Cathay Pacific Onboard Shopping

Cathay Pacific Inflight Duty Free Shopping

Cathay Pacific Inflight Duty Free ShoppingCathay Pacific has won high praise for the quality of its quarterly inflight shopping magazine ‘Discover the Shop’. The brochure won a leading US print industry award for its stylish design and superior content in 2012. We believe this award was well earned because this glossy publication not only looks the part, it also offers its readers over 300 enticing duty-free products, many of them exclusive.

Anybody who is curious to browse ‘Discover the Shop’ and find out what all the fuss is about before they fly can do so online at http://www.cathaypacific.com/dutyfree/home.html?locale=en_GB. The entire in-flight catalogue is available to pre-order and there is a ‘Best Picks’ section, which highlights some recommended items. Helpfully, you can also search by ‘brand’, ‘price’, ‘exclusivity’, and by items that are redeemable with passengers’ Asia Air Miles. This handy search engine makes it easier and quicker to find what you’re looking for.

Like many other major international airlines Cathay Pacific also offers a general online shop. It’s called ‘CXcitement’. It focuses on Cathay Pacific-branded merchandise and includes everything from model aeroplanes, clothing and toys, to travel and sporting accessories. Our pick of the bunch is the butch-looking vintage Cathay Pacific flying jacket (HK$3,90/$409). As you might expect, this online selection is quite limited in nature and does not include the duty-free fragrances and liquor items you will find in the onboard magazine.

If you don’t want to carry heavy duty-free bags along with the rest of your luggage once you’ve got off your flight, take advantage of Cathay’s recently expanded Home Delivery Service. This service used to be limited to Hong Kong residents, but has now been expanded to include passengers who live in Mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Online product and order forms can be downloaded from http://www.cathaypacific.com/dutyfree/homedelivery/introduction.html?locale=en_GB.
Hong Kongers still get a better deal, however. They can choose from a wider range of goods to be delivered to their home address. The selection includes wines from the Cathay’s First and Business Class pouring menus, Le Creuset cookware, Kef Hi-Fi speakers, La Gloire golf clubs and various items of Rimowa luggage. Delivery charges for HK residents are also waived for orders totalling more than HK$1,000 ($129).

But let’s get back to the onboard Discover the Shop magazine. The highlight of the edition we looked at (April-June 2013) had to be the limited selection of vintage Chanel jewellery: a very distinctive and upmarket thing to find in an inflight duty-free brochure. Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity. Note that a wider collection of over 80 pieces is available for home delivery for Hong Kong residents.

Beauty products form the biggest product sector in the magazine and whatever fragrance brand is your personal favourite, you’re almost sure to find it in Discover the Shop. Newly listed items are clearly marked, as are duty-free exclusives, and we like the fact that savings over typical downtown prices in Hong Kong are given too. The only criticism we have of this section is that there isn’t a simple colour-coded guide to let passengers know what each fragrance actually smells like.

Faux diamonds abound in many of the ladies’ watches listed whether they’re from Austrian fashion house Swarovski, Emporio Armani or Greek jeweller Folli Follie. For something a little bit more restrained and sophisticated, however, take a look at the newly listed Skagen Denmark watch priced at HK$2,700 ($347): a slim, black ceramic timepiece with a delicately decorated crystal bezel.
As for men’s watches and fashion accessories, we love the cool look of the Superdry Super Sport Gents Watch (HK$1,160/$149). Perfect for a fashion-conscious younger man, this black stainless steel watch is water resistant to 100 metres and has a two-year warranty. The new Hugo Boss belts and wallets would make great Father’s Day gifts, as would the Logitech iPad Keyboard Cover, which as the name suggests, doubles as a wireless keyboard and a stylish cover (HK$790/$102). The keyboard’s rechargeable battery lasts for six months before it needs to be recharged.

Deluxe blended Scotch whisky and fancy Cognacs dominate Cathay Pacific’s compact onboard liquor offer. Ballantine’s 30 Year Old (HK$2,620/$336), Royal Salute 38 Year Old Sword of Destiny (HK$3110/$399) and Martell XO (HK$1,420/$183) are all superb spirits, that’s for sure, but if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, try Glenmorangie at HK$290/$38, Scotland’s favourite malt whisky. A Gold award winner at the IWC spirits competition back in 2008, this smooth whisky is beautifully balanced and great value for money.

Onward journeys can often be a source of great anxiety for first-time travellers to a big city like Hong Kong so it’s good to see Cathay Pacific has done something to help by offering return tickets on the city’s Airport Express railway (HK$160/$21) in Discover the Shop. If you have more extensive travel plans while staying in Hong Kong, opt for the three-day pass on the city’s MTR metro system (HK$290/$38). Both tickets available onboard offer a saving over the prices you would have paid at the station.

Last but not least, members of Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo frequent flyer programme are offered regular promotions and special deals in the Discover the Shop magazine. For instance, in the issue we looked at this included an instant 10% discount on all onboard duty-free purchases (simply present your membership card when buying), and discounts on a range of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts.

Looking after your most prized customers with deals like this is the hallmark of a good inflight retailer, which Cathay Pacific certainly is. The airline’s shopping offer is by no means perfect – where are the Hong Kong souvenirs, for instance, but overall, Cathay Pacific scores high marks.
Pros
Regional home delivery available
Inflight pre-order
Wide product range and exclusives
Special deals for Marco Polo members

Cons
No local gifts
No tobacco