JAL First Class Sakura Lounge & Cathay First Class Review.

As I mentioned previously I used US Dividend Miles to purchase my points. There was a special in which you can buy 100% bonus points. up to 80000 points maximum. So 40000 points and you’ll get 80000 points. So i bought i think maximum 80000 points for around ~$1830USD. I may not be ever going to be able to buy these flights for these points again as US airways are merging with American Airlines and the points required from HK to Japan is more than what US airways require. And Never in my life I would ever buy premium seats without these bonuses. So don’t think I’m loaded or anything, I’m just merely maximising these perks out there and anyone even you can do it.

So, yes we’re flying FIRST class for the FIRST time. We arrived at Narita airport and checked in at the Cathay Pacific Counter. Cathay Pacific – a one world member means you can use the lounge in other one world airlines. I was looking forward to this because First Class passengers and emerald status members can enjoy going into the First Class Sakura Lounge which is part of JAL airlines. Remember – when you visit the airport which is the home of that particular airlines, the lounge is most likely to be much better. We had the choice of going into the Cathay Business & First Class Lounge, why would you when you can enter the FIRST class JAL lounge?

Sakura Lounge

Only a short walk after immigration, we entered the Sakura Lounge. The lady looked at our lounge pass and they had like 5-6 staff manning the counter. We almost couldn’t get through because they didn’t know the rules.  Once you’re in, there is a spa section where you can have a 15 minute massage. Mind you, you need to book around about 45 minutes in advanced to have your massage. So I put my name down whilst we looked around the lounge. There are some nice views of the tarmac of many JAL planes. There was a cathay pacific plane in the distance as well.

Views from the tarmac

The other amazing thing about the first class lounge is a sushi bar. yes a SUSHI bar. The bar doesn’t open until 2:30pm or 3pm so we had about 20-30mins to wait which was manageable. There was also a self serve sake bar, other drinks and some food items buffet style. The chef was preparing the sushi….

Sushi Bar at the Sakura Lounge

So we got some food which was okay, some salads etc.

my massage pass and appetisers

I went closer to the sushi bar for another snap. Chef was nowhere to be seen at this minute. Salivating…

Sushi Bar

So I had no choice but to get some more sake, a compari orange and some, Japanese curry rice and some pate whilst waiting for the sushi.

Japanese curry rice

Finally, 3:00pm, we lined up to get our sushi. There was only a set so you don’t get to choose what you get. Had some tuna, prawn and tamago. Still you can get it as many times as you like! All you can eat! I think i had 3 plates worth.

Sushi platter at the Sakura Lounge

So good to have an actual sushi chef making your sushi.

Chef doing his thing.

After being super full, I had my 15 minute massage. I was expecting a nice hot looking Japanese girl doing it, however it was a guy… Anyway he was great, although fully clothed, you get a choice of back massage, leg and I think a neck massage.

We walked about 10 mins to the gate and it was already queuing up. Even the Business class queue was long. So, being first class passengers, we flashed our tickets and went straight to the front of the queue – first ones in. We got in and they welcomed us, and told us both of you are the only ones in first class so you may choose any seat you like! OMG i thought. I mean theres only 6 seats in the Cathay 777 plane and its a reasonably short flight of around less than 5 hours, I guess at most business class will do most people.

Me sitting in FIRST class

Ok lets have a look at the seat. The seat width is humongous. I mean you can fit two people comfortably in one of these seats. Theres a massive side skirt where you can comfortably put all your goodies like ipad, wallet etc. Also have the iconic lily in each seat.

Cathay 777 First Class seat

I was offered some champagne. I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t the Krug I was expecting, but was pretty good regardless.

First Class Champagne

There’s also an ottoman where you can sit another person comfortably on the other side. I’ll explain why they have that in a minute. Theres a massive screen and there’s no over head lockers, so you just put your carry on under the seat in front.

Cathay’s First class seat. Includes the ottoman

The flight attendant also gave us a hot towel and a bottle of eviaaaann.

Hot towel and bottle of evian

First Class menu.

First Class menu

There were a few choices. There was also a special Japanese Kaiseki menu which IK chose. I went for the lobster and steak.

The Menu is as Follows

  • Starters
    • Maine Lobster with fingerling potato
    • Cauliflower cream soup
  • Main Courses
    • Grilled US prime beef tenderloin with chive garlic, mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots and mushroom ragout with Madeira
    • Braised duck with pickled chilli steamed jasmine rice, broccoli and carrot
    • Mezzi rigatoni tossed with Parmesan, zucchini cream, carrot and artichoke
  • Cheese and Dessert
    • Stilton, Pecorini, St Pauline, Camembert
    • Fresh Seasonal fruit
    • Mixed berry tartlet

As for the Japanese Meal I’ll go through it with the photos in a minute.

First Class menu

We had 3 flight attendants to 2 of us in first class. I mean thats just insane. Derek the Chief flight manager had this funny english accent when he was on the PA. Seemed to exaggerate all his words and has this funny tone on all his words. They asked when we wanted our meals, we opted to have it sooner rather than later so we could snooze a bit later.

Watched a movie or 2

Little light on the side to read your books or do some work.

Reading light.

We asked for some more drinks. Went for the Cathay delight and it came with some nuts (on some plates of course).

Cathay Delight & nuts

Was looking frantically to recline the seats, and found this little screen to recline the seat into a fully flat bed.

LCD screen to recline your seats.

Went over to IK’s seat and took of photo of this.

View from the plane

Here’s the first course. Braised whelk, fish cake with crab meat, scallop with pepper, stewed smelt with lotus root and chestnut. It was very Japanesy, and catering from Japan, you can’t expect less I Guess. I should have chosen this!

Frist course – Canapes

They also give a little card hand written of course to say it’s a pleasure to look after your during this flight etc. Nice touch.

Bon Appetit card

Here it is close up. 

Bon Appetit

I obviously went for the lobster. the potatoes was a let down, dry, basic simple. The lobster was also a bit cold and didn’t seem that particularly fresh. It was okay only.

Start – Maine lobster with fingerling potato

Now, you see why the ottoman can be useful. They can pull out a table and you can have dinner with your loved ones up in the air! How cool is that. My only problem was dinner was about almost 2 hours long, so i was missing out on a nice throne seat ! Anyway, can’t beat having dinner with your loved one.

Having a dinner date in the air

Check out the view now of somewhere over Japan.

View from the air

The appetizer was a shrimp meat with wasabi, sea urchin, smoked snapper, smoked tuna served with green apple liqueur. This was lovely, even though IK had it. Very delicate, very fresh.

The appetizer

A close up shot for you.


Apple liqueur was really nice too.

Apple Liqueur

My other starter was the cauliflower cream soup. Reading about hte meals on first class on Cathay, the entrees are usually the best and the main course is usually very average. I can see why. The soup was great though.

Cauliflower soup

Braised Dish – Bean curd, fish roe, mushroom and pumpkin

Braised Dish

Heres my steak. This was really average I’m afraid to say. The flight attendant did ask how I wanted to meat. I said medium rare, and this was overly cooked 100%. But a hint of redness at all… Potatoes wasn’t sieved through enough and the vegetables were just vegetables. Didn’t finish this as it was too average for my liking. Plus I was too full from the lounge!

Prime beef tenderloin main

Next main dish – Broiled Black cod with sea urchin sauce and rice powder dusted crab claw. This was great. I love how Japanese cook their fish. So delicious.

Kaiseki Main dish

also came with

  • Scallop, pickled sea cucumber, anglar livery, globe fish skin julienne, green shiso vinegar radish
  • Noodle – Yuzu soba noodle and buckwheat noodle
  • Rice served with assorted pickles and miso soup.

This meal is amazing. Because I wanted to try out the other mains so I could review it for you guys. Otherwise I reckon we both should have had this. Wonderful.

The mains in a tray.

So back I go, otherwise I would have wasted the rest of the time sitting on the ottoman when I could sit on this huge seat. There are only 6 seats in first class in a 1 – 1 – 1 configuration. The best seats are usually on the Left hand side of the plane as theres only 2 seats with one walkway. So we had those 2 seats until the flight attendant wanted us to move to this side so we could see each other. And BS you can’t even see each other as you can see each site is quite private. Even if you stick your head out, and if your partner / friend doesn’t stick their heads out you cannot see each other. Next time, I’ll know better!

The flight attendants were also able to sit on the otherside to have their meals. Nice to be working in first class!

The First Class seat

Oh I forgot we had cheese too..

Cheese Assortment

Came with some bread, crackers & quince.

Cheese assortment
Cheese assortment

The lighting changed before landing and I had another opportunity to take another photo of this wonderful product.

Cathay 777 First Class

Bottom Line

Overall, I highly recommend the Cathay First Class product. The service is second to none, and it can be so comfortable once fully reclined. We didn’t ask to have the turn over service to get the beds made but what the hell, more than enough for a 5 hour flight. The service was amazing and almost a bit over the top really but having 3 staff to 2 was just too much really. The JAL Sakura lounge was worth the visit and we had a wonderful experience. I don’t know when we will travel on first again, but to travel at such a massive discount is worth it IMO. Play hard, work hard right?

Cathay First Class Rating 

16/20 . Sorry my mains was a let down but the rest was just perfect!

Next up – HK and Taiwan! Also Michelin star restaurant in HK – Caprice!


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