At around 10:45pm, boarding began with First Class and Business Class passengers. Cathay flies the 777-300ER to SFO and thankfully boards through both doors. Since we were with my parents, who were flying Cathay First, we were able to turn left down the jet bridge and avoid the line that was building up down the right fork (for the second door). My parents were in seats 1A and 2A, and we bid them farewell at this point. NOTE: these are probably the most desirable seats in Cathay First since those are the only two seats sharing that left aisle.
Introduction: Christmas in Hong Kong, and New Year in New Zealand
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific Business Class (Reverse Herringbone) SFO-HKG
The Conrad Hong Kong – Harbor View Twin Room
The Intercontinental Hong Kong – Harbor View Room
The Sights and Sounds of Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge HKG Airport
Singapore Airlines Business Class HKG-SIN-AKL
The Rees Queenstown Luxury Hotel Apartments
Great Drives near/around Queenstown (Glenorchy, Milford Sound, Wanaka)
The Hilton Auckland
Attractions in/around Auckland (Hobbiton, Mt. Eden etc.)
Emperor Lounge @ Auckland Airport (via Priority Pass)
The Park Hyatt Sydney – Opera View Deluxe King Room
Virgin Australia Business Class SYD-LAX
My sister and I were seated in 12K and 11K, which is the miniature business class cabin just behind first. It was convenient and quiet because there were only 8 seats in this cabin. We got settled in pretty quickly and were brought out some orange juice, and hot towels (sorry for the missing pictures, those files were corrupted for some reason). The crew for our section of the flight was just fantastic across the board. It might have been a coincidence, but as soon as I woke up each time, the FA walked right over to ask if I wanted anything to eat or drink. In fact she seemed a little disappointed at times that I didn’t need anything at the time.
There were only two other passengers in the business class mini cabin we were seated in and they both seemed to be off duty FAs who would later help out serving the cabin.
The seat itself had to have been the most comfortable business seat I had tested to date. It was very private, spacious, and had ample leg room to spread out. To talk about it in relative terms: I’m about 6 feet tall and there seemed to be a couple of inches left to stretch out for taller people. The seat itself is made from a nice fabric cushion, which made it unnecessary to request a mattress on top of the seat to sleep on.
The seat featured a 120V plugin point and USB port for taking care of your electronic charging needs. There was a pop out door exposing a nook with Cathay branded noise cancelling headphones and some storage space for small electronics. On the side or toward the middle of each seat was a storage area for small hand bags or shoes.
There was also a very nice pillow and quilt ready for us at our seat. After I had taken a few pictures, I sank down into my seat and popped out the television to watch a bit of TV before takeoff. At 11:20pm, the captain came on the speaker to apologize for the short delay and explain that they were still finishing up loading some bags and cargo. He also informed of us of a longer than normal flight time of 15 hours and 05 minutes due to heavy headwinds on our route. I dozed off for about 15 minutes at this point while watching Elementary.
At around 11:30pm, we began our push back from the gate and the safety video began playing. It was a rather quick taxi to runway 28L and with a long take off roll we were soon on our way to Hong Kong.
My nose was to the window for the first 15 minutes of the flight as we went out over the Pacific coastline and turned north. I could easily make out the Golden Gate Bridge and the lights of downtown San Francisco as we made the turning and finally headed out of the Bay Area.
As soon as we reached 10,000 feet, the seat belt sign turned off and the FAs sprang into action. The FA serving my sister and I came by to take our meal/drinks order. and gave us an amenity kit. My sister had already fallen asleep and I was getting tired myself so I told her that it would just be the drinks for now. I ordered one of my favorite airline drinks ever: Cathay Delight for the both of us, but ended up drinking my sister’s too because she didn’t get up.
SIDE NOTE: In case you don’t know me already: I have a heavy dislike for wine and other alcoholic drinks. This is not because I think they are necessarily bad for your health, but because I don’t enjoy the sour taste and pungent odor of alcohol. So if you like to read about Krug, and wine tasting, I’m not your guy. I rarely go beyond ordering my usual Diet Coke with a lemon or orange juice.
Here is the recipe:
5 mL Coconut Milk
35 mL fresh milk
60 mL Kiwi juice
3 mint leaves for garnishing
Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Strain into a wine glass. Garnish with mint leaves. And yes it is shaken not stirred 🙂
While I sipped and enjoyed the drinks, and watched TV, I opened up the amenity kit and found that it contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshades, socks, and citrus scented toiletries by Jurlique. There was nothing too exciting about the bag or what was inside, but I did really enjoy the citrus smell of the toiletries.
The flight over the Pacific was surprisingly smooth except for a few bumps here and there. I fell asleep for a good 10 hours while watching Elementary, and woke up 5 hours out of Hong Kong just as we were making our way over Japan. At this point I was little hungry and so I went ahead and checked out the menu and snapped a few pictures. I could’ve lasted the rest of the flight, but what good would that be if I can’t report back on the meal.
Frankly there didn’t seem to be much on the menu, which was vegetarian. So I was glad that I had ordered my meal after all.
After ringing my flight attendant call button and requesting the meal, I was promptly served by one of the FAs who was sleeping in the seat next to me. I guess they have some sort of shift thing going on. Sorry for the lack of pictures here guys, the ones I took were corrupted and did not open. The meal was overall definitely one of the better ones I have had on any flight. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have any Indian bread on board, but was happy with some toast to go along with it.
My sister had the continental breakfast which included some cereal, orange juice, fruits, and a croissant. She skipped the main course since it apparently contained some rice in it, and that’s not exactly what people eat for breakfast.
After the meal, I finished up the last few episodes of the Mentalist, which were needless to say hackneyed and boring. And before I knew it the captain came on the speaker to apologize that we didn’t make up any of the delay on our route, which came out to 40 minutes. The headwinds were apparently much stronger than expected. And then he went on to say “cabin crew it is now 30 minutes to landing, that’s 30 minutes.”
The descent was smooth, and the visibility was rather poor. Fog seems to be the norm during winter mornings in Hong Kong. At around 7:00 am, we had a very smooth touch down in Hong Kong and made a quick taxi to the gate.
Being in the front of the cabin, we were one of the first ones out of the plane. Immigration, baggage claim, and arranging for a taxi took 20 minutes all in. And we were soon on our way into one of my favorite cities!
Bottom Line: Cathay Pacific was one of the first airlines to offer reverse herringbone seats in business class, and is an altogether solid soft and hard product. In my opinion, these seats are the gold standard for business class seats with great privacy, comfort, space, and direct aisle access. Furthermore, Cathay easily has one of the finest crews of any airline, and among the best entertainment systems (behind Emirates, and Singapore). I can easily say that if I were ever flying to Asia again I would prefer to fly Cathay. Given this, the only thing lacking with Cathay is in flight WIFI, which is present on the flights of all its competitors. Once they add this, there really aren’t that many better ways to fly.