October 12, 2015

Review: Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 First Class, Hongkong-Frankfurt

Summer Trip Flying EVA Air Business Class on 777 & Hello Kitty Jet, Singapore Airlines Suites & Cathay Pacific First Class

Last summer, I travelled to the Philippines for the 70th birthday celebration of my father. It was a very short visit since I needed to be back home for work. I've always wanted to try EVA Air's Hello Kitty Jet so I booked my flight from Stockholm to Fukuoka using Avianca Lifemiles. From Fukuoka, I flew on a budget carrier to Tokyo, and from Tokyo I flew on Singapore Airlines Suites to Singapore, and then first class to Manila using my Kris Flyer Miles. On my way back to Stockholm, I flew on Cathay Pacific First Class and Finnair Business Class using my AA Advantage Miles. This trip allowed me to test EVA Air Hello Kitty, Singapore Suites and Cathay Pacific First Class all for the first time and I couldn't be more satisfied.

SAS Summer Pop Up Lounge, Arlanda T5 (ARN)
SAS Plus Stocholm-London
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge, London (LHR)
United Club, London Heathrow (LHR)
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, London-Bangkok
New EVA Air Lounge, Bangkok (BKK)
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, Bangkok-Taipei
Hotel Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air The Infinity Lounge Taipei (TPE)
EVA Air Premium Laurel Class Hello Kitty Jet, Taipei-Fukuoka
Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk
ANA Suite Lounge Satellite 5 T1 Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Tokyo-Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room, Changi Airport (SIN)
Singapore Airlines First Class, Singapore-Manila
Top Attractions in the Philippines
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, NAIA (MNL)
Cathay Pacific Business Class, Manila-Hongkong
Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge, Hongkong (HKG)
Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge, Hongkong (HKG)
Cathay Pacific First Class, Hongkong-Frankfurt
Air France-KLM Lounge, Frankfurt (FRA)
Finnair Business Class, Frankfurt-Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa
Top Attractions in Finland
Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki Airport (HEL)
Finnair Business Class, Helsinki-Stockholm

Cathay Pacific First Class caviar

Flight: CX 289
Departure in Hongkong: 00:25 (actual 1:33)
Arrival in Frankfurt: 6:35 (actual 7:30)
Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER
Flight duration: 12h 10m
Date of flight: July 15, 2015
Seat: 2K
*This is an award travel, First class flight #31

Introduction

I have never flown on Cathay Pacific in First Class before so I was really excited to see how they compare with other airlines offerings. I've read a lot of good reviews about their first class product and most bloggers have written that the service is one of the most consistent there is so I had high expectations before this flight. Fortunately, even with a delay of almost an hour and two slight problems during the meal service, I still enjoyed my first flight on Cathay Pacific in first class!

Lounge

Cathay Pacific has two first class lounges in Hongkong and during my transit, I was able to visit both: the newly opened The Pier First Class Lounge which is definitely one of the best first class lounges I have been to, and The Wing First Class Lounge with its famous cabanas!

Aircraft, Boeing 777

Cathay Pacific Boeing 77W upon landing in Frankfurt Airport

Boarding

Just as I was heading to the boarding gate, I noticed that there was a delay of almost an hour and instead of departing at 12:25am, the new departure time was scheduled at 1:10am. It was a blessing in disguise as it meant having enough time to visit The Wing, the other first class lounge in Hongkong Airport, together with my nephew.

Boarding started at 12:50am, about 20 minutes before departure, starting with the first class passengers, Cathay Pacific Diamond members and One World Emerald members. As I boarded, one of the flight attendants welcomed me and escorted me to my seat.

I don't mind giving priority boarding to elite members but when there is just one boarding door to be used, the first class cabin normally turns into an economy cabin where lots of non-first class passengers pass by the cabin.

Cabin

The cabin is one of the most spacious there is having only six first class seats in a 1-1-1 configuration. On that late night flight to Frankfurt, all seats were taken except for 2K.

Seat

My original seat was 2D which was a middle seat.

Cathay Pacific First Class LCD touchscreen controller

Cathay Pacific First Class seat controls

Again, just like on my business class flight from Manila to Hongkong, the inflight magazines were sealed in plastic.

Cathay Pacific First Class Amuse Bouche and glass of water

As soon as all the first class passengers were seated, the purser came to my seat and welcomed me on the flight. Shortly after, a female flight attendant came and took my predeparture drink order. I settled for a glass of water which was served with the Amuse Bouche which consisted of smoked salmon.

Since I noticed that Suite 2K was empty, I asked the flight attendant if I could transfer to that seat and I was allowed with no problem. So welcome to Suite 2K!

Cathay Pacific First Class ottoman

Suite 2K is much better since this is a window seat giving you nice views outside.

Shortly after settling in to my new seat, hot towels were offered.

Cathay Pacific First Class window and orchid

Cathay Pacific First Class wardrobe

Amenity Kit

Then it was time to be offered the first class amenity kit and the pajamas. I politely asked if I could have the female version which the flight attendant gladly gave.

The first class amenity kit consisted of Aesop Camel top zip case with button, Aesop Camellia Nut facial hydrating cream, Aesop Rind Concentrate hand & body balm, Aesop Rosehip Seed lip cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, earplugs, cotton pad, hairbrush, sleeve and monitor-cleaning cloth.

I was also given the first class pajamas which were of high quality but since the medium size were a bit large for me, I politely asked if I could have the small size instead. To my surprise, the flight attendant gave me the small set of pajamas and told me to keep the medium ones. Thanks so much! She also took my pants and shirt as I exited the lavatory and placed them inside the wardrobe located on the left side of my seat.

Entertainment

Cathay Pacific First Class wide screen personal TV with more than enough selection of good films

Cathay Pacific First Class BOSE noise cancelling headphones

Cathay Pacific First Class inflight magazine, duty free magazine and safety instructions card

Dining

Cathay Pacific First Class wine list and menu card

Having flown first class on Singapore Airlines a few days before this flight, I automatically noticed that the menu and wine list were not presented in a leather binder the way SQ does. Still they were nicely presented. I was also informed that I could order anytime during the flight.

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt Supper menu

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt Supper menu


Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt wine list

The champagne on board was no less than Krug Grande Cuvée while the two white wines were Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 2010 and Artisan The Sands Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013. The red wine selection included six top quality red wines from the Rhone Valley, Chateau Branaire-Ducru 4eme Cru Classe 2007 and Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010.


Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt drink list

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt Snacks menu

Shui gaw in noodle soup

Grilled Australian prime grain fed beef burger with Swiss cheese and pickled gherkin, served with tomato ketchup

Lamb, green pea and mint pie, roasted beet root with parsley

Haagen Dasz Ice Cream


Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt Breakfast menu


Cathay Pacific First Class caviar served with traditional garnishes of blinis, chive, cream fraiche and chopped egg

The Calvisius Caviar Venise (20 grams) was phenomenal and I would have asked for another serving if only it was allowed.


Cathay Pacific First Class Krug


Soup
Lentil harissa soup

During the flight, there were two female flight attendants who were working in the first class cabin. One of them was Hana, an always smiling young lady from South Korea. As she served me the soup, I couldn't help but wonder if I had ordered a clear soup or something like that as the only other soup on the menu was Papaya with pork, almond and peanut soup. I tasted a bit of the soup and decided not to ask Hana as to what the soup was. It later turned out that it was really lentil soup. The problem was that she was supposed to shake the container before serving it so everything would be blended but didn't know it until her colleauge told her so after the meal service. She was very apologetic though and told that me that she was pretty new in the first class cabin and that she could serve the lentil soup again if I wanted to which I thought was not necessary.

From the menu, there was also Mixed salad with kwai fa chicken with citrus vinaigrette from the International Favourites and Cold plate-bean curd with century egg and pork floss from the Chinese Favourites.

In comparison with other airlines' china in first class, Cathay Pacific uses the Noritake Bone china.

Main course
Porcini giganti tortelloni with mushroom sauce

The other choices were:

Grilled USDA prime beef tenderloin with red wine sauce and Bearnaise sauce, potatoes, roasted portabello mushrooms, asparagus and carrots

Steamed cod with preserved mustard greens and Chinese olives, served with steamed jasmine rice, Shanghainese pak choy and carrot

Dessert
Fresh berries with rose water syrup

The other choices were:

Warm caramel fig cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

Double boiled aloe vera with lotus seed and lily bulb

There was also the cheese selection Shropshire Blue, Tilsit Royalp, Pont l'Eveque, Camembert Le Pere which I skipped. Everything from the caviar to the dessert tasted phenomenal, well, except for the soup.

Time to sleep

Selfie wearing my Cathay Pacific first class pyjamas 😉

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt fully flat bed

After my very satisfying meal, it was time for the turn down service. I was also given a bottle of Evian water which was placed on the literature rack while I was in the lavatory. I was also informed of our arrival time in Frankfurt which is 7am and was asked which time I would like to have my breakfast. I told her I would love to have it served at 5:30am and that she could wake me up in case.


From the movie selection, I watched "While We're Young" and "Get Hard" which were nice films.

Lavatory

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt lavatory


Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt lavatory amenities from Aesop


Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt toilet

Breakfast

Cathay Pacific First Class Hongkong-Frankfurt fresh seasonal fruit, yogurt and tea

I had a very good night's sleep and woke up about two hours before landing. Breakfast was served starting with a plate of fresh seasonal fruits. I thought I'd skipped the juice and assorted cereals.

Grilled Australian prime grain fed beef burger with Swiss cheese and pickled gherkin, served with tomato ketchup

Instead of ordering from the main course selection, I asked Hana if I could have the burger from their snack selection and which she agreed to do. It took awhile before my burger was served and after having a few bites, I noticed that the meat was still uncooked. I then asked Hana to check it and after seeing that it was actually raw, was very apologetic. She took it to the galley to cook it more but then after about 5 minutes, she informed me that their micro was not working properly and that it would take another five minutes. I told her that I could just skip that but she insisted on serving it as soon as it was ready. As soon as it was served, I had a few bites and thought it was good but I wished I had ordered the Dim sum from the usual breakfast main course selection instead.

Breakfast Main Courses

Organic free range eggs - freshly scrambled, fried or boiled served with your choice of pan-fried potato cake with cheese and spring onion, Dingley Dell rasher of bacon, Cumberland sausage, roasted vine ripened tomato and parsley or sauteed mixed fresh mushrooms

Dim sum
Pork Siu mai with scallop, shrimp fun gor, pork and chive dumpling, bean curd, roll with vegetable

Congee with prawn and scallop, served with pan-fried turnip cake with preserved meat

Cathay Pacific First Class smoothie

Arrival at Frankfurt Airport

About 45 minutes before landing, I asked Hana if I could have a blanket as the duvet was a bit too thick. She informed me that they only have duvets in first class and that the blankets are only used on their regional flights. Although a bit strange for me, I guess that's the way it is on Cathay Pacific. Shortly after, the captain came on the PA and apologized for late arrival. He informed us that we sort of have picked up 30 minutes lost time although arriving in a remote area meant we would need to take a bus to reach the gate which also took sometime. Fortunately, I had more than enough time before my connecting flight to Helsinki. Hana once again came to my seat to apologize for the "soup" and "burger" and informed me that I could visit the lounge if I still feel hungry.

CONCLUSION

There it was, my first ever flight on Cathay Pacific in first class! First, I think that the crew did a wonderful job and even with the slight problems during the meal service, I thought that they were actually able to handle it well. The food served was phenomenal and the choices were really very good. I actually regret not ordering the salad and cheese during the dinner service. Hopefully next time. As for the seat, it was really very comfortable both as a seat and as a bed and definitely one of the best there is. Overall, I really enjoyed flying on Cathay Pacific and would not hesitate to fly with them again. To all the crew on this flight, thank you very much 😊


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