We’ve flown international business class on some of the top airlines. We’ve only flown international first class, though, a few times. When we had the chance to cash in some American Airlines miles to fly Cathay first class from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, we were thrilled. In this post, we share our Cathay Pacific first class review, focused on the Cathay Pacific 777 first class cabin and service.
Cathay Pacific Airways consistently ranks as one of the best airlines in the world. A young modern fleet of mainly Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A330-300s. A focused dedication to the passenger experience both on the ground and in the air. They are known for exceptional in-flight service. We previously experienced Cathay Pacific Business Class flying from Chicago to Hong Kong. We were eager to experience Cathay Pacific First Class as we set off to Germany.
Booking The Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin
We wanted to use our American Airlines miles for our flight to Europe. Our initial goal was to fly from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, in Cathay Pacific Business Class. Because it’s hard to book Asia routings using miles on American’s website, we called American Airlines Reservations. Because we were using American Airlines miles, we were not able to call Cathay reservations directly.
We knew it would cost each of us approximately 52,000 American miles for a one-way Business Class ticket. We were pleasantly surprised that for an additional 18,000 miles each, we would be able to experience Cathay Pacific First Class. This was music to our ears. With the average Cathay Pacific first class price hovering around $17,000 a person, an additional 18,000 miles seemed like a deal. Tickets booked, my inner #AvGeek, couldn’t wait for this flight. And, the first class Cathay Pacific price in miles was the perfect investment.
Cathay First Class 777 Review Update: By the way, American Airlines recently devalued its miles, so it costs a lot more to book Cathay Pacific with American Miles. I’m glad we booked our flight when we did.
Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific has coined #LifeWellTravelled as their company hashtag. To paraphrase from their marketing materials, when you travel well, your trip becomes memorable. From the moment we arrived at Hong Kong International Airport, we saw just how well Cathay Pacific helps make travel memorable.
Our First Class Cathay ticket allowed us access to the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge at Hong Kong International, known as The Pier. A stunning contemporary lounge located in Terminal 1, it was designed to give passengers the sense of being at home. The Pier offered a la carte dining, massages, showers, and rest areas. Amber and I were happy to spend 6+ hours enjoying all of these amenities as we waited for our 12:30 AM departure. It made our Cathay Pacific First 777 experience that much better.
Check out our full review of the Cathay Pacific Airlines First Class Lounge in Hong Kong
Our Cathay Pacific Airline First Class Lounge Review Video:
Cathay Pacific First Class 777
Cathay Pacific is the largest operator of Boeing 777-300ERs in Asia. It’s another reason why I’m a big fan. The Boeing 777-300ER is my favorite aircraft to fly and frankly, to look at. It’s big. It’s powered by two of the most powerful aircraft engines in the world. And, it’s tattooed on my right wrist. #AvGeek. The Cathay Pacific 777-300 first class cabin is just the icing on the cake.
Our flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt was in Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300er. If you have the chance to fly first class to Asia, or from Asia to Europe or the US, it’s worth it. This flight was over 12 hours. And, our Cathay Pacific first class suite was about as big as a Hong Kong apartment. The Cathay Pacific First Class cabin had only six seats arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration. This allowed for a quiet and intimate flight. I don’t even know the layout of the other Cathay Pacific classes on this flight. I never looked back.
Cathay Pacific First Class Seats
The highlight of our flight and our Cathay first class review has to be the seats. On our Cathay Airlines first class flight, Amber and I were in our own little world in seats 1A and 2A. To our right was the aisle, and then, essentially, the wall between us and seats B and C. It was as if we had our own private Cathay 777 first class cabin. We never even really saw the other passengers in first class on Cathay Pacific. Well, other than when Amber caught a glimpse of a guy changing out of his Cathay Pacific pajamas in the aisle.
The first thing we noticed about the Cathay Pacific first class suites was the size of the seats. With only three seats across where there are usually nine, the space is enormous. Definitely, the largest we’ve ever experienced. The Cathay first class seat alone is wide, 36 inches compared to 18.5 in Economy. It was wide enough for Amber and me to sit together. And, we are not small people. The best part of this first class Cathay Pacific review? Being able to take a photo of both of us in one seat!
Equipped with an ottoman, because why not, Amber and I joked about eating dinner together and doing a time-lapse GoPro video at 35,000 ft. It would have been possible, as they can set up a dining experience as if you are eating at a restaurant. We may have if it were a daytime flight. With our flight leaving after midnight, I didn’t have enough energy, even for the benefit of this Cathay Pacific 777 first class review.
Cathay Pacific First Class Menu Caviar Service
I’d like to have this serve as official notice to Cathay Pacific that they created a monster, specifically a Cathay Pacific caviar monster. Its name is Amber. This monster was born on our flight to Frankfurt the minute the cabin staff rolled out the full-on caviar service. This is one of the biggest differences between Cathay Pacific first class vs business class.
Shortly after takeoff, the Cathay Pacific caviar service began. It was optional, but of course, we both opted for it. You never know when your next Cathay Pacific Airways first class experience is going to be, so we wanted to make the most of it. The flight attendant delivered a tin of Italian caviar, blinis, chopped egg whites and yolks, and sour cream with chives. The Cathay caviar service was completed by Krug Champagne, and of course a mother of pearl spoon.
We’ve never been big caviar people. We’ve eaten it, but it’s not something we seek out when traveling. This was the first time Amber and I experienced a proper caviar service and one of us is looking to experience it again. Can you guess which one of us? This was the best part of the Cathay Pacific first class food service. I am not sure if the caviar service is available on all Cathay Pacific first class routes or just the uber-long haul.
Check out our First Class Cathay Pacific Review Video:
Cathay Pacific First Class Menu
Our 12:30 AM departure was delayed approximately 45 minutes due to a minor technical issue. Amber and I have never been late eaters. We can never adjust to when to eat in Spain, where an early dinner is 9 PM. With the delay, we knew we wouldn’t be eating until 2:30 or 3 AM, which at that point meant we would have been up for just under 20 hours. I was looking forward vto my Cathay Pacific first class meal, but would have preferred a day flight to enjoy it more.
Despite enjoying the caviar service, we mention the time of takeoff as background to our full dining experience. Everyone loves to complain about airline food. I’m not entirely sure what people are expecting when they eat on an airplane. Do they really believe that their food is going to taste as good as it would be fresh from the kitchen, on the ground? It’s no different than going to a wedding or banquet for 300 people. The food is there to fill you up, not to stimulate your sense.
In the past 5 to 10 years airlines have listened to these complaints. They’ve put a great deal of effort and resources into improving the meals they serve, especially for their premium passengers. Pre-ordering meals, dining on demand, and employing a chef on board, are all innovative services that airlines like Singapore, Turkish and Etihad have available.
We expected Cathay Pacific First Class menu to provide exceptional dining options much like they do with everything else. Unfortunately, the food service is probably the only real low point in our Cathay Pacific first class trip report.
There were two international options and three Chinese options on the menu. The international options included steak or pumpkin ravioli. We both started with a cream of chicken soup. Amber gets excited to eat soup on an airplane because it seems like a bit of an extravagance.
I was disappointed with my steak and potatoes. It was bland and underwhelming. I realize there’s only so much you can do with steak, but to have no flavor whatsoever was frustrating.
Amber didn’t fare much better with her pasta entree. Not wanting a steak at 2 AM, pasta seemed like the right option. Pumpkin and Parmigiano ravioli, with artichoke, olives, and tomato concasse. The ravioli was drowning in tomato sauce and seemed more like an economy entree. Just a bowl of pasta.
Needless to say, this was surprising coming from Cathay Pacific First Class. Many of the memorable flights we’ve experienced, including Etihad Business Class, were due in part to an enjoyable meal service. Part of it could have been how tired we were dining in the middle of the night. That said, if it were a daytime flight, I think I would have been more annoyed.
Cathay Pacific First Class Pajamas and Turn Down
Because of the time, after our meal service, we were quick to want to get to sleep. The seats were full recline and long enough to fit me at 6’4” (and then some). Cathay Pacific did a nice turndown service that turned the seat into a comfortable and spacious bed. An oversized proper pillow, additional padding, and a light yet warming duvet.
Most importantly, we received a super comfy “Sleep Suit”, or pajamas. We actually took the pajamas home with us, and now those Cathay Pacific First Class pajama pants are our work-at-home pants. This was great considering there were no Cathay Pacific business class pajamas on our prior flight. We slept and slept and slept. I didn’t realize before this flight that comfy pajama pants should be a long-haul flight essential. We still carry them with us now for long long-haul flights.
Cathay Pacific First Class Service
During our Cathay Pacific Airways First Class experience and our recent Emirates Business Class Flight, it seems I’ve become an #AvSnob. I expect top notch service and experiences from business class and first class products. For people who fly business all the time for work, or don’t pay for it with hard-earned miles, they may be easier to please. For us, it’s a special experience that we want to enjoy.
For many reasons, I want to experience Cathay Pacific First Class again. For starters, I’d love to take a flight that doesn’t leave in the middle of the night. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never slept as well on an airplane as I did with the amazing turndown service. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love in-flight pajamas? But, unlike most people, I don’t fly to sleep.
I fly premium class to experience the in-flight service. The food, the seat, the movies and yes, the alcohol. Airlines invest millions of dollars in the wines, beers, and spirits they serve. We’ve already mentioned the Krug Champagne. But Amber knocked back a couple of glasses of Johnnie Walker Blue before bed. I enjoyed a Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt. No complaints there.
Cathay Pacific First Class Amenity Kit
My #AvSnob tendencies came to light when we recorded our recent luxury travel podcast. Apparently, I’m picky about the amenity kit. This is something Cathay could improve on. The kits themselves are fairly basic featuring Aesop hand and face cream, along with a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and comb.
Compare this to the amenity kits from Emirates and Qatar Business Class, who feature the same basic products. But they also include cologne, shaving cream, and aftershave from Bulgari and Armani. It may sound like a petty point to bring up, but attracting premium passengers is highly competitive. It seems that Cathay Pacific lags in this area.
Landing at Frankfurt
We touched down at Frankfurt just after 6 in the morning. Our journey from Asia to Europe was at an end. The jealousy of friends from our Facebook posts about the Cathay Pacific First Class experience was in full swing.
Despite our disappointing entrees (and those darn amenity kits), the entire experience from the moment we arrived at Hong Kong International, to our 6 plus hours enjoying the Pier, to the caviar service, the double-wide seat, and of course, the comfy pajamas, was outstanding. It was worth the 70,000 American Airlines miles we used.
Our life was well travelled for those 12+ hours in the sky. It was a good example of why Cathay Pacific continues to be one of the best airlines in the world.
FAQs – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class
From our CX first class flight experience, and from other Cathay Pacific first class reviews, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions and flying Cathay Pacific.
- How big is the Cathay Pacific First Class Seat? The Cathay 777 first class seat is a whopping 36 inches wide, whereas the business class seat is only 21 inches wide. Check out the Cathay Pacific First Class Seat Map.
- What is the biggest difference between Cathay Pacific First Class vs. Business Class? The biggest difference is in the Cathay Pacific First Class seat and bed, which are significantly wider than the business class seat. Also, other than the Cathay caviar service, I found the Cathay Pacific business class food to be quite similar to the Cathay Pacific first class menu.
- What are other options for flying first class to Hong Kong from the US or Europe? First class flights to Hong Kong from the US take around 15 hours or around 13 hours from Europe. We’ve flown United Global First from Chicago to Hong Kong, which was a good experience. The Middle East airlines are also good options but are not direct. They would include a layover or stopover in Qatar or the UAE.
Check out more Tips for Travel Lovers and our Top 10 Tips for How to Make the Most of Your Business Class Flight
Flying Cathay First – Cathay Pacific First Class Review 777-300ER