This flight marked Joann’s and my first time traveling in international Business Class. Needless to say, I was super excited. We arrived at JFK’s Terminal 7 a little over 2 hours before our flight (thanks Ern!) and got a bit lost trying to find Cathay Pacific Business Class check-in counter. Hint: It’s to the left and around the corner once you enter the terminal.
We were promptly checked in and given our lounge invitations. Cathay Pacific uses British Airways’ lounges at JFK. The British Airways Terraces (Business) Lounge is pretty nice. It’s got a large footprint and had ample seating. It also has a nice, calming fountain right in the middle of it. There is a nice spread of the standard fruit, cheese, and crackers. There was also an espresso machine along with, my favorite, a self-serve full bar. Joann and I found some comfy seats in the quieter section and proceeded to hit up the bar for some beer, white wine, and I finished with a Jameson on the rocks. Once 10:00 rolled around, we packed up and headed toward the gate. That was a great way to relax before our flight.
After making our way through the throngs of people hovering around the gate, we handed over our boarding passes and were on our way through the jet bridge…
Cathay Pacific CX889
New York (JFK) – Vancouver (YVR)
Saturday October 15, 2011
Duration: 5hr 50min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (77D)
Seats: 11D + 11G (Business Class)
Finally, a chance to enter the aircraft and turn LEFT towards First & Business! We have been wanting to do this for a long time and what better way to experience international business than on one of the best carriers in the world, Cathay Pacific.
This plane boasts CX’s new Business Class and I must say, it’s amazing. It sure beats the old one that used to rock the herringbone configuration, which anyone can see makes enjoying travel with a companion downright terrible. It was a short walk to our seats 11D and 11G, which are in the mini-cabin between First Class and the Business Class galley/lavatories. It was a great choice. The cabin was very private with only 2 other people seated in it (behind us).
Before even fully settling in, the CX flight attendants were already offering us a pre-flight beverage. Sure I’ll live it up with some champagne! While sipping on some bubbles, Joann and I were like 2 kids in a toy store – testing out every feature and knick knack this mini suite had to offer. Another flight attendant then came by to offer us the amenity kits and bottles of water. Shortly after, the Purser stopped by to introduce herself and welcome us aboard.
Takeoff was a breeze (a lot quieter that far in front of the engines) and within 30 minutes, the flight attendants started their amazing service by handing out the menu.
Hot towel… nice and refreshing at almost 11PM. More champagne? Don’t mind if I do! Nuts, they’re always better warm… what?
Mesclun salad with lemon pepper cured salmon and lemon vinaigrette
Grilled USDA Prime beef tenderloin with shallot sauce, potato terrine and sauteed asparagus
Szechuanese chilli prawns with egg fried rice, kailan and braised black mushroom
Roasted duck in noodle soup
Cheese and Dessert
Cambozola, St. Paulin, Cheddar Cheese
Fresh seasonal fruit
Tofu black sesame cheese cake and raspberry tartlette
Tea and Coffee
Several minutes later, the good stuff started. A tablecloth was set on my tray table and a tray with the Starter was placed in front of me. Afterwards, the Pursuer from earlier offered some fresh, hot garlic bread. Delicious. The smoked salmon was also very tasty, but the lemon vinaigrette was just overpowering so I passed on that.
I had the beef tenderloin and it was perfectly cooked medium/medium rare. I was very surprised to see beef cooked perfectly in the air. It was flavorful as well, ranking up their with the better beef cuts I’ve had at wedding receptions. The shallot sauce was smooth and a slight bit of tang to it, complementing the beef nicely. The potato terrine (read: au gratin) was tasty, as was the asparagus. Overall, it’s a winning combo of steak and potatoes.
Joann went for the chilli prawns. They were not overcooked (also surprising) and the sauce was a sweet, almost Thai chili sauce. The egg fried rice and braised mushrooms and Chinese broccoli worked great with the prawns.
We both had tastes of each other’s dishes and agreed on the quality. It’s not often we get to enjoy delicious food up in the air. For dessert, we both opted for more champagne, coffee, and the fresh fruit which was actually sliced fresh. The flight attendants also came by with a box of pralines for us to choose from.
After dinner service, I tested out the seat. I had it just above lie-flat and finished watching The Social Network, which I loaded onto my iPhone. Cathay’s in-flight entertainment system, Studio CX, is very extensive but I wanted to try something I’d read about. They have a connection to hook up your iDevice to play video on their nice 15.4″ screen and sound on their noise canceling headphones. Usually, they are supposed to loan you cables on board but the flight attendant had a hard time understanding what cable I wanted. No worries, I bought 2 proprietary cables from the Apple store a few days before the flight just in case.
The movie finished and we had about 2 hours to go until Vancouver so I decided to get some shut-eye. After all, it was about 3AM EST. I held the lie-flat button and the seat went 180 degrees. At full extension, it felt a bit weird (almost past 180 degrees) so I dialed it back just a bit and it was perfect. I grabbed the CX duvet and pillow and zonked out on my side for a few. It was easily the best sleep Joann and I have ever had in the air.
The landing was smooth as we watched the big 77D’s underbelly camera. It was an amazing flight and we were both sorry that it was only 5 hours! Cathay’s new Business Class is really a wonderful way to fly, especially with a partner. The middle suites are very well suited and private enough for a couple. We left, almost unwillingly, knowing that the next taste of CX wouldn’t be for almost a year when we take CX First Class to Bali. Ah well, something to look forward to.
We cleared customs quickly and were picked up by Joann’s cousin. We went straight to bed as it was late and we had things to do the next day, like check into the Sheraton Wall Vancouver.