Award Trips

21 Hours in Vancouver: JFK-YVR in Cathay Pacific First Class

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One of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had happened this week when I introduced my friend Shawna to Cathay Pacific First Class. She like me, is always up for quick adventures and shared my desire to see Vancouver, BC. And she had never traveled in First Class, domestic or otherwise. This was going to be quite different than our trips in economy to Ireland and Vienna, Austria last year!

Boarding at our JFK Terminal 7 gate was rather chaotic — First class, Business Class, and all Marco Polo members all board at the same time. But since First Class only has 6 seats and often isn’t full, I guess it wouldn’t really make sense to board separately.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR boarding terminal 7

Our cabin was 2/3 full. The two other passengers being in 1A and 2A, which meant we had our side of the aircraft to ourselves and our picture taking was less likely to annoy anyone. 🙂 Our attendants, Sarah and Adelaide were very sweet about our requests for photographs, espcially after I excitedly told them it was my friend’s first time on Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Keri Shawna

The seats in Cathay Pacific First Class truly are awesome. Wide enough to fit two people — with helpful storage compartments and convenient lighting options.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR seat Suite 1K

My carry-on fit easily under my foot rest and my jacket and laptop bag fit in the “closet” that comes with each seat.

Used to flying with my in United Economy, Shawna was slightly speechless that we’d have to lean forward in our seats to see each other during the flight!

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Keri Suite 1D Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Shawna menu

The experience started with our pre-departure drink. I of course went for the Krug champagne.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Krug pre-departure drink

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Krug warm nuts

Then our amenity kits stuff with Aesop products were handed out.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR PYE pajamas Aesop amenity kit

Then a bag containing their new (to me) PYE pajamas, face mask, and slippers. While I really liked the feel and even the color (gray) of the new pajamas, I still miss the brown Shanghai Tang option from several years ago that I liked so much!

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR PYE Pajamas Keri Shawna

Menus were handed out next and we decided to dine with each other. Another really cool option of Cathay Pacific First Class.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Keri Shawna dining across

As is getting your own bread basket!

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner bread basket

I started with the seared tuna with cous cous artichoke mousse timbale and yoghurt mint sauce.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner seared tuna

Next was the white asparagus soup, which was fantastic.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner white asparagus soup

The mesclun salad with lobster and grilled vegetables was my least favorite, the lobster tail and claw was slightly mushy and tasted like it had been frozen.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner mesclun salad lobster

It was a tough choice for the main entree, I was tempted by the stir-fried lobster with scallion and ginger, but wound up going with the seared USDA prime beef tenderloin with red wine and Bearnaise sauces, caramelized onions, polenta roulade, green beans, and pepperonata. Some of the best in-flight steak I’ve had — thick and cooked perfectly at medium rare.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner seared prime beef

We were far too full to try the cheese course, but were tempted by the strawberry and vanilla cream cake with berry compote which was unbelievably light and delicious.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Dinner strawberry vanilla cake

Despite eating modestly throughout the day and in the lounge, we were both stuffed to bursting before the end of dinner and I was ready for bed!

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR bathroom

While I was changing into my PJs in the modern looking bathroom (it never gets old that a bathroom on a plane can look like this!), they were making up our beds and giving us little plates of after dinner chocolate truffles.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR lie flat bed

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR after dinner chocolate

I had planned to just rest and watch one of their dozens of movie options or full seasons of TV shows, but wound up nodding off before I’d even made it halfway through the first episode of Inspector Morse.

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK YVR Keri lie flat bed

I woke up as the pilot was announcing our descent into Vancouver and scurried into the bathroom to change back into street clothes before the seat belt sign came on.

The only problem with flying Cathay Pacific First Class is any flight under 15 hours is too short to fully enjoy the experience 🙂

More from this trip:

Cathay Pacific JFK Check In and British Airways Galleries Lounge
One Rainy Snowy Day in Vancouver
Review of the Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge in Vancouver
How to Experience International First Class Flights Without Leaving the Continent


Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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  1. Denise

    January 5, 2015 at 1:11 am

    So fun! I need to be in Seattle in the spring and am wondering if I can make this work!

  2. Mike S.

    January 5, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Did you get the ‘refreshed’ first class cabin ?

    • Keri Anderson

      January 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      I did! It looked nice, but personally I miss the softer colors of the teal/green 🙂

  3. Jenny

    May 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I’d love to take my mother on this flight. What’s the best way to find availability? And what are the best points to use? Thanks!

    • Keri Anderson

      May 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      I searched on British Airways for available seats (they make it easier to search across a range of dates) and then used American Airline miles to book. 32.5K person one way is a great deal in my opinion 🙂

  4. Jenny

    May 30, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks! I assume you have to call AA to make the reservation, since it doesn’t show up on their inventory, yes?

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