Guest post by Jon
Cathay Pacific First Class (HKG-JFK)
I was lucky enough to snag the last Cathay Pacific First Class flight from HKG-JFK (flight CX846) for a whopping 110,000 AA Miles just a few days before departure. My friends and I were furiously refreshing over the last few days beforehand trying to book this. Granted, before the devaluation it was almost half the amount of AA miles (67,500 AA), but the ends justifies the means. IT WAS WELL WORTH IT!
I have flown JAL First Class (also last minute AA mile redemption pre-deval at 67,500) from JFK-Narita and Singapore Air Suites from FRA-JFK (super saver at 57,375 KrisFlyer miles). By far, Cathay was my BEST first class experience to date. Look at that smile (above) – ear to ear buddy!
The Check-in Process
There is a dedicated check-in counter for First Class passengers. Once they confirmed who I was, they took my luggage trolley and checked-it in for me. I was most likely in shock and somewhat worried since I have always checked my own bags in, but it was the start of a spectacular experience. Check-in was fairly quick and I was on my way to the recently renovated First Class lounge, The Pier.
Cathay Pacific's “The Pier”, First Class Lounge
Wow! Was I at some upscale bar/lounge in NYC? Nope! This was The Pier, super modern lounge with amenities that could keep you busy for hours and your stomach full for days.
Of course, I had to start with a glass of Rose champagne and excitingly explored the new grounds. I found myself at the restaurant that was located at the end of the lounge and ordered a few items and during the wait also made an appointment for the complimentary 15 minute massage. Unfortunately, the next open massage wasn’t for another three hours so I had to cancel just before I had to make my 25+ minute stroll to my gate.
There was a fridge fully stocked with beverages, tables full of pastries and fruits. By the time I was done wondering around, my food was ready. Delicious!
Out of all the food selection, I settled for a small dish since I wanted to save my appetite for the first class dining experience:
Here's a pic of the menu:
…and some more teaser pics of finger foods / danishes:
The Queue at the Boarding Gate
Be mindful of where your gate is and where the lounge is, it felt like I walked crosstown from end to end in NYC! The Boeing 777 is huge and has hundreds of seats, I could not see the end of the economy line but I was the first one on the first class line. Another “premium passenger” tried to join my line but was quickly whisked away to his Business class line after the gate attendant saw him try to cut me.
My Cathay First Class Flight Experience
Now this is where it goes from exceeds expectations to out of this universe sensational. I was quickly greeted by two flight attendants who were there to solely take care of me (there were only three out of the six first class seats occupied that flight). We started with some Krug while I was getting situated in Seat 1K.
The first class seats are exceptionally wide and very comfortable. For reference, my personal opinion is that the best seat is 1A, followed by 2A. Those 2 seats offer the ultimate privacy and has a wall separating them from the rest of the first class seats.
Just to demonstrate that you could fit another person in the pod, below is another picture I took on a separate Cathay first class flight (seat 2A). My side piece wanted to remain anonymous:
Just check out the amount of leg room there is:
Not too long after takeoff, I ordered my “hip” Chinese food from a famous Hong Kong restaurant. The pork belly was juicy, tasty, fatty and it’s making my mouth water as I am writing this. There were six types of red wine and while I was debating which to get, my personal flight attendant told me he’s going to give me ALL of them. Sure, why not?!
After my meal, it was time for a nap. I was going back home from a 2 and a half week Asia trip, so I was a bit exhausted. For the most part I slept pretty well, but the flight was also a bit turbulent at times. Luckily, I am a deep sleeper. As I awoke and was close(r) to JFK. I had a nice breakfast (no pictures – sorry), and I was getting sad I had to leave the plane soon.
Cathay First Class hard and soft products are solid! I wish I took more pics in flight to share with everyone.
If you have 110k AA miles to spare and you see availability (search using BA.com), BOOK IT! It was worth every mile. Alternatively, you can book Cathay first through this same route for a measly 70,000 Alaska miles (free stopover in HKG too). Just look at this – ear to ear baby: