Cathay First JFK-HKG: Part 1 to Vancouver 

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​I’m reminded of wise words a stranger once told me, “Don’t fly direct on Cathay Pacific from JFK, take the scenic route through Vancouver.” And that’s what I did. And here is why you should too. 

Prior to AA’s devaluation, I found first-class availability from New York to Hong Kong. I ended up with both the bright and dumb idea of stretching this ticket to the limit by booking JFK-YVR-HKG-BKK-KUL-CGK. I’ll cover the exhausting part of the BKK-CGK in due course, but for now, I would like to focus on the fun part– Cathay First. 

Is Cathay a golden shower like Emirates? No. Is it a NY sized apartment like Etihad?Not at all. Is it a book the cook lobster of Singapore? Nope. And it does not have to be. 

Cathay gets high marks because of its consistency and its practicality. It also scores high because it serves Krug Grand Cuvee before departure, something that SQ doesn’t pop until cruising altitude. 
With 5.5 hours from New York to Vancouver, I was able to sample Cathay knowing that I would be able to do it all over again for more than twice the time en route to Hong Kong. 

And sample I did. It became sort of a game to see how long my champagne glass would be empty before being asked for a refill. I actually had more than my fill of champagne but how could I decline the flight attendant’s offer to top me off. I was undoubtedly inspired by Uncle Frank as I watched one of my favorite holiday movies. 

Exhausted from the drinks and the light snacks which consisted of wonton soup and a fancy appetizer, I broke out my Kim Jong-un inspired pajamas, passed out, and woke up in Vancouver, ready to give it another go, this time for real. 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Wondering if there’s a first class cabin on any of the HKG-BKK-KUL-CGK legs of the route? All in all were you doing it with no stopovers? How many days total from JFK-CGK. Reason I ask is that I have a JFK – HKG-DPS ticketed in May. I am a stickler about wanting to do wing/pier FC lounge so I need same day arrival n departure from HKG for lounge admittance BC of no FC cabin in the DPS route. Thinking Maybe I can stretch the award out a bit and get a FC cabin out of HKG and then eventually end up in DPS.

    • I had the same thought process and was concerned when they changed my flight from HKG-BKK from first to business. But, it does not matter what your outbound from HKG is to get Pier/Wing access. They recognized I came in on first so I was allowed in. Those reviews are coming up. Pier is newer but it felt like a dunegon (probably because I was there for half a day and the music was so loud nonstop). Wing has champagne bar and is open air. I left JFK Tuesday night and got to CGK on Friday. I had a 12 hour layover in Bangkok on Thursday which I was going to go out but couldn’t be bothered which is why I went to Le Meridien.

      And longer story long, this is exactly why I’m blogging in real time because it spares having to wait 12 months for a damn review.

  2. I did JFK to Hong Kong a first month ago in Cathay first. Found the service wonderful. We actually landed early and I was upset. I did not want the flight to end. Coming home, I flew business with a stop in Vancouver. I frankly found the stop in Vancouver to be a pain. You go through security and are placed in the holding room for an hour and a half. If was up to me I would avoid the stop in Vancouver if it all possible. I would rather sleep straight through.

    • That frankly sucks that you had to go through that. Vancouver is a great place to have a layover. Food, scenery, and shopping a quick transit ride to/from YVR. Do come back and visit again soon.

  3. I’m flying CX to DPS this summer, but only managed to get J class (hand to the forehead) for my wife and I. Are you flying solo, or if not, how’d you get 2+ seats in F? Space that opened up within the last 2 weeks? Thanks and have fun, dammit.

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