A Cathay Present: Cathay Pacific CX840 777-300ER HKG – JFK First Class

Finally it is time to share on my Cathay Pacific Flight! Its been a long 6 months! I have been waiting for this day since I got the ticket on Jan 1. Way too excited to fly in Cathay Pacific First, up till now, I have only tried premium cabins on SQ, so was wondering how other airlines square up to them. I have already did up a comparison earlier, this time around I am going to share my full experience on Cathay. Just be prepared, it’s gonna be a intensive and long post of pictures as well! I have already read countless reviews online to see how the experience would be like. Good things sure take times! Furthermore I am going to be stuck in the plane for more than 17hours, my longest flight ever. Surely, I am doing it in style! Before that I was at The Pier, all the way at Gate 62 before knowing that my flight depart from Gate 4. It was a mad rush to the gate, super far, even with walking briskly, it sure took me about 15 mins. I wanted to be the first to board to get some good pictures of the cabin. A little avgeek! Boarding almost begin when I reached, with everyone lined up to get the security interview! Thankfully it was organised and I was still the first to board, allowing me to take some pretty good pictures.

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For those who do not know, there is an extra interview by security staff if you are flying to the states. It is kinda a boring one, where they will ask why are you travelling, are all the stuff you are carrying yours. Then they will place a sticker on your passport! DO NOT TEAR IT OFF UNTIL U LEAVE THE STATES! The interview was done by the security staff from HK and it was kinda of a different experience, it was far less in depth than the one I faced back then in FRA 2 years ago. Boarding was smooth. I immediately jump into the camera man mode and grab some pictures. Traffic soon built up since J Class also board using the same door. This is something I don’t really like. For example SQ, the front door is reserved for First/Suites. I was welcomed by the purser and ushered to the seat.

1A is so awesome, I felt like a kid and super happy once I am inside. The purser was polite and courteous, took some opportunity to get some pictures. I had some nice chat with the Senior Purser Eun Young from Korea, which she is a gem, service was so polished. Next up, I was offered a welcomed drink. Unlike SQ, drinks and jacket service are not offered immediately. Furthermore I bump into one of the couple that flew on the same Cathay Dragon flight with me and had some nice talk as well. Seems like I really has some good company for the 16hr flight to NYC.

Welcome drink was offered and there is nothing like a glass of 2004 vintage Krug to accompany with this seat. It was served with nuts. Refill was offered as well until we pushback.

The seat was so spacious, even for a person of my size, I struggle to reach the ottoman and I only take up half of the seat. The seat also comes with 3 pillows. The lack of overhead bins also make the whole cabin more spacious. It is a cosy one with only 6 seats, in 2 rows of 1-1-1 configuration with all 6 seats were taken. There is a side cupboard for your jackets and it should fit your bags as well. Although I left my carry on under the ottoman in front of me.

I love that I had 3 windows to myself, where the view accompanied me thru the flight. You know life is good when you have 3 windors. The TV is located at a weird angle from the seat, due to the curvature of the seat design. Although it can be adjusted later on in the flight. For boarding and landing you just gotta make do with it. It is super flimsy and can be moved by turbulence. Something that I don’t really like about the seat, the quality aren’t awesome too, this is in need of a upgrade. Something that I realised on the cabin, IFE does not seems to be important for First Class. In fact, all 6 of us, barely spend more than 2 hours on them, we are either eating, sleeping or working! Hmm!

The seat is super spacious and there are a few compartments for you to store your things as well. The surface is really huge and you can store most of the things there. I love that Cathay has that little orchid by the panel as well. Adding a nice flair to the seats. The little middle bin is going to the main compartment to store stuff. It is not really big, but it should nicely store your glasses, wallet or phone.

The power outlets is located in front of the table, to the side, however I found that it is really badly places, since it is towards the Ottoman side, you really have to stretch to reach it. Furthermore I love to use my phone while lazing, thus the cable was constantly at a stretch!

The seat is super private and in fact I could not see any other pax in the cabin despite it not being a suite. This is really one of the best products in the world. Check out some other pictures of it! The leg room is super awesome. I can barely reach it. There was 2 crew and the In Flight Manager working first class. A 1:2 ratio isn’t too shabby. Immediately behind is also the mini business class cabin which look awesome as well would clearly choose this if flying in J. Something else to note, there is no air nozzle and rather warm on the ground.

Menu was presented by purser along with the headphones, pajamas as well as the amenity kit. The crews were like Santa giving out gifts! Here are the menus for the flight.

The amenity kit is rather limited and it consists of ear plugs, toothbrush set, mouthwash, a comb, cleaning cloth. It is from Aesop but actually only the lip balm and some kind of serum is from Aesop. The lip balm is rather good though as I have been using it now.

While I would love to try on the Pajamas by Shanghai Tang that look like an emperor, currently now they have change to PYE ones, in cathay colors. They were really comfortable and not too thick.

After take off drink order was taken right after leveling off and served with a Tuna Mango Amuse Bouche, this is a Cathay Tradition and it is super delicious. A classic Cathay welcome. Orders are then taken and the meal service started about 30 mins after take off!

Service is lacking and not attentive enough despite only 6 customers. I realised that when I was heading to change, there is no offer to hold toilet door open, as well as an offer to hang clothes. This is something that I have always got even in SQ Business Class!

Meal service started out with Caviar and Champagne! What a way. Caviar, Champagne and Chinaware, my kind of trifecta. The first course is also always accompanied by a lovely personalised welcome note by the crew, as well as a bread basket that consists of some rolls and Garlic Bread. I love this Cathay tradition!

Caviar was awesome and served bilinis and all the garnish, the presentation was impeccable and so fancy. What a lovely sight. Furthermore a mother of pearl spoon is even provided for the Caviar, to prevent the metal taste from ruining the caviar. Fancy fancy.

Next up was the Mushroom Cream Soup which was just normal, I had about half of them. What was really nice was the freshly grounded black pepper that Cathay provide seat side.

I really love the salad course, this Parma Ham with Asparagus, Fig, Manchego cheese and Lemon Olive Oil is perfect! It was such a nice combination. The taste of each ingredients complement each other. The White Asparagus were also a surprise and delicious! I am actually super full at this moment.

Going all out, I choose the Pan Fried Black Cod as my main. Although there is always a risk of choosing a fish dish onboard the plane, The fish was the real highlight of the mal and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was flaky, flavourful and moist, something that is super rare for fish dishes onboard, the celeriac puree that accompany it was also very special and I actually didn’t know what was it when I had it. Cathay dining seems to be the low point of their product, but I am impressed by the black cod. Drink refills throughout the meal service was also prompt, I have probably finish about 1.5 btls of Krug at this point.

I skipped the cheese course and went straight to dessert given how much I have already eaten, I got the Warm Hazelnut Cake which was serve with Chocolate Ice Cream and Vanilla Sauce. I had a glass of Port to go with the dessert. The dessert was nice, but nothing to talk about and not mind blowing.

The meal was done about 3 hrs into the flight, it is kind of long especially due to the turbulence and disruption. Meals are finished with a box of chocolate as well as a bottle of water for turn down service.

I took a couple lap around the plane given how full I am. It seems like a full flight with J class, PY and Y class fully full as well. J class consist of 53 seats in two cabin, in a 1-2-1 configuration what I really love was the mini cabin between first class and the second door, this is super intimate with just 2 rows of 4 seats each. If I am ever travelling in J, this is where I will choose to be seated. Throughout the long 16 hours flight I took a couple of laps around the plane as well. There seems to be no difference in the toilets, all of the same size, although First do have Aesop amenities.

After working for a little, which was actually pretty productive, I got about 2 post written up, I ask for the bed to be made, it sure is super spacious. This is definitely one of the longest largest full flat bed I ever had to enjoy onboard. The mattress were lush and the padding was thick. Although it does get a little warm in the night. I love the constant bottles of Evian cathay provide, it seems unlimited while SQ always cater that one tiny bottle. I do have to say the bed aren’t that nice for lounging. I did struggle a while to fall asleep but all in all I got a solid 5 hours of rest on board. Service was awesome as the bed was made up everytime I left the seat and the purser would even come to ask if we need any snacks, water and stuff. In the night, there is only one person taking care of all 6 of us, so kudos to the purser.

Just about we were flying off the coast of Seattle, I decided to wake up to tune my clock to the US timing. I caught a couple of movies. My throat was super dry and definitely the constant supply of peppermint tea sure helped. I also had some coffee and eggs tart for a snack. A taste of Hong Kong 35,000 FT in the sky!

Breakfast service was upon request and a full 1.5 hr before flight is recommended for the full experience, I had it roughly 2 hours before landing. I was actually, obviously still full from the dinner earlier, but still opt for it to get the full experience. I also know that I want to hit the ground running and have an early night after check in. So it is best that I eat on board. I had actually wanted to choose the western option since the breakfast platter have been recommended by so many people. But decide to go for the chinese option. It sure felt weird having breakfast close to 6pm in the evening, the Seafood Congee and Stir Fried noodles which I choose was awesome. It tasted just like it is from a stall in Mongkok! First up a drink and a hot towel was served, followed by a fruit plate and a basket of croissant, muffin and danishes.

Then the main was served, the congee came with 3 prawns and 2 scallop, the scallop were a tat overcooked, but overall I am super happy with my choice, I really enjoyed it. There is surely something amazing about enjoying some traditional Hong Kong delicacy while flying.

The cabin was made roughly 20 mins prior to landing and both the first class pursers came around to thank each passenger individually which was a nice touch, followed by a super smooth landing. Although it is weird that the IFM didn’t come around, she also didn’t provide any service, something very different from SQ. While we decent into JFK. The greatest sunset welcomed me into America.

However I have to point out that the disembarkation process was not good at all, they only use the middle door and didn’t curtain up the J Class pax to allow First to alight first. This is such a disappointment. Really off the mark just at the ending portion of the flight. Cathay really seems to have an issue in managing their doors for boarding and disembarkation. Thankfully there was no line in customs and I was off in mins, T8 seems to be really quiet at this timing. Something that really caught my eye is that I didn’t know that ESTA holders are allowed to use the kiosk for entrance. All in all, there is never a bad time when you are in First Class, I would love to fly them again in a heartbeat. Wishing for a delay while onboard everytime!

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