Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong’

Traveling To Hong Kong, First Class

July 16th, 2010 at 10:07 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

The Traveling Richters are well traveled, and thanks to many years’ accumulation of frequent flyer miles and various elite status memberships with certain airlines, we usually manage to upgrade our flights to first class on U.S. domestic routes as well as to/from Bonaire, our home in the Caribbean. That said, we have never traveled trans-ocean in international first class. Until now.

On our current trip to Hong Kong and Macau, Linda and I had the privilege (thanks to 125,000 American AAdvantage miles per ticket) to fly international first class across the Pacific. Oh my. What a difference that is from cattle economy class!

On the Cathay Pacific 747 we flew on from San Francisco to Hong Kong last weekend, the first class cabin has nine seats and two dedicated cabin attendants who made us feel very loved (thank you Geri and Patrick!).

Flight time was nearly 13 hours, with a 5:30pm departure (our flight was about three hours late), and a roughly 10pm arrival (one day later due to crossing the International Date Line). That’s a pretty long flight, and the seats in first class were perfect to accommodate the flight time.

Linda in her first class pod on Cathay Pacific, with champagne and newspaper in hand

Linda in her first class pod on Cathay Pacific, with champagne and newspaper in hand

Each seat is basically a pod that offers a number of amenities, including the ability to create a flat bed long enough for even my 6’3” body. There’s also a bench opposite the main seat where a travel companion can join you for a meal (or they can sit, a bit snugly, next to you). Of course, there’s also a 17” LCD display, and dozens of on demand program options.

Jake reading his newspaper in his pod

Jake reading his newspaper in his pod

To further make your flight as comfortable as possible, the airline provides a complimentary set of pajamas, custom made by designer/retailer Shanghai Tang, and cabin staff will make your “bed” for you with a comfortable mattress pad, pillows, and even a snuggle-worthy duvet. The only thing they didn’t have were slippers in my size (13 US).

Nap time for Jake, fully reclined, in Shanghai Tang designed jammies

Nap time for Jake, fully reclined, in Shanghai Tang designed jammies

Add to all that a couple of multi-course meals and a snack service, along with a very nice wine list, and you have a recipe for a wonderful and relaxing travel experience. The only minor complaint we had was that the asparagus was mushy – that’s pretty bearable considering everything else.

Dinner for two on Cathay Pacific

Dinner for two on Cathay Pacific

Salmon and caviar for our appetizer in first class on Cathay Pacific

Salmon and caviar for our appetizer in first class on Cathay Pacific

The only real negative we see now is that we are spoiled and will be hard pressed to fly mere coach class. Sadly, even a large supply of frequent flyer miles will run out at some point. But, if you have the miles to spend (or the money), spoil yourself with international first class on a great service-oriented airline like Cathay Pacific.

 

Taking Separate Trips

July 10th, 2010 at 4:42 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

It’s now a third of the way into July, and Linda and I find ourselves childless. It’s kind of a strange feeling, but liberating as well.

Bas is back in New Hampshire with his maternal grandparents, who have the pleasure of taking him to his first-ever overnight camp – two weeks of learning robotics, designing video games, and exploring his potential.

We just got word from Krystyana that she arrived safe but exhausted in Beijing earlier today. She’s in China for three weeks with 11 other teenagers and a couple of guides as part of National Geographic Student Expeditions. She will be spending her time looking at Chinese culture on a local, intimate level as well as honing her photographic skills. Her group has a blog set-up, and there should be occasional posts about their activities, as well as the ability to get e-mail notification of new posts – look at http://ngsechina2010.wordpress.com.

And Linda and I are presently at San Francisco International Airport awaiting our flight to Hong Kong, having flown in this morning from Los Angeles. We’ll be spending five nights and four days (not a typo) Kowloon-side, then three days in Macau, and another three or so days on the island of Hong Kong itself. Not much in particular is planned other than two dinners at reportedly excellent restaurants and a full day cooking class learning the ins and outs of Hunan and Sichuan/Szechuan cuisine. I will try to report on those experiences over at A Foodie Moment at some point.

No guarantees on regular updates here on the blog, especially if we’re having too much fun as a pair of temporarily childless parents.

http://www.ngstudentexpeditions.com/