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Cathay Pacific – San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG) - Flight CA 879 - First Class Flight Review

Left me wishing I could have stayed on board longer!

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The Cathay Pacific – San Francisco to Hong Kong First Class Flight CA 879 had us all excited at the prospect of a trip. Our journey started with a setback of a delay in timing; from 1:35 to 3:45. A little let down, we wondered what the rest of the journey had in store for us from this B747-400 airplane with its famed flight reviews on the cabins, service and food. (Click here to read our San Francisco hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our Hong Kong hotel and restaurant reviews.)

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The Check-In: The check-in on the Cathay Pacific flight lived up to the mark of how a First Class check-in should be. It was quick and easy with the friendly assistance of the crew making the whole process relaxing and hassle-free. A nice start to any journey in our opinion.

The Lounge: We waited at the Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounge.

The First Class lounge of Cathay Pacific offered us the advantage of not having to take a long walk to reach the gate. Open a side door at the time of boarding and we could immediately board the flight; a simplicity of detail that made a huge difference for the travelers. Our full review of Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounge in San Francisco is coming soon.

First Impression: In this new age of traveling, finding noticeably good service is hard, even while traveling First Class. So we were taken quite by surprise to feel so welcomed and valued as a customer. The flight attendants were mindful of all the small details that needed looking into and helped us store our on-board bags.

The Cabin: The new cabins of Cathay Pacific were much buzzed about. Boasting of an 81-inch bed that can be transformed into a seat with a personal buzzer, massage functions, side-seat options, drop-down armrest and more, the First Class cabins of Cathay Pacific were a pleasure to travel in. With enough personal space to even invite a guest in, these cabins were more suite-like than just seats.

The cabin had an air of subtle sophistication in all aspects. The beige tone of the cabin lent an air of warmth and the hues of the carpets, seats and wall tops were all in different shades of the same. The cabins were private with enough space to have a small closet fitted which was large enough to hang your clothes in if you wanted to change into your pajamas. The absence of overhead storage space created a feel of a large interior room. A definite plus for those with a tendency for claustrophobia. The seats were spread out in 4 rows with 2 seats in each row in the first three rows. The last row included a seat in the middle making it a total of 9 very spacious and private cabin seats. Seats 1A and 1K were the closest to each other and the ideal ones to book for those traveling together. The cabin was lit with streaming pink and blue light before takeoff. Research shows that pink and blue light has a calming effect on people and makes it easier to adjust from it to complete darkness as compared to white or yellow lights which were used traditionally.

The entertainment system was Studio CX and we were spoilt for choices with 350 TV shows, 880 music CDs, 70+ video games, 22 radio shows and over a 100 different movies. Being bored was not an option Cathay Pacific wanted for its passengers.

A point to be noted; the bathrooms are simply huge. The largest we have seen on any airplane.

The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): Shortly after we boarded our flight attendant served us with water and Krug champagne. The pajamas she handed over to us were from the super luxurious brand Shanghai Tang; dark blue with a purple trim and slippers to match, these were clothes you wanted to slip into for a good night’s sleep.

Since the total flying time was 13 and a half hours from San Francisco to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific served lunch at the beginning of the flight and dinner later.
The Cathay Pacific First Class Lunch Menu
• Caviar and Fine Smoked Salmon
International Favorites:
• Cream of Mushroom Soup
• Hear of Romaine with Crispy Prosciutto and Caesar Dressing
Main Course:
• Pan-roasted Lamb T-bone with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Drilled Asparagus, Baby Carrots and Zucchini
• Dungeness Crab Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Sautéed Swiss Chard
Chinese Favorites :
• Double Boiled Chinese Ginseng and Lean Pork Soup
• Marinated Seaweed with Carrot and Daikon Radish
• Sea Bass or Braised Chicken
• Abalone in an Oyster Sauce.
A choice of;
• Cambozola
• Yellow Cheddar
• Munster and Herb Goat Cheeses
• Fresh Seasonal Berries
• Devil’s Food Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
• Red Beans Soup with Lotus Seeds.

The Cathay Pacific First Class Dinner Menu
Main Course:
• Chicken Breast with Puy Lentils, Ricotta, Wax and Green Beans, Steamed Parsley and Potatoes
• Stir-fried Prawns and Scallops with Tangerine Peel, Steamed Rice Kalian and Carrots
• Lobster and Crab Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Balsamic Glazed Grilled Asparagus
Cheese and Dessert:
• Cambozola
• Yellow Cheddar
• Munster and Herb Goat Cheeses
• Mandrin Orange Mousse Cake with Berry Compote.
Besides the 2 main meals, Cathay Pacific also served a continuous supply of snacks to munch on.
• Maryland Crab Cakes
• Warm Beef Panini with Mesclun Salad
• Shui Gaw with noodle in Soup
• Ice Cream
• Fresh Fruits
To say that there was plenty to eat would be an understatement.
• Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne
White Wine:
• Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay 2006 from Arroyo Seco California
• Bouchard Pere & Fils Meursault Les Clous 2006 from France
Red Wine:
• Zema Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Australia
• Felipe Rutini Reserve Malbec 2006 from Argentina
• Chateau Lynch Bages 2003 from France
• Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port
• A Mix of Medium to High-end Brands.

To choose from such an exhaustive selection of food was no easy task. The temptation of having a bite of everything was great. But after much contemplation, I decided on my choice of order. The lamb came with a nice mint sauce. It was quite well done, but keeping in mind it was a flight and had to cater to everyone’s taste, it was acceptable. It came with a side order of potatoes, carrots and asparagus (which I felt was a bit over cooked too). The mushroom soup was quite good, creamy and fragrant and so was the Caesar salad. The caviar and smoked salmon was simply wonderful. Rich in flavor and light to eat.

The selection of wine offered was quite impressive and had every one in a festive mood; definitely a good way to be traveling. For dinner I started with cheese and the blue cheese was truly a magnificent way to begin your meal with. The lobster and crab ravioli with roasted red pepper coulis and balsamic glazed grilled asparagus was my choice for the main course for dinner. It wasn’t exceptional but was not bad either. The seafood scallops and shrimps I had were a bit too fishy in taste. But on the whole, the meal was definitely good and I enjoyed being given a good choice of food to select from. The service on Cathay Pacific is very good and extremely attentive.

Arrival: We arrived in Hong Kong about 20 minutes late. But with the amazing service and amenities that Cathay Pacific offered, the luxury certainly made up for a mere 20 minute delay. I was almost wishing for another 13 hours on board with them.

Overall Impression: Our first class flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific was a bombastic experience. Right from check-in to the lounge to the in-flight experience of great meals, service and amenities made the journey truly pleasurable. The amazing cabins definitely sealed the deal. We felt well treated and cherished as valued customers, a definite plus even for a first class experience. And so we rate Cathay Pacific bombastic!

Additional Information:
Flight Time from San Francisco to Hong Kong: 13 hours 25 minutes

Airline Partners:
One World Frequent Flyer Programs
• American Airlines – AAdvantage
• British Airways – Executive Club
• Finnair Plus
• Iberia Plus
• Japan Airlines – Mileage Bank
• LAN – LanPass
• Malév Duna Club
• Mexicana – MexicanaGO
• Qantas Frequent Flyer
• Royal Jordanian – Royal Plus
Other Partner Frequent Flyer Programs
• Aer Lingus – Gold Circle Club*
• Air China – Phoenix Miles
• Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan*
• China Eastern Airlines – Eastern Miles*
• Jet Airways – JetPrivilege

Airport Codes:
San Francisco – SFO
Hong Kong - HKG

Be sure to read our San Francisco hotel and restaurant reviews and our Hong Kong hotel and restaurant reviews.

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