CX F review

I’ve always been a flight geek, which made every travel adventure on a plane pretty fun in and of itself. But with this return leg of my trip in Cathay Pacific First Class, I was even more stoked than usual.

It called for a 5am wake up call, allowing enough time for me to have one last meal with the grandma, uncle, and cousin, at a 茶餐廳 (Cha chaan teng) just down the street from my grandma’s place in North Point. Great to spend time with them, bad because I was still full from last night’s dinner, and didn’t finish this bfast anyway.

Uncle and cousin took me to Hong Kong station so I could take the Airport Express into HKG. I walked up to the Cathay Pacific First Class check in counter with my 3 pieces of luggage, and am told I have to check in at the airport because of some USA/TSA blah that prevented them from allowing me to check in at the station. Lame. They said they’d notify someone at the airport to help me upon arrival, but that was a lie. I guess I shouldn’t put the fault on CX for that, but you shouldn’t say you’ll help me, then not provide any help when I arrived at the station.

It was also my first time on the Airport Express, and it’s pretty great to get from town to airport in less than 30 minutes.

I made it to the CX First Class check in counter (Aisle B: First class, Business class, and OW priority; Aisle C: Economy), and was greeted with a less than friendly attitude from the check in lady (compared to my usual check in’s at Economy counters), but whatever. I also got a voucher for lounge visit, which I’m disappointed in the fact that they took it away upon entrance to the lounge. It had my name and date on it, so not like it could be re-used.

I went to CX’s The Pier – First Class lounge, located between gates 62-64. I thought I’d have to back track a bit afterwards to reach my gate 36, especially after taking the APM, but they were less than 5 minutes apart. Sweet.

Very gorgeous lounge, fitted with a relaxed hotel vibe, complete with a sit down table service. Again, theme of the day, I was too full to take full advantage of their full menu, and only had some fruit and granola along with a “healthy” juice comprised of dragon fruit, carrot, and apple. They even had some craft HK beers that I had wanted to try, but, too full, and possibly too early? haha.

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With HKG being’s Cathay’s home and hub, they’ve a full host of lounges at this location, but I wasn’t able to sample them all at this visit. Perhaps another time? (The Pier – Business class, has a tea tasting section; I’m sad I missed out on that!).

Then it was time for boarding, and as I mentioned, a quick little back track to gate 36, and lined up in the First Class section for boarding. Yee. Except that USA/TSA thing I mentioned earlier, so I was like one of 10 passengers specially marked, and had to do a “whole pat down, shoes off, backpack turned inside out” check after scanning my board passing inside that chute for boarding. And of course, they made me toss my tiny little water bottle I picked up from the lounge. That’s such a stupid rule. Anyway.

CX’s 777-300ER has 6 sets in its First Class configuration. I mentioned how I managed to get a hold of one of those 6 seats in my previous post. I made it to my seat 1A in First class, using that First/Business class walkway and not the Economy tunnel for once lol. Everyone along the way inside is addressing you personally (of course), so that’s a nice touch up from the back of the plane.

I had Shoko and Irene looking after me on this CX 898 HKG-LAX flight. Upon being seated, I was given an Aesop amenity kit, a set of PJs, and a flute of Krug champagne (with an additional refill before takeoff even). Bose noise-cancelling headphones were provided at each seat (not for you to take home), and a dining menu on a wooden board was provided regarding your options on this flight.

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Male amenity kit contents; pic from CX website

With boarding at 9:35am for our 10:15am flight, I definitely had some waiting to do before we finally took off, but that was made all the better with the ample leg room in front of me (that second seat in front can be used if dining with another first class companion, and becomes your leg space for sleeping when your seat turns into a bed). Unfortunately, our flight didn’t actually go “wheels up” until about 10:40am, but I didn’t mind lounging about in my extra wide comfortable seat.

Dinner was served about 1.5 hrs after takeoff (at my request, how fancy!). Snacks were provided earlier right after take off to tide me over (but I was already stuffed!) Mixed nuts were heated just a touch too; I liked that.

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That caviar appetizer served with a mother-of-pearl spoon so as to not taint the caviar taste with a metal spoon. Wow.

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That set up, with another flute of Krug, and nice little welcome note.

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Dinner was served shortly, and I had the salad to start. I think Shoko was a touch offended I didn’t finish it (did I mention I was stuffed?) haha.

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And the main course. I was not expecting such a large portion, esp after having all these nice single serving portions while in HK.

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This was the grilled CAB (certified angus beef?)  striploin, roasted portobello, red onion, roasted cheese rosti, shallot red wine sauce and Bearnaise sauce, paired with a Chateau Brunaire-Ducru 2008 red. Did that kinda fly over my head? Yeah. Was it delicious? Yeah. Did I finish it? No. Too full!

After the meal (and after finishing my movie, The Mechanic: Resurrection), I decided it was time for bed (1pm HKG Thurs; 9pm LAX Wed), and asked Shoko to prepare my bed as I went to change into the CX provided PJ’s. Unfortunately, this was not one of the smoother flights I’ve had, as we were met with consistent bouts of turbulence, which was made a little better by the fact that I had a whole bed to lie down in to ride through, but just as I felt that I was about to doze off, I was shaken awake, yet again. Didn’t really get much sleep here, even with the lie flat bed :(.

I also have to comment about how loud the cabin seemed to be. I don’t recall the flight over, or usual flights in general, being that loud. I mean, I was straining to hear whatever Shoko or Irene were saying to me. And then during the “night,” the noise from the galley was quite audible, and coupled with the stewards talking… Not a restful night.

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Full size pillow! And down blanket! Lying down! At 37000 ft in the sky! This selfie cost a pretty penny.

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CX First Class cabin at “night”

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About 3 hours from landing (7pm HKG Fri ;3am LAX Thurs), I asked to have some afternoon tea snack. It did take about 10 minutes from when I pressed the call button til response time, which was a little unexpected as I’ve received faster response times in Economy.

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6 little pastry items, along with a HK milk tea (I’ve been asking for this since take-off, but turbulence prohibited the serving of hot items :().

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Nice little fruit plate for breakfast appetizer; I was already full after this 😦

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Simple little breakfast.

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Breaching the California coast chasing the sun rise. I believe that was the Santa Barbara area. At some point while admiring the view, I changed back out of the PJ’s and packed up to prepare for landing.

I believe we finally pulled up to the gate at 7:05am (est 6:40am arrival, so…). But the nice thing was, being up in First Class, as the business class folks were antsying to exit and slowly seeped into our cabin, they were kindly asked to return to their cabin, and the curtain drawn up and latched to allow for our disembarking first (all 4 of us in First).

The immigration area was completely devoid of people at 7am, and I ran through the machine and immigration control in a snap. My 3 baggages were like the 3rd items off onto baggage claim belt, and the longest portion of my exiting was about the 5 minutes slowly walking through customs. I think it was less than 30 minutes from gate to curb exiting LAX, something I didn’t believe was possible.

Called an Uber, got picked up at location C (between T4 and TBIT at departures level), and was home by 8:40am (hr+ ride, which in rush hour traffic, ain’t too bad). I took a nap for about an hour before heading to work as a zombie lol.

Nice experience flying CX F, but certain things could be better. Like the seat reclining option was a touchscreen interface that registered touches worse than my first Android phone. It took multiple touches/attempts for the seat to move. CX’s IFE has consistently been a “meh” to me, both in terms of control and offerings (Best new films were Dr. Strange, Batman vs Superman, and Suicide Squad. I watched Trolls & Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on the flight to HKG). Their USB port charges at a measly 500 mA output, which severely needs to be updated. As my phone is USB C, it can charge up to 3A, and most legacy USB A ports can handle up to 2A. And CX’s fleet of 777s don’t have Wifi on board yet; only their A350s do. So. C’mon CX.

Overall a 7/10. Don’t think it was worth 110k AA miles. Probably a better deal at the 67.5k value before everything was devalued last year. Nice to cross an item off my bucket list though!

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