Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER YVR-JFK

Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER
Cathay Pacific First Class, 777-300ER

This 2019 Review of Cathay Pacific First Class Vancouver YVR to NYC JFK will sadly be our last for this particular route, since Cathay Pacific is discontinuing this fifth freedom flight in March 2020. While it used to make sense as a refueling stop, Cathay will be adding a 4th daily NYC-HKG flight and will continue its twice daily HKG-YVR flights, just without continuing on JFK.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class Cabin and Seat Selection

Cathay Pacific's First Class Cabin on the 777-300ER has just 6 open suites in a 1-1-1 configuration. While you won't be able to talk easily with a travel partner while each seated in your own seats, each suite does have an ottoman that doubles as a companion seat, to dine across from each other at meal time.

My favorite seat is 1A, and for partners, I recommend selecting 1A and 2A if available. Because the other 4 seats are access from the other aisle, it makes 1A and 2A seem more private, as there's less foot traffic.

Here's a view of seats 1D and 2D:

Cathay Pacific First Class Seats 1D and 2D
Cathay Pacific First Class Seats 1D and 2D

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class Seat

At 36 inches wide, Cathay Pacific First Class seats are the widest of commercial first class seats; two thin adults can sit side by side in them, and they're very comfortable for an adult to read a book to a child, which I used to do when my son was younger.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class Seat

As mentioned above, the padded ottoman doubles as a companion seat, and has its own seat belt.

Cathay Pacific First Class Ottoman / Companion Seat
Cathay Pacific First Class Ottoman / Companion Seat

There's a touch screen with seat and lighting controls, and also a massage function, although as usual, it's not all that strong.

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat and Lighting Touch Screen Controls
Cathay Pacific First Class Seat and Lighting Touch Screen Controls

There's a handy storage compartment for a phone and small items near the compartment for the tray table (see below video). I don't care for the placement of the power outlet, however, which is near your knees–I much prefer the power outlet placement in Cathay Pacific Business Class, where it's near your shoulder and no leaning forward is required.

Awkward Power Outlet Placement, Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Given the late hour and desire to keep hydrated, I chose water for my pre-flight drink.

Pre-Flight Drink, Cathay Pacific First Class Review

While I didn't have supper on the flight, as I'd already enjoyed won ton soup and dim sum in the Cathay Pacific Vancouver Lounge, here's the menu for the flight:

Cathay Pacific First Class Menu

Here's our Cathay Pacific First Class and Vancouver Lounge YouTube Video Review:

Cathay Pacific First Class Bed and Sleep Quality

Since the Vancouver YVR to NYC JFK flight is a red eye flight, most passengers try to sleep. The crew will provide turn down service, fully reclining the bed, and adding a thin mattress pad and soft duvet. Don't expect a thick mattress pad akin to what Singapore Suites on the A380 or JAL First Class offer. Instead, if you prefer a plusher mattress, I highly recommend bringing your own to make the bed more comfortable.

Cathay Pacific First Class Bed Review
Cathay Pacific First Class Bed

That said, I do need to give full credit to Cathay for providing some of the best pajamas and sleep mask in commercial first class, courtesy of Pye, and all in organic cotton. They may not be fashionable, but the quality is undeniable.

Pye Organic Cotton Pajamas and Sleep Mask, Cathay Pacific First Class Review

There are also grey slippers to pad around in.

Slippers, Cathay Pacific First Class Review

If you've taken Cathay Pacific First Class between Vancouver and NYC JFK, what was your experience?

The Verdict

As one of the commenters to our YouTube video wrote, we'd love this flight to be longer, since 5 hours (closer to 4 hours, given the available time to have your seat in bed mode) really isn't enough time to get much sleep. This will be a moot point, however, since Cathay is discontinuing this route both because it's not profitable, particularly for first and business class, and not needed as a refueling stop between NYC and HKG, as it was back when it was first launched in 1996.

Notwithstanding the red eye nature of it, it was still a great way to fly in true international first class coast to coast and an excellent award redemption, so we'll miss it.

Even with all the first class suites with closing doors, I still really like Cathay's very private first class cabin with just 6 extra wide seats, and two bathrooms. Since on my flight there was just one other person in first class, it was 1 passenger per bathroom, although of course these are also shared with the crew.

I also appreciate Cathay's choice of Pye organic cotton pajamas (I'm not aware of any other airline pajamas made of organic cotton) and comfortable matching sleep mask, as well as high quality Aesop products in the amenity kit.

Since I'd dined in the lounge, I only had a cheese plate on board the flight, but since catering is, in my view, a weak point of Cathay, I didn't feel I was missing much.

I wish that Cathay Pacific did have thicker memory foam like mattress pads for the beds, but I've resigned myself to bringing my own portable mattress pad, to make the bed more comfortable.

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Review: Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge, Vancouver Airport

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