Think a 16 hour flight is unbearably long? Not when wining and dining in Cathay’s first class cabin from JFK to Hong Kong!
My entire family was lucky enough to experience this recently, using fewer miles than many think necessary. 67,500 American frequent flyer points each plus my husband’s willing persistence in checking award seat availability almost daily over several months are all it cost us. He lives for this type of challenge so it is far from a chore for him.
Initially we booked four business class seats in the forward “mini-cabin” at 55,000 miles. With lay-flat seats and only 8 seats in this cabin, it is a VERY comfortable and quiet long-haul flight, but for only 12,500 more points, why not try for first?!
Soon after, Cathay made available two first seats to award travelers — we grabbed them. It wasn’t until one week prior to the flight that two more seats opened up, and
we one of us quickly called Cathay to secure them.
We ended up having the entire small cabin to ourselves because the final two seats never sold. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to flying by private jet.
We boarded our morning flight #841 — a Boeing 777-300ER. After introductions, our flight attendant informed us that we could sit wherever, given we were the only passengers up front.
Each of us picked a window seat, leaving the middle seats empty. These in turn became designated beds during the flight — as suggested by the FA — so two of us wouldn’t need to wait for seats to be converted when needed.
We stowed our carry-ons in a small closet at each seat. There are no overhead bins which makes the cabin feel more spacious.
Soon I was offered a pre-flight glass of champagne. Ah, Krug… how I love thee.
Along with the champagne (or Sprite depending on the passenger), we were presented with an amuse bouche’ of smoked salmon mousse topped with salmon eggs and creme fraiche.
It was rich and delicious, though my 14 year old disagrees. I’m just happy that he at least tried it.
The above is the amenity kit given to the female passengers. It includes the Aesop line of toiletries — they smell fantastic!
The pajamas are quite comfy, I can assure you.
Before take-off we watched a safety-video.
The controls are straight-forward enough.
TIP: The call-button is your best friend on Cathay. The flight attendants do not regularly come by to make service inquiries — they believe that disturbs the other passengers. The expectation is that f-class passengers will ring when desiring something. Such as a Krug refill… or two…
The seat includes a massage function. It’s fairly tame, but a nice touch.
Plenty of outlets to charge multiple devices.
Each passenger is given noise-canceling Bose headphones for the duration of the flight.
Soon after take-off, I was offered a choice of beverages. I went with their signature cocktail, Pacific Sunrise — a combination of champagne and Drambuie with orange zest.
I checked out the menu while sipping the aperitif.
My favorite menu item was the pre-dinner caviar.
I’ve flown Cathay before so knew beforehand to expect it. Which is why I brought a can of Pringles on board — my preferred vehicle for caviar and sour cream.
Sound too pedestrian for caviar? I discovered this unusual combination at a wine and food tasting at Swanson Vineyards in Napa, and have loved it ever since — Lays works, too. Sure, Cathay serves the traditional blini, but I think the saltiness and crunch of the potato chip pairs even better.
My kids passed on the caviar — hooray! — so we feasted on a second round later in the flight.
More food porn from the flight below.
We chased the sun all the way to Hong Kong.
This allowed me to view glaciers of the arctic circle along the way. I swear I see a cat’s face in the ice below (center.)
Siberia was just as expected — vast and empty. Check out the long horizontal shadow produced by our plane.
The flight eventually neared completion. All felt a brief moment of disappointment…
…But also excitement for the holiday ahead of us.
During our layover in Hong Kong — before we departed for Singapore — we visited the brand new Cathay Pacific first class lounge, The Pier. You can read all about it HERE.