After confirming that we were the only passengers for the long flight to Hong Kong, just before leaving the Swiss First Class lounge, the agents insisted on giving us new boarding passes, since apparently one of the seats we were originally assigned to was inoperable.
One of the Cathay Pacific agents escorted us to the nearby boarding gate. My wife boarded first, then the flight attendants welcomed me by name, and brought me to my seat. My wife was seated in 2K and I was assigned 2D.
some Krug champagne pre-departure
We were offered a cocktail and a hot towel before departure, and why not, we went with Krug. I’m not a big champagne drinker, but I enjoyed what Cathay poured. They also offered us amenity kits and pajamas. The Shanghai Tang cotton pajamas were very comfortable, and were sized somewhat large compared to others I’ve experienced. I took large, which were plenty long for my 6’3” frame.
Ermenegildo Zegna men’s amenity kit
Shanghai Tang pajamas
Just before push back, I moved to 1K (United nostalgia, haha) so I could have a better view for taxi and take off. The 777-300ER is one of my favorite planes, despite the full fuel load, take off was still pretty powerful. We began a northerly route, heading over Wisconsin and towards the polar route to HKG.
There were 2 flight attendants serving first class. The purser was Pat, Cantonese speaking from Hong Kong who spoke good English. The other attendant serving us was Veronica, who is Malaysian, and spoke excellent English. After takeoff, they brought us menus and suggested we dine together. They add a table extension to the standard large table to make a nice table for two.
Belvedere Vodka and soda with mixed nuts served after leveling off
We decided to wait a little while before eating, after a snack in the Swiss Lounge, we weren’t that hungry, especially since our departure was mid-afternoon central time. After leveling off, they brought out drinks and some hot mixed nuts. I also started to adjust the seat into a more comfortable position. The Cathay Pacific First Class seat is excellent, its very wide, and I found various comfortable positions for seating. The flat position is quite good, with generous length and width for sleeping. There is baggage storage below the ottoman, and a closet behind the monitor. Monitor is on an arm which can move in front of leg rest for easier viewing. Ottoman is also an optional seat in flight, primarily used while passengers are dining together.
Cathay Pacific First Suite. The left side moves down for an armrest if desired
View of opposite side of the suite
The in flight entertainment system called Studio CX, is excellent, with many options. One complaint about this system is that there are ads before each program. Its easy enough to fast forward through the ads, but its still annoying. In addition to many TV shows and movies, there is a good in flight map I watched a few TV shows. The 777 also has a camera below the nose. Its kind of fun, especially on takeoff and landing.
Cathay’s noise cancelling headsets. Decent, but I ultimately switched to my Bose.
Finally, after a few hours, we decided to dine. I was having trouble deciding on what to eat, so Veronica suggested I try both Chinese and Western options. Oh, the things I do for the benefit of this blog. I did not finish all of the food put in front of me, but I did try a bunch of different items. Due to the size of this post, I have split out the discussion of the meals we were served on flight CX807 into another blog, which I will link to as soon as I post it.
As the flight progressed, the lighting changed to a darker color, before eventually lights were off to more easily allow sleep.
After dinner, I changed into my pajamas and asked the flight attendants to make the seat into a bed. I didn’t sleep right away, but spent some more time on Studio CX
Some view of the large first class lavatory and the lotions available there.
Seat in Bed mode. Very wide and comfortable spot for sleeping.
I napped for a while, then awoke and eventually noticed that our route had changed, and our scheduled arrival was only a few hours away, which didn’t seem right. The map quickly showed a drastically changed route, and I guessed we were heading to Anchorage. Maybe there was an announcement in Economy, but I didn’t hear anything about our changed route until we were about 30 minutes out from Anchorage. I appreciate the non-obtrusive (lack of) use of the PA, but I would have appreciated a little more information about what was going on. After talking to the flight attendants, they told me there was a medical emergency requiring our diversion.
Dumping fuel before our unplanned landing in ANC
At some point the pilot announced that due to crew limits, we have a very limited time on the ground in Anchorage or we might have to divert to Vancouver, which was the nearest airport where Cathay Pacific has scheduled flights. Once on the ground at ANC, the sick passenger walked off the plane, and we quickly began refueling.
I later found out that we were within 5 minutes of being forced to stay in Anchorage, but thankfully, we got refueled and out in time. No one got off the plane, and I took the time while still in the US to call Hyatt to let them know I was unlikely to make it to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for the our planned first night. They noted my record, and eventually allowed us to cancel the first night of the stay, so I got those points redeposited.
So we were off again, now headed to Tokyo Haneda to pick up a new crew since that is as far as our current crew could go before timing out. Haneda sees regular Cathay service, and it seems they flew a crew from Hong Kong to take our flight on the final leg.
Sorry, a little bumpy on the tarmac
At the time, I was considering changing plans and spending the day in Tokyo rather than Hong Kong, since I have spent more time in HK, and would really like to explore more of Tokyo. Unfortunately, this would have given us only a few hours in Tokyo, so we decided to stick with our plans for a stopover in Hong Kong. There was really a minimal amount of information provided to passengers during this delay, although the Flight Attendants were very forthcoming with the information they had.
Once at Haneda, we parked at a remote stand, and no one was able to get off the plane anyway. It was very early morning at Haneda, but it was interesting to see the variety of planes parked there, including several 787s. The new crew came on, and the 4 person Canadian cockpit crew that flew us from Chicago then took the 4 open seats in First Class. The flight attendants seemed to mostly occupy extra seats in Business class. I had some interesting conversations with the captain and some of the other co-pilots while on the ground in Tokyo. They let me know how close we were to not leaving Anchorage in time (4 minutes). They also told me that the original plan was to divert to Beijing, but the sick passenger was a Taiwanese national, so this would have been quite problematic. All things considered, the ANC stop probably was the best option given the circumstances.
The new crew came on and we were offered yet another meal, since the flight was partially recatered at Haneda. I did have a bit more food, and I will share details of this additional food on the last leg in my separate post about meals.
I slept most of the way from Haneda to Hong Kong, but around 4:30am Hong Kong time, we were finally ready to land. I changed back to my street clothes, and despite being very confused about what time my body thought it was, about 24 hours after departing Chicago, we were to our destination.
At that hour, there was a minimal wait to clear immigration, and due to our long transit time, and the fact that the Airport Express was not yet running, we headed to The Arrival lounge to freshen up before heading to the Grand Hyatt.
Please also see my review of meals on the flight between Chicago and Hong Kong.