Cathay Pacific First Class is a couple’s dream. You get to dine on caviar and steaks, sip $200 champagne and take a relaxing bath in Cathay Pacific’s legendary Hong Kong lounge. The flight would cost $13,000 one-way if you booked with cash. But we got it for almost free.
For our two year anniversary my boyfriend and I wanted to do something special. We went on a mini round-the-world trip, mostly on points, booking each flight as we went. The crown jewel of our trip was flying Cathay Pacific Class from Hong Kong to San Francisco.
Cathay Pacific First Class is rapaciously expensive if you pay with cash.
Our budget for our “honeymoon” was $1,000 a person. We might have been able to pay for one meal service on Cathay Pacific First Class without the champagne.
Good thing we’re frequent flyer mile nerds. We were saving up American Airlines AAdvantage miles for something like this. For 67,500 miles each and about $60 in taxes, we got a pair of Cathay Pacific First Class tickets in the nose cone of a 747-400.
Our journey started at Cathay’s famous The Wing lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, reserved for First Class and top-tier frequent flyers.
At first, The Wing looks like a luxurious but otherwise ordinary second-floor lounge. Comfy chairs let you bask in the natural daylight above the chaos of the terminal below while sipping three different flavors of Moët.
Then we started exploring the corridors of The Wing and found the Cabanas. Lounge showers are awesome, but Cabanas take things to the next level.
We marched up to the shower attendant’s desk, eager to try one for ourselves.
“We’d like a cabana please.”
“Sorry, only one available.”
Her eyes widened. “You two… share one?”
As she tried to make sense of the situation it occurred to me that maybe two men sharing one cabana didn’t conform to her family values.
She led us down a shiny narrow hallway that looked like it came out of the Matrix.
“Please lock door!!” she squealed as she scurried back to her desk.
We did… and enjoyed a hot bath in the most romantic of settings.
Refreshed and relaxed, we popped over to The Wing’s restaurant for a quick meal before getting on the plane.
If you’re in a rush they have an excellent buffet but the made-to-order food from the menu was exquisite.
The food was so good we shared an extra portion. Although they warned us that dishes would take 20 minutes to prepare, we didn’t wait more than 10. I could have stayed and gorged on their dessert buffet but I didn’t want to ruin my appetite for the flight.
It was time navigate Hong Kong airport’s cavernous terminals and find our gate.
The gate was chaotic but, being First Class passengers, an agent whisked us to the front of the boarding and liquid check queues, shooing Economy passengers out of our way. Yes, we were those jerks.
The Cathay Pacific First Class 747-400 cabin was an oasis in the sky.
We felt like kings in the nose cone, sitting further forward than even the pilots.
I could get used to this.
Your partner can sit on the ottoman and dine with you
The seat transforms into a bed for a person and a half
Loads of headroom
Forget overhead bins, closets are better
The view from the nose cone
Trying to look badass
When we were handed a matching pair of…
Well, we just couldn’t help ourselves. They looked a tad too much like Mao Suits though.
But I digress. It wasn’t long before we were at cruising altitude over the Pacific Ocean.
And you know what cruising altitude means… mealtime!
There’s one and only ONE thing on that menu that caught my eye and wouldn’t let it go. Everything else disappeared from view when I saw…
“Grilled USDA Certified Angus Beef Striploin”
Why anyone would pick the sea bass or cannelloni, I have no clue. You’ve got to steak on a plane once in your life.
The flight attendant strolled over with a big clipboard and a pen. If this was a US airline, she’d probably stop at my seat without so much as a glance and bark “will you have the beef, pasta or the fish?” [“God, I can’t wait for meal service to be over so I can play on my iPad in the galley”]
But this is Cathay Pacific First Class. The flight attendant, upon reaching my seat, kneeled. She kneeled, her furtive eyes gazing into mine, as if trying to avoid offending me in the slightest and causing me not to order a meal.
“Mr. Bee, we will be begin our meal service shortly. Did you have a chance to look at the menu?”
She described each item on the menu in succulent detail. When I answered what I wanted, she’d exclaim “Ah yes, thank you, thank you.” She thanked me profusely every time I made a decision as if I had just saved her cat from a fire.
“Will you be dining together?” she asked. You bet! I hopped over to Eddie’s ottoman and became the person sitting furthest forward in the plane.
We’ll just get that table lengthened for you…
And following a well-coordinated trapeze act, our table was meticulously set, complete with a handwritten card from the flight attendant
First course: Caviar
I’ve never had caviar in my life. I’m not sure I followed proper caviar consumption protocol, but I do know that it’s delicious when combined with the right fixings.
Our gourmet lunch continued…
Cauliflower Cream Soup
Grilled USDA Certified Angus Striploin
In case you were wondering about the cook on that steak…
It was perfectly done. How they manage to sear that meat in an airplane galley is beyond me. It was huge. Halfway through I was already full but I couldn’t let this beautiful steak go to waste.
Either everyone who flies Cathay Pacific First Class is a glutton, or they don’t expect you to finish anything.
Didn’t they just see me eat a pound of cow??
But the berries and whipping cream… I could go for some of that.
Okay, maybe we’ll share a bit of cheese.
They use real teapots on this plane.
One last finishing touch.
Time to throw in the hot towel..
When nature calls, there are two enormous lavatories for First Class passengers…
The flight attendants clean the lavatories after each and every use. They also guard them like a hawk lest some Business Class proletariat try and sneak in.
Time to freshen up for bed with the Amenity Kit
Girls get prettier kits
I have a soft spot for amenity kits. I can never bring myself to use them because they’re so cute. Instead I hoard them at home in big plastic tub which is now overflowing.
When you’re ready to sleep, the flight attendants will transform your seat into a featherbed
They’ll even tuck you in if you’re so inclined
I told Eddie some bedtime stories to put him to sleep
I woke up while most people were still sleeping so I checked out the entertainment system
And took advantage of the on-demand snack service
Mmm… wonton noodles
When Eddie awoke from his slumber…
It was breakfast time
And before we knew it, the familiar landscape of the San Francisco Bay appeared in our windows.
It was bittersweet to be home after weeks on the road.
As we stepped off the plane, we thanked our crew for the most romantic flight experience of our lives. I’ve been in premium cabins on many airlines, but few can come close to Cathay’s charm, sophistication and quality of service.