Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong, Cathay flight 521, first class


This was ticketed as part of a One World Multi Carrier award ticket.


It’s always a time consuming hassle to get to Narita from central Tokyo and this time was no exception. The checkin was over in seconds, and the priority security lane which is near the Cathay checkin had no one in front of me (not that the normal security lane in Narita usually keeps one waiting for long, in my experience). So within minutes I was ensconced in the JAL lounge, with some time to enjoy there before going to the gate.

At the airport

The flight departed around half an hour late from gate 73.


This was a Boeing 747-400. This is the last Cathay route which is served by a 747 and this is being phased out this Autumn so I felt fortunate to be able to take one last trip in a Cathay 747. The 747 had always had a special feeling for me, partly because of the fun of going upstairs in an aeroplane and partly because of the enormous feeling of power when the machine takes off from the ground. The A380 has surpassed the 747 in these ways, perhaps, but for me as for many others the romance of the 747 remains unsurpassed.

plane CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

plane nose CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

I was in seat 2A. It is on the main deck, next to the three windows behind the blocked window seen in the photograph above.  The seat was large, especially at the head end, and comfortable. There was a pillow and blanket available. There was a power socket and a large television screen. As always, Cathay offered a large array of entertainment to suit different tastes.

Seat CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Divan and screen CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

The first class cabin does not have overhead bins, which makes it feel more spacious. Instead at each seat there is a personal closet. This is a nice touch, although there were some things in mine such as a blanket etc. Thus when leaving and taking my hand baggage out of it, I didn’t notice that amidst those items was a carrier bag containing a purchase I had made at the airport, and left it onboard after the flight in error.


The flight was smooth and with clear skies much of the way it was a lovely journey down to Hong Kong in the late afternoon and early evening. We did not make up the lost time and arrived in Hong Kong just under half an hour after the scheduled departure.


The first class cabin only contained three passengers and the two members of cabin crew serving it were friendly, enthusiastic and put effort into anticipating what I might want, which I appreciated.

Food and Drink

Here is the menu and drinks list.

Western dinner menu CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Japanese meal menu CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Champagne and white wine list CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Red wine list CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Promotional (German) red wine list CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Champagne and white wine list CX521 (HK Travel Blog) Promotional (German) white wine list CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Drinks list CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Drinks list 2 CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

One thing that many people seem to look forward to when flying with Cathay in first class out of Japan is the opportunity to enjoy a traditional style Japanese kaiseki 懐石 meal. I chose this option and was not disappointed. The meal was delicious and I particularly enjoyed the tuna tataki. The flight attendant strongly recommended the apple tart to follow, so I took him up on his suggestion and indeed it also was very tasty. The cheese plate was good and by the time that I was finishing off the flight was starting to approach descent. I tried the Chateau Bouscaut I had enjoyed on a previous flight and once more found it highly drinkable.

Scallops CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

plate with tuna tataki CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

tuna tataki CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Main course CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

dessert CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

cheeseboard CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

Teas and pralines CX521 (HK Travel Blog)

This was a very pleasant flight – smooth, quiet, attentively served and with an excellent meal which was both delicious and well presented. It is a nicely timed flight to catch the sunset and arrive in Hong Kong not too late. Overall I was very happy with the experience.

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