What It's Like to Fly First Class on Cathay Pacific
A few months ago, I managed to use my Asia Miles to redeem first class tickets on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Paris, and while I have traveled on business class quite a few times, it was my first time traveling on first class so I thought I would document my experience and share what it was like! My journey started at the airport where I stopped by the The Pier First Class Lounge which had been newly renovated last year (there are two CX first class lounges at the Hong Kong International Airport but supposedly The Pier is the better one). The first class lounge at The Pier is smaller than the neighboring business class lounge but what it lacked in size, it made up for it with more luxurious offerings and services.
First off, the biggest difference is that you can order from an a la carte menu at the first class lounge! Everything sounded really good and I didn't expect much from lounge food at first but all of my starter, main and dessert turned out to be delicious.
The Fragrant Chicken with Chinese lettuce and peanut chili dressing was just spicy enough to whet my appetite.
J had highly recommended the Chef's Specialty Angus Beef Burger with truffle mayonnaise, onion confit and Gruyere cheese and it was every bit as indulgent as it sounded. It was also even better than some of the burgers served in restaurants in Hong Kong.
The Strawberry Tart was sweet and light - a nice ending to my lounge meal.
If you don't have time to sit down for a meal before your flight, you can also grab some snacks to go from the pantry where a variety of pastries, cheese and sandwiches are offered.
Or grab a drink at the beautifully designed bar area! You can order the tipple of your choice and I ended up trying one of the signature cocktails Cathay Delight which was quite refreshing.
Another popular service at the first class lounge is complimentary massage. Pro tip - go put your name down when you first arrive at the lounge because the wait can be hours long! You can choose from 3 types of massage (foot, shoulder or eye) and while 15 minutes may be short, it's still enough to leave you invigorated before your flight.
Lastly, I checked out another unique feature at the lounge which is the Day Suite where you can work or even take a nap in total privacy (warning - you are responsible for waking yourself up)! There are 8 suites in total and all of them have window views of the runway.
There's enough space to completely lie down in suite to take a nap.
Finally it was time to board and for my flight from HKG to CDG, we flew in a Boeing 777-300ER. The seats were wide and long so I was very comfortable (I'm 5'4") whether I was sitting or sleeping. The seat does recline 100% in a fully flat bed, and when you do want to sleep, the staff will turn down your bed with a mattress pad and duvet covers. Service is also phenomenal. They have 2-3 staff taking care of all 6 first class passengers and every time they talk to you, they will address you by your surname without looking at their cheat sheet. They were very (and I mean very) friendly and did their best to make sure all your needs were taken care of.
One of my favorite amenities were these super comfortable pajamas made with 100% organic cotton and designed by Hong Kong brand PYE. The pajamas and slippers were so comfortable, I even took them with me so I can wear them at home.
The gender-specific amenities kit came with toiletries from Aesop with different creams for men and women.
The TV screen for the in-flight entertainment system is a little big bigger than the ones in business class (I think) and we also got to use this noise-cancellation headphone from Bose.
And onto my favorite part of the review - the food and drinks! And the rumors are true - you do get Krug champagne and caviar in first class! Okay so the caviar may not be the best but who's going to say no to champagne and caviar right? [Update: based on our latest experience in December, CX is no longer serving Krug in First Class. Instead they are serving Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 which was decent but we still prefer Krug.]
For food, since I was flying out at midnight I was given a supper menu where you can choose from International or Chinese Favorites. I wasn't that hungry to be honest since I had stuffed myself at the lounge earlier but ended up ordering the international menu anyways. I think the selection is already better than business class but the flavors were just okay to be honest - airplane food is still airplane food at the end of the day.
Cauliflower Cream Soup
Salad with Tandoori Prawn and Mint Yoghurt Dressing
Rigatoni with Spinach, Tomatoes and Cafe de Paris Sauce
Here are the breakfast and wine menus as well as the lunch menu I had on the way back.
When it was almost time to land, I woke up to have breakfast which included freshly scrambled eggs! I'm surprised that they were able to make fresh scrambled eggs in the air which turned out to be pretty decent actually.
When it was time to leave, I had one last thing to make me feel special - fast track to help me speed through security at Charles de Gaulle airport!
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