Cathay Pacific First Class JFK-YVR

Cathay Pacific First Class JFK-YVR

I find Cathay Pacific First Class to be one of the best ways to travel.  Their service is fantastic and their planes are luxurious but not flashy (looking at you Emirates).  Best of all, you can fly Cathay Pacific First Class using Alaska Airlines miles.

All but one flight departing the US on Cathay Pacific is to Hong Kong and will cost you 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

However, Cathay flies a Fifth Freedom route from New York City (JFK) to Vancouver.  It is the exact same plane that then goes on to Hong Kong.  It isn’t as long as flights to Hong Kong, but at 6+ hours it is a good opportunity to try out one of the best First Class products.  And it will only cost you 35,000 Alaska miles.  Considering that one way tickets on Alaska are often as much as 60,000 miles, this is a bargain and exponentially a better experience.

Check In

Cathay Pacific flies out of Terminal 8 at JFK.  This terminal is the American Airlines terminal.

The check in counter for Cathay is off to the corner.  I arrived three hours early and there were very few passengers at the desk.

Upon checking in I was given my ticket and a voucher for entry into the Flagship Lounge and First Dining.  Cathay Pacific doesn’t run their own lounge at JFK; instead you are able to use the new AA lounge.

Cathay Pacific began granting TSA PreCheck to passengers flying out the US.  I was able to quickly get through security and on to the Flagship Lounge.

One of the best parts of flying Cathay out of JFK in First Class is gaining access to the American Airlines Flagship First Dining.

My flight was boarding at 8:00pm so I headed to the gate a few minutes prior.  However boarding didn’t start until about 8:15.  It was a fairly empty flight so boarding was quick.


I love the Cathay Pacific First Class seat.  There are only six First Class seats on the 777 in a two row 1-1-1 configuration.  Seat 2A is my favorite as it is the most private.

I go into more detail on the set up in my review of my flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

On my flight from JFK to YVR, there was only one other customer in First Class seated in 2K on the other side of the plane from me.  There was one main First Class cabin attendant with two additional staff helping out.  The crew on my flight was based out of Vancouver.  The main flight attendant was great; super friendly but very professional.  Granted she only had two passengers to take care of!

Upon boarding the plane, I was welcomed by name and taken to my seat.  Immediately I was offered champagne (Krug) and was brought my pajamas, amenity kit, ear phones and a blanket.

As the flight leaves at 8:40pm EST and gets into Vancouver at midnight PST, I decided I would change into the pajamas while still on the ground.  They are the best airline pajamas — much better quality and more comfortable than Qantas Business Class, Emirates or Singapore First Class pajamas.


I was still quite full from my meal in the Flagship First Dining.  Still I wanted to eat something!  The menu was brought to me with the following options that were more basic than flights to Hong Kong.  Note that there is no caviar.

I skipped the appetizers and dessert and ordered the noodle soup with dumplings.  There were only a few dumplings but they were very tender tasted fresh.

After dinner I had the flight attendant make up my bed.  I was able to sleep for a few hours prior to landing.


While the menu isn’t as extensive as flights to Hong Kong, everything else about the Cathay Pacific First Class flight from JFK to Vancouver is top notch including service and inflight amenities.  You won’t find a better way to get from the East Coast to the West Coast.  The American Airlines Flagship First Dining is a huge added benefit.

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