Flights Oneworld Reviews

Review: Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class

Cathay will launch a new First Class product in 2021. Until then, is the existing offering up to scratch?

Champagne 3 Windows

Cathay Pacific’s First Class seat isn’t ground-breaking or brand new, but its long-established reputation for comfort and service continues to win it many fans. With a brand new First Class product coming in 2021, we took a flight from Hong Kong to London in the current configuration to see whether it’s past its best, or still stands up to industry competition.

Flight details

  • Flight: CX253 Hong Kong T1 to London Heathrow T3
  • Class: First
  • Seats: 1A & 2A
  • Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Aircraft Registration: B-KQJ
  • Aircraft Age: 4.8 years
  • Date: 3rd July 2018
  • Departure / Arrival: 14:40 / 20:35
  • Flight Time: 12h 55m
  • Cost: 120,000 Avios + £34.20 per person

Check in

We arrived at Hong Kong International airport around 11.10am, three and a half hours prior to the departure time for our flight to London.

Cathay Pacific has its own dedicated First Class check-in counters in zone A.

F Check in
First Class check in for Cathay Pacific at Hong Kong International is at zone A. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Rather than the more traditional check in desks you find at airports with the luggage belt to the side and an agent sitting behind a desk, these are styled as ‘podiums’ where you interact with the agent while standing at eye height.

If you have checked luggage this is tagged and taken to a designated drop point out of sight by another agent.

F Check in 2
First Class check in ‘podiums’. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The whole process was friendly and super-efficient, taking just 5 minutes. From here it was a short walk to the closest security checkpoint. This benefits from same level direct access to The Wing First Class lounge – out first stop for the obligatory review.


Passengers travelling in First Class with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong have a wide variety of lounge options, not only including the carrier’s own facilities but also the well-rated Qantas Hong Kong lounge.

Almost everyone will want to sample one of the two dedicated First Class lounges, The Wing or The Pier. If time permits, you may want to try both – as we did prior to our flight.

Map Lounges.jpg
Cathay Pacific Lounges in Hong Kong. (Image: Airport Authority Hong Kong / MainlyMiles)

The Wing is a good starting point, right after the security checkpoint on the left side. Once you’ve passed through the priority security lane, take a left and you’ll find this lounge has its own dedicated entrance to the First Class section on the same level (those flying Business have to go downstairs to the main entrance).

The Wing is our recommended starting point, especially if you arrive early as the departure gate for Cathay flights is often not assigned until around 2.5 – 3 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. Here you can enjoy a ‘cabana’ – your own private room with a chaise lounge, shower and bath, among the plentiful other lounge facilities.

At peak times the cabanas can suffer a waiting time, so if it’s your goal to try one – this is definitely the first lounge you should head for in order to put your name down as soon as you arrive.

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Click here to read our review of ‘The Wing’

Heading straight to The Pier is another option, however you may then have a long walk back to your gate if you are departing in the 1-28 range (see map above). There is a train available, though we find it doesn’t save a huge amount of time.


Click here to read our review of ‘The Pier’


Boarding commenced at 2.20pm and as we managed to be first on board, I went across to the right hand aisle to take a few photos of the other four First Class seats before returning to our ‘private aisle’ pair at 1A and 2A.

1K 2K
Seats 1K and 2K. The 1-1-1 configuration in this cabin has allowed Cathay to offer a very wide aisle on this side, shared between up to 4 passengers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The two-row cabin is bright and airy, with no overhead lockers. However there is a crew rest compartment in the forward ceiling, reducing the height slightly.

Seat 2K. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The middle ‘D’ seats have a seat-height wall to the left side, shielding them from the left aisle, with a long opaque ‘window’ for some natural light to shine through from the actual windows during the daytime.

2D Boarding 2
Seat 2D. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

I wouldn’t personally choose a middle seat as a first preference, however the space remains very private and the seat is angled away from the aisle. It is also staggered slightly behind the ‘K’ window seat on the right in each case, which itself is angled towards the window, further enhancing privacy.

2D Boarding.jpg
Seat 2D. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Eddie also managed to take a peek into the forward two-row Business Class cabin directly behind the First Class section. You can see why this is favoured over the much larger 12-row Business Class section behind the second aircraft doors.


Seat selection / the left aisle

As a couple we would strongly recommend seats 1A and 2A in First Class on the Cathay Pacific 777-300ER. That’s because these two seats have an aisle all to themselves, with the other four seats in this cabin (1D/K and 2 D/K) using the right hand aisle.

Foot traffic is very low on the left side and therefore this feels almost like your own private cabin.

One issue you may face with this is that seat 2A is a designated bassinet position in this cabin, and is therefore not available for advance selection (assuming you are not travelling with an infant).

First Seat Map.jpg
Cathay 777-300ER First Class seat map. (Image: Cathay Pacific)

You will have to call Cathay Pacific and ask to be assigned this seat. Provided it is still available they will do this for you, with the usual caveat that if a booking with an infant included is then made in First Class on your flight you might be relocated. With a total of only six seats in Cathay First, and another bassinet position available at seat 2K, this is a very slim chance indeed.

Settling in

Eddie took seat 1A and I went for 2A. The first thing to note about the window seats in this cabin is that they all benefit from having three windows – no one is short changed here.

1A Boarding
Seat 1A, like all four window seats in this cabin, has three windows. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The space around the seat strikes you right away – it’s immense. Sure we had just come off the new Singapore Airlines A380 Suites a couple of days before, but along with the new (and rare) Emirates 777 Suites that’s in a league of its own in floorspace terms.

Here you have a seat easily wide enough for two people to sit in. It’s an enormous 36 inches wide, for our regular readers familiar with Singapore Airlines seats that’s 2 inches wider than the 2006 Business Class seat, and an inch wider than the 2013 First Class seat.

1A Boarding 2.jpg
Seat 1A from another angle during boarding. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There’s also an ottoman, which may look small in the pictures but is probably bigger than an Economy Class seat!

A fold-down armrest is located alongside the seat to cater for the sheer width of the seat. Similar to the bolster cushion provided on the equally wide Singapore Airlines 2006 J seat, it allows you to sit comfortably when upright.

Armrest. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The crew came round to take our drinks order and we each went for a glass of Champagne. The beauty of the space available means it’s an obvious choice to take your pre-flight drinks together in a single ‘Suite’, so Eddie joined me in 2A.

Champagne Amouse Bouche

We were each also served with a crab meat amuse-bouche which was very tasty and a nice welcoming touch. Introduced to First Class in 2014, the amuse-bouche was withdrawn in 2017 amid some other cuts, however it seems to be back which is great.

Amouse Bouche

Hot towels were also provided. Pushback was postponed due to an air traffic control issue, and the crew came round to offer us a second glass of Champagne during the short 10-minute delay.

Takeoff Camera
Up and away from a gloomy Hong Kong, from the camera behind the nose wheel. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Storage options