From the second we walked into SFO airport, we were able to avoid the long line to check our bags in, because we were escorted to the first class line where we really didn't have to wait at all (and there was a LONG line to check in!). Then we were immediately directed to the Cathay Pacific business and first class lounge (as seen in the prior blog posting) where there was free food and drinks to keep us comfortable while we waited to board. It was so much better than searching for a place to sit in the noisy terminal while you're waiting to get on the plane! About 45 minutes before the flight, we were called to head to the gate to board the plane. Again, we were escorted to a separate line to bypass the LONG lines of economy passengers waiting to board. We even had our own skyway and entrance onto the plane. We literally walked right onto the plane and were personally escorted to our seats at the front of the plane!
This is a picture of our Boeing 747. Derren and I were sitting in seats 1A and 1K which are the two most forward seats on the plane. In this picture you can see the front three windows - those were Derren's windows.
And here is further proof of our first class tickets! Thank you Derren for all of your hard work signing us up for credit cards with bonus miles to get us these seats for free!!!!
This is a picture of our first class cabin. This plane seats 300-400 people, and there are only NINE first class passengers. This picture is taken from the very front where Derren and I sat, looking back towards the other seats and the galley. We had three crew members who all took excellent care of us!
This is immediately after we boarded the plane. Clearly, I am all smiles, and cannot believe what is happening to me right now. See how HUGE the seat is?
And right after we sat down, we were immediately offered a glass of champagne...which we obviously took up their offer on! Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to open the Krug until after take-off, so this is JUST a $50 bottle. And clearly, you can see that the seats are large enough for two people!
Now we've had our champagne, met our crew members, received our menus for the meals, received our leather amenity kits (full of toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, chapstick, brush, etc), and of course received our pajamas (with matching slippers and eye mask of course!) Derren didn't hesitate to put those slippers on before we even took off!
Now that we are comfortable, time for long taxi, and finally, GOOD BYE AMERICA!!!
Here's a video I took of the take-off out of SFO. You can see that its pretty shaky (and thats even with youtube "fixing" my shaky video). It didn't feel quite as rough as it looks in the video, but its a really neat take-off out over the Pacific. Warning, don't watch if you you get easily travel sick (aka. Mom!).
Within minutes of taking off, our fasten seatbelt sign turned off, and Derren was able to join me in my "suite" for the real champagne to be opened and for the first meal to begin. Here he is with the first bottle of Krug. I had a few sips, but Derren pretty much polished off three bottles during the duration of the flight (this was his mission...he wanted to consume as much expensive alcohol as he could without passing out or getting sick! Which he accomplished!) Luckily, no one else in the first class cabin was even drinking, because they only have three bottles of Krug on board per flight! We also drank a good portion of a $200 bottle of wine with our meal, and Derren even tried some Johnny Walker Blue label (which he did NOT like - but at least now he can say he's tried it!)
And here we are in my "suite" drinking our Krug toast to our first class flight!
Shortly after getting our champagne, we began the very long process of our first meal. We were given warm nuts (macadamias, walnuts, almonds) with our champagne while they set our table up for us. You should have seen the shock on my face when they laid out a white tablecloth and REAL china for our four/five course meal!
For the first course I had a delicious fennel and apple soup with warm bread (which came with butter, and olive oil and balsalmic vinegar!). Derren had caviar and smoked salmon for his first course. His first time eating caviar! He described it as salty and fishy - sound right to everybody? This is a photo of our first course:
For the second course, Derren had the fennel and apple soup and I had a mesclun salad with tomatoes and cranberries (minus the king crab!).
For the entree, I ate a linguine pasta with sun-dried tomato, asparagus, shitake mushroom, and parmesan cheese (the picture was nothing special). Derren, however, had his favorite meal of the flight. This is grilled US Wagyu beef tenderloin with potatoes, asparagus, and baby carrots. He claims that it was AMAZING.
We then had a plate of cheese and crackers and grapes. By now we were SO stuffed, but we absolutely could not turn down the dessert, and thank goodness we didn't because it was SO delicious. It was bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was warm and so delicious. I would have had seconds if I wasn't already going to explode! Oh, and after I ate this, they brought us both a dish of pralines, which are basically little chocolate candies. Don't worry, I ate all of these too. :)
After the meal we changed into our pajamas and the crew members transformed our seats into reclined beds - complete with a small matress and a down duvet. SO incredibly warm and comfortable. We both settled in to watch a movie. And then we both fell asleep within about 15 minutes! But we were only asleep for about 30 minutes - a much needed catnap after such a giant meal!
Here's Derren chilling in front of his TV (with his Krug of course!)
And here's me...all snuggled into my bed ready to watch some TV/movies and play games!
Oh, and did I mention that these reclined seats go ALL the way flat. I wasn't actually asleep yet in this picture, but after I put on my eye mask and ear plugs, I did fall asleep for a few hours while Derren continued to work on the Krug and socialize with the crew members. (I woke up and I could hear him in the galley hanging out with them, teaching them about LDL vs HDL. Nice.)
We both also had a few beverages during the long flight. We had lattes with biscotti, I tried the Hong Kong style milk tea, and Derren tried the Johnny Walker as I mentioned. With about two hours left in the flight it was time for meal #2 which was much shorter and smaller than the first one (that first meal left me full for almost ten hours of flying!)
For this meal I had fresh fruit as a starter and Derren had these grilled saffron marinated prawn with cucumber raita. Of course, accompanied by Krug, and bread for both of us!
For my entree I had portabello mushroom ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, vegetables, toasted almonds, and parmesan cheese (more Italian food on my flight to Asia!).
Derren had pan-fried kurobuta pork chop with porcini mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, roasted heirloom carrots, baby zucchini, and carmelized honey shallots (good, but not as good as the Wagyu beef).
And of course, another dessert. Again, not as good as the first meal's dessert, but still tasty. This is a raspberry mousse cake with chocolate whipped cream. No cheese and pralines with this meal - we still were not that hungry!
And part of the benefit of Derren being so friendly with the crew members while all the other first class passengers were sleeping (literally everyone else besides us basically slept the entire flight) was that he got a magnificent favor. They took us up to the cockpit after we landed!!! There were four pilots in there when we went upstairs and they were all shaking our hands and stood up and got out so that we could sit down! I guess its not just perks of Derren's friendliness, but also the perks of being a first class passenger! Derren was basically peeing himself when this picture was taken!
After such a long journey we arrived in the Hong Kong airport, went through security again, and made our way to one of the first class lounges in the airport, The Wing. We were escorted to the showers, and it was so amazing to have a hot shower after long (but quite luxurious) traveling! They had waterfall showerheads (Derren took a video, ask him if you want to see it!) and provided everything needed to shower.
And if we hadn't eaten enough, there was an amazing spread of food in the lounge!
Derren had a snack and then we each went into a "day-room" where we were able to nap for about three hours. Then I had a snack, and we were kicked out of the lounge because it was closing for the night. We spent the next hour in another business/first class lounge, The Cabin, and then were kicked out when that one closed. We have now spent the last three hours lounging around the terminal, waiting for the lounge to open again in a couple of hours so we can eat some more free and amazing food! Then our business class flight to Singapore (no first class on this aircraft :( ). I look forward to updating you from Singapore in the next couple of days!
Ashley & Derren