How the F*ck a 22 Year Old College Student Bought A First Class Ticket worth $18,000+ for just ~$250 | Review:Cathay Pacific First Class New York (JFK)-Hong Kong (HKG)
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After visiting the AA International Flagship Lounge I made my way over to my gate.
I recently took a Round-The-World trip to a dozen countries on 5 continents after graduation. If you haven't read my post highlighting my trip take a look here. My first international flight of the trip was Cathay Pacific First Class New York JFK to Hong Kong. The retail cost for this flight was over $18,000!!!!!!
Sure it’s not as much as Casey Neistat's $21,000 flight in Emirates First Class, but besides the shower I think Cathay Pacific is better than Emirates in many ways. I’m not doing a comparison so I will just continue on into my review.
Currently the cheapest way to fly Cathay Pacific First/Business Class is using Alaska Airlines Miles. Planning my trip I knew I needed a ticket to the get me near the Middle East to visit my friends in Jordan and Palestine so I decided to fly Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Dubai, stay a couple days, then fly Royal Jordanian to Amman on a separate ticket.
Alaska charges 50,000 miles for business and 70,000 for first class to Asia. In order to fly to the Middle East with Cathay Pacific Alaska charges 62,500 miles for business, and 70,000 miles for first class (the same price to Asia). The only caveat is Cathay Pacific doesn’t fly a first class product between Hong Kong and Dubai which is fine. That just means my flight from the US to Hong Kong is in first class, and the Hong Kong to Dubai flight is in business. Personally the 7,500 point premium is worth it to me for a segment in first class with access to all the lounges.
If I was just flying to Asia I might be more tempted to fly business versus first class since the difference is bigger.
How I obtained Alaska Airlines MIleagePlus Miles
In order to get enough miles to redeem I personally signed up for multiple Alaska Airlines Credit cards from Bank of America. The card has a $75 annual fee that is not waived the first year. I think they are personally super easy to get accepted for and you can have multiples cards at once. I recommend waiting 2-3 months between each application.
During the Alaska and Virgin merger I was also credited 10k miles unexpectedly, which was pretty awesome since according to my 70,000 mile redemption value, is worth almost $2,600!
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of signing up for credit cards that is fine! Alaska usually has many promotions throughout the year where you can buy miles and get up to 50% bonus miles. Often you can get 70,000 miles for around $1600-1700 and while by no means cheap, it is better than paying $18,000+ ;)
NOW ONTO THE FLIGHT
Cathay Pacific 841
New York (JFK) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Tuesday, June 12th
Arrive: 2:00pm (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 2A (& 1A Hehe)
Boarding began at 9:30am. I swear only asian carriers can load a B777 or A380 in half an hour. American carriers start 45mins-1 hour before.
I took my seat in 2A which is the more secluded side.
There was only 1 other first class passenger with me and he was seated on the other side so I did not interact with him the whole flight. Assuming there was a full cabin I would have only interacted with the seat in front of me.
But since there wasn’t I had both to myself. 2A as my seat, and 1A as my lie-flat bed! Since there was also just one passenger that meant we each had our own bathrooms!
The Cabin looked really open since there are not overhead storage bins. I love the small touches Cathay puts into their cabin!
As I took my seat May, the senior purser, introduced herself, handed me a hot towel, and asked if she can get me a pre-departure beverage. I of course asked for a glass of Krug which Cathay gladly serves on the ground despite having to pay more expensive taxes than opening it in the air.
May quickly brought a glass of Krug along with a tray of hot nuts. May asked me if I’d like to take some photos of the bottle and gladly posed the Krug bottle so I can take a picture.
It has been less than 10 minutes in the cabin and I can tell this is an amazing crew. I told them it’s my first time in first class and they made it an experience for me. They were happy to take photos for me as well.
I went to the bathroom to change into my pajamas before we pushed back. Cathay does offer free pajamas, but I am too large so I brought my own.
When I came back to my seat May had left me a amenity kit and plugged in the bose headphones for my convenience.
The amenity kit was rather small, but included everything one would need during a flight.
Eventually we pushed back right on time at 10am so I took some photos of the extensive menu on this 16 hour flight.
Soon after liftoff May came and asked me if I’d like anything else to drink and I requested a Sprite.
Purser Wallace came over to go over the menu and take my order. He referred to the “Maine Lobster” as “Marine Lobster” and I thought that was super cute.
At this time I explored the In-Flight Entertainment which the huge screen. I LIKE :)
The selection was massive and Cathay Pacific remains one of the top 5 IFEs in the sky.
Within the first 45 minutes the meal service started italian caviar followed by soup & salad along with a bread basket. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GETTING THE GARLIC BREAD!
For the main I choose the beef fillet which was very tender and had a good sauce. It was followed by a cheese platter for dessert and then a box of chocolates.
Meal service took about 1.5 hours and at this time we were over Canada flying to the arctic.
The cabin lights were dimmed and the flight attendents got my bed ready in the seat infront of me. I cannot stress this enough. Not only is this seat already massive, but I have 2 to myself. One a bed and the other as a seat. The duvet, topper, and both pillows are the best in the sky. It was so easy to fall asleep.
A third into the flight I ordered from the on-demand menu. I choose pork potstickers and chocolate ice cream with a cathay delight to drink.
At this time I went to the bathroom. I want to emphasize again how awesome it is to have a large bathroom to yourself on a 16 hour flight.
I watched another movie and ordered a cheeseburger off the on-demand menu.
About 1-2 hours before landing the last meal service was started with a bread basket and a side of fruit followed by chicken and a Chocolate Blueberry cake.
30 minutes later we started to descend into HKG with beautiful views.
At The End Of The Day:
IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Way better than what I could ever expect. This first class flight spoiled me in so many ways. I can’t go back to economy after this!? No no no...I’m too bougie for that.
In all seriousness though from the hard product (seat, bathroom, & IFE) to the soft product (service of flight attendants & food) I can understand why once people take their first flight in the front they don’t want to go to the back. Unfortunately it's not always the reality for me, but I will do my best to make it possible either with deals or points/miles.
Cathay Pacific thank you for the best flight I have ever had. I can’t wait to try you out again!
What did you think or the flight and my review? Do you want to fly Cathay First? Comment below!