I’ve got seat 1A booked, as I’m queuing at the gate I’m behind someone in seat 23D. Assuming she had status, so fair play to her but still slightly annoying when you’re upfront and someone is boarding before you. Especially when you consider the tickets retail at £18,000.
First impressions onboard. Shit the bed! I knew there were only 6 seats in the first cabin but you don’t realise how big those seats are until you see them in person. Absolutely massive, you could fit 2 of me on. Another thing I noticed was all the business class passengers boarded through the same door which was bad form by Cathay. You shouldn’t have people traipsing through first when you could have business board from the middle ahead of everyone else in economy.
When you board the Cabin Service Director guides you to your seat and introduces themself. In that introduction, they ask if you would like a pre-departure drink, a hot or cold refreshing towel and if you would like some warm coated nuts (which are highly addictive).
Cards on the table, I’m not a fan of bubbly. Regardless of how much it costs, it never tastes good in my opinion. With that being said when they serve Krug Vintage 2004 which retails at £250 a bottle, I’ll put myself out for the sake of the blog…
Sofa, definitely a sofa.
As soon as you sit down you know your flight ahead is going to be a good one. So comfortable, like a memory foam mattress I suppose, soft yet semi firm. Again, it’s just massive.
Plenty of adjustment though it is through using a touch screen (I’m a buttons kind of guy). Recline, put the leg rest out, go flat, it does it all. Built into the seat is a nice feature for adjustable lumbar support which doubles down as a back massager which is very nice. There’s an armrest that folds down at a nice height.
The footstool is also on the large side, so much so that it can be used as a seat. It even comes with a seatbelt, this becomes handy when you’re having a meal with someone and you hit a patch of turbulence. Instead of them having to return to their own seat, they can just buckle up.
The whole first class cabin has no overhead luggage bins. I’ve been on ‘planes like Qatar’s A350-1000 where there are no overhead bins over the centre seats in business class but none what so ever was a first for me. I believe they have done this to try and maximise the feeling of space. With that in mind, you have one main compartment just in front of your seat which is more than large enough to store a roller bag along with a whole host of other items stacked on top. Your coat/jacket even has its own hangar should you be travelling with a suit or dress.
You then have a few random things, like a little cubby hole in your armrest whilst not big enough for a pair of headphones, laptop/phone chargers etc all go nicely.
Another one is directly in front of you, perfect for a bottle of water and wide enough to house a 15″ laptop in a protective sleeve or a few magazines.
If you do have 2 hand luggage bags that are a decent size you can always put one underneath the footstool which is both out of the way yet easy to access (say if it’s full of camera lenses).
The table gets its own mention as its a crucial part of the experience. Like everything else, It’s big, very big. As it sits flush height-wise with the rest of the wooden shelf, you have almost all of your area as a desk, inducive to productivity.
Regardless of the choice you make for breakfast warm patisserie pastries will be served alongside your selection. Fresh fruit is one choice.
Cereal is another with a choice of either full fat or semi-skimmed milk.
If you want the authentic experience you’ll want to order the Dim Sum.
Or if you’re the kind of person set in their ways, you can have a Full English.
Or soup as a starter
Lobster as a main…
Or a burger.
A selection of cheese for desert number 1.
Fianlly wrapping up the meal with ice cream and a tart for desert number 2.
On request, a cabin crew member will convert your seat into a very snug bed. Starting by reclining the seat into a fully flat position. The upright of the armrest also raises up to add an extra bit of width, not that it’s needed.
Next up the secret sauce in the way of a thick mattress topper, a duvet, a blanket and a pillow. I found the pillow too thin and had to use the cushion underneath to get some volume. The duvet was okay however if you really wanted warmth then you had to use the blanket also.
There are 2 bathrooms for 6 people. With 2 members of staff, they are always spotless, so much so that I had no qualms walking in my socks. I bet you can’t say that about your last flight. A proper sink, taps and wooden cabinets await. Unfortunately, it’s just a standard airline toilette. No Shower, but then again it’s a 777, not an A380…
Just like in Cathay’s lounges their partnership with Aesop continues 35,000 feet in the air.
Depending on your preference the average-sized TV can be stored in the wall-mount position or it can be effortlessly brought out on a hinge. Basically, if you lie down on your right side or are sitting up, you’ll want it in the wall-mounted position. Anything else and the press of a button and you’re free to move the hinge.
Just like the size, the quality is okay. Nothing to complain about it’s just you’re expectations are a lot higher (think 32″ 4k) when it comes to first class.
Without listing every film, book, game, album etc that’s available; I will say there’s more than enough brand new and old quality content that will keep you entertained. 2x 16 Hour flights in a week and I didn’t have to rewatch anything nor did I get bored.
The earphones are provided by Bose, their QC35’s if you’re curious. Unless you’ve got some Sony WH-1000XM’s then leave you’re cans at home. These are perfect for flying with their noise cancelling and comfy cups, I’m just not a fan of the sound profiles.
“Would you like some icecream?”
Attention to detail at it’s finest. The cabin Service Director noticed I was watching a film in bed and asked if I would like some ice cream to eat whilst I watch my film. NGL I was giddy as a kipper, it didn’t even phase me that it wasn’t Häagen-Dazs.
Paying up to £15,645 for a 1-way ticket in first-class from HKG to JFK is, well, big bucks. The thing is, it’s a decent price and I can say that with a straight face. The NJ25 card runs at £250,000 for 25 hours of flight time, yes it’s not the best comparison as you’re giving up quite a bit, but at an hourly rate at 1/10th of the price…
Here’s the thing though, after landing from a 16-hour flight, I was at Wall Street by 09:10 feeling amazing and that was without taking a helicopter from JFK.
It’s a hell of an experience. If you’ve got 123,750 Avios and a few hundred quid, you can book LHR-HKG. Not the best use of points IMHO but it is a nice way to fly. Alternatively, HKG-BKK is only a short hop but if you really want to try first class it’s 40,000 Avios + £39.