Holiday Trip Report, Part 13: Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong to JFK

For the 2014 Christmas and New Year holiday, I spent a few days in Hong Kong and nine days traveling along the east coast of Australia. The final leg of my journey, international business class on Cathay Pacific, would take me from Hong Kong to JFK on the 10th longest route in the world. At around 8,050 miles, I’d have just under 16 hours to enjoy Cathay Pacific’s wonderful business class product on my way back home to Florida.

Boarding

As it was a Wednesday morning, Hong Kong airport was not overly crowded and it was actually extremely easy to get through security and customs. I spent about an hour inside Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Cabin Lounge, but as it was very similar to the Wing Lounge that is also inside Hong Kong International Airport (and, I’d imagine, similar to the other three CX lounges there), I’ll skip a full review and just post some pictures.

The seats were interesting in that they looked like little space pods.

Business Class Cabin

Boarding was slightly delayed, by about thirty minutes, because at the current projected speed we’d land at JFK early, and the captain didn’t want to keep us on the ground any longer than necessary in New York waiting for a gate to open up.

I sat in seat 25G, which is an aisle seat inside the 2 portion of the 1/2/1 arrangement, on the port side. The flower in between the two seats was a nice touch.

Soon after boarding champagne was served, and menus were passed out.

I stayed awake for the first meal. The appetizer was fixed (parma ham with tomato, feta, and portobellos) and for a main course I attempted to order the chu chee curry prawns, but they were out, so I opted for the prime beef tenderloin.

The meals was very good overall, as I’d come to expect from Cathay. The appetizer hit the spot and the meat from the main course was tender and flavorful.

After I was finished they brought around plates of fresh fruit, and a plate of cheese and crackers with cabernet paste.

I settled in for a movie (21 Jump Street; good remake by the way) and afterwards took a refreshing nap in the lie-flat seat. I woke up several hours later to finish some work, and soon after I ordered the grain-fed Australian prime beef cheeseburger and chips.

The hamburger was delicious! Surely the best hamburger I’d ever eaten on an airplane and maybe one of the top ten in my lifetime. The meat was delicious and the bread was the perfect my of soft, crunchy, and tasty.

I was able to sleep for a few more hours and alternated between frequent naps and writing some blog posts.

The second meal service came through a few hours later.

This meal included a fresh fruit plate to start and I chose the sauteed halibut with sa cha sauce, rice, and pak choy. I’d never had pak choy before but it was prepared very well and I enjoyed it.

The rest of the flight passed without incident and we touched down in New York shortly before noon, local time, after about fifteen hours in the air. My third Cathay Pacific flight was in the books and needless to say, I’m a believer now. Their international business class product is amazing in terms of food, drink selection, customer service, in-flight entertainment, and overall experience.

Conclusion

I touched on this earlier but I wanted to breakdown the cost of my flights in terms of frequent flyer miles used this trip.

To spend nine days in Australia in four different cities (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns) and two days in Hong Kong, I used:

  • 110,000 US Airways miles
  • 39,000 British Airways Avios
  • and about $250 in taxes and fees

Considering the normal cost of international business class and inter-Australia flights, I saved around $5,000 off this trip by using frequent flyer miles that I didn’t earn from flying! I’ve been obsessed with miles and points for the past few years and this awesome trip validated my obsession by allowing me to have the trip of a lifetime for what amounts to mere pennies.

Considering Australia and Hong Kong are fairly expensive to visit, the use of miles makes even more sense, to allow me to spend more money on things I enjoy such as food, drinks, tours, and activities.

Other posts in this series:

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