We had the good fortune of being able to reserve 3 seats in First Class for our LAX-HKG flight, which was a whopping 15:50 flight.  What makes this even more unbelievable is that Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ERs only have 6 seats in first class!  With a good amount of luck we were able to secure these seats and what’s more, we were the ONLY PASSENGERS IN FIRST CLASS!  This meant that with the Purser and two Flight Attendants, we literally had 1:1 attention the entire flight.

In order to secure these award seats, I used Alaska Airlines Miles which provides fantastic value as I only had to redeem 80,000 Alaska Miles per passenger and that got us to Hong Kong in First Class AND to New Zealand in Business Class!!!  The only reason we didn’t fly First Class to New Zealand is that Cathay uses their new A350-900s on that route, and that plane does not have a First Class cabin, thus we had to “settle” for Business Class.  Regardless, Alaska Miles redemptions on Partner Airlines continues to be the best value in redemptions in the world!

If you want a TLDR version of what I will be covering, take a look at the video below but if you want the gory details, keep reading.

The Experience

The moment we stepped aboard CX885, we were warmly greeted and made to feel special.  The ways they did this are too numerous to list but one very good example is that we were invited to the cockpit to speak to the 4 pilots of the plane that would be shuttling us to Hong Kong.  We spent a good 5 minutes talking to them and I can’t tell you how over the moon I was to be able to do that.  Ever since I was a kid, getting to have a glimpse into the cockpit was a treat, even if it was from 8 rows back.  To be able to spend that kind of time with the crew prior to takeoff was a dream come true.  This is not the standard operating procedure for most airlines.

Our flight attendants, Tammy and Cheran were always pre-emptively providing service, making it clear that there was absolutely nothing to worry about while on board and under their care.  Either they were there as if they read my mind or by my seat within 5 seconds of my pressing the call button.  The service was top notch and the best I have experienced on any airline.

The Food

Scrumptious, delicious, delectable … the adjectives don’t do it justice.  I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the food and there wasn’t a single thing that I could fault except that the beef filet was a tad dry, though I would expect that this was because of the fact that the steak was about 2.5 inches thick and our flight attendants had an oven to work with.  The taste of the food was great and really one of the most defining parts of the entire experience.

Add to the food the fact that we could dine on demand and you can quickly start to see why so many people rave about Cathay First.  I’m glad that other airlines are starting to embrace the dine on demand concept because it is so much better than having to eat whenever the airline deems it the right time to serve you food.

Oh, and did I mention you have all the Haagen Dazs Ice Cream you want?  Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry were available on my flight.  I managed to try the Strawberry and Vanilla.  I ran out of time to get me some chocolate ice cream.  One thing that you might find interesting … Cathay Flight Attendants use dry ice to flash freeze the ice cream so it comes to your seat like it was in the freezer for a week, which is a great treat while cruising above the earth 6.5 miles above the earth.

And yes … I am fully aware Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, Strawberry Ice Cream, and Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky is a strange combo.

The Seat

The seat is enormous!  My wife came and sat with me and we both easily fit on the main seat because it’s 36 inches wide!  My daughter easily fit in the “buddy” seat so the three of us actually fit in one seat!

While the seat is enormous and very comfortable, I will say that the cabin has become a tad tired.  You can tell that the seat has been enjoyed by many patrons and while it isn’t malfunctioning, it just feels a touch worn.  It’s certainly not a scathing criticism, simply an observation.  My guess is that Cathay will soon introduce a new First Class cabin to compete with the likes of their counterparts at Singapore, Etihad, and Emirates.

The Bed

When the seat is converted into a bed, it is incredibly comfortable.  It honestly feels like you are in your bed at home.  I didn’t feel like the bed was too small or uncomfortable in any way.  As a side sleeper, I often toss and turn and I can tell when a bed is too small because I’ll wake up when I try to turn over.  I didn’t have that issue with Cathay’s First Class seat.

I managed to get a good 4 hours of sleep in.  I could have easily slept more but limited my rest to try to catch up to Hong Kong time as quickly as possible, which meant that I needed to be tired when we landed in Hong Kong at 6:30 PM so that we could get to sleep at our normal time of around 10 PM.

One negative about the entire sleep experience is that Cathay notoriously keeps their cabins on the warm side, meaning that some people wake up wet with sweat … not that appealing.  Given that you have a high-quality duvet I’m unsure why the cabin is kept so warm.

Here’s a video of my thoughts on the quality of the sleep on board Cathay Pacific First Class.

The Goodies

Everyone that flies in Premium Cabins knows that you get some extra perks and that’s especially true of Cathay Pacific’s First Class.  One of the things that a lot of airlines are doing away with are pajamas.  Thankfully, Cathay is not one of those airlines.  I found that the pajamas fit me incredibly well and were very comfortable, so comfortable in fact that I intend on wearing these around the house when I get home.

Another perk that comes with flying in Premium Cabins is the amenity kit.  I will happily admit that I rarely use the lotions and potions included in these kits nor do I use the socks or eye mask.  Rather, I look forward to the bags/containers that these amenities come in as I repurpose them for storage of batteries, electronics or cables for when I travel next.

For those that care about the contents of the kit, you’ll be happy to know that you are provided some high-quality Aesop products including a Rosehip Seed Lip Cream, and a Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream.  Also included are a wooden comb, socks, eye mask, glass cleaning cloth, earplugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and some welcome mouthwash.

I personally find the kit to be quite nice with some excellent amenities but again, I’m more about the case itself and I can tell you, it makes for a great place to store your GoPro and its accessories.

How To Do This For Yourself

If you are vigilant, it is surprisingly easy to book yourself a First Class seat on Cathay Pacific and it’s actually affordable if you look to use Alaska Airlines Miles.  I have a complete Series on how to book Alaska Partner Awards including how to do so with Cathay Pacific.

For Canadians, it’s very easy to quickly accumulate Alaska Miles by churning the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard and you could pretty easily earn up to 100,000 Alaska Miles in a year and only pay $60 in annual fees.  Take a read through my review of the card (linked above).


I loved every minute of my 15:50 aboard CX885 and could have spent even more time aboard.  The time seemed to zoom by and ended too soon.  I look forward to traveling with Cathay in First Class more often and will have the chance to do so on our flight from New York to Vancouver at the end of our trip.

The only problem with First Class?  It’s really hard to go back to Economy and dare I say … Business Class?


Jayce is the founder of PointsNerd, and avid traveller and a teacher by nature. He prides himself on flattening the learning curve through step-by-step guides because everyone needs to start somewhere.


    • Hey Mike,

      I loved CX F but I have some not so nice things to say about CX J on the A350. Tune in for that review shortly. Cheers


      • Enjoyed reading Jayce, glad you had a great experience! I was also planning to book a trip to AKL from the US on Cathay Pacific but will wait to read your review of the a350 flight.

  1. Great content, and very cool to snag 3 seats using AS (even better it was just you three). I am still aspiring to redeem for CX F. The Mrs. and I managed to snag two J seats this August using AS miles from SIN – HKG stopover – LAX – SEA – YYJ on the A359 from SIN – BKK – HKG and the mini cabin 77W from HKG – LAX. Tougher to find seats these days but it is possible! Keep the content coming.

    Tacking on that extra flight to New Zealand for 10K miles is amazing. Interested to hear your thoughts on the A359 experience. The seat itself is probably my favourite J seat, but the fit and finish of the materials and components was extremely poor.

  2. Hi Jayce,

    May I ask you how did you manage to book 3 seats? One seat usually easy enough to get well in advance (like 1 year) and usually they release one or two 14 days before departure. So did you book very close to departure? I have booking HKG-MXP-HKG earlier in European summer and cannot wait. However I could not book two (for my dear) and she flying via SIN and going to suffer in Business 🙁 I planing trip to North America in few years and very keen to find out how I can book two seats in First very well in advance. Any tips?


    • Hi Serg,

      As I had mentioned in the article, I had booked 1F and 2J seats about 8 months in advance and watched to see if any additional F seats would open up. About 5 days prior to the flight, F availability opened up for award redemption so I switched the 2J for 2F, making a total of 3F tickets.

      In terms of booking 2F seats in advance, your chances are very slim. You will most likely find 1F seat available for redemption. I have personally never heard of 2F seats opening far in advance. Hope that helps.


  3. Great review Jayce, looks amazing. I’m flying this route in F in just three weeks time and am incredible excited. Did you make a request to visit the cockpit either before you traveled with customer service, or prior to departure once you were at the airport with the gate agent or cabin crew? Or did they just invite you?

    • Hi Pete!

      You’re gonna love it!

      The cabin crew invited us up to the cockpit but I have an 8 year old so that might play a factor. I’m sure if you ask they will accommodate you.

      Have a great time!


    • Hi Tonkin,

      Thanks for your kind comments. The appetizer that I had on this Cathay First Class Flight was the Mint and Pea soup. I suppose you could consider the caviar as an appetizer as well. Cheers



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