I redeemed a First Class award ticket from HKG-NRT-LAX (Hong Kong to Narita on Cathay) and (Narita to Los Angeles on JAL) using 67,500 American Airlines miles. This was my first time flying International First Class ever and I didn’t know what to expect. The flight time from Hong Kong to Narita on Cathay Pacific was clocked in at 3.5 hours.
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The Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 (744) in First Class was in a 1-1 configuration with direct aisle access.
I also noticed that I was the only first class passenger in the First Class cabin. I was sitting in 1A (window) with direct aisle access and was comfortable in my seat. I love how the Cathay Pacific seats have real pillows attached to the headrest.
The flower was also a nice touch and was unexpected.
I was offered a beverage of my choice, so I asked for “Dom Perignon” or “Krug”. I was disappointed to hear from my flight attendant that it wasn’t loaded on this flight. She mentioned that it could have been the fact that it was a short haul and did mention they “switch champagnes” quite often. I believe it was probably due to the short haul. I asked “What is the best champagne you have?” She responded with “Amour de Deutz” which I’ve never heard of so I started Googling it. I found out that it was a pretty expensive champagne and it tasted quite good.
I didn’t know if the flight attendant would leave the bottle for me as I’ve had seen many people take pictures of the champagne bottle rested next to their glass. Needless to say, they do take the bottle back and I had to tell the flight attendant to ‘hold on for it a bit’ while I rest the bottle for a picture.
The flight attendant returned with warm nuts to accompany my champagne.
I started looking over the First Class menu which reads as follows:
– Buffalo salami antipasto with grilled focaccia and tomato
– Tomato, orange and basil soup
– Fried sea bass with spring onion, egg fried rice and stir-fried choy sum with garlic
– Grilled Australian wagyu beef rump with red wine sauce, celeriac potato gratin and green bean carrot wrap
– Garganelli with n’duja salami, bread sfritto and Senise pepper
Cheese and Dessert
– Shropshire Blue, Tilsit Royalp, Pont l’Eveque, Camembert Le Pere
– Fresh seasonal fruit
– Panna cotta with white chocolate, amaretto and preserved cherries
Tea and Coffee
Japanese Meal – Cathay Pacific is pleased to offer a seasonal Japanese meal, in traditional Kaiseki style, as an alternative choice.
– Canapes – Eel jelly cake, salted ayu fish roe, deep-fried river shrimp, broiled ayu fish, braised duck breast, pickled lotus root roll
– Appetizer – Tuna tataki, scallop, conche with wasabi served with Choya Plum Liqueur
– Braised Dish – Bean curd skin tofu with soya bean paste sauce
– Clear Soup – Clear soup with fish dumpling, grape seaweed, arrow root starch sheet
– Side Dish – Conger fish, plum and shiso dressing
– Noodle – Maten noodle
– Hot Dish – Broiled seafood with onion pepper miso sauce in abalone shell
– Rice served with assorted pickles and miso soup
– Fruit – Fresh seasonal fruit
To compliment your Japanese meal experience, Ginjyo-sake is available.
Juices – orange, apple, tomato
Soft Drinks – Coke Zero, Coke, Coke Light, Sprite, Perrier water, tonic water, soda water, and ginger ale
Coffees – freshly brewed coffee, espresso, cappuccino and caffe latte regular or decaffeinated
Teas – Fuding Jasmine silver fur, Anqi supreme Ti Guan Yin, Japanese iced oolong tea, Hong Kong style milk tea, organic selection: English breakfast, camomile, earl grey and peppermint
Here’s the champagne, wine, beer, and spirits list:
When the plane started to taxi away from the gate, the pilot announced that there would be a 30 minute delay (which turned into one hour) because there was only one active runway. That means only one runway is used for arriving and departing flights. After the one hour delay, the captain announced that “engine #4 has failed” and that the engineers needed to come onboard to take a look at the problem. It turns out that the engine needed a part to be repaired and the delay would be an additional 2 hours.
The flight attendant told me that since it’s lunch time, she would be starting the meal service. I was like okay, awesome! Instead of taxiing back to the gate, the captain parked in the middle of the tarmac and maintenance soon came onboard.
The flight attendant passed out a large steaming hot wet towel.
She asked me if there was anything else I would like to drink and I asked for the famous Hong Kong style milk tea which came out piping hot.
I looked over the Western and Japanese menus and noticed that there was no caviar option. I asked the flight attendant and she said “There’s no caviar on this flight”. I was a bit disappointed to find out that I wouldn’t be having caviar, but I realized that this was a short haul flight.
I opted for the Japanese meal and started with the canapés of eel jelly cake, salted ayu fish roe, deep-fried river shrimp, broiled ayu fish, braised duck breast, pickled lotus root roll.
It was followed by the appetizer which consisted of tuna tataki, scallop, conche with wasabi served with Choya Plum Liqueur.
Next up was the Braised dish (Bean curd skin tofu with soya bean paste sauce) and the Clear Soup (Clear soup with fish dumpling, grape seaweed, arrow root starch sheet).
It was like a dream come true having my very first international “First Class” meal and what better way than to enjoy it while watching planes take off on the active runway?
The Japanese entrée consisted of rice, seafood, noodles, fish, pickles, and miso soup. I was already full, but this entire meal was delicious from the start.
For dessert (there’s always room for dessert), I had a decadent Panna cotta with white chocolate, amaretto and preserved cherries which was absolutely amazing.
The meal finished with a hot steaming wet towel, assorted pralines, and a personalized hand written thank you card from the entire First Class cabin crew.
The pilot finally announced that the plane was ready for takeoff and I slept like a baby for 3 hours on the lie flat bed.
30 minutes prior to landing, I woke up and the flight attendant offered a fresh seasonal fruit plate as a pre-arrival refreshment.
Since I was longing for an iced Hong Kong milk tea, I asked the flight attendant to please make it cold. She said “I’ve never had someone asked me to make a cold one”. She laughed and I laughed as well. I told her, “It could really use some tapioca balls” and we both laughed.
The service was the highlight of this flight and throughout the entire flight and while on the ground, she called me “Mr. Ng” like 50 times and even knelt down on the floor numerous times to speak to me on eye level. During meal service, she kept updating me on the status of the flight since I was worried about my connection. After I deplaned, she even looked after me for a few minutes and told me that everything will be alright (which it wasn’t and caused me to be stranded in Tokyo). Even though there was no Dom, Krug, or caviar on this flight, this was the best flight experience that I’ve ever had!