Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Chicago To Hong Kong

Introduction
British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge Chicago Airport
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Chicago To Hong Kong
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Jakarta
Transiting Jakarta Airport
Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Jakarta To Tokyo Narita
Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Tokyo Narita To New York JFK


I’ve reviewed Cathay Pacific first class many times before. I’ve actually reviewed Cathay Pacific first class on this exact route when I took my mom on a “round” birthday trip in the summer of 2013.

For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to avoid Cathay Pacific as much as possible, since I do aim to review as many new products as possible. And they’re just so damn good and consistent that there’s not really much I can say about them that I haven’t said before.

That being said, they did change some of their service procedures lately, so I figured I’d give them another shot. And in this case I actually had to be in Hong Kong in a timely manner, and this was the option that worked best.

Cathay Pacific 807
Chicago (ORD) ā€“ Hong Kong (HKG)
Friday, February 13
Depart: 2:00PM
Arrive: 7:50PM (+1 day)
Duration: 15hr50min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1K (First Class)

Boarding commenced at 1:35PM, which was a bit behind schedule. I boarded through door 2L, at which point I was greeted by Debbie, the inflight manager.

One of her colleagues escorted me to my seat, 1K. This flight featured Cathay Pacific’s “refreshed” first class cabin. While Cathay Pacific doesn’t have fully enclosed suites, they still have one of the best first class hard products out there, in my opinion.

The “refreshed” cabin simply featured updated finishes and upholstery, so I can’t say that I find it to be a significant improvement over the “old” cabins.

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Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 1K

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Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 1K

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Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 1K

Cathay Pacific also has among the most exclusive first class cabins out there. On the 777-300ER, the first class cabin consists of just six seats, spread across two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration.

I’ve written in the past about my preferred seats in Cathay Pacific first class. As a general rule of thumb my first choice would be 1A or 2A, given that the left aisle is just shared by those two seats.

Meanwhile the right aisle is shared by 1K, 2K, 1D, and 2D.

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Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 2D

But it worked out quite well in this case. There were four passengers, so we each had a window seat, and then the two middle seats stayed empty. Even cooler is that (by chance) the other three passengers were blog readers, so I guess you could say we actually chartered the cabin for a total of 270,000 AAdvantage miles. šŸ˜€

Once settled in, the two spectacularly fabulous flight attendants, Helen and Kath, came by to introduce themselves. While I consistently find Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong based crews to be professional and polished, Helen and Kath were also a lot of fun — they were friendly, constantly smiling, and super attentive.

Once settled in they made more “formal” introductions.

“So that I don’t mess it up, how may I pronounce your last name so I can address you correctly?”
“Oh, it’s Schlappig, but please just call me Ben.”
“Okay Mr. Ben.”
“Just Ben is perfect.”
“Okay Just Ben. šŸ˜‰ Well our flight time today is 16hr11min, so it’s quite a bit longer than usual. I hope you don’t have any Valentine’s Day plans tomorrow night. May I get you a drink to start your flight off right?”

I ordered some champagne (Cathay Pacific serves Krug, which is my favorite). It was quickly served with the pre-departure amuse bouche, which in this case was a salmon tartare. While not substantial, I do think the pre-departure amuse bouche is a nice touch.

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Cathay Pacific first class pre-departure Krug

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Cathay Pacific first class pre-departure amuse bouche

I was also offered a hot towel.

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Cathay Pacific first class pre-departure hot towel

I was then presented with the amenities for the flight, which included PYE pajamas and an Aesop amenity kit.

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Cathay Pacific first class pajamas & amenity kit

While the PYE pajamas are perhaps not quite as luxurious as the old Shanghai Tang ones, they’re nice and light, which I appreciate. They also don’t make me look quite as much like an ancient emperor, which I suppose is a good thing? Also in the bag were some super-comfy slippers and eye shades.

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Cathay Pacific first class PYE pajamas, slippers, and eyeshades

The Aesop amenity kit was fairly basic in terms of the quantity of products, though at least the quality was good.

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Cathay Pacific first class Aesop amenity kit

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Cathay Pacific first class Aesop amenity kit contents

I was then presented with Bose headphones. Up until a couple of years ago Cathay Pacific used really cheap headphones in first class, so kudos to Cathay Pacific for adding these.

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Cathay Pacific first class Bose headphones

As boarding wrapped up the inflight manager came by to present me with the menu and wine list, and also welcome me aboard again and wish me a pleasant flight. Since the following day was Valentine’s Day and we were arriving late at night, I gave her some chocolates I picked up in duty free to thank her and her crew for working on Valentine’s Day.

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Cathay Pacific first class menu & wine list

At around 2PM boarding was complete, at which point the (Australian) captain came on the PA to give us an update on our departure time. Due to the below freezing temperatures in Chicago the water “pipes” were apparently frozen, so they had to call maintenance to get that fixed. That took about 40 minutes.

He also “apologized” that our flight time was extremely long due to an unfavorable jet stream. The flight was nearly an hour longer than usual, at 16hr11min. At that point we were looking at an arrival delay of at least an hour.

Not that I can really complain about a delay when in Cathay Pacific first class. šŸ˜‰

At around 2:40PM we finally began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play. Maybe it’s just me, but I find Cathay’s safety video to be so old school for an otherwise very modern airline.

As we taxied to the runway my eyes were glued to the window, given the awesome variety of traffic arriving and departing from Terminal 5. This included SAS, Qatar Airways, ANA, Emirates, etc.

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Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 airlines

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ANA 777-300ER Chicago O’Hare Airport

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Emirates 777-200LR Chicago O’Hare Airport

Our taxi to the runway was quick, and within 10 minutes we were cleared for takeoff on runway 28R.

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Taking off runway 28R Chicago O’Hare Airport

Our takeoff roll was quite long, though once airborne we had a smooth and gradual climb to our cruising altitude.

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View on takeoff from Chicago

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View after takeoff from Chicago

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View after takeoff from Chicago

As usual, the views got considerably nicer once above the clouds.

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View after takeoff from Chicago

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 15 minutes after takeoff, at which point the cabin crew immediately closed the curtains between the galley and cabin. The first cabin on the 777 really does feel very open, given the lack of overhead bins.

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Cathay Pacific 777-300ER first class cabin view

The one slight “protrusion” is above seat 1D, where there’s an indentation in the ceiling due to the pilot rest area.

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Cathay Pacific 777-300ER first class cabin view

After takeoff, Helen immediately brought the signature flower to each seat. Usually it would already be at your seat during boarding, but due to US customs policies, they have to collect them before landing in the US, and can only distribute them after takeoff.

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Cathay Pacific first class flower

Kath came by to take meal orders. She explained that I could eat whenever I wanted. I had saved my appetite from earlier in the day, so figured I’d have lunch almost immediately.

The lunch menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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I started off with a glass of Krug, which was served with cashews.

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Cathay Pacific first class Krug & nuts

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Cathay Pacific first class nuts

After that my table was set. As usual, I was presented with a “welcome aboard” card signed by the crew. It’s interesting that they gave me the “Diamond member” card. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m oneworld Emerald or not, but I haven’t received it in the past. The inflight manager did say earlier in the flight “I can tell you fly with us a lot,” but I’m not sure that’s related.

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Cathay Pacific welcome aboard “note”

This was my first time trying Cathay Pacific’s new caviar service. They used to offer salmon with their caviar, but instead improved the caviar presentation (by giving a whole tin of Calvisius caviar) while eliminating the salmon. I do love the setup, though, given the accompaniments it’s served with. And they also finally have a mother of pearl spoon, which is kind of a big freaking deal. šŸ˜‰

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch starter — caviar

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch starter — Calvisius caviar

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch starter — Calvisius caviar

The bread basket was especially tasty on this flight, given that it had both garlic and pretzel bread.

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch — bread basket

After the caviar I had the mushroom consomme, which was tasty as well.

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch soup — wild mushroom consomme

I’ve never been impressed by Cathay Pacific’s western main courses. While I love the caviar, soup, and salad, the main courses are usually a weak point, so I usually skip them. You usually have the option between a sirloin and pasta. The sirloin is usually a big cut of fatty meat, while the pasta usually tastes like something you’d get in the freezer aisle at a supermarket.

So I decided to go with the Chinese main course.

I was served pickled turnip to start.

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Cathay Pacific first class Chinese favorites — pickled turnip cold plate

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Cathay Pacific first class Chinese favorites — pickled turnip cold plate

And then for the main course I had the Hong Kong style chicken curry. It was extremely flavorful — as you’d expect from a Chinese dish — though the chicken was largely dark meat and quite fatty. I realize that’s by design with Chinese food, which is why I generally stay away from it. But it was definitely a tasty dish.

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Cathay Pacific first class Chinese favorites — Hong Kong style chicken curry

After the main course I had a cappuccino.

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Cathay Pacific first class cappuccino

And then for dessert I had the orange sweet curd souffle with dulce de leche ice cream. While the presentation was a bit odd given the aluminum cup, the dessert was delicious… especially the ice cream.

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Cathay Pacific first class lunch dessert — orange sweet curd souffle with dolce de leche ice cream

Service throughout the meal was top notch. Helen and Kath couldn’t have been a better combo. They were outrageously attentive, friendly, and pleasant to talk to.

After lunch I decided to get a bit of sleep, given that I only slept for a couple of hours the night before. Cathay Pacific doesn’t offer onboard wifi, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing during the flight, given that I truly can “disconnect,” while it’s a bit of a curse upon landing, when my email inbox reflects that I’ve been neglecting it for 16+ hours.

While Cathay Pacific doesn’t have fully enclosed suites, they have among the most comfortable beds in the sky. The bedding is fantastic and the sleeping surface is huge. While I love a fully enclosed suite, there’s also something to be said for a really spacious bed which doesn’t feel enclosed.

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Cathay Pacific first class bed

I managed to get about six hours of sleep, so woke up with another eight hours to go to Hong Kong. At that point I decided to watch some sitcoms. I also had a look at the snack menu, which read as follows:

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As I’ve explained a countless number of times in the past, it’s important to understand Cathay Pacific’s first class service mentality. While the crews are very attentive during the meals, they stay out of your way as much as possible during the rest of the flight, in an effort to allow you as much undisturbed rest as possible. If you push the call button they’ll be there in a split second, though.

This is in stark contrast to Singapore Airlines, where flight attendants are through the cabin every 10 or so minutes during a longhaul flight to see if passengers would like anything. I almost feel bad pushing the call button on Singapore, since some crews view the need for that as a failure on their part.

It’s important to understand the mentality, because I get a fair number of emails from readers who say “OMG Cathay Pacific first class sucked, they didn’t come through the cabin once for several hours!!!” And that sentiment is understandable, given that in the US we’re taught to think of the call button as being for emergencies only.

So the moral of the story is that if you’re in Cathay Pacific first class, don’t be shy about pushing the call button.

Anyway, I did push the call button, and within a second Debbie appeared with a snack basket, and asked if she could get me anything.

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Cathay Pacific first class snack basket

At first I asked for a glass of Krug, though they had run out. Apparently they only catered three bottles for the entire flight, which seems oddly low. I can usually drink that much on my own on a 16 hour flight. šŸ˜‰

As far as food goes, while I love the egg tarts on the snack menu when originating in Hong Kong, this snack menu didn’t look quite as interesting. So I just ordered some ice cream and a cappuccino, which were served in a matter of minutes.

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Cathay Pacific first class snack — Haagen Dazs ice cream

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Cathay Pacific first class cappuccino

The views were quite nice at this point as well.

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View enroute to Hong Kong

After the snack I briefly headed to the lavatory, where I ran into the inflight manager and first officer. We ended up talking for about half an hour, as they were both quite interesting.

Once back at my seat I decided to watch about 14 episodes of “The Mentalist” (they had an entire season), and before I knew it we were already 90 minutes out of Hong Kong, and it was time for dinner.

The dinner menu read as follows:

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As they took my meal order I asked if it would be possible to have caviar in place of fresh fruit as a starter. Since they still had some left, Helen gladly agreed.

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Cathay Pacific first class dinner starter — caviar

For the main course I ordered the sea bass, which was incredible. Usually you expect the quality of the second meal service to be worse than the quality of the food in the first service. But this was hands down the best fish dish I’ve ever had on a plane, and possibly also one of the best fish dishes I’ve had anywhere.

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Cathay Pacific first class dinner main course — steamed sea bass

The sea bass was flaky and perfectly seasoned. Absolutely incredible. Actually, my mouth is watering thinking about it now.

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Cathay Pacific first class dinner main course — steamed sea bass

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Cathay Pacific first class dinner main course — steamed sea bass

For dessert I had the green tea tiramisu. Despite being a rather large portion, it was quite light. I had a cappuccino to accompany it.

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Cathay Pacific first class dinner dessert — green tea tiramisu

While we were due into Hong Kong at 7:50PM, the captain came on the PA at 8:45PM to give us updated arrival information. He apologized for the unfavorable winds and departure delay, and said we’d be landing in 30 minutes. Within about five minutes of the announcement we began our descent.

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Cathay Pacific airshow enroute to Hong Kong

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Cathay Pacific airshow enroute to Hong Kong

This was one of the smoothest longhaul flights I’ve ever had, as we only hit a bit of chop a couple of times. Usually these flights tend to be pretty bumpy.

We touched down on runway 7L at 9:15PM, and at 9:25PM were at our gate, which was 95 minutes after our scheduled arrival time.

I wished the crew a happy Valentine’s Day and bid them farewell, and was off to immigration, where much to my surprise there was no queue.

Cathay Pacific first class bottom line

Cathay Pacific offers one of the world’ most consistent first class products. The seats and service are among the best in the industry. I like Cathay Pacific’s first class food, but don’t love it.

But I don’t think there’s an airline that offers as consistent of a first class experience as Cathay Pacific. If only they offered wifi, I’d probably live in their first class cabins full time. šŸ˜€

And at 67,500 American AAdvantage miles for first class travel between the US and Asia, it’s a heck of a deal as well.

If you’ve flown Cathay Pacific first class, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. How difficult would you say it is to find FC SFO-HKG on a regular basis? Couple of months out versus 360 days?

  2. Ben,
    I personally like seat 2A over 1A. Knowing you love CX F, have you counted how many times you flew CX F?

  3. @Ben, I booked Boston to Hong Kong on Cathay first class seat 1K.
    According to the review from seatguru it indicated the light/noise from the galley might be bothersome for this seat, what do you think?

    thanks

  4. If someone tells you that the service in Cathay First “sucks” for that reason, they obviously don’t follow your blog that closely.

  5. My parents will seated in business class the flight, since I could not get them any in first class.

    What do you recommend more on business class? row D&G or G &K?

    Thanks

  6. Thanks Lucky for the report. I have a couple of questions. First, have you ever heard of them running out of Krug? Second, do you know why those flights tend to be “bumpy” compared to other routes? I’m thinking of taking that exact route in 2016. TIA

  7. @ Sach — Can’t say I’ve had them run out of Krug on my previous flights. As far as bumpiness goes, generally speaking transpacific flights are just bumpier. I guess it was less bumpy in this case since we were taking a polar route, but when you’re flying eastbound with the jetstream, it’s pretty common to get some moderate turbulence around Japan and the middle of the Pacific, at a minimum

  8. @ rick — I’d either do D & G, or otherwise two seats behind one another by the window. If they’re in the center seats they’ll be able to talk when leaning forwards, so I’d probably go with those.

  9. @ rick — It shouldn’t be an issue. Cathay flight attendants are great about keeping the curtain between the cabin and galley closed as much as possible.

  10. @ Tiara — Totally agree, 2A is also my preferred seat. Not sure how often I’ve flown Cathay first class, but definitely well over a dozen times.

  11. I have flown Cathay round trip (in F) twice. The first time, all was perfect. The last time was a week ago and all was great but one thing – my FRA-HKG flight, the seat had a hard ridge in it that made it super uncomfortable for sleeping. It was at the bottom of the top cushion. Fine when sitting, awful for sleeping, and I am not a picky person. The HKG-LAX flight was fantastic though. And I had that same amuse bouche and didn’t like it at all. šŸ˜‰

  12. Both my spouse and I have lifetime AA Gold so doing the early book in biz 1 and 1 FC 1 and then the free change sounds like a great strategy…….despite all the research I’ll probably still send your award service the itinerary as I am sure their insights “somewhere” will more than offset the fee…………

  13. @rick @Ben – that reminds me of when I was flying with my grandmother to China and my parents just couldn’t get their heads around a 14-year-old flying in paid business class so I flew EgyptAir Y while my grandmother was in C.

    About 2 hours into the flight I asked the flight attendant if I could go upfront to speak to my grandmother and she told me that C class was quite empty and that I could spend the flight next to her šŸ˜‰

  14. @Abdel Rahim Abdallah wow but that was on Egypt Air? šŸ™‚

    Did you get business meals etc?

    I have heard Cathay is a little more stricter than this…

  15. They ran out of Krug? Unacceptable. Truly. I know I wouldn’t have complained since I rarely do, but I would have been really disappointed.

    @Katie: did you use the massage function? I had that happened once and it wasn’t until I slept poorly for a few hours that I realized it wasn’t right. I turned it back on to get the bar back where it shouldn’t have been then could sleep.

  16. @rick – There’s absolutely no way this could happen on any other carrier. I think this is just a one-off as part of Egyptian generosity.

    As for dining, I got the first meal in the economy seat so nothing to change there and the second meal is just some packaged goods (granola bar, chocolate, etc) so I did get the business class one.

  17. The one time I couldn’t get our preferred 1A/2A combo, we got the other window side and 2J was open. They were perfectly willing to make that my bed, so I could go back and forth as desired.

    Running out of Krug is sad. By the way, I believe the amuse was salmon roe, not salmon tartare. So two types of fish eggs on the service.

    I never had Italian caviar, how was it compared to others? I assume pretty good since you had seconds!

  18. They misspelled “dulce de leche” as “dolce”. Spanish for “candy of milk”. My fav.

  19. Hey Ben,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed CX with them. First of all, I’m actually surprised that you ordered all cappuccinos and not try at least one Hong Kong style milk tea! Then again, I can’t blame you as they make it with powder rather than the actually thing.

    Good to hear that this is the first time that you gave some thumbs up for the food. You really don’t give thumbs up on CX food but this seems to be a first. I agree though with the presentation, it could be better especially with the tin foil. Desserts tend to be very good on CX regardless of class.

    Nice touch to give the cabin crew chocolates. I did the same for Christmas and New Years. Not just the cabin crew but the pilots as well. And I brought the chocolates from my Costco like store, not the duty free. I’ve flown with SQ before but the cabin crew on CX tends to be more personal and engaging.

    I have an upcoming longhaul F flight with CX and emailed you questions regarding the cabanas so I’m really looking forward to it!

    Looking forward to reading more of your upcoming trip reports.

    Cheers

  20. I’m guessing that if he met a new friend after a night of drinking in Hong Kong Ben would make good use of the blindfold, sorry I mean the eyeshades, they hand out in the amenity kit. šŸ˜‰

  21. Tell us more about the convo with the inflight manager and the first officer! Was there a *love* connection? You know we’re all rooting for you!

  22. Can I please have the Pye tag to your Cathay pajamas? Would love to have that gift box that they give out in Hong Kong. I accidentally heard the FA tell me to show the “bag” (as opposed to “tag”) and threw the tag away when I went to visit the Pye store.

  23. Sadly becoming more common, airlines only loading a bottle or two of the top shelf champagne on long haul, that runs out before mid-flight (particularly disappointing when you are the only revenue pax in the First cabin). Has happened on Qantas enough (only two or three bottles of Comtes de Comtes loaded, in a much larger A380 First cabin).

    With the exception of the caviar, CX First catering is lacklustre. I was very disappointed with that menu for a 15 hour plus flight, it looked like a Business menu for a much shorter flight (again, caviar aside).

    On the positive side, I think CX have the service methodology right. I find SQ too obtrusive. CX come quickly when called for but otherwise give you privacy – they work to you, not work you in.

    Given CX are looking to change their seating soon, it’ll be interesting to see which direction CX will go.

  24. @Kieran

    You’ll see a new F seat (or suite) when the A350-1000’s start coming in. The A350-900 that will come in next year will not have F. The new J seats however, will be the same Cirrus seat. Just an enhanced one with much newer finishes and trim and other small odds and ends I assume. Nothing drastic or major.

    And Ben, thanks! By the way, why no order of Hong Kong style milk teas?! :p

  25. HKG-LAX not yet available for 2. Meanwhile, would you “placehold” with: CX J HKG-LAX, or CX/JAL F HKG-KIX-LAX or HKG-NRT-LAX, hoping for the NS CX F to open?

  26. @ colleen — JAL F is *fantastic*, so I’d probably book that with a connection as a placeholder, if I were you.

  27. Thanks for the catch. BA lists two combos, each with JAL 60 KIX-LAX. One, F is available, and the other is “not operated on this flight”. From what you’re saying, F availability is only on the HKG-KIX flight and KIX-LA would be J regardless. One of the HKG-KIX is 777, the other (cabin not operated”) is an A330.

    So I suppose the 777 has F and the A330 doesn’t.

    Lots of moving parts here. Thanks. NRT it is.

  28. @Ben CX will not install WiFi. One reason is cost, another reason is utility. Most CX flights need to spend lots time fly over mainland China, where inflight WiFi is not allowed. (Check United’s WiFi coverage, China is a big blank.)
    Then for rest of flights is usually North Pole or ocean where there isn’t great WiFi coverfage.
    If one day China issues inflight WiFi permits to foreign airlines, then CX will likely to install WiFi. However, when dealing with Chimese government, there is only one option – waiting …

  29. Nice report, Ben…but…

    “While not substantial, I do think the pre-departure amuse bouche is a nice touch.”

    Uh… isn’t an amuse-bouche NOT substantial by definition? šŸ™‚

  30. @nemme – you know, I never thought to try that. I found if I scooted way up or way down I could find a position tolerable.

  31. I’ve never heard of a person avoiding an airline for offering a great service; Great trip report!

  32. “The one slight ā€œprotrusionā€ is above seat 1D, where thereā€™s an indentation in the ceiling due to the pilot rest area.”

    So the pilot is resting over first class? Interesting.

    “Iā€™ve never been impressed by Cathay Pacificā€™s western main courses”

    I think more accurate to say “I used to be impressed…”, you used to love their steaks. Have you tried their western seafood mains? Might be better than the meat and pasta dishes.

    “For dessert I had the green tea cheesecake”

    Cheesecake or tiramisu?

    This would have been a perfect time to test our their long hail new business class.

  33. The pictures perfectly capture the food and cabin details. Acknowledging the crew’s hard work shows class.

    As the expression says:”The devil stands in the details.” Calvisius Venise is the cheaper of the caviars sold by that company. The eggs are smaller than the top rated Oscietra. The coffee does not appear to show the balanced layers of espresso, steamed and frothed milk. Looks more like a flat white. Chicken thighs are a cheap substitute to quail or duck. Korean Air serves the same ice cream in the economy cabin. Running out of Krug, priceless. Makes me wonder the rationale to do extensive cost cutting in a premium product.

  34. @ wwk5d — Good catch regarding cheesecake vs. tiramisu, thanks! And yes, certainly my impression of their food has changed over the past decade. Can’t say my taste buds are the same now as they were when I was 15. šŸ˜‰

  35. Just got off this flight in F the other direction. A few notes:

    @Katie, the exact same thing happened to me. The seat had a ridge that was uncomfortable while lying. I debated, but asked the FA. Sure enough, she showed me how to deflate the lumbar support and the bed was PERFECT. So glad I asked.

    – I experienced very poor service in Hong Kong. The first class checkin took about 30 minutes as there was some internal problem with my ticket. More than that, the rep never one said “I’m sorry” “thanks for your patience” etc. A few times I said, in an effort to calm my wife down, “Everything will work out, right?” And she only said “We’ll see.” Never once looking up or explaining the situation. Then long wait in security/immigration with no premium lines. So ground experience was baffling to me. Wing was nice, but nobody was overly friendly in there.

    -overall fantastic flight. One all-star flight attendant and one adequate one. For a solid 8 hours of sleep!

  36. @Dave
    The lack of fast-track/premium class security and immigration/customs clearance lines is indeed an oddity at Hong Kong International. Generally wait times aren’t awful but every now and then you seem to get horrible bottlenecks – which is really off-putting.

    It’s always disappointing when airports just throw premium classes and economy passengers together (like SIN does for gate screening, etc) into often very long slow moving queues. While every airport doesn’t need a premium terminal like Frankfurt, some improvements in premium passenger handling would go a long way.

  37. Thanks for a great review! This is a flight I’ll be taking in a couple months with my wife as part of our delayed honeymoon (married in November), although we booked a cash economy fare last year before I discovered earning and using miles. We have enough AAdvantage Miles to book one of the legs in business class, but I was wondering: If we book business fares on the same flight as our economy fare (and check in to both), will we void our economy fares for the rest of the trip?

    Thanks for any help anyone can give. I’d like to not have 15.5 hours in an economy seat, but if I have to do that I suppose there’s no better airline to do it with than Cathay Pacific.

  38. @ Ben L — Congrats on the upcoming honeymoon, and welcome to the hobby! Unfortunately if you skip any segment of an itinerary then you’ll void the rest of the ticket, and I don’t believe you can be checked in for two different cabins on a flight. So that could only really work if you’re using miles for the last segment of your itinerary.

  39. @lucky, as harsh as this may sound, I think (and agree) that you suggest that Ben L should just “eat”/use the cash Y ticket and use the aspirational “points” part later. Has to do with “good money after bad”.

    And I join in your congrats to Ben L and Mrs. Ben L.

  40. “Calvisius Venise is the cheaper of the caviars sold by that company. The eggs are smaller than the top rated Oscietra”

    Please. I wouldn’t know. I only eat Petrossian Beluga.

  41. Thanks Lucky and Colleen. I figured that was the case, but wanted to run it by some more experienced travelers to be sure. We’ll take it as a lesson learned and carry these points forward to a premium flight in 2016. Looking forward to reading the site more until then…it will definitely color where we decide to travel for our next international trip!

  42. @BenL – Having flown CX economy, SFO-HKG-MEL-HKG-SFO, a stopover on the way there, but straight through on the way back (over 19 hours of travel), I can say that they treat you pretty well in economy. The service standards of Cathay are still there, albeit with more passengers, and the entertainment system is fantastic and can keep you entertained for hours. I will admit, the front of the plane is where Cathay shines, but even in the back it is far better than a US based carrier.

  43. Changed today to “placehold” HKG-LAX with a move to F: CX/JL via AA award.

    Come to find out, the CX 777 is their regional metal – 2-class service only. What will this mean for HKG lounge access? Will we still be F eligible because of JL tix? Does a CX lounge “guest” need to be CX/OW, or can DL pax be allowed? Sorry, a bit in the weeds here.

  44. Broccoli that’s turned yellow and souffle served in a tin foil cup. That’s first class, is CX joking?

  45. I took 1K on CX and loved it. It felt a little more private than the A side during boarding

  46. Great post, Ben! I just flew Cathay JFK to HK on the 8th. Same seat… 1K. FYI, my Orange soufflĆ© was served without the tin, flipped on to the plate next to the ice cream. I also enjoyed a second serving of caviar since there were leftovers. Ahhhh…

    I did know about the call button necessity, but initially I received no acknowledgement when I used it. None!! Until I realized mine was not working! I let the flight attendants know, and they checked it out and confirmed. They remedied the situation by moving me across the aisle to 1D since it was unoccupied. I moved back at the end of the flight, so I could look out the windows. Retried the call button, and it had started working.

    This was my fourth time in Cathay first, and it just never ceases to delight me. By the 14th hour, I feel a twinge of sadness that the flight is nearly over!

  47. Ben,

    You write an excellent blog. Thank you. Although I fly CX frequently (probably will run into you at some point) from the West Coast to the HK route, I’ve never tried first class. I have a silly question.

    How do you get any privacy changing into your pajamas? I know CX doesn’t have a suite like Singapore. So, how did you do it?

    After reading your blog, I’m considering flying first class just for the experience.

  48. Just flew first class from hkg to jfk (1A). Ain’t gonna lie, it was the best flight I’ve ever taken and definitely topped JAL’s Sky suite 2 outbound. The dining service was top notch, the krug never dried and the there were actually movies I hadn’t seen before. Only negative was that I slept for most of the flight so didn’t have more time to luxuriate on all the other a la carte the dining options. Cathay first gets all A’s!

  49. Agree 100% with your assessment of Cathay Pacific first class. Everything perfect right down to the pajamas. My circadian rhythm was way off and I wound up only eating lunch, but I agree the sea bad was delicious.

  50. Lucky, I have to commend the accuracy of your trip reports, they are spot on! I just took ORD to HKG and then the reverse both in Cathay FC. Having read your experience(s) nothing was a surprise on my trip and yes I even had the sea bass which might be one of the best things I have ever tasted! I haven’t had the breadth of FC experience as you have (only Emirates, ANA, Lufthansa, BA and dare I say United in First) but must admit the Cathay bedding and sleeping arrangement is the best by far. You really can sleep well, its amazing I have never felt so refreshed after 15 hour flights both ways. I also got to experience both the Wing and the Pier and again you are right, the day rooms in the Pier are a plane junkies delight. I am soon to experience Air India in FC RT to Delhi from SFO so again your report is a great aid. Thanks again for such truly great reports.

  51. how do you book a flight with miles on the american website, whenever i try to book, it always shows up as american and no other airlines come up

  52. “And at 67,500 American AAdvantage miles for first class travel between the US and Asia, itā€™s a heck of a deal as well.”

    You travel for free AND get free air miles too ??

  53. Hi Ben,

    You mentioned an Australian Pilot. A good mate of mine is a Pilot with Cathay Pacific. Do you remember his name at all? I’m not sure of the protocol of mentioning Pilot’s names on here but his initials are BH. Just wondering. Cheers.

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