I stepped onto my Cathay Pacific flight from London to Hong Kong with extremely high expectations. After all, this carrier has offered one of the most consistent and well-regarded first class products for years. I’m happy to report my expectations were exceeded.
Just to note, this review is from October 2014. I publish older reviews because they have never been previously published, changes are actually minimal (and noted) between then and now, and because they provide a better context for how I evaluate more recent flights.
I was flying the long way to Hong Kong and had just arrived in British Airways First Class from Los Angeles. The LHR Cathay Pacific lounge has been refreshed since my flight, so I will not review it, but it was disappointment. The new lounge is much better.
Since neither the British Airways or Cathay Pacific flight had onboard internet, I stayed in the lounge until final boarding to squeeze in as much work as possible.
The later Cathay flight from London to Hong Kong had been cancelled, so my first class cabin went from a light 2 of 6 seats occupied to a full cabin.
Cathay Pacific 250
London (LHR) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Wednesday, October 29
Depart: 6:05 PM
Arrive: 1:00 PM+1
Duration: 11hr, 55min
Seat: 2A (First Class)
Although boarding was almost complete and pushback imminent, a FA named Beatrice cheerfully greeted me and offered me a hot towel.
Beatrice offered me a choice of beverage “perhaps some Krug sir?” though I just ordered still water to begin. The still water was served with a delightful amuse bouche: a scallop in avocado sauce.
Cathay Pacific First Class Amenity Kit and Pajamas
Next, Beatrice brought over pajamas and an amenity kit. I apologize I don’t have a more detailed picture, but I was in a phase in which I saved everything onboard and did not want to open the pajamas or amenity kit. Even now, I tend to bring along my Emirates pajamas and just take other pajamas with me.
After screening the safety video, we pushed back–
Cathay Pacific First Class Seat
While four seats across is the norm on a 777 in first class, Cathay uses only three. Although the first class suites are not enclosed (in fact, even less enclosed than the British Airways A380) they are roomy, elegant, and extremely comfortable.
After the meal service, Beatrice made my bed while I was brushing my teeth without even asking. I appreciated the initiative so much. Cathay Pacific bedding is great and includes a plush duvet, thick mattress pad and oversized pillow.
There are no individual air vents, but thankfully the cabin did not get too warm.
Cathay Pacific First Class IFE
Cathay Pacific now has wi-fi on its A350 aircraft, but the 777 still has no internet. The IFE selection included a large library of movies, TV shows, music, and games.
Cathay Pacific offers first class passengers high-quality Bose headphones:
Cathay Pacific First Class Food and Drink
From the amuse bouche to the dessert, the food was seriously tremendous. Here’s a look at the menu, including a special Italian wine menu. How impressive is that?
It is hard to turn down Krug when offered, though I limited myself to one glass with cashews. We encountered a steady chop throughout the meal service, making it difficult to capture crisp pictures of the meals.
First course — caviar with garnishes and bread basket. Delicious as usual.
Second course: green salad with warm marinated prawns and fresh-cracked ground pepper:
Third course: am amazing creamy roasted parsnip and apple soup:
Fourth course: British longhorn beef cooked medium with roasted veggies and au gratin potatoes:
Fifth course: cheese and crackers:
Sixth course (and perhaps best of all) — ice cream with fresh berries: an absolutely perfect ending to a delightful meal. Who needs more commentary when you have the pictures above?
Thankfully this was a longhaul flight, because there is no way I could have eaten anything for at least 7-8 hours. But after a great rest, I awoke ready for breakfast. Cathay also does breakfast well, with eggs cooked to order! I wish I had taken a picture but a FA actually fried the eggs in a pan in the galley.
Breakfast included a smoothie, cappuccino, fresh fruit (no berries this time), yogurt, and the aforementioned eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cathay does lose a point for serving the yogurt in a plastic container, but the breakfast was excellent.
The food on Cathay Pacific was far better than I could have imagined.
Cathay Pacific First Class Service
I praised Beatrice already and Jennifer, wearing a Burgundy coat signifying her role as senior purser, was also wonderful. The service was not the folksy American style service that many like about U.S. carriers (on a good day). Yet it was genuine, polite, extremely polished, and kind. Both Beatrice and Jennifer truly set the bar for professionalism.
If you ever wonder how FAs on Cathay Pacific know when you wake up and magically appear at your seat at the right time, you should know there is a camera watching you (through a peephole in the front bulkhead). That’s a little creepy, but it does explain how FAs can sense the moment you are awake.
You can fly Cathay Pacific for so many reasons, but service is definitely a highpoint.
We landed a bit late in Hong Kong due to congestion leaving London and again arriving into Hong Kong. I was happy to have more time onboard and my onward connection to Bangkok did not leave for several hours.
Cathay Pacific offers a consistently excellent first class product and I cannot recommend highly enough. While not as flashy as the Gulf Carriers, the quality of the first class experience (especially if originating in Hong Kong with a proper first class lounge) makes it a reliable choice.