately I was so busy eating that I forgot to get a picture.
We landed one hour after the meal service at around 5:10pm, and arrived at the gate exactly at our scheduled arrival time of 5:20pm. Overall, Dragonair’s level of service is on par with that of Cathay Pacific, especially in terms of lounge access, food, and in-flight entertainment options. Though I would still prefer Cathay Pacific (as they operate larger long-haul aircraft), Dragonair still offers what could be considered a premium service for a competitive price.