cx-firstOur member boomy recently had the privilege of sampling First class on not one, but three international airlines! Etihad, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines were all given a test run on a trip to Europe.

The trip began, as they often do, with a visit to the lounge. The recently-opened Etihad lounge in Melbourne proved a hit, with attentive lounge staff, comfortable seating and restaurant-quality cuisine. The only thing missing was a hairdresser – such as the one found in Etihad’s Abu Dhabi lounge!

Overall it was the best service I’ve experienced in a business lounge, that’s on top of the high quality F&B offers. I’m not usually excited about returning to J lounges (TK IST is an exception) but will be very happy to visit this one again.

The Melbourne lounge was just a warm up for the following 14 hours spent enjoying the luxurious First Class Apartment on Etihad’s A380. Despite being “stuck” in a rear-facing seat, our member had a most enjoyable flight. The crew even offered to give a quick tour of Etihad’s exclusive “The Residence” product. The Residence is arguably the epitome of commercial aviation, although a single flight costs more than most cars. Alternatively, it is possible to book the Residence using Etihad Guest miles… but you would need a cool 4.7 million of them!

The second airline to be sampled was Cathay Pacific, from Frankfurt to Tokyo via Hong Kong. Our member almost missed out on taking these flights – but for all the right reasons! Due to poor weather in Hong Kong, Cathay had decided to proactively rebook our member on a direct flight to Tokyo – in none other than Lufthansa First class! But due to prior arrangements in Hong Kong, our member had to elect to keep their existing flights on Cathay.

Normally I’d choose LH F over anything ex-FRA but unfortunately on this occasion I really needed the stopover in HKG to attend two important meetings I’ve scheduled and can’t cancel in the last minute. It was hard, very hard to turn down LH F but I did it and requested my original flights bank. Luckily they were both available, including my pre-booked seats.

Once again, the on-board service was top-notch. Although the Cathay lounge in Frankfurt was not a highlight, this was made up for by the excellent lounges in the airline’s home port of Hong Kong.

On the second Cathay leg to Tokyo, our member had an opportunity to fly in the nose of a Cathay Pacific 747 for one last time. Sadly, the final remaining 747s will be retired by Cathay next month.

Japan Airlines completed the trio of airlines. Japan Airlines runs a Boeing 777 with 8 First class seats between Tokyo and Sydney every day. The hard product is comfortable, but the soft product is even better.

I’m not sure why, maybe because I was the only western in the cabin, it felt like I received special attention from the FAs. JL service is always good but this time it was exceptional.

The full trip report contains a wide range of photos, so you can see for yourself what it’s like to experience First class. Enjoy this exceptional trip report HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]