My name is Tahsir Ahsan. I am also known as the Bengali Miles Guru and Scott has asked me to join Hack My Trip as a contributor for the time being. I’ve spent the last year and a half booking awards for people and redeeming millions of miles for unforgettable journeys. In the coming weeks, I will be posting trip reports and different ways to maximize whatever mileage you may already have. My first post is a trip report on Cathay Pacific’s ground services and in air experience.
I always make it a point to be extremely spontaneous. One reason is to throw off potential stalkers and the other is to keep myself entertained. It’s no surprise then that I woke up one morning and had an urge to go somewhere tropical. I had an extensive amount of American Airlines miles and that seemed like it would do the trick. I only had a few days in between my school ending and my summer session starting so this trip would have to be a quick one. I contacted some of my friends and 2 of them were willing to take the plunge and fly with me so we discussed a few destinations.
After honing in on Phuket, I found a great flight to get there with the help of Avianca Lifemiles. I’ve always loved Phuket and my friends have never been so it seemed like the perfect place to go! With the outbound set, I then looked for a way to get back. With some additional searching, I chose a route using American AAdvantage miles that would help me maximize my time and give me the greatest value for points. It helped that Cathay Pacific released so much space a few days out! I will only be covering the last two parts of my trip in this post, which are bolded beneath.
The route looked something like this:
- HKT-KUL (Malaysia Airlines Business Class)
- KUL-HKG (Cathay Pacific Business Class)
- Layover at the Cabanas in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong – New York (Cathay Pacific First Class)
The total cost of this return journey was 67,500 AA miles and about $70 in taxes.
After landing from Kuala Lumpur, I headed straight to Cathay Pacific’s newly renovated lounge. Located by gates 1-4, The Wing has just opened after a major renovation. The refurbished lounge now featured a bigger First Class seating section as well as private rooms/shows called cabanas. I was able to get a cabana after waiting about 15 minutes in the First Class section. The attendants actually hand you a pager so that you can know when it is your turn to use the cabana.
When I got to my cabana, I was in shock at how amazing it was! The design and lighting made the entire room look wonderful and I wondered how anyone could leave the place!
When walking in, there is a separate door that leads to the private restroom. Inside, you will find the toilet only.
After walking past the door, you will see a sink and different creams and cleansers to the right side along with an enormous mirror.
After walking past the sink, you will see the seating area/couch along with the bathtub, shower and work space.
The shower itself is great! It has 3 modes which are rainshower, waterfall and hose. All are equally pleasing but the waterfall shower tends to get everything in a 7 foot radius wet.
I stayed in the Cabana for a good 3 1/2 hours before leaving to board my flight. Most of that time was spent sleeping on the couch or checking up on some emails. I also decided to go downstairs and take a few pictures of the setting. Note that the Wing has a full restaurant for First Class customers but I was unable to take advantage of it due to timing.
Cathay Pacific CX 830
HKG-JFK Boeing 777-300ER
14 Hours & 30 Minutes
After leaving The Wing, I headed to my gate which was slated to be number 4 today. There were two lines forming before getting into the boarding area because there was a security inspection of all bags. One line was for First/Business passengers and one was for Economy Plus/Economy passengers. Both moved quite efficiently and before I knew it, I being greeted at the door of the plane by name!
The seat itself is extremely spacious and comfortable. I was originally seated in the middle row but the flight was 4/6 today and I moved to the more secluded left side. The left side of the plane is a bit more private because the walls from the middle row seats block all views from the other side. I would say the left side is good for solo travelers.
In addition to being comfortable, the seat is also very wide. You’ll see that the left portion of the seat turns into an armrest when lounging.
Pajamas were soon passed out and I have to say, Cathay Pj’s are very comfortable. Made by Shanghai Tang, these pajamas fit well and come in a nice package. The Amenity Kit is from Ermenegildo Zegna and includes: Acca Kappa face cream, moisturizer, facial mist and lip balm, wooden comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and earplugs. It is one of the more well stocked amenity kits out there!
The seat controls are in a easy place to reach as is the remote control. Cathay Pacific’s entertainment selection is top notch. The amount of movies and shows available are enough to keep you awake the entire time! I was able to watch 3 movies and about 4 different shows before falling asleep. I believe that the monitor is about 15 inches and is encompassed by a lighted magazine storage area. The seat controls vary from upright to bed mode and everything in between. There is even an air massage function available as well.
About 45 minutes after takeoff, meal service started. I wasn’t too hungry so I asked the purser to have lunch later. She gave me a menu and I picked out the Beef Striploin as the main course and asked to be given the main course only. Little did I know that the Striploin would be the size of my face.
Accompanied by Portobella Mushrooms, this meal was delicious. The Striploin was too big to finish but it was cooked/heated to perfection. In addition, I couldn’t go very far without a glass of my favorite drink.
After Lunch, I decided to get some sleep. I went to change into my pajamas and when I came out, my bed was made! I can’t get over the attentive service of Cathay Pacific. Like other have said, they’re less intrusive but quick to anticipate your needs.
As for the bedding, it was great! The pillow was somewhat firm but the duvet was out of this world. I’ve never had more comfortable bedding on a flight. When in bed mode, the actual seat is very comfortable to just lounge in. I was able to fluff my pillow and just lounge there with my laptop next to me for a bit.
Cathay Pacific is one airline that offers a decent amount of mid flight snacks. I’ve flown Lufthansa First before and they were a bit surprised when I asked for some sort of snack midflight. For this flight, I chose the Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella & Basil. As much as I tried to like it, the thing tasted horrible. I decided to give my tastebuds a rest and fell asleep for another 4 hours.
By this time, we were 12 hours into our 14 hour flight. I woke up and the purser offered to serve me a pre arrival meal.
After the pre-arrival meal service concluded, I asked for some of the famous Pulled Tea. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to sample Tea!
30 minutes left to landing and I started to pack up all my belongings. I changed into my clothes and also put everything in the closet that comes with every seat.
With that came and end to a wonderful trip with extraordinary service. Cathay and all other Asian airlines do have industry leading service. They all vary as well. While Singapore Airlines comes and checks on your every 10 minutes, Cathay is a bit more relaxed in the sense that they anticipate what you need when you need it. For example, instead of walking around with water all the time as Singapore Airlines does, Cathay anticipates that you’ll need water when you wake up. Those are just small things I noticed on this flight compared to others. AA miles are also cheaper to use versus United when it comes to this route by 2,500 points. I do think that you’ll get the best service on Cathay versus the direct HKG-EWR on United Airlines.
Overall, I do believe that being spontaneous is beneficial in different ways. For me, it keeps me sane and lets me do things I normally wouldn’t do. Although I do plan things out ahead of time, not knowing what’s around the corner is all the more exciting.