After my stay on Koh Samui, I took Cathay Pacific to get home to New York. The airlines six-seat first class cabin comes complete with gourmet food, top-shelf drinks, and over-the-top service. The carrier gives the word pampering a new meaning. Its first class service always ranks high on surveys that rank those kind of things.
My Cathay Pacific award ticket included these flights:
- Phuket-Hong Kong on Dragon Air (Cathay Pacific subsidiary) in Business
- Hong Kong-New York on Cathay Pacific in First
- New York-Cancun on American Airlines in Business
My premium class experience began at Phuket Inernational Airport where I had a choice of three lounges:
- Royal Orchid Lounge (as a Business Class Passenger on Dragon Air)
- Coral Executive Lounge (as an AmEx Platinum member)
- Lux – Luxury Lounge (as an AmEx Platinum member )
Royal Orchid was small, but it had premium liquor and a few delicious snacks, as well as free Wi-Fi with decent speed.
Coral was better. It was more spacious, and had hot snacks. There were also foot massage chairs, though I opted for the free neck-and-shoulder massage.
I didn’t have time to try the Lux, but I took a glance inside and I don’t think I missed much. They do have massage chairs though.
From there I took the Dragon flight to Hong Kong. Seats were comfortable and lunch was pretty good. Then it was on to the Wings first class lounge at the airport, and what a lounge it was.
Champagne bars and caviar dreams
It had private cabanas, each with a soaking bathtub, a shower, a daybed, and a work table. The lounge had a champagne bar, a regular bar, and a sit-down restaurant with cooked-to-order meals and a hot and cold buffet. If you get there at the right time, the sunset view over the tarmac is unforgettable.
All that luxury comes at a price. You would have to shell out as much as $15,000 for a 15-hour, one-way flight between Hong Kong and New York. But there is another way to pay for all this decadence. It cost me 67,500 American Airlines miles and $66.90 in taxes to get a seat in that cabin, and my flight didn’t end in New York. I was also booking half a trip to Mexico.
The service on the Cathay flight was amazing and lived up to the hype. The first-class cabin has only nine seats, and just three of them were occupied. We were served by three flight attendants and a manager.
So how did it compare to getting there? That was equally good. When I started this journey I flew from JFK to Seoul in an Asiana First Class Suite.
Overall Product: Asiana wins. The sliding doors that provide an exceptional level of privacy were the tipping point.
Service: Cathay is the clear winner. The pampering tipped the scales.
But the best part of it all? Three credit card sign-up bonuses got me nearly enough miles to get there and back.