Cathay Pacific business class review: New York (JFK) to Vancouver

Cathay Pacific business class lie flat seat

I know. I’m always late to the game, and this Cathay Pacific business class review is something that I should’ve done years ago.

Anyway, for those that don’t know, Cathay Pacific operates one flight a day between New York and Vancouver. However, you gotta hurry if you want to try it for yourself because it’s coming to an abrupt end next spring.

March 27th to be exact.

CX865
New York (JFK) – Vancouver, BC (YVR)
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Aircraft: 777-367ER
Registration: B-KPC
Duration: 5 hours 42 minutes
Seat: 18K (business class)

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER side view
Cathay Pacific 777-300ER side view illustration by Norebbo.com
Cathay Pacific 777-300ER seat map
Seat map of this Cathay Pacific 777-300ER (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (18K) for this flight to YVR.
cx865 flight track
Our route from JFK to YVR this evening as CX865.

My long-awaited Cathay Pacific business class review video

Can you believe that I successfully managed to put together a Cathay Pacific business class review video that came in less than 14 minutes?

Depending on who you ask, this is easily one of the best airlines in the world. Surely I’d be able to put together a 3-hour documentary of my experience, right? Yeah, I could have. But I also know that more than 14 minutes of SANspotter content (in one sitting) is a bit too much to handle for most people.

Thanks as always to Epidemic Sound for the soundtrack. They always come through for me, and it’s always fun browsing their catalog of music whenever I start putting together a new video.

Cathay Pacific uses terminal 8 at JFK

Can I just say how nice Terminal 8 is here at JFK? This is the first time I’ve ever been in here, and it was so nice that it was also the first time I’ve *ever* had to tell myself to chill out on getting pics and video footage even before clearing security.

Curbside terminal 8 JFK
Curbside, Terminal 8 JFK. Remember when this airport used to be a total dump? I do, and quite frankly, I’m still trying to erase those experiences from my memory.
Cathay Pacific ticket counter JFK
The Cathay Pacific ticketing counter. Hmmmmm. Either I’m waaay early, or I’m going to be the only person on this flight tonight.
SANspotter selfie JFK Cathay Pacific
My wrinkled brow is a solid indication of my realization that I showed up a wee too early.
Cathay pacific business class check in JFK
No Cathay Pacific business class review is complete without a pic of the premium check in lanes, right? Too bad I’m way too early and I can’t show you any of the exciting action (of people standing in line waiting to check in).
Terminal 8 jfk ticketing hall
This is the American Airlines side of the ticketing hall. Equally impressive.

Terminal 8 is nice. So much so that I think I shot like 10 gigabytes of pics and video of the ticketing hall alone! And since this is supposed to be a Cathay Pacific business class review (and not a silly review of T8), I’ll spare you the agony of scrolling through an endless stream of pics showing every little detail. Time to move on…

Sanspotter selfie jfk Airport Terminal 8
FYI, I was able to book this flight for only 35,000 American AAdvantage points, so if you wanna do this before it ends, there are some fantastic award redemptions available right now that you’d be a fool not to take…AAdvantage…of. See what I did there?

What lounge does Cathay Pacific business class passengers have access to here at JFK?

One of the perks of being a Cathay Pacific business class passenger here at JFK is getting full access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge.

Inside terminal 8 JFK airport
Traversing my way through Terminal 8 here at JFK, camera in hand, recording all the gory details of my trek to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge.
American Airlines Flagship lounge JFK
The American Airlines Flagship lounge located here in Terminal 8 at JFK. It’s only a perk of Cathay Pacific business class if you don’t mind dealing with large crowds (the kind that stare at you when you take pics).

I’d have to say that I quite liked the Flagship lounge. It was a bit small though, and I had to keep moving around trying to find a quiet spot to get some work done. The food was good, plentiful, and I left feeling fat. All of the most important qualities of an airline lounge experience, right?

Anyway, I’ll write a full summary of this lounge later, but for now, let’s press on with this Cathay Pacific business class review.

The boarding process for Cathay Pacific 865 to Vancouver

This is it! My first ever Cathay Pacific experience is just moments away. Can you believe it’s taken me this long to fly what is arguably one of the best airlines in the world? I’m so ready for this.

JFK terminal 8 interior
Heading downstairs, just so I can go back upstairs (to the satellite terminal) just 1000ft from now.
Gate 47 JFK terminal 8
Gate 47. And it looks like I’m early again.
Cathay Pacific business class
Boarding was delayed by about 25 minutes due to late arrival of the crew, which was odd considering that this crew had likely flown in on another CX flight from HKG or YVR a day prior. This didn’t stop any of us from standing in line though.

FYI, it seems that gate 47 is the only one in all of Terminal 8 where there are no views of the aircraft parked outside. I couldn’t even a see a winglet.

Cathay Pacific 777-300er boarding door
Despite being a grown man with all the responsibilities that come with being an adult, I can’t say that I didn’t feel like pushing through this line to make it move a little faster. I’m feeling excited, ok?

My first look at Cathay Pacific 777-300ER business class

Seat 18K is the one I chose for this flight over to Vancouver tonight, and from what I could tell it looked to be a fine choice.

Cathay pacific 777-300er business class pic
Through the boarding door now, and making my way to seat 18K. What’s the deal with the baby **** yellow lighting on these 777-300ER’s? The British Airways 777-300ER I was on recently featured the same “ambiance”.
Cathay pacific 777-300er business class seat
The Cathay Pacific 777-300ER business class seat. Very similar to the first class seats on the American Airlines A321T’s  – as well as their 777-300/ER.
Cathay pacific 777-300er business class seat review
“Snazzy” is not a big enough word to describe these seats. I could totally rock one of these on a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong!
CX business class review
I’m not a big fan of how open these seats are to the aisle, but they’re plenty comfortable and very spacious.
Cathay pacific business class leg room
Who am I kidding? Even if the leg room was terrible, it’s not like I’d refuse to sit here and downgrade myself to economy or anything. Yup. This’ll do.
Cathay Pacific business class seat details
I can almost hear mom saying “DON’T. TOUCH. ANYTHING.”
Cathay Pacific business class headphones
Mom’s not here though, so it’s game on. Neener neener!
Cathay Pacific business class amenity kit
The amenity kit. It’s been so long since I’ve flown business class that I forgot that they *actually* give you free stuff for sitting in a ridiculously spacious and comfortable seat.

Since there aren’t many other situations in life where I’m gonna get treated this well, it felt awfully special pulling stuff out of that little amenity kit as we waited to push off the gate.

Cathay Pacific business class bedding
Amenity kit numero dos: the blanket, mattress, and pillow. Let’s just hope they don’t expect me to get it all back in this bag after the flight.
Cathay Pacific business class pre departure drink
Complimentary water to quench my thirst as I scramble to get pre-departure footage. It should be noted that they were offering orange juice and champagne as well, but…this is a SANspotter review after all and you should know by now that I never do anything exciting.
Cathay Pacific 777-300er safety card
Besides – how much of this safety card information would I have been able to absorb if I was drunk on champagne (or fighting heartburn from the orange juice)? There’s a method to my madness!
Cathay Pacific 777-300er business class seat privacy
One of the nice things about these high walls is that nobody can see me acting like a total dork taking pictures of my seat from every angle.
Sandy selfie Cathay Pacific
Also, it’s a little embarrassing taking pictures of myself enjoying the pre-departure drink.
Cathay Pacific business class seat storage
Just so you know, I was dead serious when I said that I was taking pictures of the seat from every angle possible. This is gonna be the best Cathay Pacific business class review ever!

And yes, we got hot towels too. I think that I need to fly business class more often.

So what’s the verdict so far? To be honest, nothing has stood out to me as being especially remarkable, though it indeed felt like a legitimate long haul business class experience so far.

SANspotter selfie Cathay Pacific business class
Considering all the time I’ve spent in economy class over the past few months, it kinda felt like I won the lottery just mere moments after being crowned king of the world. This is nice!
Cathay Pacific safety video
Safety first! At least I won’t have to worry about a water landing on this flight. Then again, we will be flying over the Great Lakes…
Boeing 777 windows
Rolling out to the runway for departure. Figures. One of the rare times I get a window seat, and it’s too dark to see outside anyway. #firstworldproblems

The pre-meal cabin service

It was a relatively uneventful takeoff out of JFK this evening, but I do recommend checking out my video of this flight if you want to hear those big GE90’s propel us west out of New York.

Cathay Pacific business class cabin
I must’ve looked awfully impatient as I poked my head into the aisle just after takeoff.
Business class slippers
FYI, it doesn’t qualify as being business class until you put on the slippers.

Being a relatively short five and a half hour flight over to Vancouver this evening, the cabin crew started the service within minutes of our departure. Here are some of the highlights:

Studio CX main screen
Ah yes. Studio CX. I’ve heard so many good things about Cathay Pacific’s in flight entertainment product over the years, and I was really looking forward to experiencing it for myself. Only problem was that there were FAR too many good movies to watch. How the heck am I supposed to choose between Pulp Fiction and the Minions?!

The entertainment system was a little slow, but the movie catalog was seriously impressive. There was so much that I wanted to watch, which hardly ever happens on an airplane. I usually end up watching movies or TV shows I don’t have much interest in to begin with, and I can’t stay focused.

Cathay business class snack
At least I had warm salt and pepper nuts to nibble on while trying to decide what I wanted to watch.

What was the dinner service like?

You know, I’ve seen enough QFS Aviation videos to know that Cathay Pacific is a little better than the rest when it comes to the little details. That still didn’t prepare me for feeling as cheerfully amused as I did by this menu (which resembled a newspaper).

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Cathay Pacific business class menu
I don’t rate airlines on point scales or anything, but what the heck. I’m giving Cathay Pacific 75 points for a super-creative menu.
Cathay Pacific business class menu options
I reckon that this may be the single most important pic in this entire Cathay Pacific business class review. Study it well.
Cathay Pacific business class appetizer
Smoked salmon carpaccio with avocado tartar. Quite a big step up for the “chicken or beef” options I’ve been served on airplanes for the last six months or so.

This was phenomenal by the way, and every part of it (even the bread) was prepared to absolute perfection.

Sanspotter Cathay Pacific business class review
Oh – And before you think I’m going all hoity toity on you, you do need to be aware that I chose the Minions movie as my choice of entertainment for the evening.
Cathay Pacific business class food
The main course. Seared chicken breast with rosemary, creamy polenta, and grilled zucchini and peppers.

Again, this was cooked and prepared to absolute perfection – to the point where I actually think that this meal was *better* than what I was served in Qatar Airways business class earlier this year.

SANspotter Cathay pacific business class food review
“How come chicken never tastes this good when I make it?”
Cathay Pacific business class dessert
Okay. I wasn’t going to gorge myself on dessert, but then I thought: what would Rory do? I had a feeling he wouldn’t skip it if this was *his* video, so here we go with even more unnecessary calories.
Business class food
Dang it Rory. You’re gonna get me fat trying to keep up with you! Maybe business class isn’t such a good thing after all…
Cathay Pacific over Minnesota
Looks like we were about to fly directly over top of my sister’s house in Minnesota (just as I was feeling my fattest). Hey sis!

After dinner: rest and relaxation (while feeling fat)

You know how I’m always trying to make my loo reviews exciting? And what usually happens is that it’s usually the stupidest part of the entire review? Well my friends, this time it’s different. Why? Check this out:

Cathay Pacific lavatory ashtrays
I present to you…an ashtray. On an airplane. In 2019.
Cathay Pacific 777-300er lavatory
Speaking of the lavatory, it was big enough to contain you and…two of your closest smoking buddies.

Remember what I said earlier about something embarrassing happening with the mattress and duvet? Well, I’m an idiot and I didn’t realize at the time which was which, and I proceeded to use the mattress as my blanket.

Cathay Pacific business class lie flat seat
In my defense, using the mattress as a blanket was actually quite comfortable! I was thinking that it was awfully small to be a blanket though.

At the very least, all I can hope for is that I gave the flight attendants a funny story to tell. And, who’s to say that they weren’t hovering over me giggling and taking pics while I was sleeping? I guess I’ll never know. Unless I show up all over Instagram as part of a silly “Cathay Business Class review” meme or something.

Stay hydrated in flight
Two things I never fly without: water, and…
Travel plug adapter Cathay Pacific
A plug adapter with enough ports to charge all my devices at once. I wonder if there was a warning light up in the cockpit flashing a “the ***hole in seat 18K is using up all the juice” message or something?

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The descent into YVR (and final thoughts)

We began the descent into Vancouver just shortly before 11pm local time, and I’m happy to report that I had A pretty good nap in these lie flat seats. I dreamt about Vicarious Voyager and Kochan (as usual) and I know that you would too if you were as big of a fan of their content as I am.

Cathay Pacific business class drinks
A pre-landing drink for every business class passenger. Yup. I decided to go wild and crazy this time.

As you might expect with a flight time of only 5 and a half hours, it felt much shorter than that thanks to the comfy seat and all that good food earlier on.

However, the cabin crew was just so so in my opinion. Of course they were nice, but at no point did I feel as spoiled as I did in, say, Qatar Airways business class. That’s not to that I was disappointed or anything.

As a matter of fact, this business class experience was right on par with what I was expecting, primarily since I’ve been hearing so many mixed reviews about Cathay Pacific lately. It was good. Not great, but…good.

Cathay Pacific mood lighting
Nice to see deep blue mood lighting overpowering the baby **** yellow overhead lights that were on during the boarding process.

In comparison, I found this service to be slightly better than my Philippine Airlines 777-300ER business class experience between Vancouver and New York last fall. That was another 5th freedom route between these two city pairs that recently ended, and I’m happy that I got to experience it while I could. The same can be said for this CX flight, since it is scheduled to end next spring (after nearly 20 years of service).

CX865 flight time
Time to YVR: 00:11. Time until you reach the end of this Cathay Pacific business class review: exactly 33 seconds (depending on how fast you read).
Landing at YVR
Um…can someone please knock on the cockpit door and inform the pilots that we’re slightly off-center? Sheesh. I suck at Flight Simulator, but even I can line it up better than that. Most of the time at least.
Cathay Pacific 777-300er nose
Speaking of misalignment, misaligned nosecones wreck havoc on my OCD.
Cathay Pacific 777-300er B-KPC
Nope. Not any better from this angle either. #grr

I hope this Cathay Pacific business class review was helpful! Although this particular route won’t be flown for very much longer, this should give you a pretty good idea what to expect on long haul routes to and from Hong Kong.

If you have the time however, I’d highly recommend heading over to the American Airlines website and scooping up one of those 35,000 mile JFK-YVR Cathay Pacific business class awards while you still can. It’s easily one of the best premium travel bargains out there at the moment IMHO.

Comments (6)

  1. Lawson

    December 5, 2019
    • SANspotter

      December 7, 2019
  2. Ty James

    December 7, 2019
    • SANspotter

      December 8, 2019
  3. TSov

    December 20, 2019
    • SANspotter

      December 22, 2019

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