Reserving the best seats in Cathay Pacific first class.
By now many of you are probably stacking up fat ‘staches of miles and getting ready to book some exciting trips to far flung destinations.
One of my favorite uses of Aadvantage miles (and also Alaska miles) is for flying first class on Cathay Pacific. I typically book awards for Emily and I from New York City to Bangkok and the 16.5 hour flight from New York to Hong Kong is definitely one that you want to be able to sleep on. There is nothing that promotes a good night’s rest quite like Cathay’s spacious First class lie flat beds (and some Ambien).
The only point of consternation (besides the taxi ride to JFK) is that, even though American Airlines has award access to 1/3 of all the seats in the 1st class cabin, the agents at AA can only book the middle seats, 1D and 2D. While the middle seats are still quite comfortable, I strongly prefer a window seat from which to watch the world zip by.
Calling in to the North American booking center for Cathay will get you nowhere. They will inform you that those seats are blocked and that you will have to make your seat assignment request at check in. This means that there is a good likelihood that if the route is popular, like New York to Hong Kong certainly is, you may be riding the 16.5 hours to Hong Kong without a window. Bummer.
Thankfully, there is a work around to get the precious window seats without waiting until check-in. Instead of calling the state-side call in center try calling the Hong Kong offices. They can be reached at (852) 2747-1888 or (852) 2747-3333. You will need to press #3 for English.
For reasons not clear to me, they are able to book you into any of the 6 First Class suites. There are of course a couple of caveats:
Caveat 1: Expect to be on hold for 45 minutes. Their Hong Kong call center is either very slow, very busy, or probably both. So you will want to use Skype to call in so that you don’t spend a tremendous amount of your hard earned cash waiting on hold to talk to a customer service rep in Hong Kong.
Caveat 2: Seats 2A and 2K are bassinet seats and you will have to give them up if someone traveling with a baby or wheelchair requests them. I have yet to have this happen to me, but it is theoretically possible.
Now sit back, have another glass of Dom and enjoy your flight!
Hit me up with all your questions and comments!
If you’ve already got all the miles and just need some help finding space and booking the award, I have an award booking service that will get you all squared away. Find out more about it here.