Flight Date: 13APR2013—Cathay Pacific always seems to be winning awards for best service lately; and after a recent flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo, I found out why. Check out this list of accolades from just 2011 and 2012 alone–impressive.
After check-in and departure formalities, I went straight to the newly refurbished Cathay Pacific first class lounge. ‘The Wing’, which is located just to the left after passport control, is a special place.
Set atop a balcony, you have unobstructed views of the passenger terminal area and tarmac—a people watching and plane-spotters’ paradise. The lounge is very sleek, with extensive use of marble floors and black glass walls, accentuated by contemporary furniture by Poltruna Frau of Italy. Upon entering, you are greeted by lounge staff and offered a welcome drink at the champagne bar before entering the main lounge area.
On the way you pass by a reading area stocked with a wide array of newspapers and magazines.
To the left of the reading room is the entrance to the five ‘cabanas’ and shower area. The cabanas are amazing; and for those with long layovers, shouldn’t be missed.
Proceeding along, you come to the main lounge area with a snazzy bar finished in white marble.
Just behind the bar is the entrance to ‘the Haven’, where you can order a full meal service from the menu or help yourself to the buffet in the back.
The Wing is deceiving in a good way—open and airy, yet very private and secluded as well—one of the best airport lounges in the world.
The lounge experience was going to be hard to top; however, I was eager to get on my way nevertheless. Two solid weeks of non-stop air travel was beginning to take its toll.
My flight today was on a B747-400 and I was again the only passenger in the cabin. I’m fast becoming an A380 devotee; however the sight of the iconic 747 is always pleasing to the eye. Can’t wait to try Lufthansa’s B747-8 in the coming months.
The Cathay Pacific B747-400’s nine first class seats are located at the nose on the first floor; configured with four suites at the window on each side and one suite in the middle at row four.
For long haul flights, Cathay is gradually phasing out their fleet of 747-400’s and moving to B777-300s. The cabin is starting to show its age—that said—it is still a pleasant space.
The captain announced, due to strong tail winds, we would arrive a full hour ahead of schedule. I settled in and had a quick look at the menu and wine list.
I decided to go for the Japanese ‘kaiseki’ meal accompanied by a glass of the Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc
The meal service began with some Japanese style canapés followed by sashimi and soup.
The main course was served on a lacquered tray and along with steamed rice and miso soup. Cathay Pacific doesn’t use pre-cooked rice; instead they have a small rice cooker on board to ensure freshness. The meal was very good.
The entertainment controller wasn’t working so I moved to another seat (nice having the whole cabin to yourself!) and watched a movie for the remainder of the short, 3 hour flight. As this was a short flight, I didn’t use the bed function. The seat is spacious, and like its Oneworld partner British Airways, the seat is a bit narrow at the toe. Controls are easy to use and the in-flight entertainment system offers a considerable array of movies, TV shows and games.
Final Thoughts— There is a reason Cathay Pacific is constantly winning awards. They get it. Friendly and efficient service, The Wing lounge…wow!, attention to detail in the air, great food and comfortable seats. From the check-in counter at Hong Kong to baggage claim at Haneda, everyone I encountered were quick to smile and offer assistance. I really enjoyed my stay at ‘The Wing’ and had an equally enjoyable ride on the B747-400. I’m scheduled to try their new business and first class cabins later in the year. Please check back for those reports.
For more information about Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific First Class Photo Gallery