Cathay Pacific will roll out its new business class dining service on Boeing 777 flights to Chicago in July, with the 'restaurant-style' program coming to Sydney in February 2019 and the rest of Australia in May 2019.
The revamped service – which will extend to some 34 destinations by June 2019 – will include individually-plated meals...
... chosen from an à la carte menu which the airline says will include three starter choices and "up to six main course choices".
The menu will also include a series of 'lighter, healthier' meals alongside a 'most loved main course' flagged for each route.
The airline will also attempt to offer more flexibility to busy business class travellers with express meals and supper plates for lighter dining, especially on those near-midnight departures from Hong Kong.
Airline executives confirmed to Australian Business Traveller the introduction of a breakfast card – similar to that used by Qantas – which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.
In addition to what's described as Western and Asian breakfasts, the menu card will also include a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.
However, unlike the wide selection of items available on the Qantas breakfast menu cards for example, the Cathay Pacific breakfast card appears to follow a 'set menu' approach.
Here's the complete schedule for Cathay's rollout of its new business class dining service through to June 2019.
EXCLUSIVE | Cathay Pacific will move business class meals closer to a first class experience with its launch of a new 'restaurant-style' business class dining.
The airline says the revamped business class service is built around "restaurant-style dining, improved menu offerings and a new level of inflight hospitality."
In an internal email to staff, sighted by Australian Business Traveller, Cathay Pacific says "the new Business Class service elevates the customer experience towards the First Class service, offering a far higher degree of personalisation. First Class will continue to offer higher degrees of privacy, more space, better amenities and fine dining menus."
Passengers can expect to enjoy not only an upgrade in the qualify of meals but "restaurant-style food presentation, greater choice and flexibility and more personalised service" with the aim of delivering "a memorable dining experience and personalisation."
However, this won't extend to the full 'dine on demand' service which the airline previously trialled across May-June 2017 on selected flights to London and Chicago, allowing travellers to select any dishes from an expanded menu at any time during the flight.
"The new service will offer customers greater choice and flexibility than the current service without being Dine on Demand," a spokesman for Cathay Pacific told Australian Business Traveller. "Our customers have told us that improving the quality, presentation and choice of food served onboard are the most important priorities."
Cabin crew will attend "a comprehensive two-day training programme to support them as the stars of the show," according to the staff brief. "The training comprises three modules focusing on: service philosophy, galley facilitation and service delivery in the cabin."
Cathay Pacific's new business class dining rollout
The airline will debut the new business class meal service on flights between Hong Kong and Chicago in July, followed by London Gatwick in August.
September will see Frankfurt, Manchester and the new Washington Airbus A350-1000 service come online; Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg join the party in October; Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona in November; and London Heathrow in time for an inflight Christmas feast in December.
Cathay Pacific expects the new business class meal service to be in place on all "long and ultra-long haul routes" by mid-2019, explaining it will focus on those long international flights "as we believe it is most valued on these flights by customers. Eventually all flights will feature some elements of the new service."
"In a competitive environment we must continue to invest and grow as a full service and premium airline. The new service is a step change and gives our customers what they are asking for. It aims to cater for the changing needs of the premium passenger and help us win more customers."
Cathay Pacific was approached for comment but had not responded by the time this article was published.