Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York to Vancouver

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific, Travel

I headed down to the gate at around 10:45PM, mainly because I was getting bored of the lounge and was curious to see what was happening in the terminal.

Terminal 7 New York JFK

The departure board said that the flight was departing at 11:10PM, though apparently the crew hadn’t even boarded yet.

Departure board Terminal 7 New York JFK

The flight was departing from Gate 6, which was rather crowded. The ground crew had the queues set up and looked as if they were about to start boarding, though clearly that wasn’t the case.

Cathay Pacific departure gate

Cathay Pacific departure gate

The crew showed up at around 11PM.

Cathay Pacific crew arriving

There was some other “excitement” at the gate. There was a teenage boy by the podium that was surrounded by two airport police officers. I figured he was in trouble or something, though after about five minutes they brought a wheelchair, and then another five minutes later two paramedics showed up with a stretcher. So that seemed to delay boarding even further, as they were blocking the gate with it.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER

Finally at around 11:15PM first and business class boarding began.

Cathay Pacific 889
New York (JFK) – Vancouver (YVR)
Saturday, March 29
Depart: 9:55PM
Arrive: 12:45AM (+1 day)
Duration: 5hr50min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1A (First Class)

I boarded through door two, where I was greeted by the inflight service manager, Mable. She welcomed me aboard by name and introduced me to her colleague, who walked me to my seat in the first class cabin. I was thrilled to find that this flight was being operated by an aircraft featuring Cathay Pacific’s refreshed first class cabin.

This was a project they announced the middle of last year, and so far a handful of aircraft feature the new product, as far as I know. For all the details on the differences between the old and new first class product, check out my previous post comparing the two.

Cathay Pacific’s first class cabin on the 777-300ER still has six seats, spread across two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration. They’re the only airline I can think of with three across seating on their longhaul 777s (Japan Airlines has three seats per row in first class on some of their regional 777s), so it is a very spacious product.

Cathay Pacific first class cabin 777-300ER

When traveling alone I always prefer sitting on the left side of the aircraft. The center seats have a wall to the left of them, which means you have two seats on the left aisle and four seats on the right aisle.

Cathay Pacific first class cabin 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific first class cabin 777-300ER

I had selected seat 1A. So what are the updates with the new first class product?

  • The seat is upholstered differently, with a similar though slightly more stylish material, in my opinion
  • The surfaces around the seat have been refinished, with more of a glossy wood theme
  • Instead of having simple seat controls there’s now a small touch screen control

As I said in the previous post, the new product is virtually identical to the old first class product. I’d say it’s lipstick on a pig, but perhaps the more accurate statement would be that it’s a little bit of extra makeup on an all natural supermodel.

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 1A

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 1A

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 2A

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 2A

Each individual seat has a closet, which I used to store my laptop bag. Then I placed my carry-on underneath the ottoman, where there’s plenty of room.

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 2A

Cathay Pacific first class 777-300ER, seat 2A

Cathay Pacific first class console 777-300ER

The seating and entertainment controls are still located to the left of the seat on the console. The entertainment controls remain the same, while the seating controls are now on a touch screen.

Cathay Pacific first class entertainment and seat controls 777-300ER

I found the old controls to be intuitive, so I’d say that change is a wash. Perhaps it’s a bit more “stylish” to have a screen, though the old buttons worked just fine.

Cathay Pacific first class seat controls 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific first class seat controls 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific first class seat controls 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific first class seat controls 777-300ER

Then behind the console was a storage unit for the headphones.

Cathay Pacific first class seat storage 777-300ER

Once settled in the lovely flight attendant taking care of my aisle introduced herself. Her name was Carrie, and she was phenomenal. You can usually tell with the first interaction how the service will be, and Carrie was one of those flight attendants where I knew right away what to expect.

She was very proper, yet at the same time had a great sense of humor, was constantly smiling, and genuinely seemed to love what she was doing. The last time I took this route the crew was Vancouver based, and Carrie immediately struck me as being Hong Kong based, given how “proper” she was.

So I asked where she was based, and she confirmed that the crew was indeed Hong Kong based. Regardless of whether the crew is Vancouver or Hong Kong based, this isn’t an especially easy flight to work. The crew works the redeye from Vancouver to New York, gets in at 7AM, has the day to sleep, and then works the evening flight back to Vancouver. But she was in good spirits, and when I mentioned she must be exhausted she said “oh no, this one is easy, it’s like a daytime flight based on Hong Kong time.

She asked what I wanted to drink, I asked for a glass of Krug, and she said “right away.”

Michael, the other first class flight attendant, served me the champagne. One thing I love about Cathay Pacific is that they consistently bring out the bottle, present it to you, and then pour the glass at your seat. Every single time in my experience, even on a 16 hour flight.


Krug is by far my favorite champagne (here are some of the best available in first class on different airlines), and Carrie was extremely attentive in keeping my glass full throughout the boarding process.

Cathay Pacific first class pre-departure champagne

I was also offered a hot towel.

Cathay Pacific first class pre-departure hot towel

Then I was offered an amenity kit, headphones, pajamas, and the menu and wine list.

Cathay Pacific first class amenity kit, pajamas, headphones, and menu

Cathay Pacific recently changed up their amenity kits from ACCA KAPPA to Aesop, though to be honest the differences are very minor, and I don’t think either kit is especially memorable.

Cathay Pacific first class amenity kit contents

The more controversial change, for some, is that Cathay Pacific switched up their pajamas from Shanghai Tang to PYE.

Now I know a lot of people weren’t happy about that change, because Shanghai Tang is undeniably a more recognized brand. That being said, unless I wanted to be a Chinese emperor during the Ming Dynasty for Halloween, I kinda feel like their pajamas weren’t especially stylish. The new PYE pajamas, however, are super comfortable and a bit more stylish, so I actually prefer them. Admittedly they do look a bit like Kim Jong Un’s “signature” outfit, but at least we’re not forced to get his signature haircut as well….

Cathay Pacific first class pajamas

Cathay Pacific first class pajamas

I was also excited to see that Cathay Pacific updated their headphones to Bose noise cancelling ones.

Cathay Pacific first class headphones

Shortly before our pushback the captain came on the PA to welcome us aboard and apologize for the delay. He explained that the inbound plane was late from Hong Kong due to weather there, and then on top of that had to wait for a gate at JFK. Apparently the Qantas plane occupying the gate had a mechanical issue, and was occupying the gate that the plane was supposed to arrive at.

The captain sounded (and looked) American/Canadian, so I’m not sure if he was New York or Vancouver based.

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again. I always get a bit sentimental (in a good way) with Cathay Pacific pilot announcements. Growing up I really wanted to be a pilot, and I always wanted to fly for Cathay Pacific. What I especially love about Cathay Pacific is how diverse their cockpit crews are. They have pilots based at almost all of their destinations, so when I hear a really professional pilot announcement on Cathay Pacific I get especially happy. Oh well, guess I really can’t complain too much, sitting just one seat behind the captain. 😉

The captain informed us of our flight time of 5hr15min, anticipating we would arrive in Vancouver shortly after 2AM.

At about 11:40PM the door closed (with four passengers in first class — me, a guy behind me, and a couple in seats 2D & 2G) and we began our pushback as the safety demo began to play.

At 11:50PM we made it to runway 4L, where we had a quick and smooth takeoff roll.

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

While the initial climb out was smooth, we hit some substantial turbulence about 15 minutes after takeoff. As a result the flight attendants had to stay seated for the first 45 minutes of the flight. Cathay Pacific doesn’t make StudioCX (their inflight entertainment system) available until after takeoff, so in this case it was turned on once we reached our cruising altitude, about 30 minutes after takeoff.

At that point I browsed the selection, which was extensive as always. I decided to watch a couple of episodes of Two Broke Girls.

Cathay Pacific StudioCX entertainment

Cathay Pacific StudioCX entertainment

About 45 minutes after takeoff Carrie appeared and apologized for the turbulence and wanted to see when I wanted to eat. “Mr. Schlappig, we are here for you, so whenever you want to eat you let us know.” I wanted to get some sleep, so chose to have supper right away. The other three first class passengers were continuing to Hong Kong, and immediately requested turndown service and slept the whole way, as far as I could tell.

Meanwhile the inflight service manager, Mable, appeared once again to welcome me aboard and wish me a nice flight.

The supper menu read as follows:


And the wine list read as follows (as far as I’m concerned they can stop after the first line):



Service began with drinks and nuts. I ordered a glass of Krug, which was served with cashews. Carrie showed me the bottle, poured it delicately, and finished with “cheers Mr. Schlappig, I hope you enjoy.”

Cathay Pacific first class Krug and nuts

So here’s the deal with Cathay Pacific’s meal service, and it’s what I consistently do — the starter always consists of salmon and/or caviar, which I always eat. Then they usually have a great salad and soup, which I eat as well.

Their main courses just aren’t typically good, in my experience, so I just skip them. On the western menu they always have either beef or pasta — the beef is almost always chewy, while the pasta could come out of a Lean Cuisine box. As far as the Chinese options go, I’ve never found them to be especially good when catered out of the US either.

Shortly after that she set my table and served me the appetizer. The appetizer consisted of cured gravlax and smoked salmon tartar. It was delicious. For what it’s worth, Cathay Pacific usually serves caviar and Balik salmon on their longhaul flights, but doesn’t have caviar on the Vancouver service.

Cathay Pacific first class supper starter — cured gravlax and smoked salmon tartar

I was also offered a bread basket, which consisted of two rolls, pretzel bread, and garlic bread.

Cathay Pacific first class bread basket

Next I was served the clam chowder, which was great as well.

Cathay Pacific first class soup — New England clam chowder

And then a Caesar salad with truly jumbo prawns. Yowzers!

Cathay Pacific first class salad — Caesar salad with jumbo grilled prawns

And lastly I had the dessert, with was a raspberry yoghurt cake. I’m never all that impressed by Cathay Pacific’s desserts, but this was one of the better ones. They do usually do a nice job on the presentation, at least.

Cathay Pacific first class dessert — raspberry yoghurt cake with raspberry coulis

The service throughout the meal was phenomenal from Carrie, and I really enjoyed the food I did have.

We hit quite a bit of turbulence towards the tail end of the meal service, about 90 minutes into the flight, so it had to be suspended for a few minutes. Maybe I’m just really unlucky, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a smooth Cathay Pacific flight. Maybe it’s just the routes I fly them on…

I have a theory. Clearly they do this intentionally to control their hot beverage costs. Hot beverages can’t be served when the seatbelt sign is on, so by strategically planning turbulence around the tail end of the meal service, surely they’re saving a lot of money on Hong Kong milk tea that they’d otherwise have to serve. 😉

Anyway, after dinner I quickly headed to the lavatory while Carrie made my bed.

The first class lavatory has been updated with the refresh as well, and while it’s not huge, it has a sleek design.

Cathay Pacific first class lavatory

Cathay Pacific first class lavatory

Cathay Pacific first class lavatory

Cathay Pacific first class lavatory toiletries

When I returned to the seat my bed was made, and there was a tray with pralines, a hot towel, and a fresh glass of Krug waiting for me. There was also a bottle of water.

Carrie appeared and said “Mr. Schlappig, I figured you wanted one more glass of Krug before you sleep. Please have a nice sleep, and if you need anything just push the call button and I will appear right away.” I jokingly asked “how did you know I wanted another glass of Krug?” and she responded “it’s our job to read your mind.”

I told her in advance that I’d love a cappuccino before landing if possible, as there’s no way I’d wake up without some caffeine.

Cathay Pacific first class bed 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific doesn’t have the most private seats, as they’re not fully enclosed or anything… but my gosh, they may just have the best beds in the sky. The seats don’t feel confined since they’re not “enclosed,” but at the same time they’re sufficiently private so that you don’t feel like you’re being watched. They’re huge as well, and they have top notch bedding. They definitely have one of my favorite beds in the sky.

Cathay Pacific first class bed 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific first class Krug and pralines

Cathay Pacific first class bottled water

I fell asleep with a bit over three hours to go to Vancouver, and woke up to the captain’s announcements 30 minutes before landing (they always make it 30 minutes out, as they finish the announcement with “cabin crew, 30 minutes till landing”).

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

As soon as I woke up Carrie appeared with a cappuccino and hot towel and asked how my sleep was.

Cathay Pacific first class pre-arrival cappuccino

As we began our final descent I headed to the lav to freshen up and change out of my pajamas.

Cathay Pacific StudioCX airshow

Our descent was smooth, and despite some really gusty crosswinds we must have had what was one of the most gorgeous touchdowns I’ve ever had on runway 8R.

Cathay Pacific nose camera

I watched the nose camera all the way to the gate, as it never ceases to amaze me how well pilots taxi on the center line.

Cathay Pacific nose camera

Cathay Pacific nose camera

We made it to our gate in Vancouver at around 2:15AM, and I hurried towards immigration, ready to get to a real bed. As usual, Canadian immigration was an adventure.

Vancouver arrivals hall

Bottom line on Cathay Pacific first class

Just phenomenal. Cathay Pacific doesn’t really shine in just one category, but rather all around — they’re one of the most “solid” all around airlines out there, in my opinion.

I’ve flown Cathay Pacific first class dozens of times before, but Carrie was one of the best flight attendants I’ve had. Cathay Pacific’s different crew bases come with different reputations. Ask a San Francisco based flight attendant what they think of their Hong Kong based counterparts and they’ll likely say they’re arrogant. Meanwhile ask a Hong Kong based flight attendant what they think of their San Francisco based counterparts and they’ll likely say they’re not polished.

Carrie was just perfect. Her service was poised and over the top, yet at the same time she did so in a way that seemed personable and sincere.

Cathay Pacific continues to have one of the best seats in the sky, whether it’s the “refreshed” product or not.

The food on Cathay Pacific remains good though not great. On longhaul flights I especially love their snack menu, which is usually almost better than the regular menu.

I love, love, love Cathay Pacific!

  1. Hi Lucky – great trip report as usual 🙂

    Should the line “surely they’re serving a lot of money on Hong Kong milk tea” read “surely they’re *saving*…”?

  2. You must normally always fly them into HKG, but I think you meant to say the pilot said you’d be landing in Vancouver, not Hong Kong 🙂 else that’s a crazy short flight between JFK and HKG!

  3. @ TheBeerHunter — Whoops, thanks. In my defense, it’s easy to get Hong Kong and Vancouver mixed up. 😉

  4. Awesome trip report! Cathay definitely sounds top notch service-wise. I’ve never flown CP but hope to in the near future. I don’t think they have direct flights out of ATL. I don’t know who they codeshare with. Of course I have crappy Delta miles…

  5. I love Cathay Pacific. With no plans to Asia any time soon, I might have schedule a trip to NYC the long way. 🙂

  6. Hello Lucky,

    How many AA miles for this award? And what is the best way to search for award space on this route?


  7. “Mr. Schlappig, we are here from you…”

    You meant she was here “for” you.

    Fun drinking game: take a sip of your alcoholic beverage of choice every time Lucky types out “Krug” or shows a flute of champagne in a picture. 2 sips if you’re actually drinking Krug while reading this 😉

  8. My wife always gets the Indian Vegetarian meal when we fly. Her entrees are always good and they’ll let you have the other courses from the main menu (probably would let you have two entrees too).

    I’ve found the fish entree to be decent but I agree, not on par with SQ.

  9. Hi Lucky – Awesome trip report as always. Enjoy your attention to detail and the insights. I will be in SEA 6/7-6/8. Would love to meet you in person and get some insights. Let me know if it would be convenient. Thanks

  10. @ RV — It would cost 32,500 AAdvantage miles for this segment alone, but I booked it as part of a 62,500 mile award between South America and North America, whereby I flew GRU-JFK on TAM and JFK-YVR on Cathay Pacific on the same award. After last week’s changes, such a stopover would no longer be allowed.

  11. Ben,

    How does one figure if someone “looks” American or Canadian? Having traveled and lived in many parts of the world, I still have no clue what someone from a multicultural country such as the U.S. looks like, especially when clad in uniform. :S

    Would you be so kind as to explain??

  12. I’ve chatted with several pilots who are certain, at least on the major taxiways, to taxi slightly off of centerline so that the nose gear doesn’t hit every light and send a thump-thump-thump-thump… through the cabin. Imagine how much skill it must take to drive just a couple of feet OFF of perfect centerline.

  13. @ Juergen — It’s a 3,000 word trip report, please don’t read too much into any one word. I meant that the captain struck me as American based on his accent and the way he enunciated words.

  14. Sorry to say this but Cathay Pacific treat you like a King all because you are either white or can speak fluent English/Cantonese. Cathay Pacific had a very very very bad reputation in treating passengers who can only speak Mandarin. Somehow, crew members felt very arrogant for working in a British company and superior than Mandarin speakers. There were lots of complaints posted in Mandarin discussion forum or blog.
    That’s reason why I only fly with EVA Airlines or Thai Airways since an unpleasant experience with CX. The crew members skipped me and served white passengers first even though I sat in 1A.

    So,yes. If I had a choice,I’d rather transit in Taipei and flew with nice and friendly EVA crew members.

  15. One thing that should be pointed out on the CX 777-300ER is that there are no overhead bins in F. Each seat gets a private closet which is big enough for your carry on and coat. It has a coat bar and hanger as well.

    The reason for no overheads is that the ceiling is dropped down over F, and there is a crew rest area above the F cabin. The stairs are right but the left entrance door – and on the seat side of the pass through (galley) to get to the right side.

    Hence – the 1x1x1 allows for the closet.

    There is also a crew rest area in the back cabin above the rest rooms.

  16. I might add – 2 of us flew CX F from HKG to JFK nonstop(end of Nov, 2013). Difference (other than multiple meals) is that the starting includes a big scoop of caviar. The steak is a NY strip (about 24 oz) way too much to eat – 1/3 is all one can eat.

    CX tends to push the western dishes on Americans, and the Chinese dishes tend to be held for the Chinese passengers.

    The FA’s also give you hand written welcome and thank you notes with your food service.

  17. Just to let you know regarding your captain, he was Vancouver based. NYC doesn’t have a flight deck crew base, just a cabin crew base which then again is fairly new which started about a year ago or so, and they only serve non-stop flights to and from JFK so that excludes the stop in Vancouver and the month old Newark service. Glad you enjoyed CX. You should try their new regional product. 😉 By the way, happen to recall the captain’s name by any chance?

  18. @Jixas,

    Cantonese and English are the two main languages of Hong Kong. Unless the flight to flying to/from Mainland China, why does the FA needs to be able to speak Mandarin?

    Do you expect an FA on Lufthansa flying FRA-HKG to be able to speak Mandarin also?

    Of course, that shouldn’t be an excuse for the FA skipping service. They should at least try using body language or, say, pointing to the menu.

    There is room for CX to improve, as always. However I sometimes feel like passengers from Mainland China tend to escalate their displeasure a lot more than CX’s traditional customer base.

  19. Hey Ben, what is the easiest way to book the JFK-YVR flight in F with AA miles? Was thinking of doing PHX-JFK-YVR-PHX.

  20. @ Tony — Well it’s 32,500 miles one-way. The one thing to keep in mind is that you can’t route a ticket from the US to US via Canada as that violates cabotage policy. So your ticket would need to originate in US and end in Canada or vv.

  21. No selfie in a restroom wearing that Kim Jong pajama?
    Come on Ben! What kind of trip report is that?

  22. Great report, Ben – sounds like a fabulous flight. Any idea what redemption availability is like on this route? Desert looked good but far too much by way of fish for my liking on the rest of the menu!

  23. @ Alan — Nowadays availability isn’t great in advance, though they do release a ton of space last minute.

  24. I have to say, with the exception of the Krug, the wine list on Cathay F is fairly pitiful. Most of those wines retail for like $15-25 range, with the exception of the (fairly terrible) Louis Jadot Meursault, which retails for $35-40. Not saying that price always means quality, but these are also pretty bad to boot.

  25. @s001130 I am not from mainland China. I am actually from Republic of China and had been worked in Shenzhen in the past several years. Cathay Pacific also had a really bad reputation in Taiwan.If you don’t believe it,just check many complaints in PTT.
    PRC and ROC are two largest markets of CX beside HKG(although Hong Kong is a part of PRC.)Shouldn’t CX have some crews speaking Mandarin? How hard could it be to find some one speak frequently Cantonese,Mandarin and English in Hong Kong?If crew members on EVA Air can speak Cantonese, how can crew members on CX do not speak Mandarin? Believe or not,flight attendants in Emirates told me that they will try their best to make sure their crew members speak every single language Business/First class passengers used.No matter it is from DXB-TPE or DXB-JNB.

    In my opinion, CX doesn’t deserve the title of Skytrax 5-star. If you don’t believe what I said,try EK or BR. Their crew members are way much more professional and professional than snobbish CX crew.

  26. I fly between Vancouver and NYC every couple of years – Cathy Pacific’s flight is my favourite even in economy. Perhaps because it’s one leg of a longer overseas flight, it offers better food and service than the solely North American flights. The 11pm departure from NYC is nice, too, as it gives tourists and extra day in New York, though I can appreciate that a 2:30 a.m. arrival in Vancouver can be problematic if you don’t live here!

  27. I don’t doubt that crew members from one region think less of crew from another region – all companies have politics to deal with.

    That said, I’ve flown JFK-HKG twice, once in First and once in Business, and just did SIN-HKG in Business last week. All the crew were super-friendly and efficient. And while we can all quibble, CX does a much better job than most.

    Incidentally, my flight up to HKG from SIN was meant to be on an A330, but was swapped for a 77W – which was continuing on to JFK. Didn’t have the new First, but was a nice surprise for the 3.5 hours I was aboard.

  28. @ Lucky @ M.M. – Then, Lucky, when are you moving? (If I’m not mistaken I think it’s tomorrow…)

  29. @Lucky – in your opinion which airlines provide the best noise cancelling headphones? I have trips coming up in First Class on Qantas & BA and in Business on Cathay and was wondering whether to pack my own. Thanks!

  30. @Jixas

    I agree that if CX wants to capture more business from Mainland China or Taiwan, they should have more crews that speaks Mandarin.

    But how does not knowing Mandarin makes a crew snobbish? ( Assuming that said crew does attempt to communicate with the passenger, e.g. with body language? )

    I do read PTT and some travel blogs from Taiwan and did read several complains from time to time. And from there I do see cultural factor in play.

    For example, a few years ago there is one incident that got on the news because the police was called. You can search this title: 國泰航空cx468誤點紀實

    The HKG-TPE flight was delayed from 7:55PM due to mechanical issues. Passengers starts to complain about the delay and CX decides to let people off the plane at 9:45PM.

    And then more complains because the poster says there is only entry level staff at the gate that only gives out delay certificate ( and not meal voucher )

    If this is in the States, I am guessing this would be a non-story. Delay happens. Even on a good day, a flight can be delayed for 45 minutes just for traffic at JFK/ORD/ATL etc.

    News article says the flight carries 400 passenger. It takes a lot of time to unload and reload the flight. If the captain thinks that the mechanical issue can be fixed relatively quick, it’s a reasonable decision to just wait instead of requesting a different plane immediately.

    The @Jixas

    I agree that if CX wants to capture more business from Mainland China or Taiwan, they should have more crews that speaks Mandarin.

    But how does not knowing Mandarin makes a crew snobbish? ( Assuming that said crew does attempt to communicate with the passenger, e.g. with body language? )

    I do read PTT and some travel blogs from Taiwan and did read several complains from time to time. And from there I do see cultural factor in play.

    For example, a few years ago there is one incident that got on the news because the police was called. You can search this title: 國泰航空cx468誤點紀實

    The HKG-TPE flight was delayed from 7:55PM due to mechanical issues. Passengers starts to complain about the delay and CX decides to let people off the plane at 9:45PM.

    And then more complains because the poster says there is only entry level staff at the gate that only gives out delay certificate ( and not meal voucher )

    If this is in the States, I am guessing this would be a non-story. Delay happens. Even on a good day, a flight can be delayed for 45 minutes just for traffic at JFK/ORD/ATL etc.

    News article says the flight carries 400 passenger. It takes a lot of time to unload and reload 400 passengers and luggages.

    If the captain thinks that the mechanical issue can be fixed relatively quick, it’s a reasonable decision to just wait instead of requesting a different plane immediately.

    In my opinion, I would also much prefer CX to give me the delay certificate rather than a meal voucher because I can then go eat at where ever I like and then write back to CX after the trip to request compensation or file insurance claims with travel insurance (if applicable )

  31. @s001130 I think you shifted the focus. The point is not about delay. It is about CX’s ignorance on people speak Mandarin. In most occurrences,crews of CX can indeed speak Mandarin(as the link said). But they chose not. They’d rather serve English speakers first and speak English throughout the flight even though there are significant passengers speak Mandarin on their plane. What makes CX even worse is that sometimes they don’t even ask passenger but judge the language passenger speak based on his/her race. My friends noticed not just once,but many times that CX crew members got very very excited when serve white passengers.

  32. @ Tom — To be honest it’s tough to beat Bose headphones in my opinion, which Cathay Pacific, American, and a few other airlines have. Both the BA and Qantas headphones are fine, if I recall correctly.

  33. @Jixas

    This may sound offensive to females in HK or Taiwan, but it is not uncommon for white males to get attention from Asian females.

    Also, how do you know those “foreigner” passengers aren’t Macro Polo clubs elites?

  34. Last time I flew CX’s F from YVR to JFK, they didn’t give away PJ and amenity kit. I did ask and they said they only distributed to passengers for cross Pacific meaning passengers between JFK and YVR won’t get anything. Do you know if they change policy? If yes, I am much ready to book their First class again between JFK to YVR.

  35. @ s001130 Honestly,I don’t know. But i do know I was the Macri Polo clubs elites and the service I received couldn’t compare to the service received by the white gentleman sat close to me. The flight attendant frequently asked his needs,yet rarely came to serve me besides routine service. I had to wait for a long time for her service yet I sat in 1A, which supposed to get the service first.

  36. @Jixas

    So how is it in Bitter Class? Also “The flight attendant frequently asked his needs” seems to fly in the face about everything Lucky has told us about CX service in first (ie, they aren’t proactive at all but offer a very solid reactive service). Sounds like he was a CX pilot who was in first, for whatever reason, and the FA knew who he was.


    This isn’t Lucky’s first rodeo on CX. Other than the info about the crew resting area, we pretty much know the rest already…

  37. @ wwk5d Yes, because both Lucky and that passenger are white. Lots of Hong Kong people in CX feel white people are superior than Mandarin speakers.

  38. @Jixas

    I fail to see your logic here.

    You said the CX FA frequently ask the white passenger in your flight for his needs.

    Lucky often say CX FA are not proactive (but solidly reactive), that means they don’t actively ask him for his needs.

    So, how did you come to the conclusion that it is because both Lucky and that passenger are white?

  39. @Jixas

    You do realize nobody believes you, and if anything, you yourself sound like someone who has an irrational hatred of both CX and people from Hong Kong?

    Also, you missed the point about proactive and reactive service on CX, regardless of race. But I guess logic, common sense, and basic reading comprehension don’t quite fit into your narrative of trying to slag on HK/CX…

  40. I cant believe they serve Chrystal Geyser water in F. Last time i had to ask for a diff brand. Theres a nasty after taste. Id rather have a bottle of Watson or Cool!

  41. @ Shannon — Hmmm, I’ve only flown the route from JFK-YVR and not the other way around. Maybe they offer it westbound but not eastbound.

  42. Lucky, a couple questions as I fly CX. In august from HKG-LAX…
    1) how bumpy are the flights on these routes? My gf is a nervous flyer ugh.
    2) how is krug pronounced? Like mug or crew? Or something else?
    3) are the mains out of hkg not good?
    4) any idea if they use bottled water to make the tea? I’ve always heard don’t drink coffee on planes due to water tanks. Thanks

  43. @ Jeremy —

    1) I mean Pacific flights in general do seem to pick up some bumps, but usually it isn’t too bad.
    2) “Krewg.”
    3) I’m not a fan of Cathay Pacific’s mains in general, but they should be as good out of Hong Kong as anywhere else.
    4) I believe they use water from the tank, unfortunately.

  44. @ Tom – Singapore also uses Bose and, like Lucky said, they are great (as much as people don’t like other Bose products, their noise-cancelling headphones are generally well-regarded). Even if you aren’t listening to anything, they help to drown out the noise/humming.

  45. Couple of basic questions about this route

    1) Can I book this via Alaska miles?
    2) How many hours of sleep can you get on this flight? For example, how much flying time do you have after dinner?
    3) At 37,500 Avios miles one way, is this a good redemption value wise?

  46. @ Anthony —

    1) You can for 50,000 miles in business or 70,000 miles in first class.
    2) Assuming you finish dinner in 90 minutes and wake up 30 minutes before landing, that’s a solid three hours of sleep.
    3) I’d say so. Best use is ultimately 67,500 American miles one-way between the US and Asia, but this isn’t bad either.

  47. Hi,

    is there any chance of getting 2 award seats on the flight. And if so, is just close to departure more likely or do they open a couple of seats 12 months out?

  48. @ Flo — There’s generally decent availability far in advance, and last-minute availability is generally quite good.

  49. I’m sorry, I posted that on the wrong post. That was actually for royal laurel hello kitty class in 2013.

  50. Lucky, I saw in one of your posts that you don’t really get jet lag anymore. My future wife and I will be traveling from HKG-YYZ-LGA-DCA, we’re currently booked in business class but I’m hoping Cathay opens up some first class award seats so we can upgrade and fly first class for the first time! 🙂 Would you say jet lag is significantly less when traveling in the comfort of first class? We make it home at 6:20pm and have to work the next day

  51. @ JC — Yes, I’d say in premium cabins it’s much easier to get over jetlag, since you can arrive well rested. The evening arrival in the US is also great if you have to work the next day.

  52. Totally random comment to dredge up a post from the past, but I just had Carrie on a first class flight from ORD to HKG and she was one of the best flight attendants I’ve ever encountered. Completely agree with all of your comments about her phenomenal service.

  53. Hi Lucky

    This is a response to both you and “Tim” regarding the turbulence that Cathay apparently seeks out.

    As a very frequent flyer, you are probably aware that a great deal of the turbulence we encounter isn’t associated with any sort of cloud formation. It’s known as clear air turbulence (CAT) in our jargon.

    Our 777/330/350 radars are designed and built to detect weather. For that reason, they’re called “weather radar”. Not “turbulence radar” or “smooth air” radar. Weather. It does that job very well, and the radar we have on the 777-300 ER is excellent, probably the best radar I’ve used in my 26,000 logged flying hours.

    So register that one first. To avoid turbulence, you have to be able to detect it.

    You may well ask “won’t PIREPS (pilot reports) help then?”.

    Yes, they would, if there were other aircraft in the same route AT THE SAME TIME. Remember, weather, and turbulence, moves. What was reported 2 hours ago probably isn’t valid anymore. We need current, accurate reports to avoid it.

    We fly some very unique routes, with often very few other aircraft using the route at any time. The routes are also random, as the flight planning software takes advantage of the jetstreams and weather patterns to reduce the flight time as much as possible. What route CX880 flies may not be the same as what CX838 flies, although some portions will be common.

    So the second point is: unpredictability.

    Flying a 777 from HKG to EWR is no small feat. There’s an extraordinary amount of planning, marketing and technical expertise that goes into any route we fly. Seats are sold to maximise yield and cargo (a huge revenue generator for CX) needs to move. Airplane seats are filled, bellies and fuel are loaded and before you know, the aircraft is at its maximum weight.

    The margins on EVERYTHING are wafer thin, and the fuel we load is calculated, very carefully, to the exact amount needed. Not too little, not too much. Just right. Carrying too little has its obvious consequences, but so does carrying too much. It may surprise you to learn that on a typical ULH flight, up to 50% of the EXTRA fuel we carry will be consumed in the act of simply carrying the fuel. Put in an additional 1000 gallons in the tanks in HKG, 500 gallons will be left over in LAX.

    Third point: no extra fuel. No room for it, beyond the design of the plane, and just expensive.

    So, why don’t we just fly around, over or under the turbulence?

    Efficiency. Sometimes (most times) we’re at the aerodynamic limit of what the aircraft can do. Laws of physics apply. Can’t outclimb the turbulence. Why not descend? Flying lower than our optimum altitude costs fuel. A lot of fuel. 2 or 3% more. It’s not peanuts, it’s the difference between making it nonstop or not. The margins are thin in everything to do with flying and flight/fuel planning is no exception.

    That’s the 4th point. Performance.

    We’re not uncaring. We don’t take “the freight approach”. We hate bouncing around as much as you. We’d avoid it if we could, believe me.

    Yes, I fly for CX. I’m a senior captain on the 777, and I’m proud of the airline and it’s product.

    Cut the cabin crew some slack. It’s a tough job dealing with the public and looking good doing it. They’re trying hard and I believe they deserved the “world’s best cabin crew” from skytrax. My 02c

  54. Hey Ben,

    I’ve always taken home the menus on Cathay flights without asking since I guessed they would have a new menu every flight.

    So, with that said, are passengers actually allowed to take the menus homes?

  55. Just flew this on Monday and there are some BIG changes on this route. I used this review as a basis for comparison and to get a sense of what to expect, but was actually quite underwhelmed for my first time in CX F.

    Amuse Bouche on the ground is gone
    Menu has been scaled down significantly:
    No more caviar
    Soup OR Salad (was told it’s one or the other – I suppose I could’ve pressed it if I wanted both, though)
    Things that were listed on the snack menu in this review are now the Entrees! My entree choices were Salmon, BBQ Duck in noodles, or Jumbo prawn Salad.
    No note during meal (I suspect this was more due to the YVR based crew, though, who were ‘blah’)

    It was very watered down, and I was quite surprised. Regular things like pajamas and Krug remain, however.

    Just an update…

  56. I will be in 1A from ORD to HKG next week on Cathay Pacific. Thank you for all the tips. It required a daily call, but about 7 days ahead of my flight a seat opened up. I would have been happy on AA but now instead of a 7am flight to get to DFW, I’m non-stop on a flight at 3:35pm. I’m not as concerned about the return flying though DFW. I will be able to experience and compare AA First with CP First and seeing I don’t drink, the Krug factor doesn’t apply to me.

  57. Lucky,
    I see that you booked this flight with AA miles as a part of GRU-JFK-YVR-SEA, so I guess we can book this leg only with AA miles as well? The cost will be 25k+7.5k lie flat surcharge, so 32.5k? If so, it seems like a better deal than booking with AS miles or BA avios.

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