Review of Cathay Pacific flight Chicago Hong Kong in First

Airline Cathay Pacific
Flight CX807
Class First
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 15:25
Take-off 07 Jan 18, 14:40
Arrival at 07 Jan 18, 20:05
CX   #4 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 389 reviews
hometoyyz
By SILVER 2543
Published on 17th January 2018

Introduction



Hello, flight-report community, and welcome to my first aviation adventure of the new year, a whirlwind three-day-and-change trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo, in Cathay Pacific and JAL First Class.

The Rundown



AC503 - YYZ-ORD - 1/7/2018 - E190 - Y - Brief Summary Below
CX807 - ORD-HKG - 1/7/2018 - 777-300ER - F - You are here
CX520 - HKG-NRT - 1/9/2018 - 777-300ER - F - Coming soon
JL10 - NRT-ORD - 1/10/2018 - 777-300ER - F - Coming soon
AC506 - ORD-YYZ - 1/10/2018 - E190 - Y - Brief Summary with above

photo map

Background



I had planned on my first adventure of the year coming much later in January, having jumped on a couple of very interesting business class deals to create a couple of trips. I still very much look forward to those trips, as they’ll include the ability to sample and flight-report on a very compelling — and not reported on this site — J-class service. So watch out for that later this month or early next month. What can I say, I’m a maser of self-promotion, brother brother.

However, with Christmas 2017 in the rearview, things pretty quiet workwise in January, and having been “grounded” for more than a month, I was starting to get wanderlust, and started looking at fun things to do with a pile of Alaska miles burning a hole in my “pocket.”

Initially, I was focused on “upgrading” my next adventure, since at the time my outbound flights were on a ticket on DL miles, which I could freely refund. I found JL space that I wanted, but it wouldn’t book. On New Year’s Eve Day, I found the CX availability that worked well for me… and both Alaska and BA sites agreed the JL availability I wanted was there, although I couldn’t book it at the time. So I called in to see what if I could get the CX flights nailed down, and figure it out from there at a later date. The friendly AS agent I spoke to saw the availability, but apparently Alaska was updating its booking system for the new year, and she wasn’t able to ticket it — or anything. So she put it on hold for me, gave me a PNR, and told me to call back after 4:00 pm on New Year’s Day.

On New Year’s Day, I tried to book the JL segment I wanted to get back to North America, but it still wasn’t working. So (I thought) I let the CX booking lapse. No big deal — there was still CX availability, and while HKG-NRT was not showing up anymore, HKG-HND was. If I could get the JL segment to book, I’d try again.

Sure enough, on Jan. 2, when I tried to book the JL flights I wanted, it didn’t error out. I called AS, and decided to see if the PNR I had put on hold two days ago was still there. And sure enough, it was. A few minutes later, I was ticketed on both segments, and left with just figuring out how to get myself to and from Chicago.

Twenty-eight or so hours in CX and JL First Class. Happy New Year to me!

I actually flew this same flight last year, on a trip that also included CX F from HKG to BKK, JL F from BKK to HND, and NH F from HND to ORD. I had planned to flight-report it, but unfortunately fell ill midways through the first meal on this flight. I would not eat anything again until the pre-arrival meal back to Chicago on ANA, and slept almost the whole way through those flights — including the whole of HKG-BKK and BKK-HND.

Hopefully, this time it will be a much more pleasurable experience. So let’s get into it.

Getting to Chicago - AC503 YYZ-ORD



Getting to Chicago turned out to be more pricey than expected. Less than a week out, even on a fairly competitive route, it was more than I had hoped to pay. I toyed briefly with flying into Midway, but even with a longish connection, I decided not to play games with missing my flight due to Canadian or midwestern winter travel drama.

This particular AC flight — on an E190 — would get me in with plenty of times, and a number of other options after it that could sill get me into ORD in time should things go sideways.

It was notable to me perhaps only because it may be my las trip through Pearson as an Air Canada Elite, as my AC status will lapse at the end of February. Not that it came in particularly valuable — since I’d booked a “cheap” $500 YYZ-ORD return, I was stuck in 28F, and the Maple Leaf Lounge breakfast was so downgraded (oatmeal, muffins, hard boiled eggs, some fruit, and that’s about all), I ended up breaking out the ol’ Priority Pass card to his the Plaza Premium transborder lounge, where I could at least get a bit of sausage and some mediocre “French toast.”

The flight itself was uneventful, getting us into ORD about 15 minutes late only because the luggage of a couple of no-shows had to be offloaded. AC has downsized its Y coffee cups since last I flew them. It has not improved its coffee.

I spent about an hour wandering the terminals in ORD to “get my steps in” before sitting in a big comfy chair for more than half a day, then just after 10:00, I started to make my way over to Terminal 5, from which Cathay operates.

Check-in, etc.



To do so meant grabbing the inter-terminal train over to Terminal 5, a short landside ride.

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About 10:15, I arrived in Terminal 5, still wearing its holiday finery.

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The Cathay check-in was not yet open, but there was a lineup nonetheless. With OneWorld’s “Top-tiers get first-class stuff” rules, the First Class line was already significantly larger than the six-person CX F cabin.

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About 10:20, a first agent in the lovely CX burgundy jacket appeared, and started checking in, 15 minutes ahead of the “scheduled” opening time. She was going back and forth between the two premium lines, so nothing really moved until promptly at 10:30, when a fleet of other CX agents descended upon the desks, opening up multiple stations, and things started moving.

A few minutes later, I was quickly checked in. CX now participates in PreCheck, so that was added to my reservation. I had been able to secure 1A for this flight, but the CX Web site had only offered me middle seats for HKG-NRT, so I inquired now if I could get a window seat. I was quickly assigned 2A.

After a few short minutes of working with the very friendly CX agent, I had a stack of documents. A boarding pass for ORD-HKG and a lounge invite for ORD were tucked into my passport, while in a transit folder, I had an invite to the HKG Arrival lounge, to Wing/Pier First lounges in Hong Kong, and my boarding pass for HKG-NRT.

She made sure I was very clear on every detail of departure from what gate we would be departing, when we’d board, where the lounge is located. She told me that one of her peers was on her way to open the lounge currently, so it “should be open” by the time you clear security. Interesting. Are there so few OneWorld international flights out of T5 that they only open this lounge sporadically? After all, any Emerald can get access to this lounge on any OW flight, right?

TSA PreCheck at Teminal 5 is decidedly “TSA Lite.” The First and Business class line at least spared me part one of the queueing experience, getting me into the security lines quickly. But after that, it was lining up with everyone else for the main security lines. Well, at least I got to keep my shoes on. So there’s that.

By about 10 minutes before 11, I was airside. Time for the short walk to the lounge.

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British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge Chicago



Indeed, just a few feet away was the BA First Lounge, complete with signage that makes it clear CX F pax are welcome.

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Inside, another burgundy jacket greeted me, and told me she’d make an announcement come boarding time. I was the first person in, which gave me a nice opportunity to explore freely. Not that there was much to explore.

The BA F lounge here in T5 has about 20 leather seats, set up in a run along a bank of windows between gates 11 and 12. This is pretty much the whole lounge.

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A couple of other angles on seats.

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Some reading materials.

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“The Buffet.” It’s not exactly screaming “International First Class.”

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Some Italian Wedding Soup.

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Crudites.

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Some sandwiches.

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Chips and cookies.

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The bar is decent, with a number of self-serve options.



Along the wall behind the check-in area, there’s a respectable tea station.

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And a number of cookies, chips, and other snack items.

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Nice big windows, although there’s not a lot to see from here. Just this Air India flight at the moment.

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Although the catering is less than impressive, I’m quite hungry at this point, so I decide to sample the offerings from the buffet. I’m not really impressed. The Italian wedding soup is okay, but decidedly from the big bucket o’ Campbells, and the sandwiches, particularly the chicken flatbread, are pretty bland. The water, from the fridges, is nice and cold, though. And I’m no longer actively hungry, so I guess it served to tide me over until we’re in the air. Although again… not screaming First Class here.

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WiFi is good and fast. And the password is a major Canadian city this month. Go Canada! Corporate shot time.

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And a quick check-in on my ride over to Hong Kong, which is currently over southern Minnesota, and should be here quite on time.

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A while later, I go back to get a drink, and discover there is in fact champagne on offer — 
Nicolas Feuillatte is in the fridge. Or rather, his champagne is. Clearly, this is last night’s bottle — what’s in this glass is all that’s left. But I notice others drinking champagne shortly after this is taken, so I presume it was promptly restocked, which is great. I like Feuillatte, and like the water from the fridge, it’s ice cold, adding to the deliciousness.

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The lounge is small enough that there’s single-serve men’s and women’s washrooms, with a little bit of ornamentation to them.

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Now there’s nothing left to do but relax for a while and watch planes roll by. Like this AA 787.

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And this KE 77W heading back to Seoul.

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China Eastern and United at an intersection.

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A better look at MU as it taxis by.

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Freight-haulers on parade. First China Southern, then Cargolux.

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Finally, a retro-Lufty pulls in to gate 11.

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And then… hey look! It’s my ride over to Hong Kong this afternoon — B-KPJ, which just celebrated its ninth birthday last month. Welcome to Chicago, my friend. I look forward to getting to know you.

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One more glass of water, and a sample of the 15-year-old Glenlivet, just because I can.

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As expected, my private abode didn’t last for long. At first, there were just another couple of passengers in the lounge, but by about 12:30, 90 minutes before departure, it was getting pretty full, which felt very full, given the less-than-private layout of seating.

About 10 past 1, or 20 minutes before boarding is scheduled, I decided I’d had enough of sitting, and it was time to wander the terminal for a bit and see what’s going on. Or, if you prefer the sarcastic version, I just can’t stand this ultra-luxury any longer, and have to get back to a more “real” experience.

Boarding time



On the way over to gate 15, a better look at the Air india 777 that’s been hanging out here longer than I have been.

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At Gate 15, things are starting to get busy. Pre-announcement announcements are being made, and some members of the crew are gathered before going aboard.

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There are even a few people in the First/Business/OW Emerald line already, despite it not quite being the posted boarding time yet.

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An up-close look at my ride over to Hong Kong. Pretty girl.

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By the time I join the boarding line for First/Business/Emerald, it’s getting quite long. They announce that boarding will begin in about ten minutes, at 1:35 pm. And sure enough, after hanging out in line for ten minutes, it does begin.

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Fortunately, a gate agent makes her way down the rather long premium boarding lineup, inviting First Class passengers and CX Diamonds to join a much shorter line positioned right in front of the boarding gate. I join this group, and shortly, boarding begins with two lanes going through.

The Flight Report



Flight: CX807
From: Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
To: Hong Kong (HKG)
Date: 1/7/2018
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: B-KPJ
Seat: 1A
ATD (STD): 14:41 (14:05)
ATA ( STA): 20:07 (19:55+1)

For this flight, I’m seated in 1A, a window seat on the port side of the CX 77W. Generally, 1A and 2A are the preferred seats for the solo traveler, the middle seats enter onto the starboard aisle, meaning there are only two passengers on this aisle at all, giving it a very private feeling.

As I board, I’m welcomed aboard, and told to turn left up the first aisle towards my home for the next 14-plus hours.

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Cathay’s First Class seat is so wide it’s almost ridiculous. You could almost seat two of me abreast — you could comfortably seat two people a little smaller than me. I also love — love love love — the mounted in place pillow attached to the headset. Unbelievably comfortable for lounging.

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Looking forward, the ottoman, which can double as a seat for a dining partner, judging by the seat belt. USB and power outlets are also located in the side of the outside wall. As I arrive, I’m told to put my carryon under the ottoman, while my backpack can go in the closet in the front aisle-side wall of the suite.

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Next to the ottoman is the IFE screen, which isn’t super-high rez, but is large enough, and can be positioned in a number of places depending on how one is sitting/lounging/sleeping in the seat.

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On the outside wall of the suite, a small storage cubby, wired remote for the IFE, and very simple touchscreen controls for both the seat and lighting in the suite. The double-prong headphone jack is immediately below.

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There’s a reading light on the outside wall, as well.

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Finally, the aisle-side wall of thee suite, which contains another reading light, your safety card and other literature, and a couple of seat controls that will no doubt come in handy once the bed is made up.

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Flowers between two of the three windows in the First Class suite.

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As always, it’s a very exciting view out the port-side window at the gate.

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And finally, touring the suite, the closet in the front of the suite, in which I’d store my backpack, and later my street clothes The bedding was also located in here, in a kit waiting for me to enjoy later.

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Almost as soon as I’m sitting, I’m welcomed aboard by Suani, the senior purser working First Class for this flight. She introduces herself, and offers champagne or any other drink I may like. I go with her suggestion of champagne, and am soon rewarded by a delightful pour of Krug, accompanied by some smoky almonds and cashews. I really love Krug, so I’m glad to have some quality time to spend with it on this flight.

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Soon after, I’m introduced to Pion, the other purser working First Class for today’s flight. She comes bearing gifts — the amentiy kit, pajamas, and headphones. We’ll touch on the former and latter a bit later in the report, but in the meantime, let me just say that the offered Bose headphones are very good, and served well both when watching IFE, and using them as earplugs when I went to sleep.

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My haul was followed by a very — and I meant VERY — hot towel. You can actually see the steam rising off it in this picture. Once it cooled down nominally enough to be able to handle it for more than a quarter of a second, it made a lovely and refreshing facewash.

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A look across the cabin. CX might not have doors on its suites, but with just three across on the 77W, and the middle seats opening onto the starboard side, the port side seats are very private indeed. We’d end up with five of six seats occupied — only 2K would go unoccupied.

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Next up, Suani is back with the menu. She explains that everything is a la carte, and can be served up to one hour before landing. Let’s dive in, shall we?



As soon as my champagne is half-done, Pion is back to refill it Who am I to say no?

The service director for the flight, whose name I did not catch, stopped by to welcome me aboard and offer her wishes for a nice flight. I would not see her again until we were on final approach into HKG. I guess she was working J? Or just sticking to the galleys and directing traffic?

About 10 past two, the safety video rolls, and the two-dimensional drawing woman makes her way to her seat on the three-dimensional plane. It’s different, at least.

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The captain, who sounds either Australian or South African, it’s hard to immediately tell, welcomes us aboard, tells us today it’ll be a 15-hour flight, that will be mostly smooth, although perhaps a bit of turbulence over Russia. He pledges to leave us alone until we’re on arrival into Hong Kong, so good night, everybody.

Pushback is about ten minutes later, about 2:23.

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Star Wars-themed ANA as we taxi.

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As promised by the captain, it’s a short taxi, and there’s basically no wait, so soon we’re up up and away, northbound towards Hong Kong, heading pretty much straight over the North Pole in a flight path clearly designed to piss off any flat Earthers on the flight today.



Very shortly, we break through the clouds, and it’s quite a nice day above the clouds.

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Almost immediately after breaking through 10,000 feet, Suani was back to offer a drink of my choice. Well, all things considered, I think I’ll stick with the Krug for now, thanks. It’s promptly delivered along with some more warmed nuts.

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As soon as the seatbelt sign is extinguished, it’s time to get up and go to the lav and get all comfy for the flight. There are two F-class lavs immediately behind the flight deck, one port side, and one in the middle section. The lav is pretty nicely appointed.

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Unpacking the pajama bag reveals the following take. The slippers are very nice, although not quite the same “I’ll wear these every day at home” factor as GA F slippers. But a close second-best. The sleep mask is also a lovely soft cotton one with a sturdy elastified fabric band around it. Definitely a keeper, and probably going in my Red Eye Survival Kit.

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The pajamas themselves are flight and comfortable, and quite handsome to boot. They fit quite comfortably, even a little loosely, on my decidedly North American (5’11”, 220) frame.

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Back at my seat, my Suani takes my order for lunch. Or dinner. The main meal. Whatever one may call it. I opt for the western course, with the beef as my main. To my surprise, she asks me how I’d like it done, and when I say medium rare, she confirms I mean some red. Hope springs eternal.

In short order, my champagne is refilled, the table set, a glass of water offered, a bread basket presented, and the caviar course offered. We’re not wasting any time.

CX’s caviar presentation is excellent, and I very much enjoy it with the blinis and creme fraiche. Such a treat.

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Details from the note presented with the table setting. It’s an easy thing to do with only six F seats, but such a nice little touch.

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The bread basket was nothing special. Even the single piece of garlic bread was a bit of a disappointment, very dry, and lacking the “dripping wet with garlic butter” factor one might find elsewhere.

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When I’m done the caviar, it’s quickly cleared, and almost instantly, Suani is back with the soup. If you’ve read my reports, you likely know what I loves me some soup on a plane, and this is no exception — velvety smooth, slightly sweet from the basil, and with a nice little bit of brunch from the croutons. Very nicely done.On every course, freshly cracked black pepper was offered.

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As the soup is served, we’ve crossed over Lake Superior and into northwestern Ontario.

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Would I like to try the salad with prawns? I’m not really sold on it by the description, but I quite enjoy it when it’s delivered to me. While I enjoy some fruit in my salad, I’m not a big grapefruit fan, and this seems like it will tend a little bit more sweet than I like. But I quite enjoy it — the shrimp, while cold, are perfectly prepared and delicious. A surprisingly enjoyable salad.

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Moving right along, a few minutes after I’m done, my main course is presented, offered with quite a nice red wine — the Frog’s Leap merlot, or as Suani consistently calls it, Leaping Frog.

The steak dish is also very delicious — I love the deep flavour of the mushrooms. The edamame are very good And even the beetroot — of which I’m not a fan — was pretty good.

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The steak itself was tasty, and decently tender, but clearly nowhere near medium rare. Or even medium, really. Oh well. No real complaints — other than I wish there was more of the wasabi butter offered with it. That was really delicious.

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When I’m done, I’m promptly offered a cheese course. I’m getting full, but really, who can say no to some good cheese? Very enjoyable.

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Meanwhile, outside the window, the sun is disappearing as we race north.

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Woiuld I like some berries? Well sure, I would. The berries are fresh, juicy, and delightful. My only criticism is the rose syrup, which just adds too much sweetness to an already wonderfully sweet dish.

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Next, my dessert order is taken. I ask for the western desert, and a cup of coffee. The coffee is promptly delivered — strong and quite good. I just have a few sips, as I hope to get to sleep fairly quickly.

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Along with dessert, a couple of other items are offered — first, a bottle of Evian water to get me through the night.

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And a hot towel — thought not nearly as hot as the first one.

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And a couple of pralines to enjoy later.

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And finally, dessert itself. The diced apple phyllo pastry is delicate and delicious. A very nice treat to round out the meal.

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Well, almost round out the meal. A little bit of whisky to go along with it — in this case, a nice little glass of Glenmorangie serves as my digestif.

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When I’m done, Suani asks if she can make my bed up. It’s at this point I notice that everyone else in the cabin has already had their bed made up, and several appear to be asleep already. Well then, let’s not waste any more time, shall we? She quickly makes the bed up, and it looks very inviting indeed when she’s done.

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Before settling in to bed for the night, it’s time to check out the contents of the amenity kit. It’s nice, but pretty basic, with a wooden comb, earplugs, toothpaste and a toothbrush, mouthwash, face cream, lip balm, and a glasses wipe. Nothing outstanding, but it’ll do the job.

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As we settle in, we’re flying over western Hudson’s Bay.

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Time to check in Studio CX. Cathay’s IFE is fairly legendary, and I found it pretty good as well. To start with, let’s peruse the new additions.

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I ultimately settle on Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Like it’s predecessor, it’s a fun, campy action romp, highlighted by Julianne Moore as a quirky supervillain and a kidnapped, jump-kicking Elton John. Nothing to be taken too seriously, but a lot of fun. I settle into bed to watch it, quite comfortable.

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By the time it’s over, we’re up over the Arctic Circle, nearing the North Pole.

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It’s probably time to get some sleep, so I choose a documentary that promises to be fairly interesting, but also probably pretty easy to fall asleep to. It does the job, sorta. I must fall asleep pretty quickly, but according to my watch it’s less than an hour later when I wake up, and it’s not playing. Hmmmmm?

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For the next little while, I toss and turn and doze in and out, but don’t get any solid sleep. After a while, I decide to restart the documentary. When I press play, it asks if I want to resume. So I presume that a flight attendant found me asleep, and turned if and the screen off for me? That’s the only thing that makes sense. There’s still a bit of in-and-out sleep, but I sleep more solidly this time, waking up about four and a half hours out of Hong Kong, as we’re about to cross from Russian airspace into Mongolian.

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I wonder what led to the poor night of sleep, given the very comfortable bed so nicely made up. Perhaps the relatively “early” hour of going to sleep? The bit of coffee before bedtime? The hot cabin temperature — I found it hard to find the balance between too warm under the blanket, and not warm enough with the blanket off. Given how nice CX’s F duvet is to snuggle up under, I wish they’d keep the cabin a bit cooler to make that part of the experience all the better. But I think I’m swimming against the tide on an Asian carrier.

I get up to use the lav, and want to order a snack, but there are no flight attendants about the front of the cabin A press of the service button is quickly answered by Pion, and I order the burger. She tells me it will be about 15 minutes before it’s ready.

Looking through the western movies, I ultimately settle on a nice, light film to keep me entertained. Interesting… when It came out, I specifically remember thinking I wouldn’t see it on a flight anytime soon, since airlines don’t tend to load horror. But I guess it’s “thriller” enough that it doesn’t make the verboten list. I thought it was pretty well done.

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True to her word, Pion returns 15 minutes later with my burger. It’s a really satisfying snack, with a nice smoky and tangy barbecue sauce on it. It goes nicely with a Coke.

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Afterwards, I snuggle back into bed and watch the children of Derry continue to battle both their fears and the adults of the town. With about half an hour left in the film, we strike an area of moderate turbulence for a few minutes — enough that the seat belt sign is turned on for the first time on this flight. But it doesn’t last long.

With about 15 minutes to go in the movie, Pion stops by to let me know we’re about two hours out of Hong Kong, and asks if I’d like her to prepare my pre-arrival meal. I’m not exactly super-hungry, but sure… let’s do it. I request the Kurobuta pork, and a glass of the Puligny-Montrachet white wine to go with it. Once again, she dutifully informs me that it’ll be about 15 minutes to prepare it.

Sure enough, promptly as the movie ends, she returns with the place setting, bread basket, and fruit dish.

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The fruit is nice and fresh.

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Bread basket is about the same as before — the garlic bread is a little bit better this time around, but still just an “okay” garlic bread for First Class.

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We’re making nice process, steaming onwards towards Wuhan.

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Time to find another movie that will pretty much fill the remaining time left in the flight. I’d put it more in the dramedy category than comedy, but it’s decent.

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When i’m done the fruit, Suani arrives with my main course. It tastes pretty good, but it’s a little on the dry side. For a First Class dish, I’d give it just middling marks.

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Dessert is up next — described as a chocolate coffee cake, it’s quite unlike any coffee cake I’ve ever had. It’s chocolate ganache with a coffee/whipped cream topping, and a very thin, crisp crust. Quite good.

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With dessert, I’m presented my third hot towel of the flight.

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And along with it, a couple more pralines, and a Hong Kong-style milk tea. My first time having it — it’s not… pardon the pun… my cup of tea. Not bad, but not something I’d be rushing to have again.

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Meal completed, I head to the lav and change back into my street clothes, packing up much of the stuff I had out during the course of the flight. A while later, the captain comes over the PA, letting us know we’re about 30 minutes from Hong Kong. Apparently it’s rainy, and “quite a cool 12 Celsius.” Yeah, considering I started my day in -20, and then made my way to -5, I’ll take 12, thankyouverymuch.

The service director stops by to thank me for flying with Cathay, and wishes me a pleasant flight to Tokyo tomorrow.

Yep, sure looks like we’re almost there.

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Hey look, it’s the mega-bridge! Is it open now? Or still being built, but lit up. Either way, nice to see it’s progressed since I was last in Hong Kong, last April.

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Touchdown at 8:06 pm local time in rainy Hong Kong.

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Well… ummm… that's quite the route we took according to Airshow. This has to be some sort of a speed and endurance record for a 77W.

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Taxiing towards CX-land.

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Finally, this journey comes to an end near the end of the one of the upper limbs of the Y-shaped main terminal at HKG, next to a CXRJ.

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Arrival into Hong Kong



The jetways are quickly hooked up, and we’re let out at door one for the rather long walk back to immigrations only about 12 minutes after touching ground at Chek Lap Kok. One of our pilots must have had a date this evening — I’ve never seen a flight deck crew member get off a plane faster. That’s him leaving me in the dust on the travellator.

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After a short walk, we arrive at the main joint of the Y terminal. There’s a shuttle train here that will take me to immigration. But we’re not gonna do that, are we? Nope. We’re gonna walk it and stretch those legs!

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That walk took about ten minutes, and another ten minutes to clear immigration, make my way through the baggage hall, and arrive landside at HKG, which is also still showing some seasonal finery, just like T5 in ORD.

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I’m not really hungry, and my hotel room awaits, but in the interest of completion, let’s check out The Arrival lounge, located off to the right of the above shot, in the tunnel between terminals 1 and 2.

Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge Hong Kong



Ahhh, here we are. My boarding pass is checked over, and I’m invited inside.

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The Arrival is a bit of a letdown. It certainly isn’t the Virgin Atlantic Arrival Lounge at LHR. Or the United Arrival Lounge at LHR. Or, actually, any arrival lounge at LHR.

There’s a small main seating area.

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A few PCs with printers for those who might need them. WiFi is fast and free — sorry, I didn’t get a corporate shot this time around. You’ll just have to trust me.

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Another raised bar area with stools, and a couple of computers for those who might need them.

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Some reading material, separating the seating area from the dining area.

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A small buffet, with soup, snacks, fruit…

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… salad fixins, some drinks, desserts, and a coffee station.

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Not exactly impressive. Not exactly really good a la carte eggs benny or anything like that.

But there are showers. The shower room is pretty nicely appointed. Although, please note, in the picture below, the tap is turned off. Or at least, is turned off as it can get.

photo 126

The rest of the suite.

photo 127

The shower itself is good. The rainfall shower head is a nice addition, offering a hot but gentle shower. All in all, it’s fine.

photo 128

The soup is the only thing on offer that really grabs me — it’s cream of tomato, and it’s decent enough, but nothing special.

photo 129

Thoroughly underwhelmed, I do a bit of e-mail as it’s the start of the day Monday back home, and make my way out of here to catch some shut-eye. Gotta get up early for some lounge-surfing tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I can’t help but feel I may have had a better overall experience going to the Plaza Premium lounge across the hall from The Arrival.

Time to get some sleep - Regal Airport Hotel



It’s a fairly short walk over to the Regal Hotel, where I’ll hopefully get about six hours sleep before getting up and heading back to the airport for some First Class Lounge time. Rather tired from the somewhat restless night and time shift, I’m very excited when I arrive at the front desk and am greeted by this lineup!

photo 130

It takes me about 25 minutes to get checked in, and then finally up to my room, where it’s definitely time to crash.



Unfortunately, I’m not facing the runways so no cool nighttime spotting opportunities. That’s just as well. It’s time to get some shut-eye.

photo 134

We’ll pick up the narrative here in the morning.

Thanks for joining me on this journey! I hope you’ll check out the rest of the series as it comes out.
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Verdict

Cathay Pacific

8.5/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment9.0
Meal/catering7.5

British Airways Galleries First lounge

4.6/10
Comfort5.5
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment5.0
Services4.0

Chicago - ORD

6.3/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.5
Services6.5
Cleanliness6.0

Hong Kong - HKG

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

A very nice First Class flight to kick off 2018, and certainly much better for me than my 2017 attempt at the same route. I suppose, given circumstances, that’s damning through faint praise.

Cathay’s First Class is one of the best-documented in the world, and I doubt I have much to add to the story, so I’ll just say that I found the whole experience a very good, solid, First Class offering, as “workmanlike” and predictable as a 1%er experience can be.

The catering wasn’t great, but was pretty good. The seat and service were both excellent.

Given CX’s financial woes, and the number of seats that seem to be redeemed on these routes using AA and AS miles, I do wonder about the long-term viability of CX F. But I’m glad to have had the experience while it’s still going strong.

Informations on the route Chicago (ORD) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Chicago (ORD) → Hong Kong (HKG).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 15.0 hours and 50.0 minutes.

  More informations

9 Comments

  • Comment 428290 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4484 Comments

    Hi HometoYYZ, great report and always and an awesome way to start off the year!

    "I would not eat anything again until the pre-arrival meal back to Chicago on ANA, and slept almost the whole way through those flights — including the whole of HKG-BKK and BKK-HND."
    - Oh no! That sucks. What a shame not to have been able to fully enjoy the experience. Looks like things are off to a much better start this time!

    "CX now participates in PreCheck, so that was added to my reservation."
    - Awesome! I wasn't aware. Good to know as CX will begin flying to IAD this year, so I'll hopefully have an opportunity to take that flight later this year.

    "After all, any Emerald can get access to this lounge on any OW flight, right?"
    - Well, I imagine at ORD, most OW Emeralds are prob AA Executive Plats and they don't have access to lounges on domestic itineraries, so really the lounges only need to be open when there are international flights operating.

    The BA Galleries First lounge seems kind of meh...definitely not as nice as those in LHR, which is the opposite of the Business class lounges which tend to be nicer in outstations (the renovated ones anyway). Did you not try to make it over to the new AA Flagship lounge? Seems like you had enough time, but I know it's a pain to change terminals at ORD.

    "There are even a few people in the First/Business/OW Emerald line already, despite it not quite being the posted boarding time yet."
    - There really should be a separate queue for First class. Or better yet, they should be escorted on board in pre-boarding like some carriers do. It's nice an agent came through the line to get F pax, but it would just be better not to have to stand in that line to begin with. The lack of First Class ground services is the weak spot of the CX F experience.

    The A side in F seems great if you're travelling alone, offering complete privacy. The 1-1-1 configuration is perfect for people travelling alone, but not so great when travelling as a couple or with others.

    "The hot cabin temperature — I found it hard to find the balance between too warm under the blanket, and not warm enough with the blanket off."
    - Us North Americans are too used to A/C set to Arctic blast levels. I find any non-U.S. airlines cabins too warm, which does make it difficult to sleep sometimes.

    The catering may not be the best for First class, but the essential things are there like caviar and high end champagne. What CX lacks in quality of catering, it looks like they make up for in quantity...so. much. food.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 429879 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 311 Comments

      Hi Kevin! Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts.

      "- Oh no! That sucks. What a shame not to have been able to fully enjoy the experience. Looks like things are off to a much better start this time!"
      Mercifully, yes. I'd have to write off CX entirely if the same thing were to strike again this time! ;-)

      "- Well, I imagine at ORD, most OW Emeralds are prob AA Executive Plats and they don't have access to lounges on domestic itineraries, so really the lounges only need to be open when there are international flights operating."
      Is that how that works? I thought AA ExP would get you into this, since it's another OW airline's lounge? I thought airlines could just bar their domestic travelers from accessing their own lounges, not any OW carrier's lounge?

      "Did you not try to make it over to the new AA Flagship lounge? Seems like you had enough time, but I know it's a pain to change terminals at ORD."
      To be honest, I didn't even think of it, since it's a couple of terminals over. So much for maximizing.

      "- There really should be a separate queue for First class. Or better yet, they should be escorted on board in pre-boarding like some carriers do. It's nice an agent came through the line to get F pax, but it would just be better not to have to stand in that line to begin with. The lack of First Class ground services is the weak spot of the CX F experience."
      Yeah, I'd have to agree with you there. F ground experience -- except the lounges in HKG of course -- are pretty much non-existant. And I doubt CX will be investing in that right now.

      "The catering may not be the best for First class, but the essential things are there like caviar and high end champagne. What CX lacks in quality of catering, it looks like they make up for in quantity...so. much. food."
      - That's for sure. Massive chunks of meat. And lots of other stuff to go along with it. I didn't really dislike the catering for F, but thought it was kinda "average' for international F.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      • Comment 430249 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4484 Comments

        "Is that how that works? I thought AA ExP would get you into this, since it's another OW airline's lounge? I thought airlines could just bar their domestic travelers from accessing their own lounges, not any OW carrier's lounge?"
        - I'm pretty sure, though not 100%, that OW lounges in the U.S. will deny AA Elites on domestic itineraries, though AA allows other OW airline Elites access to Admirals Clubs on domestic itineraries, since they allow AA Elites access on domestic flights overseas (e.g. QF in Australia). At least this has been the case in my experience. As an ExPlat, I've tried to get in to the BA Galleries lounge at IAD on several occasions on domestic itineraries and was denied.

  • Comment 428319 by
    Razza_Pr 203 Comments

    Hi, Hometoyyz, and thank you for this FR.

    Thanks for showing us what we could expect from a Premium Economy lounge with a decent bar ;) ;)

    “And then… hey look! It’s my ride over to Hong Kong this afternoon — B-KPJ, which just celebrated its ninth birthday last month. Welcome to Chicago, my friend.”
    - The livery difference is so subtle, it’s barely even noticeable..

    “The pajamas themselves are flight and comfortable, and quite handsome to boot.”
    - You know what they say - “you are what you wear” :D

    “CX’s caviar presentation is excellent, and I very much enjoy it with the blinis and creme fraiche. Such a treat.”
    - The lighting here is spectacular, can I just say?

    “I ultimately settle on Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Like it’s predecessor, it’s a fun, campy action romp, highlighted by Julianne Moore as a quirky supervillain and a kidnapped, jump-kicking Elton John.”
    - I thought it was weaker by a fair margin than its predecessor. They just sort of brushed off a major support character’s death without so much a tribute, or mention? Too much humour and lacking deeper meaning or substance, in my not-so-humble opinion :/

    “One of our pilots must have had a date this evening — I’ve never seen a flight deck crew member get off a plane faster. That’s him leaving me in the dust on the travellator.”
    - Heh. I thought pilots (and flight crews in general) are supposed to perform post-flight checks, and a briefing? This is probably the first occurrence I’ve ever known of it.

    “Rather tired from the somewhat restless night and time shift, I’m very excited when I arrive at the front desk and am greeted by this lineup!”
    - Does that look like a cancelled regional flight to you? Or just a busy time for arrivals back in HKG?

    Thank you Hometoyyz for this FR. Will check out the remainder of the series. Cheers!

    • Comment 428320 by
      Razza_Pr 203 Comments

      Check that. TWO major deaths! I still can't even.

    • Comment 430191 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 311 Comments

      Hi Razza. Thanks for stopping by!

      “The livery difference is so subtle, it’s barely even noticeable..”
      - And yet, I like the new one so much better. I just don’t care for the lack of ANYTHING above the windows on the old livery…

      “You know what they say - “you are what you wear” :D”
      - Then things were lookin’ up for me on this flight!

      “I thought it was weaker by a fair margin than its predecessor. They just sort of brushed off a major support character’s death without so much a tribute, or mention? Too much humour and lacking deeper meaning or substance, in my not-so-humble opinion :/“
      - Eehhhh. It did the job for me, but then, I have pretty low standards for in-flight movies. It’s the rare movie I can’t sit through on a plane. I’m looking at YOU, Eddie the Eagle!

      “Heh. I thought pilots (and flight crews in general) are supposed to perform post-flight checks, and a briefing? This is probably the first occurrence I’ve ever known of it.”
      - Yeah, I kinda thought so too. Perhaps he’s one of the “relief” pilots, so doesn’t have quite the same post-flight duties? I don’t know.

      “Does that look like a cancelled regional flight to you? Or just a busy time for arrivals back in HKG?”
      - There were a lot of people with airline certs, so I presume at least part of the lineup was due to flight delays or cancellations.

      Thanks again for the feedback!

  • Comment 428902 by
    Injian13 6 Comments

    I have a similar schedule in May but it’s Cathay all the way and back. Was almost going to do JAL F on the way back but decided against it. Thanks for sharing and looks like Cathay haven’t lost their touch.

  • Comment 430719 by
    socalnow GOLD 741 Comments

    Greetings Hometoyyz and thank you very much for the detailed and downright fun reports. I'm behind in reading/commenting.

    "However, with Christmas 2017 in the rearview, things pretty quiet workwise in January, and having been “grounded” for more than a month, I was starting to get wanderlust, and started looking at fun things to do with a pile of Alaska miles burning a hole in my “pocket.” "
    -This! I had the same exact inclination. I made it a little further into January before I pulled the trigger. What can I say, willpower.

    "Twenty-eight or so hours in CX and JL First Class. Happy New Year to me!"
    -You really know how to celebrate. Are (were) you crediting DL to AS? Do you fly with AS to accrue miles? Mileage Plan is fantastic.

    "With OneWorld’s “Top-tiers get first-class stuff” rules, the First Class line was already significantly larger than the six-person CX F cabin."
    -Such a double edged sword. Fantastic for the elites, laughable for F customers.

    " I had been able to secure 1A for this flight, but the CX Web site had only offered me middle seats for HKG-NRT, so I inquired now if I could get a window seat. I was quickly assigned 2A."
    -Double win! JAL is funny about saving seats for airport elites. I understand but I pout.

    "“The Buffet.” It’s not exactly screaming “International First Class.”"
    -Nor the lounge writ large. LAX and JFK appear the be the only N.A. CX stations that provide a lounge that is "First Class."

    Sipping Krug above the clouds, the classically cut sleepwear, the beautiful caviar presentation, and attentive service show that CX F is still a really special experience. Visually the main dish is quite drab but the flavor delivered. The pre-cut cheese is disappointing. The dessert is a thing of beauty. Single malt to finish, well done sir.

    I struggle with sleep after a rich meal and ample wine and spirits. Not even the exceptional CX bed was able to overcome this.

    Loving the burger and coke in F. So simple and so satisfying. Too bad about the dry pork. That second dessert looks fantastic.

    "Well… ummm… that's quite the route we took according to Airshow. This has to be some sort of a speed and endurance record for a 77W."
    -They're going to need a lot more caviar and Krug if that's the flight path, LOL.

    "Not exactly really good a la carte eggs benny or anything like that."
    -I recall an a la carte menu on my one and only visit to the CX arrivals lounge. I was quoted a long wait time for food so I gave up and left.

    Thank you again for sharing this experience . It's such a magical thing, First Class travel. Looking forward to your next installment. Happy flying.

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