For the second part of my Christmas holiday, I went to Japan for a skiing holiday with my family and then moved onto the Rocky Mountains for New Year’s Eve and the first week of the year for some more wintery fun (and work), thus the transpacific odyssey. This is a pretty special trip for me as I was able to burn significant miles which marked the end of an era. Prior to my days as an avid OneWorld flyer (now Emerald with BA), I was a Star Alliance Gold member with Aegean Airlines and frequented Singapore Airlines’ outstanding economy class. I accumulated a significant amount of miles and on this trip, I was able to burn almost all of them on a 13-hour First Class flight from Chicago to Tokyo/Haneda. On my way to the USA, I flew on JAL Business Class, only redeemed days before the flight. Trying a new Business Class product was nevertheless very exciting and at the same time indulgent – I shall be reporting on that soon, too.
Part 1: HKG-NRT CX504 (Business Class) and the Pier First Class lounge (Here)
Part 2: NRT-LAX JL62 (Business Class), JAL First Class lounge, QF LAX First Class lounge, LAX-DEN AA (Economy Class) [to come]
Part 3: DEN-ORD AA2312 (Economy Class), United Polaris Lounge, ORD-HND NH111 (First Class) [to come]
Part 4: HND-HKG CX543 (Business Class) and the Cathay Pacific Haneda Lounge revisited [to come]
Part 5: HKG-LHR CX257 (Business Class)
However, first, I need to get to Japan, and the obvious choice would be Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class to Tokyo Narita. I would have flown on the later flight CX520 for the long-haul product, but my family was on the earlier (yet delayed) Hong Kong Airlines HX609 service, which meant that had all things gone to plan, I would get into Tokyo at the same time as them (spoiler alert: their flight was delayed for 4 hours while mine was exceptionally – almost to a fault – punctual)
With a departure time of 09:05, I arrived into HKIA at 07:05. First Class check-in had no queues and security was surprisingly light for the peak season. I got through by 07:15.
My flight would leave from the 40s, so I used the Pier First Class lounge. I headed straight for food as I did not have that much time. Flat white to start, with the usual Rose Champagne and sparkling water.
Starter plate – the portion of fruit was a bit disappointing
Steamed turnip cake
Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs
Soon enough, it was time to go. I did not have time to explore the lounge further barring to get a bottle of still water. Gate was 42 – a long enough trek for me to digest the food!
My ride – Boeing 777-300 with regional configuration.
I boarded through First Class priority lane despite First Class not being offered on this segment. I do appreciate this new policy (First Class boarding lane available regardless of whether First Class is offered) as I was able to skip the long priority queue (full of Silver Marco Polo members – surprisingly, the Green Card lane was very short)
View from my seat
Welcome drink: choice of fruit juice or water
We pushed back on time and the safety demonstration was soon shown
Hot towel offered
I was rather hoping this was my family’s ride – but no
Take-off at 09:27 (against a 09:05 STD – this was extremely good going!)
The long-haul version of noise-cancelling headphones were offered – this is so much better, and I do appreciate this ‘enhancement’
Leaving Hong Kong airspace
Drink service started about 40 minutes after take-off. I had a tea and coconut water
Clear skies near Taiwan
More tea as my table is laid
First course: Fresh Fruits
Second course: Yogurt with Muesli
By this point, we have left Taiwan
Third course: Chinese Dim Sum Selection
I then caught a few moments’ shuteye time. The seat in its cradle position was very comfortable, though not ideal. I woke up with about 48 minutes to spare
Peppermint tea to freshen up.
Soon enough, we were on approach into Narita
We landed at 13:53 local time, which made flight time 3 hours 26 minutes and an extremely punctual flight.
Parked at Terminal 2 looking over to the LCC terminal
Overall, the flight was decent. I would not say I was impressed: after all, I have had better Cathay flights even regionally. The Inflight Service Manager greeted me as an Emerald member and offered to come back to reserve my food option, which never materialised. By the time the cart came to my row, both my neighbour and I wanted the dim sum, and it was rather embarrassing to see the crew tried to break the tie by virtue of my Emerald status (my neighbour was probably a Sapphire, unclear as to whether he was homebred or not, though). The Hong Kong First Class lounge continues to impress, although I have visited a more impressive lounge on this trip (no spoilers this time). Cathay delivered a good flight, nevertheless.