During March 2017, midway through my one year trip around the world, I managed to take a Cathay Pacific First Class flight for $362.88 CAD.
How did I get a Cathay Pacific First Class flight for $362.88 CAD
In order for me to get a Cathay Pacific First Class flight. I had to redeem Alaska Miles. After paying for credit card annual fees, booking fees and taxes, the total amount came to $362.88 CAD + 70,000 Alaska miles.
I earned the Alaska Miles through the following method:
- MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard 25,000 welcome bonus points
- MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Mastercard 25,000 welcome bonus points
- Daily spending
My Cathay Pacific route looks like this:
When booking your Alaska miles, you’re allowed one stopover as long as it’s a natural stopover for that airline carrier. At the time, I was in Bali because I just finished seeing the Komodo Dragon Island. So from Bali, I flew to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific Business Class, stayed at the First Class lounge, then connected onto the Cathay Pacific First Class flight going to Los Angeles, California.
Cathay Pacific doesn’t release seat availability for their First Class cabin until 1-2 weeks before departure date. I ended up booking the Cathay Pacific First Class flight on March 13, 2017, and I flew out of Bali on March 21, 2017. So roughly 8 days before departure date.
Cathay Pacific First Class experience
As you well know, my travel style is somewhere between backpacker and flashpacker. This makes riding the Cathay Pacific First Class quite funny because I am not properly dressed how you would envision someone who rides on first class would dress like.
As soon as the gate boarding call began, I went towards the First Class line up and looked over to the Economy side. Pretending I was a snobby rich jetsetter, I said to myself “HAHA, look at all those peasants lining up at economy!”
Being completely stress free, I walk towards the entrance of the Cathay Pacific airplane.
In one of the funniest moments of my one year trip around the world, I enter the Cathay Pacific First Class cabin with my big backpack and day pack. (I’m still laughing thinking about that moment)
I quickly store my backpacks in my personal luggage compartment and got myself seated.
Surprised flight attendants
The flight attendants see me and are surprised. They’re really friendly and asked me how they can help me. Immediately, I told them this is my first time in First Class and asked them if they can help me take pictures. They were very happy to help.
At the same time, they started asking me the following questions (along with my reply):
“What do you do for a living?”
I work as a Personal Trainer for a community centre.
“Does that pay well?”
It’s entry level pay…roughly $30,000 a year (cost of living in Vancouver is super high also).
I used frequent flyer miles to book this flight.
“OH! Okay! Well hopefully we see you again!”
I was really friendly and polite to the flight attendants which seemed like a breath of fresh air for them. Thinking about it, I assume it’s because most people who pay for the First Class flight are probably snobby douches (just my assumption) so when they meet someone polite and friendly, it’s nice for them.
And for the male audience readers out there, no, they’re not young hot super model-looking flight attendants in first class. They’re friendly older ladies.
Cathay Pacific First Class amenity kit
Besides interacting with the flight attendants, I also checked out the amenity kit. This is what it looks like outside and the contents inside:
Meal time #1: Tea, Caviar, eating while wearing pajamas
Sweet, Caviar! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one before. It taste alright, I wonder what’s the big fuss over it. The tea was good.
After a nice meal, it was time to go to bed. Despite being in First Class, where sleeping would be very comfortable, it wasn’t for me. During the night, there was an intense turbulence that just won’t end. It was the strongest and longest turbulence that I have ever experienced. It must have lasted over an hour. Definitely, I was very scared that the plane was going to crash. The first thing I thought about was the TV show “Lost” and how we’re going to crash on some mysterious island. After the crazy turbulence finally ended, I finally got some badly needed sleep.
After getting maybe 6 hours of sleep, the flight attendant wakes everyone up and begin serving breakfast.
Yes, I ate ice cream for breakfast. I don’t see anything wrong with this. And, another weird thing is that I don’t know why they served us breakfast. We arrived in Los Angeles at 9:40pm which is night time. Technically, shouldn’t we have been served dinner? Anyhow, it was also strange that we technically went back in time. I left Hong Kong on 12:15am on March 22 and arrive on March 21.
Is there really a big difference between Business Class and First Class?
Yes, there is a huge difference between Business and First Class. I’ve always thought, what’s the point of taking First Class when it’s not that different from Business? First of all, there’s less seats in First Class so you basically have the entire cabin to yourself. There’s no queue when you want to use the washroom and there’s a better sense of privacy.
First Class passengers also get their own entrance, unlike Business Class passengers. When you ride on Business Class, you will see economy passengers walking pass you which doesn’t happen in First Class.
When you take First Class, they really want to make sure you feel elite.
Also, when you sleep, your seat turns to a bed in First Class. When you ride Business Class, you can lay down fully but your seat is still tilted at an angle and you know you’re sleeping on a chair instead of a “bed”.
Is it worth it to try the Cathay Pacific First Class?
I would say, there’s about three types of travellers out there. Those who are budget backpackers, vacationist, and jetsetters.
If you love luxury, then yes, you will definitely enjoy flying on Cathay Pacific First Class.
Now, budget backpackers might be naysayers and say “NONONO I only travel the right way which is cheap and budget style”.
I would have to strongly disagree with the budget backpacker type with that notion. Why? Because I think of taking a First Class flight as visiting a travel destination. Every time you try a First Class flight from different airline carriers, you’re essentially getting a different travel experience. Just like you go to Peru to see Machu Picchu and Egypt to see the Pyramids of Giza, taking a First Class flight is like going to a new travel destination. It’s awesome, fun, and a unique experience.
Cathay Pacific is usually in the list of top 5 best First Class carrier in the world so it’s definitely worth checking out regardless of your travel style. Would I take another Cathay Pacific First Class flight in the future? Well, probably nowhere near anytime in the future. Not because I didn’t like it. But, because if I have frequent flyer miles, I prefer to try a different carrier’s First Class flight.