Review: Cathay Pacific First Class ORD to HKG

I know that Cathay Pacific First Class has been reviewed to death, but this flight was one of the best flights I’ve ever had. The flight attendant was absolutely incredible, and I ordered a VGML for this flight, so that will at least be novel. I’ll skip the pictures of the hard product.

The 77W taking us to Hong Kong

The 77W taking us to Hong Kong

On this flight, I was pretty sure that the first class cabin was just people who had used miles. There were two youngish American couples in first class plus me. I booked my ticket at the last moment, so unless these couples were rolling in it, I imagine that they had booked their tickets pretty far in advance for their honeymoons or something.

Cathay’s seat is one of my favorite first class hard products. It’s giant and comfortable. It’s not an enclosed seat, but I’ve never felt that privacy was an issue with these seats.

One of the most comfortable seats in the sky

One of the most comfortable seats in the sky

I’m also in love with Cathay’s amenities. When I took this flight (a very long time ago), they had just switched amenity kit providers, so the first class amenity kit was made by Aesop. They still have the PYE pajamas, which I love.

PYE pajamas and the new(ish) Aesop amenity kit

PYE pajamas and the new(ish) Aesop amenity kit

I asked for a Hong Kong style milk tea, but for some reason, they couldn’t serve that prior to departure (I’m really not sure why since they just make it from a powder). And they also couldn’t serve me sparkling water. So I ended up with some green tea to go with my VGML pre-flight appetizer. At first, I thought it was fruit in a mousse, but it was in fact hummus and vegetables. I enjoy both of those things, so I thought that it was tasty.

VGML appetizer of hummus with vegetables and some tea

VGML appetizer of hummus with vegetables and some tea

I could immediately tell that Carrie, the flight attendant serving the first class cabin, was awesome. In most cases, I think you can tell very quickly if the flight is going to be remarkable or not. She was fun and gracious at the same time. She also offered to let me try the non-VGML appetizer of crab, after she confirmed that I was okay with eating something not vegetarian. If you like crab, you’d probably like the appetizer, but I preferred the hummus.

Normal crab appetizer with avocado and citrus

Normal crab appetizer with avocado and citrus

Menu for the flight

Menu for the flight

Non-alcoholic drinks

Non-alcoholic drinks

Drink menu

Drink menu

I think that Cathay’s caviar service is great. They have blinis, all the fixings, and a Cathay Pacific-branded caviar spoon. You might notice a glass of Krug in the photo, which was poured because¬†Carrie insisted that I drink some champagne.

Caviar service

Caviar service

No metal spoons here

No metal spoons here

For the main course, the VGML was an Indian-inspired dish of chickpeas, rice, and eggplant. It’s essentially a business class meal plated as a first class dish. But the food was tasty, which is what matters. I would order and eat it again, and I’d be happy to eat this at an Indian restaurant.

VGML entree of chickpeas, rice, and eggplant

VGML entree of chickpeas, rice, and eggplant

For dessert, I took advantage of the red bean soup. They’ll serve it hot or cold (I chose hot). This is a super Asian dessert and super comforting to me.

Red bean soup for dessert

Red bean soup for dessert

Berries and cream

Berries and cream

They lowered the cabin temperature after the meal service, so the cabin was nice and cool for sleeping. No overheating this time. After sleeping for a couple of hours, I woke up and decided to have a snack given the length of the flight. First up was the fruit plate and berry smoothie.

Fruit plate and smoothie

Fruit plate and smoothie

I then asked for the wonton noodles with two fried eggs on the side. Cathay offers made-to-order eggs for their breakfast service, so I wondered if they’d bat an eyelash if I asked for some fried eggs to accompany my noodles. I think the flight attendant was a little confused at first by exactly what I wanted, but I did get the noodles and eggs so I could add the eggs to the noodles.

Asked for the noodles with two fried eggs

Asked for the wonton noodles with two fried eggs

Right before landing, we had breakfast. The VGML breakfast consisted of a cheeseless omelet with peppers and onions and an assortment of sides (spinach, potatoes, tomato, and mushrooms). I’m not sure why they include an omelet in a VGML since a VGML is supposed to be free of eggs and dairy products, but the omelet was pretty tasty. The sides were less tasty. In general, I think the mid-flight snacks are tastier than the second meal service items, so I wouldn’t hesitate to order those instead of breakfast.

VGML breakfast of a cheeses omelet with peppers, onions, and sides of spinach, tomato, potatoes, and mushrooms

VGML breakfast

Given that Carrie noticed how excited I was about the flight, she brought me one of the new (at the time) business class amenity kits. The business class kit contains Jurlique products, and the bag is a little nifty.

Contents of the business class amenity kit

Contents of the business class amenity kit

Overall, this was one of the best flights I’ve ever taken. So what makes service good? For me, it’s the small touches: always being addressed by name, making sure not to interrupt when you’re in the middle of something, being gracious, attending to small details like the position of items on the table, reading the passenger to know how to interact with them, noticing when you need things before you know you need them. This was the most proactive Cathay crew I’ve had, and they were¬†one of the best crews I’ve ever had on a flight.

7 thoughts on “Review: Cathay Pacific First Class ORD to HKG

  1. Mike

    You’ve flown Cathay business? How much nicer is first over business class? If on points budget, is it worth 100% more points for first over business? 50%

    Reply
  2. Geoff

    Echo Mike’s question. Business seems easier to obtain than F. And assuming one really wants F is it even available these days? Flying to HKG on short notice is a strain and I understand that 10 or 11 months out an F seat is a unicorn.

    Reply
    1. Edward Post author

      Business class is great, but first class is more of an experience. If you just want a comfortable flight with good service, go for business class.

      F availability exists, but it’s definitely not as easy as it’s been in the past, and finding more than 1 seat can be challenging.

      Reply
  3. Stephan

    Just wondering why you are so condescending about your F class seatmates, given that all you can do is make assumptions? Why does anyone reading this TP care whether the other pax would have used miles or not? Or whether they are sufficiently wealthy to a buy last minute ticket (like you?) How does that in any way contribute to or enhance this TP?

    Reply
    1. Edward Post author

      Didn’t mean to be condescending, but remarking because I think it’s interesting if Cathay is filling their first class cabins with passengers paying cash vs passengers paying miles. Could have very different implications for the future of award travel!

      Reply

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