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REVIEW – Cathay Pacific : First Class – Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) – [twice in a month!]

cathay first kaiseki

Cathay Pacific (CX)

  • Flight: CX 543
  • Class: First
  • From: Tokyo (HND)
  • To: Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Duration: 4hr35
  • Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
  • Seat: 1A
  • Cost: Europe to Asia for 100k Total US Airways Miles in First
  • Date: October 2015

hkg hnd - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

I made my way to Haneda airport with rather less time to spare than on my previous visit (thanks to another intense visit to Bar Champion).  When I got to the First Class lounge I immediately downed two double espressos (espressi?) and drank an entire jug of Pocari Sweat from one of the fridges. I sat watching planes for twenty minutes and then headed to the gate area.

Thankfully the flight Gods were on my side this time. Taking this flight two weeks earlier, I ended up at the furthest gate from the lounge, having to negotiate a gate area with no First Class section.

On this occasion I only had to shuffle for about 20 metres and was waived straight through an empty F line and on to the jet bridge.

Given how recently I had flown this exact same route, I was interested to see how this experience compared. My flight at the beginning of this trip, with the entire Firs Class cabin for just me and Kamara.

I was really hoping to be the only passenger this time, seeing as I had breezed straight through an empty line. Unfortunately, upon turning left, I saw a full cabin.

I started off with a PDB of water, which came with a slightly less impressive oshibori than on the last flight. I was very impressed however by the large, freshly cut ice cubes.
28172813864 7378b0fea1 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

I had never seen ice like this on a plane before, usually you just get the slushy little pre-made cubes with holes in the centre.

28790575585 14363fafa2 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

Spotting some local traffic on the tarmac.

Menus were distributed on the ground, unfortunately there had been a mistake and we had some shoddy looking photocopies inserted into pages of the menu. This is strange as the kaiseki meal was identical to what I had been served on the same flight, two weeks earlier.
28758594296 907d1c586a c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

28758602366 8e7322448a c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

My sobriety didn’t last long, as soon as we reached cruising altitude I asked for a glass of the spectacular Amour de Deutz 2006 Rose. It was just as good as I remembered. On this occasion though I was offered either nuts or Japanese snacks, rather than just being brought both. With the flight being full, I guess they had to ration.
28505954870 bd616e481c c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

28790606425 84e3d6a7ce c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

The sushi was exactly the same as on the last flight i.e. surprisingly good for sushi on a plane (and orders of magnitude better than the deplorable, crumbling oddities served by Japan Airlines in Business Class)

 


The plating was a little more haphazard on the prawn dish this time:

This flight
28175541453 00d53bb8f2 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]


Previous flight
27418856104 78e72824f8 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]



The plating on the main course was not as impressive this time either. It still looked great but a few little details were off.

This flight
28175573063 afe4b5241a c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]


Previous flight
27998242396 cbd45633cd c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]


28790655155 34e4ae9239 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

I did manage to save room for cheese this time though. I always love when you get proper blue cheese on a plane and the addition of Carr’s water biscuits did not go unnoticed.

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I followed this with the fruit platter, which was the same as on my last flight: ok but not very well balanced.

28790667485 70d3cec681 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

I finished the meal with a double espresso, which Cathay consistently produces at a higher level than any other airline (but only in F, their Business Class “coffee” is woeful, watery swill).

28172895014 32e23b0801 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

This is why I never feel the need to order dessert on Cathay First.

After the meal I caught up on some sleep, as I still had quite a few hours to catch up on from the night before. I awoke around 45 minutes before landing and just enjoyed the views.

28758687736 1f7ca38259 c - REVIEW - Cathay Pacific : First Class - Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong (B747) - [twice in a month!]

The construction of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is well underway.

 


Conclusion


CX’s 747 fleet is being decommissioned in the next few months and I for one will be very sad to see it go. For a flight of this distance it really has to be the best experience available in the sky.

There is something truly magical about that moment when the meals are finished and quiet reigns, when there is nothing in front of you but the nose of the plane and the ocean below. Sure, the overall experience suffered a bit from having more people onboard but I am happy to see that the demand is there for CX to continue offering First Class on this route.

Sure, the 777 will still be nice but nothing beats the Queen of the Skies.


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