One advantage of living in Hong Kong is the great miles reward offers available with almost credit cards, linked to your Asia Miles account. As a consequence, depending on your spending you can quickly convert them into… Cathay Pacific First Class tickets!
Cathay Pacific has been awarded for its premium cabins since a very long time. After reviewing its business class some months ago, I decided to spend all my remaining Asia Miles before leaving Hong Kong to try out the famous Cathay Pacific First Class suites for a Hong Kong-Bangkok roundtrip.
Hong Kong is the base airport of Cathay Pacific, so you expect to receive the very best ground experience especially when flying First Class. On this point I have been frustrated, since nothing else is done for high-end travelers except a dedicated front desk (the minimum..). No fast-track, no escorting, no buggy service.
The only difference with Business Class passengers is the direct access to The Wing First Class lounge straight after passport control. But here also it can be disappointed, since even oneworld alliance top customers can enter there.. At this stage, I have to say my overall Cathay Pacific First Class experience was not good.
Boarding and Seat Experience
Fortunately the rest of the journey was much better and almost hid my bad moments with ground services. We boarded on time through a specific First Class line and gateway directly to the cabin. Crew saw my suite number and I have been immediately greeted by name without introducing me before. Finally, a good start!
Cathay Pacific First Class cabin was surprisingly in a 1-1-1 configuration on herringbone style, with only 2 rows. As far as I remember, it’s the first time I see such thing; for the solo traveler I am, it’s was very convenient. Not sure for couples. Anyway I was seating on suite 1D, in the middle, which offered almost 100% of privacy (like all others).
The huge space, easy access to luggage and jacket, large touchscreen and wooden touches make it top-notch. No dispute, you really feel like a VIP. My flight was pretty short – 2h55min – so I didn’t experiment the seat on bed mode nevertheless I am convince it must be a nice one.
During all the flight cabin crew have been very attentive and proactive, making conversation and doing everything they could to make me feel comfortable. I did appreciate, this is the Asian service Cathay Pacific is renowned for.
The lunch menu was not extensive but I can understand, it was a short-haul flight. Still, I think the selection was pretty good, especially wines with a large offer of luxury vintages like Krug Grande Cuvee.
I have been served at the plate – porcelain – and the service never discontinued in First Class during turbulence while others were stopped. Food preparation was delightful, I can’t complain. I took a Chinese-style chicken with steam rice, usually I am not a big fan but here I enjoyed.
To make it simple, I felt my overall Cathay Pacific First Class experience as “it should have been extraordinary before, but it’s not anymore”. Rates positioning is very high, one of the highest with Air France and British Airways, but contrary to competitors Cathay ground services are terribly bad and that’s really a shame. Some good points for cabin layout and crew attention to detail. Anyway, I recommend to go for it only in a miles-spending context.
Cathay Pacific 751
Hong Kong (HKG) – Bangkok (BKK)
Saturday, July 15th
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1D (First Class)
Cathay Pacific – Book
Thank you for the lovely review and the pictures; very commendable work. However, I’ll just make a few points here which I think might to be said.
1. You felt disappointed near the start of your journey because there was “no fast-track, no escorting, no buggy service.” However, you share bear in mind that HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport) really needs none of these, except, *arguably, the latter which I believe used to be complimentary for CX F passengers.
For one, there are no fast track queues for security and immigration at HKIA. They are considered not necessary since there is barely a waiting time at all (or that an implementation of such a system that is common would not decrease waiting time.)
Secondly, related to the first point, an escort is rarely needed since gates/facilities are always well road-mapped, security/immigration is a breeze. The only exception I can think of is, mobility assistance (which CX and HKIA does offer for ALL passengers regardless of class) or luggage assistance (for your cabin baggage).
Thirdly, buggies are useful ONLY for certain gates which saves you from going down the escalator to take the train. So, I can agree on this point. From what I remember, CX F used to offer complimentary shuttle(buggy) service from the HKIA operator. But, I think, they have discontinued that (I never bothered with that; saves only a few min, and sometimes not even that). If you insist on a buggy, you can always pay for it yourself from the same HK operator (FWS?)
2. It should also be said that CX Short Haul F is very different in hard product than CX Long Haul F. You were in Short Haul.
Thank you for your comment, that’s a very interesting topic. Let me give my view of the things you highlighted:
Point 1. I confirm that no buggy or shuttle service were provided to any CX F passengers, at the day of my journey. Generally speaking, I agree with you: of course, I don’t need fast-track for immigration or assistance to go to the lounge. I’m 33yo, I have my 2 legs, I am able to walk… But here we are talking about luxury service. Someone paying 10.000 EUR to fly on the same plane as people paying 400 EUR must receive a different experience, including on the ground. I was based 3 years in HK, I can say they have long queue pretty often at both immigration and security unfortunately. So, this is my opinion :) Air France is doing it in Paris, Thai Airways is doing it in BKK, Emirates in Dubai, Singapore Airlines in SG, etc.
Point 2. On this topic I totally disagree, or maybe I didn’t understand your point. The lounge I had, the service I received on the ground are STRICTLY the same than anyone flying CX F on an international flight. Really no difference at all, whatever short or long haul. If you were referring to the flight cabin, the only possible difference is the fact that long haul passengers are receiving slippers and pyjama, maybe also a bigger vanity set, while I didn’t during my HKG-BKK.
Hope it clarifies my disappointment :)