Back in First Class on Cathay Pacific. Not a bad way to spend the next 15 or so hours enroute to Hong Kong. After my time in Terminal 5 at O’Hare, I was definitely ready for this flight. Given the long flight time, and trying to take advantage of the last bit of internet time for a while, I joined the boarding queue somewhere in the middle of the pack. Once onboard, I was quickly welcomed aboard, and shown to my seat, 1A. As a reminder the 77W first class cabin on Cathay Pacific consists of 6 seats, 2 rows of 1, 1, 1. 1A and 2A are the best seats, since the other seats in the cabin open to the other aisle, A seats are most private, and presumably have less aisle traffic.
Colin and Michelle were the 2 cabin attendants in First Class. for this flight. They both introduced themselves before departure, and provided a warm welcome aboard. 4 of the 6 seats on board were occupied. I only noticed this because I made a point of looking. From my vantage point, the cabin seemed private. I barely noticed anyone else in the cabin the entire time. After being seated, I opted for a glass of champagne. This was served with warmed nuts (which is a downgrade from the past, as historically an amuse bouche was served before departure. A flight attendant brought me the Aesop Male Travel Kit and pajamas, both of which I will review later.
Cathay Pacific First Class Seat
Despite some slight differences, the seat itself hasn’t changed much over time. It has been 7 years since my last flight in this cabin. And while not as private as some other First Class products, nor the most modern. But I’m not complaining. This is still an excellent seat, and very comfortable for lounging and sleeping. It is very wide, probably too wide for most people, but fortunately an armrest drops into place to fill some of that space while seated.
Shortly before departure, an orchid was placed in the vase between the windows of my seat.
The far end of the seat is the ottoman, which can also be used as a guest seat, as there is a seat belt. There is a universal power port near the windows and a few USB ports available. There was also a bottle of water, nothing fancy, just a 500ml bottle from bulk pack of Crystal Geyser. The TV monitor isn’t that large, but resolution is fine. The monitor is mounted in front, off to the side, but is adjustable. On this flight the interface for in flight entertainment is rather dated, but it works fine. On other Cathay flights, I’ve noticed, there are software updates to a smoother interface, and it seems the 77W planes are being updated to this newer system.
After leveling off, a drink and more mixed nuts are served. The nuts are warm, but just smoked mixed nuts. Its fine, but a noticeable step down from the old service or other carriers that serve some sort of amouse bouche.
Cathay Pacific First Class menu
The meal service consists of 2 main meals, with snacks available throughout the flight. With the early afternoon departure, (albeit an hour delayed in my case), the first meal served is lunch.
Here is the lunch menu:
Champagne and white wines:
Red wines and port:
Cathay Pacific First Class lunch
The main meal service began shortly after leveling off. The large table comes out of the window side armrest. The first course is a first class tradition, caviar. I opted for a glass of the Tattinger champagne. I’m by no means a caviar expert. I only very rarely eat it, and only on planes.
Just for comparison, here is a photo of caviar service from my last Cathay First flight (back in 2012):
If given a choice, I would probably prefer the previous presentation, with both smoked salmon and caviar. I suppose the current option is fancier, including the mother of pearl spoon, and the individual caviar tin.
Next I had a salad with lobster.
For my main course, I went with the beef filet. I don’t eat beef that often, but when I do, I try to make it count, good quality cuts, etc. For various reasons ordering beef on planes is a bad idea, but I remember a really tasty steak in Cathay Pacific First Class last time, so I was optimistic.
Presentation is excellent, and despite ordering it medium rare, it was cooked more like medium well. That said, it was seasoned well, but simply a little over done for my preferences. At least it paired well with the kiwi Pinot Noir.
I was definitely getting full by this time, but I had to continue my culinary journey in the interest of blog research.
In all, the meal was very good, but not amazing. Going in with high expectations, I am somewhat disappointed in the meal. I just wish whomever cooked my steak could have taken it out sooner.
A great bed in the sky
After the meal, even though it was only early evening on my local time zone, I wanted to try to get some sleep. Take advantage of the excellent bedding offered on this really wide sleep surface. I watched some shows, including episodes of Kim’s Convenience, from CBC, about a family running a store in Toronto. I first saw this on Air Canada. As I often do on Cathay, I also watched some Cantonese films. This flight I enjoyed Police Story, a Jackie Chan classic.
Eventually I was tired enough, and slept well on the really comfortable bed.
After a few hours, I woke up, and ordered some tea. My process to avoid jet lag is to try to adjust sleep to get on the new time zone as soon as possible. Since it was now daytime in Asia, I figured I’d try to stay awake. With this flight arriving into Hong Kong in the evening, and an overnight layover there, I would have the chance to sleep in a real bed. My onboard nap was enough to get me through most of the flight. As my tea was delivered, I also got a snack basket, with both salty and sweet options. The salted caramel popcorn was tasty!
Dinner served prior to arrival
Presumably since I was awake, I was offered dinner pretty early. Somehow I was hungry enough to eat again…
Here is the menu:
As you can see above, there are snack options available throughout the flight. Some nice options, but I just didn’t have room to try any of them.
The Dinner service began with another place setting, bread basket, and a fruit plate.
For my main course, I went with the Chinese meal, stir fried beef and rice. Breaking my usual pattern, now I had beef 2 meals in a row. The meal was tasty, and rather filling. Dessert sounded a little odd, but worked well.
Finally I had some tea. I really like Cathay’s tea service. Simple, but elegant.
Final thoughts on Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay has made some cuts to their first class service, but it is still a really special treat. On the return, I flew Cathay business class, and while that is solid too, I have no regrets splurging on the miles for First. The service was very good, not over the top, but still nice. The seat is old, but it is still very much first class. Really comfortable in both seated and lie flat positions. Cathay is rolling out wifi onto their planes, now finally on their 777s. My flight didn’t have wifi, and it is a long time to be disconnected, but this is vacation, so I didn’t mind.
After arriving, I had an overnight layover in Hong Kong before continuing my journey. Next a flight to meet my friend in Delhi, and from there we flew to Bhutan. Thanks for reading!