05 Apr Flight Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER JFK-HKG

This past March I had the pleasure of experiencing Cathay Pacific First Class on their 777-300ER for the approximately 16-hour flight from New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG).

Before we get started, I would like to follow up on a couple of previous postings and set the record straight.

Yes, we started out with 2 Business Class seats, and I was able to secure 1 First Class seat when close-in award availability opened within 1 week of departure.

Yes, I traveled with my wife, and was set on providing her the First Class seat and taking my place in Business.

After a seriously heated argument pre-flight over who had to sit in First Class, my wife convinced me that since I would better appreciate the premium and better experience all the food and drink offerings (and write this flight review), that I should be the one to sit in the First-Class seat.

Yes, that’s right, I sipped Krug Champagne in Cathay Pacific First Class, while my wife sat in Business Class… and yes, we are still married.

I am one lucky fella; trust me I know!

For those of you not married – find a girl/guy that will give up Cathay Pacific First Class to you, and you will know that you have found the ONE!

Now! Onto the flight review!

I have been on record discussing my dislike of the standard Hotel Review and how unrealistic, overdone/lacking in originality, and mundane they can be…

Therefore, to keep this review entertaining, and still somewhat informative, I’ll allow my pictures to do the bulk of the talking, and only interject where I must provide additional detail!

Pre-Flight –

The whole pre-flight process got off to a smooth start with an easy check-in process and then we got to security.

Remember, there is NO TSA Pre-Check for Cathay Pacific passengers (yet?). So, for those of you accustomed to the convenience that is TSA Precheck, just be prepared for those full-on security checks I am sure you miss so much – shoes, belts and jackets off, laptop out (IN A BIN BY ITSELF – the TSA Agent screamed), liquids out and in separate containers.

Thankfully we were not selected for TSA additional sexual harassment… or “pat-downs” as they are calling them…

Admirals Club – International First Class Lounge

While my wife was seated in Business Class, the voucher I was provided at check-in did allow me one guest to the International First Class Lounge. I of course brought my forever plus one as guest to the lounge, which makes us totally even… right?

The First Class Cabin –

Of the 6 seats in the cabin, 4 of them were occupied. This was consistent with what I was seeing online about a week before departure, and it is why I was hopeful that another award seat would open up prior to departure.

Nope. Just the 4 of us. Myself, a business traveler, and a couple traveling together… possibly fellow points and miles enthusiasts?

The Seat/Suite 1A –

Awake Time – Comfortable cloth seats and overall spacious – plenty of room to store carry-on luggage, or to host a Business Class passenger for 10 minutes or so (don’t worry – I did ask the flight attendant permission to have my wife visit – which was granted in “10 minutes or so” increments).

Sleepy Time – When I decided it was time for bed, I signaled the flight attendant, who assisted in making my bed – putting my seat in lie-flat position and placing a down comforter and sheets.

The bed was comfortable – maybe not as comfortable as Singapore Suites – but comfortable enough for me to catch 4 hours of ZzZzZ’s! I did make sure to place my dinner order prior to falling asleep, with instructions to wake me at 4 hours of flight time remaining. It may be just me, but I tend to prioritize food over sleep on flights like this… you can’t experience anything if you sleep through it all!

The Entertainment –

Long-haul flights (especially those with no wi-fi)  give me a great opportunity to catch up on the latest movies, TV and music that I may have missed out on – so I did just that!

Arrival – starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner (Oscar nominated, I might add)

Allied – starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. What is it with Brad Pitt in spy flicks leading to subsequent divorce? Hmmmm… I enjoyed the film though!

IFE Monitor – A bit grainy at times, but a good overall size with a nice swivel function to adapt to the position/angle of your liking. And what’s entertainment without some quality sound…

Bose Headphones – Good quality, noise cancelling headphones – a MUST during long-haul flights, and of course provided to all Cathay First passengers.

The Food and Drank –

There was one reason my wife insisted I experience this seat – the FOOD! I am an unashamed and always hungry eater, and I knew I had to make the most of the food offerings to “get my money’s worth,” or at least the 20k Alaska miles premium that I paid over the Business Class redemption.

To get the party started off right… yep, you guessed it – Champagne! And the Krug just kept flowing throughout the flight’s entirety.

About 2 hours after departure, I requested my first meal…

B-Fast – 2 Free Range Eggs (fried), pork banger, back bacon, spinach, mushrooms and sautéed potatoes. In addition, some seasonal fruit, wheat toast, and Illy espresso.

A Personal Touch – In these technological times we live in the written word is a rarity, so when you encounter it, it means that much more!

It’s the little details that make all the difference!

Snacks – With 6 hours of flight time remaining, I was ready to eat but it was still 2 hours prior to my previous dinner instructions I provided to the flight attendant. Therefore, it became one of my favorite times of the day – snack time!

Braised pork and preserved vegetable in noodle soup…

Din Din – With 4 in-flight hours remaining it was time for some more grub! And by some grub, I mean A LOT of grub!

To start: Caviar (served with blinis, chive crème fraiche and chopped egg) and more Krug Champagne!

Followed by: Soup – New England Clam Chowder AND Salad – Smoked Duck, dried cranberries, rock chive lettuce and raspberry vinaigrette

As for the Main: Spice black cod, coconut lentils, lemon new potatoes and slow roasted cherry tomato sauce

Finished off with Dessert – Say cheese! Bleu, Manchego & Camembert to be exact!

And because I only managed 4 hours of sleep – more Illy café… 2x!

 

The Amenities –

Amenity Kit – The Cathay Pacific First amenity kits are gender specific, featuring Aesop products – lip cream and face moisturizing lotion – both of which came in handy as my lips typically dry out so bad on long-haul flights that I have trouble sleeping! The rest of the kit was pretty standard with the essentials – toothbrush, comb, mouthwash, and earplugs.

PYE Pajamas – I’ll start by saying I am not a pajama guy and typically just bring my own shirt and shorts to change into. However, the pajamas were a nice option, specifically the slippers for walking about the plane, as there were no socks provided.

The Ride & Views from the Wing –

Overall smooth flight, a few bits of turbulence but nothing too disturbing. The air is a bit dry – so keep those moisturizer packed amenity kits handy!

The staff was very accommodating. The attendants in the First Class cabin even made note of my wife back in 16A and made sure to take special care of her for me – even offering her her own pre-departure Krug!

I read one of Lucky’s reviews of the Cathay First prior to my flight where he mentioned a less than attentive staff, though I am happy to say that I experienced nothing of the sort!

The Approach & Arrival –

As soon as the captain announced that we were descending into Hong Kong (with about 30 minutes of flight time remaining), the flight attendants helped my wife move her things up to First Class so we would be able to depart together. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal to depart on our own and then must meet up in outside the gate, but obviously, this was preferred! Plus, for 30 whole minutes my wife got to experience all that Cathay First has to offer!

First Class looks good on ya!

I thought this gesture went above and beyond in terms of service and accommodating our travels and for that I was very thankful!

We arrived right on schedule around 2:05PM local Hong Kong time!

A nice shot of Shenzhen, China on the way into HKG!

Final Thought

My Cathay Pacific First Class experience on the 777-300ER was everything I hoped and more.

It was just a small part of a great adventure!

 

Cathay Pacific First is one of the best First Class cabins in the world, and if you ever have the opportunity to fly it, I strongly suggest you seize it!

Have you ever flown in Cathay First? If so, what was your experience like?

Happy Travels!

DW

14 Comments
  • Christian
    Posted at 17:40h, 05 April Reply

    I managed to upgrade my wife and I to First last year with Alaska miles by inadvertently booking the flight on Chinese New Year, so there was plentiful space for upgrades. In fact, we had the entire cabin to ourselves, and the fa’s said the flight was pretty empty overall. It was my wife’s first time flying in international First Class. The BA First lounge in ORD was great, and we were treated royally on the ground. Service in the air was amazing, and my wife got to try caviar, and much to my dismay liked it a lot. Superb flight overall. We were fortunate enough to have upgrade space open up on the return, so now any time I discuss travel plans to Asia, I’m quizzed whether it will be on CX First. Well, we’ll be trying SQ First in about 10 months, so I suppose there’ll be another product to compare for future reference.

  • Dave Brom
    Posted at 19:11h, 05 April Reply

    That’s why United sucks. Manage by Continental

  • Melissa
    Posted at 21:02h, 05 April Reply

    Ha, I had the same thing happen on Cathay Pacific. Booked two business class seats, one first class seat opened, booked that one, and another seat in first never opened. My husband had a fantastic experience in Cathay First, and I’m so glad he got to experience it!

    • DW
      Posted at 21:03h, 05 April Reply

      You are a great wife, Melissa! He is a lucky fella and don’t let him ever forget it!

  • Douglas Nagy
    Posted at 21:40h, 05 April Reply

    You could’ve at least asked the FAs to bring you a “female” amenity kit, to present to her later, unopened and pristine. Rewarding her generosity with your chivalrousness. Although I would have checked first to see whether their F amenity kit was in fact an improvement on the done she would otherwise get in J.

    • DW
      Posted at 21:46h, 05 April Reply

      Haha I did in fact gift her the Aesop products inside my amenity kit… so I feel better about that part! Plus I didn’t have to feel too bad for too long about taking F away from her… since I managed to bump us both up to First on our JAL flight home!

  • Lisa Pettit
    Posted at 05:40h, 06 April Reply

    Why is it the “husbands” always take the first seat and leave the “wives” in business?? All wrong boys .. all wrong .. respect your ladies and offer them the best .. don’t make excuses like you are the foodie or you are writing the review .. all wrong ..

    • DW
      Posted at 08:55h, 06 April Reply

      I guess I just happened to marry right! My wife and I really did get into an argument here as we really both wanted the other to experience Cathay First… And I mean it’s not like I stuck her in Economy… Thankfully we both sat up front in JAL First on the way home! See, I take care of her!?

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  • GC
    Posted at 17:07h, 07 April Reply

    Nice review. You are a lucky guy. Your wife reminds me of Keira Knightley.

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