Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fleetingly First Class on Cathay Pacifc

One of the perks of work is to be able to travel on business class on those frequent trips to Singapore, Tokyo and other places around Asia.  
I am always thankful that I can spend the three and a half hour plane ride in more comfortable seats and a quieter atmosphere.  
This last trip to Singapore, I decided to try a different route from my usual Manila - Singapore non stop flight via PAL.  
Much as I love our national flag carrier for patriotic reasons, however the older and smaller planes they use for their Singapore route leaves a lot to be desired.
So, I decided to take a slightly longer journey and fly to Singapore via Hong Kong, on Cathay Pacific.  Plane rides mean "quiet" time for me so in this case, the longer the flight, the more "alone" time I would enjoy.

The Manila - HK - Singapore leg was pleasant and uneventful -- Cathay Pacific's business class was definitely better than PAL's.  However, when I checked in for my flight home, I was amazed to see that for the shorter HK - Manila leg, the airline had upgraded me from business class to first!
Now I would see and experience for myself, just how different the other side of the curtain was.

There were only 8 places in first class -- while I already appreciate and enjoy the roominess and comfort of the seats and leg room in business class, first class, I discovered is truly something else!

They're not called seats in first -- they're suites!  The perfect term for this spacious and private cubicle that I would call my own -- at least for the next 90 minutes!

The seat itself is at least 50% wider than business class.  Each suite has its own storage - a mini closet which takes the place of the overhead bin.

If there are two of you traveling in first class -- you don't have to miss each other's company.  While each suite is just good for one, there is a small seat right across you, where you can have company sit while they visit!  These seats though are not to be used during take off and landing.

A small vase with fresh orchids adds a pretty touch.  The HK - Manila leg is a mere hop and a skip but a light meal is offered during this late afternoon flight.

The Filipina flight attendant takes very good care of me.  As she serves the first course, a plate of fresh fruits, she thoughtfully includes a personal, handwritten message wishing me a pleasant flight.

It's a light meal and not really dinner but a bit more than a snack.  The choice includes this delightfully vegetarian friendly pasta -- with chanterelle mushrooms, spinach and a spicy roasted red pepper sauce.

I don't usually eat dessert during a flight but I had to have the full first class experience!  This mixed berry tartlet with fresh red currants was slightly sweet and slightly tart and just right after the heat of the pasta dish.

After the meal, there was barely enough time to put my feet up and relax -- my short first class experience would soon end!

These are the lights of Makati -- feels so good to be home after being away for four days.  The first class upgrade was a wonderful surprise -- thank you Cathay Pacific!  I'm sure I will be boarding one of your flights again soon!

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