Cathay Pacific 777-300er First Class – Review


Cathay Pacific first class champagne and nuts

I traveled to Bali to relax for the New Year, and I did so in style with miles and points.  Each leg of my trip is discussed in a separate post:

After eating a light dinner in American Airlines Flagship First Dining Room in JFK, I boarded my flight to Hong Kong.  I flew Cathay Pacific in first class which is special because Cathay Pacific is widely regarded as one of the best first class products in the sky–the flawless service allegedly sets it apart from other airlines.


I used 110,000 American Airlines miles and ~$50 in taxes and fees to book this flight:  DTW (Detroit) – LGA (New York) and then JFK (New York) – HKG (Hong Kong) – DPS (Bali).  The Uber connection between LGA and JFK was an unfortunate but necessary piece of making this award flight work.

I received a 10,000 mile discount due to my Citi AAdvantage credit card, so the final cost was 100,000 miles and ~$50 in taxes and fees.  A paid ticket would have cost approximately $11,400 USD which means I received approximately 11.35 cents per mile in value from my AAdvantage miles.  For reference, you will typically receive less than 2 cents per mile value for most domestic economy flights.

If you’re curious how much American Airlines’ award flights cost, its award chart is published online.  Unfortunately you have to search for Cathay Pacific award availability on British Airways’s or Alaska Air’s websites.


The first thing you notice when you enter the first class cabin is that each seat is HUGE, and quite wide.

You’ll notice that the foot cubbie area is not located beneath the seat in front of me.  A, there is no seat.  B, these seats are significantly larger than business class seats so even the foot cubbie in row 2 was not located beneath the row 1 seats.

There’s a closet that was big enough to hold my carry-on luggage or two coats, but not both.  Thankfully I had no coats.

The legroom was incredible.  The LCD screen, not so much.  The LCD screen was old and worn.  Its viewing angles were awful and it was slow to respond to my touch .  If Cathay Pacific wants to improve its first class seat, it should start with the screen.

Even the bathrooms were nice.  Yes, I took a photo of an airplane bathroom, don’t judge.

The bathroom was always spotless so I suspect the crew cleaned it after every (or almost every) use.

Food and Drink

Cathay Pacific serves Krug champagne (approx. $170 per bottle) and caviar in first class.  I had not tried either prior to the flight…

Yes please.

So far so good.  As expected, the champagne and nuts were delicious.  No flight attendants asked if I liked the champagne–I imagine they all knew it was good–but more about that later.

Soooo about that caviar.  I was nervous trying the caviar and noticed the flight attendants were extra attentive after the caviar was delivered.  I think every flight attendant in the first class cabin checked in to see whether I liked the caviar–I did not.  While they did not show their amusement at this, I imagine they were amused.  At least someone was.

After the caviar, I went to sleep.  Given that I had eaten dinner in the American Airlines Flagship First Dining, I did not need dinner.  When I woke up, it was breakfast time.

First breakfasts:  american coffee and a fruit smoothie.  I watched several good movies despite the poor quality of the screen.  I know you’re impressed that I can read Chinese subtitles (I can’t).  I couldn’t figure out how to turn them off for certain movies.

Second breakfasts:  fruit and bread.  The bread basket came with two buttery croissants.  No complains so far.

Third breakfasts:  eggs, sausage, bacon, baked beans, etc.  The eggs and bacon were surprisingly good.

The menus:

Overall the food was excellent.


The service was prompt and friendly.  I appreciate that the flight attendants did not frequently walk through the cabin, instead they preferred that you use the Call button.  This made it easier to sleep and minimized interruptions, allowing me to sleep for approximately 8 hours of the 15.5 hour flight.  The gentleman in the row behind me seemed to receive more proactive service and the crew seemed to know him.  I have sat next to or near interesting people (congresswoman, trumpet player, etc.) but I did not recognize this guy.


While Cathay Pacific first class is excellent, I was left with two observations.  First, I liked flying Etihad First Class and Emirates First Class more than Cathay Pacific first class.  These first class cabins had showers and bars, both of which are hard to compete with.  Second, I would rather save the miles and book a business class flight.  For example, for 70,000 miles–40,000 fewer than Cathay Pacific first class–I could fly Cathay Pacific’s business class from New York to Bali.  The seats would be smaller but they still lay flat into bed and play the same movies.

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