Cathay Pacific First Class Review 777-300er Paris to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific has a long standing record for having one of the best first class products in the world. It’s long-haul service onboard the 777-300er features a very private cabin of only six seats, which turn into some of the most generously spaced flatbeds in the sky.
I’ve wanted the try Cathay Pacific First Class for some time, but unfortunately, they don’t operate that many first class configured flights to and from Australia. Luckily our annual Europe holiday came around, and I managed to book myself onto my first CX F flight departing Paris (CDG) to Hong Kong (HKG). For the journey back to Perth from Europe, I decided to take my time and booked the following flights: Cathay Pacific First Class Paris-Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines First Class Suites Hong Kong-Singapore, Singapore Airlines First Class (refurbished) 777-300er Singapore-Melbourne and finally Qantas Business on the new A330 from Melbourne to Perth.
Booking Cathay Pacific First Class:
Cathay Pacific run their own points program called Asia Miles which is (like Qantas and many others) a One World reward program. For those living in Australia, the easiest way to earn Asia Miles is with American Express. Amex MR points transfer to AM (Asia Miles) at a 1:1 ratio which is fantastic. The best card for earning Asia Miles is by far the Amex Explorer (now with 50,000 bonus points when you sign up with this link!) which earns Asia miles at a higher rate of 1.5 points per dollar spent.
For a one way trip from CDG-HKG I paid a total 105,000 Asia Miles + HKD 1039 (roughly AU$165). Outstanding value!
This works out even cheaper if you were to do a return trip, which is only 180,000AM + tax. The retail price of this ticket is typically over EURO 4000 one way.
Alternatively, you can use Qantas Frequent Flyer points, a one-way ticket will cost you 134,000 QF points + EURO 113 in taxes. If you already have a Qantas points balance you can boost this by 100,000 points when you apply for the Amex Ultimate card.
At the airport:
If you’ve ever flown out of Paris, you will know it’s a maze so leave plenty of time to find your check-in area and clear security. Cathay Pacific departs from terminal 2A and has its check-in area all the way to the far end. Check-in was smooth (as expected) and of course, there is no waiting as a first-class passenger. Once checked in you will need to walk all the way back to 2A to the middle (opposite McDonald’s) and go down the escalators to the security clearance. There is a dedicated express path for business and first-class passengers so be sure to use it.
Once you clear security, head back up the escalators on the other side, and voila, you’re in the departure terminal! The Cathay Pacific Business and First Class mixed lounge is located between Hermes and Prada and can be accessed by taking an elevator up one level.
Cathay Pacific Lounge Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport:
The Cathay Pacific lounge in Paris is not on par with the offering in Hong Kong Airport, but it’s not bad by any means. It has a great variety of seating options with great views over the tarmac. There is a small restaurant section with some a-la-carte food options as well as the standard buffet and drink station.
The window seating consists of the famous Cathay Pacific Solus chair which is a mini workstation pod with power adaptors and small desk space designed by Foster + Partners. It’s great for privacy while still giving you a perfect view over the tarmac for some plane spotting.
The lounge also has a small business centre with complimentary Mac computers for those looking to get some work done on the go. The Cathay Paris lounge is located right next to the American Airlines lounge, so if you get bored, lounge hopping is an option.
Boarding Cathay Pacific First Class:
After spending some time in the lounge I noticed the boarding gate had opened, a short walk later I arrived at the gate which had three separate boarding lanes: Economy, Business and First. Of course, there was no queue for those flying first class, and as I entered the plane, all other F passengers had already taken their seats.
Today was a full house in Cathay’s First Class cabin!
Before I could even take my seat, a friendly flight attended had offered me a glass of champagne, amenity kit and pyjamas + slippers.
The Cathay Pacific Frist Class Seat:
Cathay Pacific’s Fist Class cabin consists of 6 massive seats; it’s worth keeping in mind that the centre seats are accessed via the right-hand side of the cabin which means 1A and 2A have their own isle. This offers a great degree of privacy, and when flying with two people, it would almost feel like a private jet since the huge middle seats make a great divider.
Cathay’s first class seats are some of the biggest, functional and most importantly comfortable seats in the sky. Even though they are not suites with closing doors like Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines offer, they are very private none the less.
The seat is also perfect for lounging. The monitor folds out and can be adjusted so you’re always guaranteed a comfortable viewing angle.
The Cathay Pacific First Class dining table is huge and designed for two people to dine together.
The ottoman has its own seatbelt so your travelling companion can join you for an extravagant caviar and champagne session in the sky.
When it’s time to get some sleep, the crew turn the massive seat into a comfortable bed with a plush mattress topper. The bed is 100% flat (unlike Emirates first class which still has a tiny slope at the end of the the seat) and most importantly wide! It’s so wide; you can easily sleep on your stomach with arms on both sides.
Cathay Pacific offers an organic cotton set of pyjamas which are lightweight and very comfortable to sleep in. The amenity kit and bathrooms are stocked with Aesop products which I love.
Cathay Pacific First Class Food & Drinks:
Cathay Full Beverage Menu (click to see full image)
Cathay Pacific Full Dinner menu Paris to Hong Kong (click to see full image)
On the food side, menus seem to differ from flight to flight, and on this particular occasion, I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality. I started off with the Cathay Pacific Signature “Caviar & Champagne”. I skipped the soup and opted for the lobster salad which had a good portion of lobster tail but was pretty boring otherwise; followed by the sea bass for my main.
I had one bite of the fish, and unfortunately, it was dry and bland with rubbery skin and undercooked rice. I didn’t touch it and instead moved onto a simple dessert of berries and ice cream.
Cathay Pacific Caviar:
The caviar served by Cathay in first class is produced in Italy by Calvisius Caviar using farmed Siberian Sturgeon. The quality certainly isn’t bad, but by no means their top produce, and while Cathay only serves a 20-gram tin, the standard 28 gram available for purchase goes for around US$49. Compare this to their top of the range Beluga caviar which retails for Euro 241 per 30 gram.
Cathay Pacific First Class Champagne:
Krug has been Cathay’s choice of champagne for some time now, and recent travel reports hinted that this might have changed to Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006. Personally, I would like to see Cathay Pacific offering both options in first class because they are both a completely different style of champagne. Singapore Airlines does this, offering both Krug and vintage Dom Pérignon and so does Emirates on the European first class sectors where they offer a special edition Dom such as the Rose 2005 vintage or the 1998 vintage champagne.
Landing in Hong Kong:
Landing in Hong Kong airport is one of my favourites as you get a fantastic run up before touching down. Flying in over China and getting a closer look of all the small islands is fascinating. When flying in from Europe, you first pass Hong Kong before turning in to touchdown, and the views over the city are just majestic.
Clearing immigration in Hong Kong is probably the most annoying part of flying Cathay Pacific First class; there’s no such thing as “express paths” for those travelling in premium cabins which for a modern airport such as Hong Kong is just bizarre. The only way you can speed up proceedings is by first registering for the “frequent visitor e-channel.” To do so you will need to visit the enrollment office just past immigration with your passport frequent flyer card. You must hold gold status or higher with one of the following airlines although for some airlines it appears even basic membership counts:
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air France
- Air New Zealand: Airpoints Silver, Gold, Gold Elite
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways: Executive Club Silver, Gold
- Cathay Pacific: all Marco Polo members
- China Airlines
- China Southern
- Eva Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Hong Kong Airlines
- Hong Kong Express
- Japan Airlines: Mileage Bank Fly On Crystal, Sapphire, Premier, Diamond; JAL Global Club
- Jet Airways
- Korean Air: all Morning Calm members
- Lufthansa: Miles & More Frequent Traveller, Senator, HON Circle
- Malaysia Airlines: Enrich Silver, Gold and Platinum
- Philippine Airlines
- Qantas: Gold, Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman
- Royal Brunei
- Singapore Airlines: KrisFlyer Elite Gold and PPS Club
- Swiss: all Miles & More members
- Thai Airways
- United: MileagePlus Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K
- Virgin Atlantic: Flying Club Gold
The good thing is that the frequent visitor status is valid until your passport expires. If you do have status and visit
Hong Kong more than once, I would recommend enrolling as it can significantly speed up entry and exit into Hong Kong. That said, Hong Kong immigration is one of the most efficient in the world so generally, it takes around 15-20 mins even in busy periods.
Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge Hong Kong
The Cathay Pacific arrivals lounge is located between terminals 1 and 2 and rather easy to miss. Once you clear immigration coming from an international flight, collect your bags and turn left when exiting. Walk for about 100m before you see a passageway leading to the express train station. There you will see an escalator going down which leads to a bypass going under the train lines. On your left you will see the Plaza Premium lounge and a bit further on the right is the Cathay Pacific Arrivals lounge. It’s a pretty small affair but perfect for early arrivals into Hong Kong. They have excellent shower facilities. Apart from that, I used the lounge to grab some bottled water before heading back up. Right next to the escalators is a ticket office for the Express Train into Hong Kong and because it’s not directly in front of the terminal exit, there are hardly any queues here.
Cathay Pacific First Class In Summary:
In summary, I really enjoyed my Cathay Pacific First Class experience, the seats are fantastic and so is the service. Unfortunately, the food was a letdown, but I believe it all depends on the flight and the menu. Is it worth the upgrade from Business Class? Absolutely! Even though Cathay Pacific Business Class is a fantastic product, for longer flights it’s 100% worth the extra points.
Until next time, happy flying!