Friday, September 16, 2016

FIRST CLASS - $16,000 flight on World's Best Airline

First Class on Cathay Pacific 777-300ER (extended range) is probably one of the coolest things I've done in my life. The airline has won consecutive awards for "World's Best Airline" by Skytrax, based on a survey of 19 million passengers from around the world.

To achieve our incredible journey, credit goes to my husband, the Mo, who does all the research on which credit cards to open and I do the fun part...just rack them up!

For the trip from PNH (Phnom Penh Cambodia) to BOS (Boston, MA USA), it cost 67,500 American airline miles.  American Airlines and Cathay Pacific are Oneworld alliance and travelers get to redeem their points on airlines within the group.

The current going rate for anywhere in "Asia 2" to continental United States is now 110,000 miles ONE WAY , almost DOUBLE what we spent.  If we were to pay cash, the one way flight would costs more than $16,000 PER PERSON.

I was very apprehensive of the booking.  Cathay Pacific only releases one first class seat per flight to be booked in advance.  As the date approaches, additional tickets may become available, but there are no guarantees.

The Mo booked my flight direct from Hong Kong to Boston and he booked his flight from Hong Kong to JFK since we couldn't get on the same flights initially.  Throughout our trip, he checked for availability and finally one week before we were scheduled to leave Cambodia, the seat opened up.  it was pretty comical.  We were on the beach and WIFI signal was pretty poor so he had to borrow a cellphone from a local to reserve the flight.

Nonetheless, we both got first class seats on Cathay Pacific.

After a gluttonous 5 hour duration in "The Pier" and "The Wing" lounges (reviews to follow later), we boarded our aircraft on time and were guided to our private spacious "suite".

Within minutes, our jackets and carry on bags were taken away by the crew and we were exploring our suite.  I didn't miss fighting with other passengers for overhead compartment or awkwardly asking the guy sighting by the aisle to get up so I can squeeze into the window seat.

First class seats were wide and spacious and adorned with a live orchid for a nice touch,

First Class Seats
image via Andy's travel blog
Once we were seated, hot towels were provided, pre-departure Krug Champagne was served along with salmon caviar. I was so excited and felt so fancy!  Since we weren't "taxi-ing" yet, the Mo sat across from me in my "visitor's chair" across my seat and we enjoyed the moment together.

Luxury Aesop amenity kits were provided and tailored for male or female.  The premium kits included lip cream (what is that?), face cream, hand cream, tooth paste and brush and a bunch of other things that were cool but I didn't really use.

One of my favorite parts of the flight was the 100% cotton PYE Hong Kong brand pj's that were provided.  There were different sizes and colors and the cozy sleep suit came with matching slippers and eye masks.

image via Cathay Pacific
The Mo returned to his seat and buckled up for take off as I enjoyed my seat.  There were many magazines, a seat that reclines flat to a bed, lots of storage compartments.  The entertainment system boasted a 17" screen with Bose headphones ( I didn't need to pack my own) with lots of new movies to and shows to to binge watch.  I loved that the In-flight Safety video featured a computer rendering of an Asian woman.

17" flat screen TV

Once we took off and were in the air, the flight attendants came back to refresh our drinks before dinner was served.  The suites are designed so that passengers can interact with other traveling companions on the long haul flights.  Dining for two is available for passengers who wish to take advantage of it... so we did.

By this time, the Mo moved on from the Krug to the Johnny Walker Blue Label, which retails for over $200.00 USD  per bottle.  I stuck with the Krug.

The table was set beautifully with real linen and silverware.  Our first course was Calvisius Venise Caviar served with a variety of accompaniments. I've never had caviar before and I didn't know what to do with the sour cream, hard boiled eggs and Russian pancakes.   (Hot rolls and butter was also on the table) The caviar retails for about $ 48.00 USD for the 1 oz tin that was served.

For dinner, the Mo went with the Western option of soup and steak and I went with the Chinese menu.  Both menus included soup.  All items were served on China.

Actually, matter of fact, I think we both ordered a meal each and split a shrimp entree as well.

Chinese Duck entree
 The duck was very good.

The shrimp was large and had a nice smoky flavor

Surprisingly, the steak was cooked to our standard and tasted great for the resources they have to prepare it in flight.

The Mo skipped the cheese course but I went for it along with some dessert.  Brie, my favorite cheese!

Cathay Pacific first class dessert

Keylime Pie with ice cream
After dinner wrapped up, it was lights out! Optional, of course.  We changed into our luxurious pajamas, washed our faces and brushed up.  The attendants clean the bathroom and folds the toilet paper after each use.  At one point, I was like,  "Don't worry about it, I pee a lot!"

By the time we returned, the flight attendant prepared our beds for us to sleep.  Chocolate truffles were left by our side for a sweet ending.  We were knocked out in no time.

Lie Flat Seats
image via Andy's Travel Blog

The bed and linen was super comfy and I only woke up to go to the bathroom.  I think I slept for almost 10 hours.  When I woke up, I was pissed at myself for "opportunity lost" and no staying awake to enjoy the food, drinks and other amenities on the aircraft.

When we were both awaken, it was breakfast time.  We were both still in our PJ's as the flight attendant came around to offer us drinks and set out table for breakfast.  Yes, I'll have more Krug champagne please!! (Hey, don't judge!)

Juice, fruit and warm croissants were served before we ordered our own entree. We both got dim sum.  Although it was good, we were still hungry after eating the small Chinese bites as there were only 3 pieces and a small wrap of sticky rice.

It was definitely a great experience and I would do it again! I definitely won't shell out $16,000 but if we had the miles and points, I would do it all over again.  Next time, I would try to stay awake as much as possible or set my alarm for naps instead of deep sleeps.