Whether on a short flight or a long flight, Cathay Pacific has always shined in first class. My flight from Beijing to Hong Kong was flawless. Literally flawless.
Although I thought about trying Cathay Dragon First Class, when I saw the first class seats on Cathay Dragon are the same as the business class seats on Cathay Pacific, the choice became clear.
Check-in took a few moments, though the agents were confused I had flown from Guangzhou (which is much closer to Hong Kong) to Beijing in order to catch a flight to Hong Kong. Rather than try to explain my blog, I just say that I love flying. It’s a true statement…
After spending an hour in the Cathay Pacific lounge in Beijing, I lined up to board my flight to HKG. I do this 15 minutes prior to scheduled boarding when I am “reviewing” a product so that I can be first onboard and hopefully have a few seconds to take pictures before other passengers arrive. But when people saw me line up (so early), everyone else began to line up. Soon, there was over 100 people in line. I bet the gate agents loved me…
Cathay Pacific 391
Beijing (PEK) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Saturday, July 6
Depart: 01:40 PM
Arrive: 5:15 PM
Duration: 03hr, 35min
Distance: 1,234 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1K (First Class)
I did manage to board first and was warmly greeted by two flight attendants, one of whom escorted me to my seat, 1K.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Seating
I just love the six-seat first class cabin on Cathay Pacific. Even though it lacks the privacy of some first class suites, I count this seat as the most comfortable first class seat in the sky. It’s wide, plush, and very comfortable upright, semi-reclined, or in lie-flat mode. The seat is easily adjustable and the location of the power ports, lights, and storage are easy to use.
I also appreciate the personal storage area that is part of every suite. The cabinet, large enough for a big rollerboard, is a far more elegant solution than closets in the front or rear of the cabin or overhead bins.
Due to the relatively short duration of the flight, I did not sleep, but here’s what the seat looks like in lie-flat mode from a previous flight:
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class IFE + Wi=FI
And here’s something simply revolutionary for Cathay Pacific. Not only was wi-fi available onboard, even over Chinese airspace, but it was lightning fast! I was able to use one of my gogo passes so it did not even cost me anything.
That’s simply amazing…and quite an improvement for a carrier that resisted wi-fi for so long.
The entire IFE system was responsive and visually appealing, though I don’t think the hand-held controller was all that intuitive. By that I mean that when I pressed the down arrow the cursor went left and when I pressed the left arrow the cursor went up. It was easy enough to rotate the device, but it was odd for a device I’ve used hundreds of times on various airlines the same way. I’m not sure why Cathay Pacific engineered theirs differently.
Anyway, a large selection of movies, TV shows, news, games, and music was available, though I enjoyed the camera views the most.
Duty free was also sold via the IFE.
Bose noise cancelling headphones were provided for use onboard.
Speaking of camera views, here are a few shots I took outside the window during the flight:
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Dining
After boarding, I was offered a glass of champagne (William Deutz Brut Millesime 2009), which I enjoyed prior to takeoff as well with lunch.
Here’s the menu for the flight:
The multi-course lunch service began with a duck and goose liver appetizer. Although beautifully presented, I don’t like the taste of liver or how these animals are fattened up for destruction. So I just took a picture and moved on. The bread basket included warm rolls and each item on the table was set with precision.
Next, I enjoyed a bowl of lobster cream soup, which was creamy and delicious.
Continuing on the seafood theme, I chose grilled king prawns for my main course. They were served in a tomato hollandaise sauce that somehow turned out spicy. Not only was the sauce excellent, but the prawns and parsley potatoes were excellent. What a lovely main course.
I continued lunch with a delectable cheese, including Cambert, Dutch goat cheese, and Bleu cheese.
Finally, I finished out lunch with hazelnut chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and a cappuccino. Cathay Pacific uses illy coffee and the cappuccino hit the spot.
I later requested a glass of orange juice and was pelased that is was freshly-squeezed.
Cathay Pacific (like Austrian and SWISS) demonstrates that catering from Mainland China does not have to be bad. U.S. carriers are simply too cheap, it seems, to cater nicely out of PEK and PVG. Even the fresh-squeezed orange juice out of PEK was just perfect.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Lavatories
The lavatory was not huge, but there was plenty of room to move around. Real towels and Aesop skincare products were available.
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Service
Finally, great praise for the service on this flight. The three flight attendants were so charming, so personable, and yet so professional. Sometimes being friendly and being professional is a difficult balance, but the these flight attendants were simply wonderful. Once the meal was over, the flight attendants did not disappear. Instead, they knew (I guess through the camera) whenever my glass needed a refill and always addressed me (and the other passengers) by name.
Three hours is enough time to experience first class on Cathay Pacific. I would have loved a much longer flight, but the difference between first and business is noticeable, even on a short flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. Even as Cathay Pacific cuts first class from certain regional routes, it will maintain first class between Hong Kong and Beijing. For that, I am glad.