I wanted to book a ticket to Taiwan at a couple of days’ notice. Cathay’s cheapest economy return tickets were almost four thousand dollars, which is exorbitant. I decided to use Asia Miles to redeem a ticket and as the difference between economy and business class was not great, decided to go for business, then made another leap of the same logic up to first class.
I do not think that this is a good use of Asia Miles. In terms of distance travelled relative to miles spent, for example, a One World Multi Carrier award is a much higher yielding use of Asia Miles. However as the redemption saved me the cost of a last minute ticket, I decided to make it.
At the Airport
I checked in at the airport where there was no queue at the first class counter. There was a slight delay of around twenty minutes but I went to the gate, 63, to wait. Once there, though, the seats were full and so I sat in the next gate area. As I had my back to the gate, I occasionally turned around to see whether the flight was boarding. At one point it seemed as if there was a lot of milling around the gate but no boarding. Just over ten minutes before the new departure time, I still had not seen boarding and did not hear any boarding calls where I was, so I went to the gate and it turned out that I was the last passenger to board. That is my fault, but I did learn an interesting lesson about gates with insufficient seating provision. Even paying attention I had almost missed boarding altogether – if at such a gate in future I would need to pay even more attention than I thought.
This was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER (registration B-KPA).
The first class seat is unchanged from our previous reviews of Cathay’s first class product. It remains comfortable. It came with a blanket and pillow.
As in all classes, Cathay offers a good breadth of programming on its inflight entertainment system.
Two out of six seats in first class were occupied.
We had a smooth flight but having taken off half an hour or so late that delay was added to our arrival time in Taipei.
The cabin crew was very attentive. The other passenger in First Class slept for most of the short flight, which meant that I was the only passenger who needed to be served a meal.
Before takeoff there was champagne, followed after takeoff by a drink and then a meal service. The service throughout was fast. The cabin crew member serving me paid close attention and kept my drink topped up, possibly as they had opened a bottle of wine on my account and so felt it ought to be enjoyed.
Food and Drinks
The cabin crew distributed a menu and drinks list as follows.
The Branaire-Ducru, a different vintage to the one served last year on my Hong Kong to Paris flight, was enjoyable.
I had the prawn and scallops, which was tasty enough but not outstanding in any way.
This is a short hop but a good way to enjoy Cathay’s first class product with limited miles or budget. The service was good, seat comfortable and food and drink decent.