My mom’s first flight in Cathay Pacific first class!

Yesterday I flew Cathay Pacific first class with my mom from Chicago to Hong Kong. This is a birthday trip for her, as the last major trip I took with her was to New Zealand right after I graduated high school. She’s been working hard and hasn’t had time to travel since, so I figured it’s only fair I take her to Hong Kong and Bali for her big “round” birthday.

All I can say is that Cathay Pacific is a damn consistent airline. Along with Lufthansa it’s probably why they’re among my favorite airlines — there’s so little variance in the onboard experience from flight-to-flight, so I always know exactly what to expect.

I, for one, had a phenomenal flight. There was only one other person in the cabin and I polished off a bottle of Krug on the ground, so after a nice meal I slept for 11 hours. I think it’s safe to say that’s the best “night” of sleep I’ve ever gotten on a plane.

My mom was even more delighted, and borderline blown away by the experience. The only airline on which she’s flown first class is Lufthansa, and it has always been the old product. She loved the privacy of the seats, and really loved the service. She thought the food was quite good, though preferred what Lufthansa has on offer in that regard.

The two flight attendants working first class, Grace and Rainy, were phenomenal. My mom had a hard time deciding which red wine she wanted, so Grace encouraged her to do a wine tasting — “Mrs. S, may I suggest a wine tasting so you can decide which one you like more, and then we can serve you that one for the rest of the flight?” During the meal service my mom really liked the handwritten note they presented her (as is the standard in first class), and she commented to the flight attendant about what a nice touch it was. The flight attendant responded with “it’s our pleasure, most of our frequent travelers seem to not even notice it,” while jokingly pointing at me.

My mom loved that we were able to eat together, and seemed to sleep well for half the flight as well.

I still think Cathay Pacific has one of the most solid products out there. The bedding is amazing, seats are extremely private without being claustrophobic, and service is consistently very good, in a Cathay Pacific style way. The reason I find there to be a bigger variation in service on Singapore is that they have some really stellar crews and some “only” good crews. The same is true for Cathay Pacific, though the difference is their approach to service. Singapore is very proactive, meaning a stellar crew is through the cabin every five minutes to see if you want anything. If you only get a “good” crew you notice their absence in the cabin. Cathay Pacific, on the other hand, is very reactive, and the flight attendants typically won’t appear once in the cabin between meals, though if you push the call button they will be there within five seconds to take your order with a smile. And really that’s intentional on their part, since they figure you want to be left alone rather than spied on every five minutes while sleeping.

It took me a few hours to “train” my mom on that. When I explained how Cathay Pacific service works she looked at my confused and said “but isn’t the call button just for emergencies?” By the end of the flight she was pushing the call button twice an hour. ;)

Comments

  1. lucky says

    @ Brian — The Chicago to Hong Kong flight wasn’t actually the one with the availability issue, though I finally got the space for the connecting flight as well.

  2. ffi says

    Etihad now allows 2 people to dine together as well by having a seat belt in the foot rest area.

  3. mangoceviche says

    Lucky – you’re a very good boy. Have a wonderful time in hk and bali with your mom.

  4. Joey says

    That’s awesome news that the space finally opened! Safe travels with your mom and i hope both of you enjoy hong kong and bali!

  5. David says

    Good job in managing expectations over the years…my parents were in UA F to PEK, and they loved it. (They wanted the nonstop.)

    I may book an SQ or CX F segment one of these days…

  6. Jerry says

    Was this redeemed using Asia Miles or Avios or other OW programs like AA?
    and how much if you don’t mind me asking?

    I’m asking because I’m in Southwestern Ontario and closer to ORD than JFK to redeem CX flights (not sure if ORD-HKG has more availability than the many JFK-HKG choices though)

    and did availability only open in the last few weeks?

  7. says

    I figured it was the HKG-DPS flight? I was monitoring that one for our trip to Bali last month because if I had my druthers, I actually wanted to reverse our routings to take advantage of the BKK ground experience and the LH FCT (we did IAD-FRA-BKK-DPS).

    HKG-DPS never did open up as far as I saw…

  8. Jeremy says

    I take it the call button doesn’t make a loud chime in the cabin is that correct?

  9. David says

    I remember when I took my parents on their first european trip on NW business class in their 70′s, they had a great time with NW business class, then I met a taxi driver who was driving us back to airport and told him I am taking my parents to Europe, he told me that I will have a good life because I take care of my parents, so I am sure Lucky will be the same since he thinks about those little things for his mom.

  10. Beachfan says

    I’m snoot to return from Bali on SQ F transpacific, but I am jealous of you! I will be caviar deprived! (That comment will be sure to bring the blog haters out!)

    Wish your Mom a happy birthday from your readers and hope she enjoys the lounge too!

  11. Karung99 says

    Ben, very nice of you to take your mom to HKG and Bali, hope she enjoy that.

    Are you able to stay in HKG for several days? or 24 hrs each ways?

    Happy Birthday Ben’s Mom!

  12. lucky says

    @ Jerry @ jim @ tala — I redeemed 62,500 AAdvantage miles per passenger. Cathay Pacific is great about releasing last minute first class award availability.

    @ Karung99 — Doing a bit over 24 hours in Hong Kong on the way out, and a quick connection on the return.

    @ Jeremy — It makes a really quiet chime.

    @ Justin — Yep, Hong Kong to Bali is the route I was waiting on.

  13. ZFW-ATC says

    I’m soooo glad you didn’t refer to your Mom as Mrs. Lucky! That would have been creepy. :)

  14. Carol says

    Did your mom enjoy the Cathay amenity kit? Cathay has the best female amenity kit I’ve ever received. I like the Aesop toiletries in it.

  15. lucky says

    @ Carol — She did indeed, and I was pleasantly surprised as well, as the women’s kit is so much nicer than the men’s kit.

  16. Papa Smurf says

    @lucky Thanks, good to know. I’m trying to book something similar for July (for two as well). Is my best bet ORD, JFK, or SFO?

  17. lucky says

    @ Papa Smurf — Generally I find SFO has the best availability as they have two flights a day and one is a 747. That being said, I’d keep an eye out on any flight that’s at least F3 or F4, as there’s a very good chance space will open up.

  18. Acker says

    It’s the weekend so I’m assuming you’re @ Conrad Bali in a Suite using your Citi Reserve nights? There’s a good massage spot across the street, Dancing Fingers I think it’s called. Ain’t life grand!

  19. John says

    Ben- Are you treating your mom to the St. Regis Bali or finally staying at the Conrad? There is an Indian restaurant across the street from the Conrad.

  20. lucky says

    @ John — Being totally ridiculous and doing something even more special. Stay tuned. :)

  21. Eric says

    Jesus Ben, an entire bottle of Krug? On the ground? In front of your mom? You may have a problem when I’m telling you to slow down :)

  22. Coutureguy says

    Ben- (“Being totally ridiculous and doing something even more special.”) Hmmm, maybe both Four Seasons resorts..? Can’t wait to read the TR.

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