Cathay Pacific First Class Review: Luxury in the Air

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“Mom, this is REALLY nice,” muttered my 8-year-old as she placed her stuffed animals all over her Cathay Pacific first class seat en route from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. She’s no stranger to premium class travel, but since her birth I’ve been booking us into business class—still an incredible treat—on what was once our home airline. Indeed, the experience from start to finish was first class. Here is my complete Cathay Pacific First Class review.

Airport Express Check-In

Departing from the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong meant that we checked in for our flight (including our bags) at the Airport Express station in Central. While taking a hotel transfer is probably more in line with our class of service, I have an affinity for the 20-minute train as it reminds me of when we lived in Hong Kong. We always take it unless we land late at the airport. The lines here are short in any class of service but, of course, we used the first class line.

I will tell you that the first class check-in at the Hong Kong International Airport is pretty nice as I’ve been through it before. There are ten dedicated podiums and you totally look and feel like a VIP rolling up to them.

The Wing First Class Lounge

View from The Wing first class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport: Cathay Pacific First Class review

After passing through security and customs, turn left  to The Wing First Class and Business Class Lounges. We had already passed through the Business Class Lounge on the way to Kota Kinabalu so the main difference is that The Wing First Class Lounge has minimalist design with black marble walls and floors, eucalyptus and white marble accents, and sleek red chairs.

Another major difference? A champagne bar. It was early in the morning but you only live once, so I had a glass.

The champagne bar at the Cathay Pacific first class lounge, The Wing, in Hong Kong

We’d stopped into the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong Executive Club to have a quick breakfast but I purposefully didn’t eat much because I have such fond memories of dining in Cathay Pacific’s first class lounges with my husband.

However, my daughter decided she wanted to eat pastries from the bar and do homework on the low tables instead of eating again at the Haven restaurant. The menu is by The Peninsula, Hong Kong. My husband couldn’t believe it. Next time.

Sitting near the bar in the Cathay Pacific Wing first class lounge.

The Wing First Class Lounge also has amazing private cabanas with baths and shower areas that make you feel as if you’re in a luxury spa. Unfortunately, the private cabanas were in use otherwise I’d have taken full advantage.

Luxury On Board a Plane

Of course, we boarded first. There are only 6 First Class seats on a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777.

Where to sit in Cathay Pacific first class with kids

There is so much space in these pods. I could lay completely flat with plenty of room to spare. I couldn’t see my daughter at all from where I was sitting but, you know, we actually function better on long haul flights when we keep to ourselves.

Carry-on luggage is placed on floor level in a huge closet compartment which had plenty of space for hanging my clothes and then some.

Krug champagne and an amuse bouche in Cathay Pacific's first class

Krug champagne was poured and amuse bouche served before we even pulled away from the gate. You seriously just won’t care if your flight is delayed from this point onward because if your Krug runs low, they’ll just top it off for you.

The Aesop amenity kit is quite robust with a toothbrush, various moisturizers, socks and more. Not to mention we each received organic pajamas that are so soft I actually wear them to this day.

Amenity kit in Cathay Pacific first class.

I totally put the pajamas on after dinner. You feel so much better for not being in your clothes during an entire 14-hour flight. Plus, the only people who ever saw me were the flight attendants and my daughter because… first class.

Cathay Pacific First Class Menu

You can dine with a companion in Cathay Pacific's first class.

More like… what didn’t we eat?

One of the perks of a Cathay Pacific first class flight is that you can actually dine with your companion. The flight attendants put an extender on the table. One guest sits in the regular seat and the other guest sits in the companion seat (which has its own seat belt).

First course is caviar. Someday, my daughter will wonder why she didn’t eat hers. The caviar is served with traditional garnishes of blinis, chive creme fraiche and chopped egg.

Caviar and Krug champagne in first class on Cathay Pacific

Then we had a lovely roasted red pepper soup.

Roasted red pepper soup served in Cathay Pacific first class.

Then came a Mesclun salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomato and balsamic vinaigrette.

The salad course served in Cathay Pacific's first class

Each of us opted for the steak as our main course. It was a grilled USDA Certified Angus beef striploin with Bernaise sauce and shallot sauce, roasted portobello mushroom and pumpkin, fingerling potatoes with parsley. It was perfectly-cooked medium rare and gigantic. Just look at it. It was as big as my daughter’s head.

A giant striploin steak served in Cathay Pacific first class.

We’re talking high-end restaurant quality food here… absolutely delicious.

One of my daughter’s favorite things about flying Cathay Pacific is that they have mini Haagen Dazs ice creams so she opted for that while I went for a cheese plate.

Cheese selection served in first class on Cathay Pacific

It is a long enough flight that even after a multi-course meal, hunger will strike again. And, when it does snacks such as deluxe noodle soups, a burger, afternoon tea set and more are available at any time after dinner service. My daughter ordered the tea set and it was enormous.

The afternoon tea set "snack" served in Cathay Pacific's first class

We did also enjoy breakfast before landing, but I forgot to document it. I did have freshly-scrambled organic free range eggs and a smoothie. My daughter likes their specialty smoothie with kiwi that we’ve had on several flights.

I will tell you that normally I order the Chinese selections on board Cathay Pacific but I couldn’t pass up the steak and was too full for a dim sum breakfast.

Where to Sit in First Class on Cathay Pacific with Kids

It’s intuitive to want to book seats right next to each other, but if flying first class on Cathay Pacific with kids I would suggest that you sit exactly where we did unless you are a family of 4. My seat (2A) was directly behind my daughter’s (1A). The reason is because these two seats are on their own. They open up to the back of the seats in the middle row for complete privacy. This is the view from my seat.

The cabin in first class on Cathay Pacific

The middle seats open up to (rows D) open up to the other window seats (rows K). So, if you are a family of four, you should sit over here. See also where to sit in Cathay Pacific business class with kids.

Unbeatable In-Flight Service aboard First Class Cathay Pacific

I’m so used to the service on Cathay Pacific being predictably top-notch in any class of service that I almost forgot to address it. They have a knack for always being available without hovering. If there is anything we needed, we rang for it. They really (genuinely) don’t mind. The flight attendants are kind, cheerful and make conversation even with my daughter at times.

I also initially overlooked the in-flight entertainment, because I’m used to it being so robust with current movies and old favorites along with a huge variety of television programming. One reason to fly Cathay Pacific with kids (or Dragonair)—and this is the case in any class of service—is that the TV is a touch screen so they can easily operate in-flight entertainment if they can read and reach it.

Booking Cathay Pacific First Class

The easiest way to book Cathay Pacific’s first class is by paying for it. First class mileage tickets are very hard to come by so if you see one available, you won’t regret snagging it. The latter is what happened to us. I saw it come available but then needed to reroute our flight from HKG-NRT-SAN to HKG-LAX-SAN in order to ticket it. So, not only did I have to pay fees to change our routing but I also had to buy a cash ticket from LAX-SAN. It was expensive to so but worth every penny.

Champagne in Cathay Pacific's first class lounge, The Wing, at Hong Kong International Airport

My heart sank when we landed at LAX. It was by far one of the nicest in-flight experiences we’ve had in a long time.

If you are into a life well travelled, put Cathay Pacific First Class on your list. We’ll do it again, for sure.

Learn what it's like to fly in Cathay Pacific's first class. Luxury just might be an understatement.

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5 Comments

  1. Nicole
    July 24, 2015 at 11:49 am — Reply

    the duck with the blue hat next to your daughter in the picture where she’s sitting and facing the camera…is that a pillow? where can I get it?

    • July 24, 2015 at 11:53 am — Reply

      It’s a large (or maybe extra-large) Donald Duck Disney Tsum Tsum. We got it at Disneyland store in the Hong Kong airport but you can get them on Amazon I think!

  2. June 12, 2015 at 8:30 am — Reply

    Thank you for sharing your exerience here, it looks like you had a lot of good space and was always entertained. I imagine that a long haul flight it pretty much a breeze when flying like this. I hope you enjoyed your holiday in LA!

  3. May 29, 2015 at 11:12 am — Reply

    Never flown Cathay as I rarely go to that part of the world but seems like something i would love, hahahah! We use their Paris lounge a lot (BA passengers on BA Flights) and it is lovely. One to try soon for sure

    • May 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm — Reply

      Good to know as we’re headed to Paris on BA in a few weeks. I’d love to use the Cathay lounge at CDG. Did not think of that. Thanks!!!

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