First Class to South Africa

Everyone’s been asking for photos of the in-flight experience over to South Africa, but nobody clamoring for actual South Africa photos.  So let’s kick things off as demanded…

This photo basically sums up how completely over the top the First experience on Cathay Pacific is:

Now let me explain what you’re looking at above.  I’m sitting across from Lillie in an ottoman turned buddy seat, eating caviar and salmon, while Lillie is sipping on some Krug champagne (we easily finished the bottle on this flight).  Not a bad way to occupy some time on a 16 hour flight from JFK to Hong Kong.

When it’s bedtime, the flight attendants (two dedicated to the max of nine First passengers) will lay down a mattress pad, and spread out a duvet onto a now fully flat bed that easily fit my long legs (not feasible for me in most business classes).  You’re also issued some Shanghai Tang brand pajamas so you don’t have to wrinkle your suit/jean pants.  Also take note of the 17″ TV and accompanying orchids:

For some orientation, here’s a shot from my suite of Lillie in her suite (yes–the proper term is suite, not seat):

Now for food.  The brilliant part about the food service in First is that it’s entirely on demand.  You get your menu at the start of the flight, and then you can order whatever you want whenever–no prescribed meal times.  Awesome on long flights that require some sleep management to combat jet lag.

The flight attendants are far from shy about trying to feed you every single thing on the menu.  I was amused at the sheer quantity of dinnerware on my tray table here.  That’s some braised pork neck with jasmine rice, spring rolls, basket of assorted bread, butter, hot sauce, and a pot of Hong Kong style milk tea.  The Häagen-Dazs came later.

On our Hong Kong to Johannesburg flight, we had what I am unequivocally proclaiming to be the greatest breakfast of all time.  For me it comprised of: caviar and salmon to start things off, a collection of dim sum, a few slices of back bacon, croissants with honey, Hong Kong style milk tea, and finally a berry smoothie.

But what set this breakfast apart was the setting–Lillie and I were sitting across from one another, 40,000 feet in the air, with the glow of the sun rising over the Indian Ocean on the shore of Mozambique.  Simply unreal.

The last stop on the tour?  The WC.  Yes, there’s a full length mirror to admire yourself in your airplane PJs, two windows, and a vessel sink:

We spent pretty much 48 hours in this space through the trip–flying JFK-Hong Kong-Johannesburg-Hong Kong-San Francisco.  Definitely worse places you could be for such a long haul, I reckon.

Finally, just to be crystal clear, we obviously didn’t shell out the $26,000/each (not a typo) this routing would set you back on Orbitz.  This was all paid for with Alaska Airlines miles–that’s how we roll.

Expect three more posts on this trip–all presumably far less interesting than this: on Cape Town and surroundings, brief stopovers in Hong Kong, and a boring/nuts and bolts post on miscellaneous trip planning minutiae.

5 thoughts on “First Class to South Africa”

  1. I just realized how I overuse the word “epic.” It needs to be saved for experiences like this. Wow. Btw, I love how in first picture, the NYT travel section is lying out. And is that Friedman’s The World is Flat on top of it? You’re both such freaking Bobos. Lol. What a way to celebrate a 30th birthday! And for free! Well, kinda, I guess.
    This whole post was like food porn meets travel porn…(I hope Mom doesn’t see this comment. Oh, hi Amma!)

  2. Can I strike the Bobo name-calling from the record since that was actually a SPL copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?
    Definitely an amazing way to spend my 30th…only hoping we can come up with something equally ridiculous for Vinod’s. My favorite, over-the-top moment was when I came back from the bathroom during the night, and my bed had been remade/folded back with my seat belt lined up perfectly across the top.

  3. Well done folks! This is living it up in high style. I heartily congratulate you. So glad that this was a fun kick off to your S. African journey. (Lillie, for Vinod’s bday, I think you guys should come ride chicken buses with us in Honduras.)

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