At about 1:55pm the main lounge agent opened the doors to the First Class section fully so they’d remain open to the hallway and announced to the room, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now ready to board Cathay Pacific flight 879 to Hong Kong.” She continued on with a couple of additional scripted sentences thanking us for our patience, hoping we enjoyed the lounge and wished us a pleasant journey. I was nearest the door, so was the first out and made my way through the Business Class section of the lounge to the “secret” boarding door.
A door at the rear of the lounge is attached directly to the beginning of the jet bridge for gate A6, which is so cool in my book. As I made it to the agent manning the boarding scanner, the first agent rebroadcast the same announcement over the PA so everyone in the lounge now knew boarding was available. I handed over my boarding pass, she scanned it getting the acceptance beep, handed it back and wished me a pleasant flight.
When I reached the flight attendant standing at the aircraft door, she pleasantly welcomed me aboard and asked where I was sitting. I responded, “2A,” and she immediately replied, “Oh, Mr. Booth… welcome and please let me show you to your seat!” I’ve only had that happen one other time where they’ve studied the manifest ahead of time to know the names of First Class passengers as they board. It’s a quick few steps to seat 2A and she showed me my personal closet and asked me to please make myself comfortable while she went back to the door to greet additional passengers.
Within seconds a colleague of hers brought me Shanghai Tang pajamas and asked what I’d like to drink. She returned within moments with a Perrier with lemon and a hot towel. I took the opportunity to take a few videos of the cabin when two more passengers approached seats 1A & 1K. We chatted briefly and the flight attendant made her way back to greet the new arrivals noting it was just the three of us booked in First today. Those other passengers in the lounge, then, must have been Emerald status Oneworld elites, but flying in Business Class.
Newspapers were distributed and later a flight attendant came by with the drink list and menu.
Push back eventually came and the safety demo began on the 17” video screen next to my “pod.” I took quite a bit more video on taxi out and will get around to editing it into another video trip report after I finish each installment of the text version. After takeoff, I headed to the lavatory to change into my PJs and snapped a few pictures of the spacious setup, which included a large sink, full-size mirror, two windows and additional amenities.
After returning to my seat, a flight attendant came by with the men’s amenity kit and brought another Perrier and warm nuts.
I relaxed and went through the vast entertainment system that features more than 100 movies and 500 television programs with a fantastic selection of new releases & classic pictures. It was quickly time for lunch with caviar and smoked salmon to start. Also adorning the table set up was a Bon Appetite card with a personalized note.
I went for the Chinese selections wanting to be as authentic as possible and was served delicious double-pork soup with mountain yam and wolfberries along with marinated white and wood ear fungus with cucumber.
Then it was on to the main course and I went with the sautéed pork with sweet bean sauce served with steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried kailan, mushroom and carrots. Remember my teaser from the last part where I couldn’t believe what I experienced in First Class? Well, here it is… the pork was the chewiest most fat-riddled meat I’ve ever had. I’ve had MUCH better quality at Panda Express restaurants and was just amazed at how terrible it was. I didn’t say anything to the flight attendants knowing they can’t control catering, but was so surprised at the poor quality.
Cheese and dessert was next up and I passed on the cheese as I normally do. I went with the bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. My apologies as I totally forgot to snap a picture until I was nearly done.
After dinner I reclined back, watched some video programming and then asked for my bed to be made up, for which the flight attendants generally insist you ask of them. Another sampling of pralines and a bottled water was placed near my seat upon my return from the lavatory. Snacks were available mid-flight, but I slept soundly through them.
The conversion from seat to bed is done with a mattress pad topped with a two-layered duvet cover consisting of a sheet and heavier comforter. It by far is the most comfortable international first class bed setup I’ve experienced and I slept better than I ever have on an airplane. Ideal firmness (for me) and ample length for my 6’1” frame with oodles of room side-to-side. Just perfect. After a solid seven hours of sleep, I requested a coffee before dinner and received it with yet another hot towel. The hot towels, by the way, smelled like the spa at the Luxor (a good thing) and were infused with eucalyptus water.
Fresh fruit started the dinner service and I once again forgot to snap a picture before eating the strawberries, melon, berries, pineapple and grapes. I (gasp) again went for the Chinese option assuming lunch would be a one-off mistake. I was proven sorely mistaken and again had incredibly inedible stir-fried garlic beef with vegetables and rice. Ugh, I noted to myself that I would not make the same mistake on the return flight.
Dessert was an almond pear tart with whipped cream. The portion was incredibly small, but it was delicious.
To complete service, another hot towel and sampling of pralines adorned my side table when I returned from the lavatory having changed out of my PJs back into street clothes.
Besides the main course for each meal, the flight was outstanding. Flight attendants were attentive, but not overly so, and their English was excellent. I’ll be reviewing the amenity kit separately in typical Frequently Flying fashion soon. We arrived on-time even with a departure nearly an hour late. I was one of the first off having been wished a pleasant stay by the inflight team and I made my way to immigration and customs. Up next will be the review of The Arrival lounge and I should have that ready in a few days.