Hello from Hong Kong! I’m glad to spend Christmas back in Hong Kong, and I’m glad my family and friends have been well despite the state the city has been in. I’m also sorry for the lack of content on the blog over the past few months, since university has hit quite hard. I will have to scale back content over the upcoming years, though will continue to post regularly, and definitely will do something to increase my posting frequency from the past three months.
Last week I flew Cathay Pacific first class from London to Hong Kong. I was planning to roll out my report straight away, though I do need to write a couple of lounge reports on top of the actual flight review. Two weeks is plenty of time, though straight away I got hit by influenza, and barely recovered before Christmas started, and…
So I’m going to cover my first impressions in this post, and hope to post the full review by the beginning of next year.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class
I’ll go over why I booked this first class ticket in a future post, but for now I’ll focus on my initial impressions from the flight. I do have to note here that this was my first “true” first class experience, so I have nothing to compare it to.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Suite
Cathay Pacific’s first class suite is somewhat known as an “oldie but goodie”, as it’s been around for a while but still makes lists as one of the best first class suites in the sky. The seat itself is indeed very comfortable – it’s quite well-padded, insanely wide, and abundant on the storage front. I selected seat 2A, one of six seats in the first class cabin.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Suite
The side table alone was enough a laptop (handy during meal services), though of course there was a huge, sturdy fold-out table for heavy-duty work.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Side Table
In terms of storage, there was plenty of storage below the ottoman, which was enough for both my backpack and my shoulder bag. To my left there was even more storage – one of the storage compartments housed a pair of Bose headphones, though I took them out so I could put some of my loose items.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Side Storage
In addition to that, there was a huge storage compartment by the seat’s shell, complete with a hanger. My mom had me get her a large amount of duty free shopping at Heathrow, so that went in there. I never managed to take a photo of the storage compartment, so here’s a photo courtesy of the travel blog Prince of Travel.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Storage Locker (credit: Prince of Travel)
My suite itself was very private, and I didn’t experience any sort of foot traffic whatsoever apart from when I was being served. Even when leaning forward I couldn’t see anyone else in the cabin, unless I looked through the mini-“windows” by the partition separating the left-side suites from the rest of the cabin (these are for the crew in case of emergency). It’s worth noting that you won’t get this insane amount of privacy if you’re seated in a middle or right-side seat (D or K), since your suite won’t be facing a wall. I pre-selected my seat 2A far in advance…seat 1A is similarly private, though don’t expect to snag either of those seats on a last-minute award ticket!
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Left Side
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Bed
As you’d expect, Cathay Pacific’s first class bed is the best I’ve had in the sky, with a plush, wide surface and bedding to match. Cathay Pacific recently updated their bedding supplier to London-based Bamford, and they did indeed have comfortable bedding (as aforementioned, I have no standard to compare first class bedding to). It’s worth noting that I found the mattress quite firm and easy to heat up, and the duvet also much lighter than I’d hoped, but I’m nitpicking – what a joy to have a bed like this in the air.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Bed Mode
Bed comfort is the greatest asset in Cathay Pacific first class (over their own business class product), though I’ve also slept very well in Cathay Pacific business class.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Amenities
In addition to the great bedding, I was also proactively provided a fleece blanket either as extra cover, or if I decided to read/watch a movie inflight.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Fleece Blanket
On top of that, I was provided Cathay Pacific’s new amenity kit, also provided by Bamford. The kit itself was quite sturdy and premium-looking, though from the reviews I’ve read of other first class products, I’ve seen better-looking amenity kits.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Amenity Kit
The contents were quite basic, and consisted of some moisturising products on top of the standard dental kit and eyeshades (as well as mouthwash, which I found a nice addition).
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Amenity Kit Contents
There was also a separate pack consisting of somewhat imperial-looking pajamas, which were very comfortable. They came with slippers.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Pajamas
In terms of other amenities, the seat also featured Bose headphones, which I’ve mentioned earlier. I own a pair of Bose headphones as well, and they are indeed very high-quality – unfortunately I was stupid not to try them out on this flight, so never figured out if they were noise-cancelling (from reviews I’ve read, they typically are).
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Bose Headphones
The best amenity, however, was free WiFi for first class passengers, which otherwise would’ve been US$19.99. WiFi was also fast, and worked for a vast majority of the flight duration, which I don’t usually find to be the case.
I’d put it this way – Cathay Pacific provides what you’d need for a comfortable flight without going out of the way as other first class products might, but what they do provide is of high quality and “feels” decidedly first-class.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Meals
Cathay Pacific recently refreshed their first class meal service, so they fixed quite a few things, from their meal selections to their plating. The meal did start on a high, with King’s Imperial-branded caviar (retail price £45/tin compared to their previous supplier Calvisius’ £77, though it still tasted good) served with blinis, chopped egg and a mother-of-pearl spoon.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Caviar
I enjoyed everything else I was served, though didn’t think it felt very “first class”. Maybe I’ve just been spoilt by great catering on other airlines. The fish in particular (recommended by the purser) was overcooked.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Meal Service
In terms of bubbly, this flight served 2004 Krug Brut, known and loved by aviation bloggers worldwide. I was surprised to find it a little acidic and not as crisp as the best champagnes I’ve had on the ground (which is weird, since in retrospect I’ve had Krug on the ground before and enjoyed it immensely). Maybe my airplane tastebuds just don’t match the Krug champagne, though I wasn’t a fan and only had a glass. I’m being nitpicky, of course – this selection was still better than any other champagne I’ve had in the air.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Champagne
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Service
I’m glad to say that I have zero complaints about how service was executed on this flight. In terms of my particular crew, my compliments to Katy, Arale and Michelle, who were nice, personable and eager to please. Unfortunately my blogger status was exposed by Katy early on due to my constant photo-taking, but they were amazing in general from my observations of how they served other passengers in the cabin. It was a full first class flight so clearing plates swiftly and supplying constant refills was a bit of a challenge, but the grace and precision the crew used to execute the service more than made up for my minor observations.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Welcome Letter
Cathay Pacific also put noticeable effort into their first class service structure in general, though. For example, at the beginning I was served a cold ginseng tea, meant to keep my energy up before the flight – it wasn’t particularly flavourful, but I enjoyed the touch.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Welcome Beverage
Meanwhile before breakfast was served, Katy brought me a grapefruit tonic of sorts, saying it would wake me up. I found this drink a very refreshing touch to precede breakfast.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class Tonic upon Waking Up
Bottom Line: Cathay Pacific 777 First Class
I’m happy to finally have tried Cathay Pacific’s first class, and enjoyed my flight. Between the upgraded amenities and food, to the intricate service structure, to the free WiFi, I’d agree with the general consensus that Cathay Pacific offers a premium first class experience.
That being said, I didn’t get off the flight feeling like my perspective on luxury travel had been redefined, and don’t think I’ll make a habit of spending extra miles on first class over business class in general, at least on non-novelty first-class cabins (these “novelty” first class cabins include Emirates’ A380/new 777, Singapore Airlines’ new suites, Etihad Apartments, etc.). I also have no incentive to review other first class products, given I don’t have a “base” to compare it to (meanwhile, I’ve flown a large variety of business, premium economy and economy products).
Do you think spending extra airline miles to fly in first class is worth it?