16 Hours of Luxury: Cathay Pacific B777 First Class Review

My flight from New York JFK to Hong Kong was to be the second trip on my round-the-world adventure over Easter and I have to say I was looking forward to it the most out of any flight. The mammoth 16-hour flight wasn’t being dreaded at all but the opposite. I couldn’t wait. Below you can see my in-depth video review so why not sit back, pour yourself some wine and watch this!

After landing in New York with British Airways in their First Class cabin, I had around 24 hours in New York and a night to adjust. In that time, I collaborated with FlyNyon, a helicopter company who operate doors off flights over the city. The experience was simply magical. Check out my video of that here.

The private queue for First Class was totally empty when I arrived

The next morning I headed to the airport bright and early even though my flight didn’t depart until 2.50pm. The reason for this? American Airlines’ Flagship First Lounge. I had heard excellent things about this lounge and wanted a full review out of the visit. Instead of extending this already long review you can read the separate review of that (coming soon).

Booking

There are several ways to book Cathay Pacific first class and I have written a separate article on how to book which you can read here to see how I paid only $103 for this ticket.

Check-In

Arriving three hours prior to my flight seemed like a great idea but when I arrived at the Cathay Pacific bag drop desks I was greeted by a woman who told me it ‘wouldn’t be long’ before the staff showed up. I was the only passenger in the First Class line and cracked a small smile as the other queues filled up. 30 minutes later the check-in agents arrived where they told me the flight was 30 minutes delayed. I already knew this from a text Cathay Pacific had sent me the day before.

The check-in agent checked my bag in, gave me my boarding pass and lounge invitation card and sent me on my way through fast track security. The fast track line isn’t a separate channel like you’ll find at London Heathrow or Doha but simply a route that takes you right to the front of the queues. After a typical American thorough security search and a hopeless attempt to chat the attractive girl in front of me up, I headed to the flagship lounge which is positioned just in front of security, on the left.

Access to the Flagship First dining area is granted with your First Class ticket

The lounge is accessed by a lift and stairs and I was welcomed at the top of those stairs in such a friendly manner. The woman who scanned my boarding pass led me through the lounge showing me all the different areas I may wish to use before delivering me to the flagship first dining area to feast on Krug champagne. My hopes for this lounge were very high but the lounge was a let-down in many areas. Read the full review here.

Ground Experience

I headed down to the gate having showered and shaved 10 minutes before boarding was meant to begin and the gate was about a 10-15 minute walk away.  I arrived at the gate to see very long queues and to my surprise, I saw the cabin crew sitting at the adjacent gate which is strange for a flight that is meant to begin boarding in 5 minutes.

Nevertheless, I queued up in the first class line which had 3 other passengers present and waited. The first announcement we heard was that the flight would be delayed a further 20 minutes and that passengers should take a seat. Around 5 minutes later, one of the ladies at the desk started informing business class (not first class weirdly) passengers that they should go to the Admirals Lounge located 5 minutes away and wait for a boarding call. I joined the business class passengers and we all walked to the lounge where small snacks and a bar are located. The lounge is quiet compared to the flagship lounge but has nothing to offer in terms of food.

I sat in the Admirals lounge for what became about 40 minutes twiddling my thumbs and eager to get onboard until I heard a boarding call and quicker than I’d ever left a lounge, I was out like a bolt and down to the gate to board.

Priority boarding was strictly enforced and I marched onto the plane as one of the first passengers to board. I was greeted at the door by check-in agents who led me directly to my seat, 1A.

The Seat

Cathay Pacific have X Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in their fleet have configured them in a 4 class configuration with 6 First Class seats, 53 business class seats, 34 premium economy seats and 182 economy seats.

The 6 First Class seats are laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration with each seat offering a whopping 36 inches of width and 81 inches of pitch.

The seat has fantastic storage space with the left side being almost entirely dominated by a shiny, wooden surface for drinks, amenity kits and anything else.

The huge wooden table top to the left provided the perfect storage space

If this isn’t enough, there is a deep bin for your passport and phone directly to your left.

To your right is yet another storage area (take note airlines that think you don’t have things to store) for literature, your safety card and other items such as your menu.

Next to this are more seat controls which are easily accessible from a lying position.

This storage bin to your left is located just below your remote control which was amazing and the another screen which adjusted your seat and lighting.

Above this is one of two reading lamps.

About half way along the large side wall on the left is a plug and USB port for charging your electronics.

The tray table is ejected from the table surface on the left and is simply massive.

Between the windows on the left wall is a flower (yes, it’s real! I was sceptical too) which is so extra but so cool and really sums adds to the elegance of the seat.

There are no overhead bins in the first class cabin but each seat has its own storage compartment much like on British Airways… just much bigger and better. The storage compartment is located to the right of the seat ‘entrance’ and has ample space for a suitcase, shoes and your clothes (see video).

To the front right of the seat by the ‘entrance’ in the television screen. The screen is built into the seat but easily released by pushing the black button next to it. This brings it out to directly in front of you.

Speaking of directly in front of you, the footrest in place at the end of the seat (tough to see in foggy conditions) which acts as the end of your bed or a seat for a fellow passenger to join you for the food service.

Below the TV is…you guessed it… another storage compartment. This one is larger than the one on your right and fits a laptop or iPad comfortably.

The Flight

Once onboard, I was spoilt with cabin crew offering me everything under the sun.

First off was the offer of a welcome drink: champagne of course. I was under the impression that this would be the splendid Krug Vintage 2004 champagne but was disappointed when the arguably better Taittinger Comtes De Champagne from 2007 arrived. This champagne retails at around £100 a bottle and tasted great! The drink was accompanied with warm nuts.

Second was today’s menu. The menu was served on a lovely bamboo board which made me feel like I was dining in a very fancy restaurant. Once this arrived, the absence of Krug was made official. You can see the full menu below.

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Next up came my pyjamas. What I like about Cathay is that the crew will look at you to decide how fat you are instead of asking you.

I was brought a medium whereas I would have gone for a large and they fitted perfectly. It goes to show that the crew know the sizing best!

After the PJs I was brought Cathay Pacific headphones which were super comfy and noise cancelling.

Following the headphones was my amenity kit or ‘male travel kit’ by Aesop. The contents of the amenity kit were pretty weak (see contents in the video).

Before we took off, top ups of the Comtes came around and the lovely crew introduced themselves. One even told me that she had watched one of my YouTube videos before and recognised me when I stepped onboard (it’s the small things in life!).

We took off after a short taxi in rainy New York to some horrendous turbulence. The captain even made an announcement informing passengers it was nothing to be alarmed about but that he had asked the crew to delay service by 30 minutes because of it.

The routing of our flight took us north over Canada, Greenland, the North Pole and down through Russia and China into Hong Kong and it was amazing looking out the window as everything gradually became more and more icy. I’d never flown an ‘over the top’ route before so this was quite a novelty for me.

Over Canada, the crew were finally released to commence service and seeing as they knew my order, they simply started by pouring another glass of champagne.

Around 10 minutes later, the first meal service arrived: Caviar and Champagne! I’d seen so many pictures of this service before and it tasted just as good as it looked.

The caviar was served blinis, chives, crème fraiche and chopped eggs. The service was so good that the crew asked if they should bring some more toppings which I eagerly accepted.

The meal was served with a lovely little hand-written note from the crew welcoming me onboard. It is gestures like this which really separate airlines. Cathay Pacific were so attentive and the attention to detail was incredible.

The crew had suggested that I stuck to wither Chinese or International dishes after my caviar instead of mixing but for some reason I really wanted to try the duck salad before the Hong Kong style chicken. This was the only meal that didn’t amaze me and I was left awaiting my next course eagerly.

The crew were so fast that I knew it would be a matter of minutes maximum before my next meal arrived. Next on the list was the ‘Hong Kong style chicken curry, broccoli and steamed jasmine rice’. This meal was excellent in terms of both presentation and taste.

Following a recommendation from the crew, I also had the signature mocktail called ‘Cathay Delight’. The cold drink is a kiwifruit based non-alcoholic drink with coconut milk and fresh mint and damn it tasted good. Three more of them please!

Finally, the crew brought me a plate of cheese, grapes, crackers and nuts which was a lovely way to finish an excellent meal service.

Once the meal service was complete, I was instantly brought a small box of chocolates, a hot towel, a pot of chinese tea and some toothpicks.

My bed was then promptly made with the super comfortable bedding used by Cathay. The mattress topper was amazing and I could barely feel the seat below. The duvet was equally as nice and as we flew over the most northern parts of Canada, relaxation mode was most definitely on.

I put on a film that I had never watched before but heard great things about, Bohemian Rhapsody. The film was a killer and was accompanied by another crew recommendation: Traditional Iron Buddha tea from China.

The film finished and an alcohol induced drowsiness kicked in. Coupled with the super comfortable bedding, eye mask from my pyjama bag and ear plugs from my amenity kit I was out like a light for the next five hours and woke to find the crew had cleared my tea, replaced it with a bottle of water and switched my screen off and placed it back in the seat.

The bed is so wide that it is literally like sleeping in a single bed and the comfort was incredible. I had only been awake 5 minutes before the crew came around asking if I would like to eat or drink. I opted for the same tea and based on a recommendation from a follower, asked for the burger and chips but in an hour. I checked the time in my phone just to see if they were punctual and 57 minutes later the burger and chips arrived. Amazing!

The burger was amazingly laid out and tasted really good. This was accompanied by another glass of Comtes.

After the burger it was work time. I really couldn’t justify sitting on a plane for 17 hours without doing at least a bit of work. In fact, I am writing this onboard QF1 from Sydney to London where, again, it would be hard to justify doing no work.

With around 2 hours and 15 minutes to go it was time to eat again. How my stomach coped with it I’ll never know.

The dinner service only had one starter option which was the ‘fresh seasonal fruit’ dish. It was nice and cold!

For the main course I opted for the chicken supreme. How could you not with a name like that? The chicken was served with mushroom ragout and a bread dumpling. Both were lovely.

I was stuffed by this point and refused the offer of desert in favour of my favourite tea (I should be buying shares in these guys!)

We began our descent over China as the sun began to set and it was time to get changed into my clothes again which had been sitting in the cupboard for the last 16 hours.

We landed around an hour late into Hong Kong and I departed the aircraft feeling super fresh and refreshed.

You always hope that priority bag tags work and for once they did! My bag came out as the second bag off the carousel and I wheeled it off to the airport express train already missing my small room I had rented for the past 16 hours.

Final Thoughts

16 hours on a plane isn’t fun. That’s what everyone will tell you. While I agree that slumming it in economy may have been a little uncomfortable on this flight, I can confirm I disagree with that statement.

I had the most amazing time on Cathay Pacific’s first class product and was impressed by the super wide and comfortable seat which turned into an even more comfortable bed, the excellent seat controls, remote control and television screen, the huge amounts of storage space, the amazingly presented and great tasting food and finally the incredibly attentive crew who didn’t once disappoint.

In fact, when looking back on this flight I think the only thing I didn’t like was the duck salad.

This flight is so easily bookable with points if you use Alaska Mileage Plan and I couldn’t recommend it more, it really was the luxurious experience I was longing for.

How I Booked JFK-HKG in FIRST CLASS for $103

Flying First and Business Class is a treat. It’s more than that in fact, it’s incredible. For so many years i just thought that flying First and Business Class was how the rich and the mega-rich flew and dismissed it as ever being possible.

It is only recently that I have challenged this idea and begun to research how I, a 19 year old student, can afford such a novelty.

In this article I am going to take you through my mist recent redemption: Cathay Pacific First Class and show you how I was able to book it for the ridiculous price of £79 ($103)

Booking Cathay Pacific using money on this route will set you back approximately £20,000. Yes, WOW. I decided, after very careful consideration that this wasn’t worth it and decided to look at ways of booking this flight using miles and points.

By saying the words ‘using miles and points’ people instantly get scared away which I think is a real shame because it is so so easy to do and people get worried or think it is too much effort straight away.

Ways to book Cathay First Class

Using miles, Cathay Pacific First Class can be booked using many mileage programs such as American Airlines, British Airways and the best of them all: Alaska Airlines. 

Alaska Airlines are a small US domestic carrier based in Seattle who I have absolutely no ambition of flying anytime soon (sorry, Alaska). One thing Alaska does have which attracts me, however, is a superb mileage plan with some of the world’s best airlines as partners.

If you live in the USA, accruing Alaska miles shouldn’t be too hard. I’m no expert on US credit cards but I have seen sign-up bonuses of 100,000 points before!

To book this flight you will need 70,000 Alaska miles. These miles can very easily be accumulated by flying. Alaska is notorious for giving bonus miles if you choose them when adding your frequent flyer number to a booking. Examples of this include giving 500% on the miles flown in British Airways First Class!

If you have no way of accumulating Alaska miles, you can even purchase them for amazing rates. 70,000 miles will cost you $1,500 dollars at the moment so even if you have to do this you’re making a HUGE saving.

If you want to learn more on how to accumulate miles and points you can read my full guide here.

Booking This Flight

To find availability I  advise you to head to British Airways’ website and search for dates you want to fly. Lots of dates come up empty but if you are flexible, you should find a day that works for you. If you need help with that have a look at my guide to booking BA flights with miles.

Once I found my flight, I called up Alaska Airlines who asked me to verify who I was and then I told them the exact date and flight I wanted and the man on the phone said ‘that will be 70,000 miles and $103’ (A BARGAIN).

And just like that, my flights were booked and I was on my way to New York!

British Airways B747 First Class + New Soft Product Review

I had been looking forward to experiencing BA’s First Class product for some time now and I became even more excited when I saw that British Airways had upgraded their onboard soft product including new meals, cutlery, plates, bedding and service.

While a review like this covers the product in photos, why not sit back and relax and watch the video review from this flight?

British Airways have a fleet of 34 Boeing 747s and are one of the only airlines to still operate the jet as such a prominent part of their fleet.

The aircraft are setup with four cabins and after flying first class, we now have only two reviews on this jet. Check out our premium economy review if you haven’t already our review of the old first class product and club world.

Booking

First class can be expensive, very expensive. In fact, the retail price for this seat at the time of booking was £9,442. I, as you can imagine, don’t have that sort of money to splash so I used what any sensible person would use: air miles.

I booked directly with British Airways using avios which I earnt using my American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card. The total cost of the flight was 68,000 avios and £445 which I put on my American Express British Airways Platinum Card to receive 3x points and thus returning 1,335 avios to my account.

If you want to see a full guide on booking British Airways flights with miles click here.

Ground Experience

My flight departed Heathrow at 8.30am and I had been told I couldn’t receive my boarding pass online which meant one thing: SSSS (extra security checks). These checks are random for passengers traveling to the USA but the past three times I have travelled I have been ‘randomly chosen’.

For this reason, I arrived a few hours early and entered the ‘First’ check-in area at the far end of Terminal 5.

I am a big fan of this check-in area with seating, drinks and obviously no queues. I checked my bag in, was given my SSSS boarding pass and headed through the private security line in seconds.

The pathway from security takes you directly into the Galleries First lounge.

This lounge is nice but big and busy.

For ultimate privacy and quietness, I headed to the Concorde Room which is reserved for card holders and first class passengers only.

I didn’t eat in the lounge and just had a coffee and some juice in the short time I was there.

You can read my full review of the Concorde Room here.

First class passengers are welcome to book a free 15 minute treatment in the Elemis spa. The spa opens at 7am however and I wasn’t in the mood for a treatment at that early hour.

Boarding

My flight was announced to be departing from satellite B of Terminal 5 which is accessible via an underground train. I headed down as soon as it was called and boarded the train which took 2 minutes to satellite B.

Once I reached the gate, I was told by the check-in agent that boarding would begin in 20 minutes and that if I wanted, I could visit the lounge just two gates down. I took him up on this offer and visited the galleries lounge which was really nice and quiet. There is also a spa here which is much easier to book a treatment at than the main spa in satellite A.

Once boarding was called, I headed down to the gate and into the line for group one passengers which was empty.

My boarding pass was scanned and I was taken downstairs for my extra security checks which seemed to take an age! I had gone from being one of the first passengers to one of the last and ended up queuing in the jetbridge for about 15 minutes (yes, you have to queue in first class sometimes too!). It was annoying that there was only one jetbridge connected to the plane. Other airlines very often have one jetbridge strictly for first and business class passengers so this felt a bit shoddy.

I was greeted by the friendly crew at the door and let to my seat 2A.

The Aircraft

British Airways have set their 747s up in a four class configuration and this specific variant is laid out with 14 first class seats, 70 business class seats, 30 premium economy seats and 185 economy seats.

First class is configured in a 1-1 layout for the first three rows and a 1-2-1 configuration in the final two rows.

While this is good as it allows passengers who are travelling together to sit together, it also limits privacy for the window seat passengers in the final two rows.

The couple seats in the middle

My seat (2A) was perfect, I had more privacy than any other seat would recommend it as the seat to choose if travelling alone.

The view from 2A

The Seat

The seat is very old and there is a reason that many critics call it the world’s best business class. In fact, with British Airways’ new business class seat coming this year, I have my doubts on the future of first class. The seat offers large amounts of legroom and I never thought it wasn’t enough. The width is also good and I never felt squashed in.

Positioned to the left of the seat are the seat controls and a small cupboard for the remote control.

This area is nice as it is placed far away enough to not be knocked by your elbow and change your seat position. There is also a USB charging port here but mine didn’t work.

In front of the controls is a small compartment with reading material such as magazines and the safety card. There is also a little pamphlet showing how to use all the features of the first class seat which I thought was a nice touch.

Above this is a small table area from which the tray table comes. I felt the seat heavily lacked storage space and this small table helped me think that. I found it to be cluttered for most of the flight.

In front of you, there is a footstall which has a seatbelt. This is important as it means a fellow passenger can join you for meal service.

To the left is the screen which folds into the side wall. This is also a shame as it means passengers don’t have the privelige of gate to gate entertainment.

To your far left is the only noteworthy storage area. The small cupboard has two spacious nets which can hold items such as your passport or iPad and below them is an area for your shoes.

The Flight

Once onboard, I instantly knew the crew would do fantastic job looking after me. They were all super upbeat and seemed genuinely happy to be onboard. Once I was seated, the crew asked what welcome drink I would like. I opted for orange juice and it was brought promptly with a bowl of nuts and a hot towel.

Minutes later, my pyjamas and slippers arrived. The pyjamas come in three sizes and instead of the crew sizing you up like on airlines such as Cathay Pacific, we were asked what size we wanted. I opted for a large which was slightly on the baggy side.

After my PJs had arrived, my ‘male wash bag’ or amenity kit arrived.

The kits are new to first class and made especially for BA by Temperley. They were velvety and full of everything you would expect in an amenity kit such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb, socks, an eye mask, a pen, moisturiser etc. The women’s bag featured similar items plus a mirror and the bag had a lovely floral design.

Before we took to the skies, the crew asked what I would like to drink after takeoff and I chose one of the mocktails called Royal Fizz. The drink was lovely and I’m glad I chose it.

We took off on time from Heathrow and started our 6 hour and 40 minute flight to New York. As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I got changed and the crew came around to ask for out breakfast orders. I decided not to go for any of the starter options and dived straight into the mixed grill breakfast which came with the offer of breads and pastries. I opted for English tea and raspberry juice to accompany the breakfast.

The food service was very good but not excellent. It is the kind of meal I would have expected in business class but not first class. I didn’t finish it thinking how impressive it was but nonetheless, it was a nice meal.

The new crockery and cutlery was incredibly slick and stylish.

After my breakfast I asked the crew to make my bed so I could check out the new bedding BA uses. I have to say, this was really really impressive.

The mattress topper was very thick and comfortable and the duvet was equally as nice.

I slept for around an hour and was woken upon request with the smoked salmon entrée on toast. This was really nice and I was impressed with the layout too.

The headphones in BA First class are really cool and hipster. They were fully noise cancelling and came in a nice, compact pouch.

After the smoked salmon meal, the crew brought round hot towels and a box of chocolates to eat while watching a film. I watched an awesome film called Lion which I would highly recommend and Johnny English which was, well, Johnny English!

The IFE system was ok and very responsive. There was an range of film and audio but I would have preferred an updated system. The maps were great.

Passengers can also buy WiFi onboard and the prices were actually quite reasonable starting at £4.99. It was a shame First Class passengers weren’t offered complimentary WiFi like on Qatar.

Around two hours before landing the crew began setting my table for the final meal service: afternoon tea.

This service is quite famous for BA first class and it supplies the stereotypical British afternoon tea set up which should be illegal to be had without tea!

The service comes with two little sandwiches, two scones with cream and jam and three small sweet desserts.

The sandwiches were nice but nothing special and the scones were lovely! I was so full by this point so just took a bite of the three sweet bits, all were very nice and very sweet! The service was accompanied by Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle champagne.

After the final meal service, I spent some time in the galley with the really sweet crew. There was one woman from Ireland who really made my flight. She was so attentive and so sweet and I have completely forgotten her name. She showed me around the upper deck and I am so happy she was on my flight!

I got changed with around 30 minutes to go and returned to my seat for landing.

Overall thoughts

While I had a really fun time onboard, this wasn’t a first class experience like that offered by competitor airlines. The BA seat is outdated and lacks both privacy and storage space. The food is good but that is as far as it goes which is a shame as it has real potential.

The crew were exceptional on my flight and they really made the experience for me. They were light-hearted, jokey and friendly and I loved flying with them.

Flying BA first class is a really awesome opportunity but unfortunately it doesn’t compare to other first classes around the world and I am interested to see if the cabin gets a refit like business class or is scrapped altogether.

Gulf Air’s NEW B787-9 Economy Review

On March 9th I had the honour of flying to Dubai with Gulf Air on their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in economy class.

My aircraft really was new. Being delivered in July 2018, it only had 8 months on the clock and overall I was really impressed with the product.

Pre-flight

Upon booking my ticket (3 hours before departure) I took the bus to Heathrow Terminal 4 and arrived with around 2 hours and 30 minutes before departure. I was nervous as to the line of the queue for check-in as my boarding pass wasn’t available online. I headed to the check-in area which was surprisingly quiet and after a 5 minute wait I checked in and was given my boarding pass all the way through to Dubai. Seeing as I had booked so late I was given seats in the middle row, right at the back in row 50 odd. I asked to change but he said it was a full flight.

I could, however, see that rows 20-27 were blocked on ExpertFlyer. Not wanting to bother the check-in agent, we headed through security which took mere minutes due to the late night flight time and went to the flight connections desk to try and change seats. The woman here was much more helpful and said that the seats were blocked because of balance issues and that I would have to wait until I got onboard to change.

With this new information, we headed to the observation desk in Terminal 4. This place isn’t the best at night but in the day its a real treat and a great way to kill some time.

The Flight

Once boarding was called, we headed to the gate and boarded very swiftly and efficiently as some of the first passengers in economy. Upon boarding, I asked the crew straight away if we could move seats and she said she would let us know after takeoff.

Upon arriving at our seats we were given blankets which I could see being utilised as passengers fell asleep straight after boarding the plane.

The Aircraft

The Boeing 787-9 is set up in a 3-3-3 configuration of modern, slimline seating which feature 17.5″ of width and 32″ of pitch. These figures definitely aren’t industry leading but for a 6-7 hour flight, they were OK.

Each seat is equipped with a tray table, personal monitor, USB port and  very flexible headrest which helped to get comfy while we slept.

The IFE monitor was super impressive and functioned with amazing responsiveness. I spent most of the flight with the screen on the map feature because the selection of films and TV shows wasn’t very good at all.

After boarding was completed, I had a walk to see if the seat were still free and could already see people moving to the empty rows so I once again asked a member of cabin crew if we could move and she said of course but to be quick! We grabbed our stuff and moved to the exit row 40 at the front of the cabin and I was surprised at how easy it had been.

We took off from London Heathrow on-time and once the crew were released, they begun to hand out headphones and small amenity kits. The amenity kits were great and had an eye mask, socks and earplugs inside a little pouch. I thought this was a lovely touch for a night flight.

After the kits were handed out, the meal service begun with a choice of chicken, beef or vegetarian. I opted for the chicken which i have to say was one of the best bits of the whole flight. The meal was fantastically presented and tasted amazing.

As a drink I opted for water and Pepsi. Gulf Air do serve alcohol but seeing as we were headed for Dubai, I opted against drinking to stay on the safe side.

After the food and drink service I headed to sleep, utilising the extra legroom seats to try and get comfy. Once I found a position, I drifted in and out of sleep until we began our approach into Bahrain.

Conclusion

Overall, I had had a very enjoyable flight in Gulf Air’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The product was modern and slick which made the cabin feel very spacious. The food had excelled and the amenities were great for economy passengers. The only touch that hadn’t been as good as I had hoped were the cabin crew who were quiet lackluster in their jobs.

ANA Take Delivery of BEAUTIFUL New A380

Today, ANA Japan will take delivery of their first Airbus A380 from the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse. 

ANA will be the final new operator of the jet so this event in Toulouse will be the last of its kind and a special moment for all involved. I arrived in Toulouse yesterday to cover the event and feel honoured to be witnessing this final moment for such an iconic jet.

ANA have opted to paint the three super-jumbos they will receive in special liveries called ‘flying Honu’. The first of the jets (being delivered today) is in a dark blue colour while the following two jets will be light blue and orange.

The A380 will be utilised on the Tokyo – Honolulu routing from May 24th three times weekly and July 1st daily in a 4 class configuration and it is evident that ANA have invested heavily in this new idea. A new lounge in Honolulu has been opened which will link premium customers straight to the upper deck of the aircraft and new collaborations with companies such as Bills and Globetrotter will ensure new meals and amenity kits are offered onboard.

So far, ANA have a 10% seat share on the Hawaii – Japan route. With the introduction of three A380s, they hope to increase this share to 25%.

Why Hawaii?

Hawaii is the largest resort holiday location for Japanese travelers and super popular for weddings and honeymoons. It is ANA’s hope that they can cater to this market of travelers and offer a more spacious and comfortable product on that route.

The Aircraft

The A380 is set up in a four class configuration over 580 seats.

First Class

First class has been introduced to this route for the first time ever and it set up in a spacious 1-2-1 configuration over 8 seats.

The seat looks very comfy but instantly I realised that the colours look slightly dull.  The seat features a 32″ screen and heaps of storage space.

Business Class

Business class is also set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. The cabin takes up the middle section of the upper deck and covers 56 seats.

The business class cabin looks lovely with each seat having direct aisle access and offers the opportunity for couples to sit together in the middle seats. Each seat is fitted with an 18″ screen and good privacy.

Premium Economy 

Premium Economy is set up in a 2-3-2 configuration over 73 seats and covers the rear of the upper deck.

ANA A380 Premium Economy

The seats have large tray tables which swivel 90 degrees to let passengers leave their seats while eating. Each seat has a 15.6″ touch screen and is fitted with a foot rest. One perk of premium economy is that business class alcohol is served.

Economy Class

Economy class covers the majority of the lower deck over 383 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The slimline seats have adjustable headrests with 34″ of pitch.

ANA Couchii

In addition to the four classes, the aircraft also has a section of ANA Couchii. The area covers the final 7 rows of economy and have a legrest that comes up to form a bed.

The seats come with bedding for extra comfort and 32″ of pitch.

This delivery is a huge opportunity for ANA Japan to crack the Hawaii market for good and I can’t wait to see if they use it to make a success of their new purchases.

British Airways Launch GAME-CHANGING New Business Class

This morning, British Airways announced a new business class seat which will be fitted on their new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft due to be delivered in July this year.

The new seat is quite simply a game-changer. It includes a completely private suite similar to that of the Delta One Suite or the Qatar Airways Q-Suite.

The new business class seat will initially be rolled out on the all new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft where there will be no first class product. The ‘club suite’ cabin will have a total of 56 seats and feature WiFi.

BA have announced that they will operate the aircraft to Madrid in order for the crew to familiarize themselves with the product before it rolls out to Toronto on October 1st and Dubai on October 7th.

For too long, British Airways have been slated for their poor ‘club-world’ seat which received poor reviews from most. The cabin will be set up in a 1-2-1 configuration with every seat having direct aisle access. The seats have been designed by Collins Aerospace and it is their ‘Super Diamond bespoke seat’.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

BA have stated that the seat has 40% more storage space than the previous seat with three storage compartments below the arm, one of which opens into a mirror. The soft product such as bedding will still be from the White Company.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

The new seat will also feature gate-to-gate entertainment on a new 18.5 inch screen. One major complaint of the old seat is that passengers couldn’t use the IFE screens during takeoff and landing but with the new design, we will be able to finish our films during touch-screen!

The tray-table will be large enough for a laptop and enable passengers to leave their seat during meal service.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

In a lie-flat position, the seat will measure 6.5″ which means I will have no problem getting a good nights sleep in the new cabin!

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

To conclude, British Airways have finally developed a product which compares to that of its competitors such as Qatar Airways. The new seat will be an absolute game-changer in business class travel and I can’t wait to fly on the aircraft soon.

What Does LondonSpotter Pack?

Packing for a flight can be a huge fuss for everyone involved. I remember when I was younger, we would start packing days before family holidays and still somebody would realise they had forgotten something on the way to the airport.

While I am definitely better trained now, I also have some core items that I always pack and a list on my phone which I can check off every time I pack for a flight. So without further ado, here are my essentials for flights.

1. A sturdy suitcase

Whatever people say, the suitcase is the most important item and you need to invest wisely. I have seen people clutching bad suitcases in their arms while boarding planes before and I am not jealous at all. Buying a bad suitcase is a recipe for a nightmare flight and that is why I use Samsonite bags. The exact case I used for carry-on luggage was the ‘S’ Cure Spinner 55′. I now use another Samsonite bag, however, which is the Samsonite Winfeild 2 case.

While the Samsonite suitcases are undoubtedly the best, I also own a cheaper option which, for the price, is excellent. The Aerolite SuperLeightweight ABS fits perfectly in the overhead storage and was sturdy enough to be taken around China and Vietnam all summer.

The final two suitcases I don’t own but have been recommended on the market so I thought I would add them in as well.

2. Headphones

As an avid music-listener (especially when flying), I always bring at least two sets of wireless headphones. I choose to go wireless for two reasons. The first reason is that I carry lots of wires and cables with me while travelling such as chargers and USB leads. By going wireless on the headphones, I avoid tangling my cables up while unpacking everything for security checks. The second reason is because I often use my phone to record sound footage for my vlogs and the microphone I use plugs into the headphone jack. It would be very annoying to keep unplugging my headphones to record every time. The headphones I use are by JBL and I love them. They’re sturdy and the bluetooth connectivity carries a long way so I would highly recommend them. The other four options are headphones I also own and would suggest.

3. Power Bank 

If you’re like me and live on your phone then you’ll know that flying can get very challenging very quickly if you’re phone dies. While many planes have USB ports built into the seats, many older aircraft and short-haul planes don’t. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell if your plane will or will not unless you know the exact aircraft you’re flying on. I carry three power banks with me so that my Gopro and two mobile phones remain fully charged throughout the flight. I have also purchased smaller chargin cables for more efficient charging and less chance of tangling. I highly recommend the Anker chargers and have always used them.

4. Filming and photography equipment 

While this one won’t be necessary for all of you, I often get asked what equipment I use to film my YouTube videos. Below you can see the GoPro cameras I use to film, the microphone I use for sound recording and the phone I use for photos and some video. I have also added Sony Vegas which is the software I use to edit my video.


5. Head pillows

Something that will apply to all of you who fly often is the head pillow. If you have an upcoming long-haul flight you need to add one of these to your basket as a head pillow is ESSENTIAL for long haul travel.

While most pillows are uncomfortable and don’t work too well, I have managed to try out many of the top products and trust me, they make a huge difference. My top pick is the ‘TRTL’ neck pillow which has a different design to the others but works wonders.


6.  All-in-one travel adapters 

If you travel frequently, you’ll know it can be a pain having 10 different types of adapters knocking around your cupboards. I tend to have a few ‘all-in-one’ adapters at home which I take away with me and stay in my suitcase. Most of these are the same but the ones below are some of my favourites.


7. Toiletries Bag

The final item on my list for making traveling easier and stress-free is having a nice toiletries bag. I have always used a personalised bag from the awesome company Airportag but the quality wasn’t great and I now use a nice Chase Sapphire Reserve bag which I couldn’t find online. My recommendations for a toiletries bag is that it should be either see-through and cheap or luxury and expensive. This all depends what you consider to be more important, speed or good looks. Below are a few of my top-picks from online.

So there are my favourite travel picks and what I make sure I pack in my bags when travelling. Have anything to add to this list? Drop me a message via the contact section on the website or

Valentine’s Heartbreak: Airbus Kill off A380

After entering service 12 years ago with Singapore Airlines, Airbus has announced that it will be ending production of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

This wingview will become a thing of the past

The decision comes after Emirates announced that it was cutting its A380 fleet size from 160 to 123. This fleet size cut means that Emirates will only be receiving 14 more planes over the next two years.

Emirates are not the only airline to announce bad plans for the A380, however. It was reported yesterday by Aviation Analyst Alex Macheras that Qatar Airways will begin scrapping their A380s on their tenth anniversary (2024).

Qatar Airways will scrap their A380s beginning in 2024

In older news, Malaysian Airlines have also scrapped their super-jumbos and replaced their final A380 route to London Heathrow with the smaller and more efficient Airbus A350.



The future of the Airbus A380 has been in doubt since it became clear that airlines were less interested in using large aircraft fit for 450+ passengers. More modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 boast better fuel efficiency which saves airlines huge amounts of money on longer flights and while scrapping most planes allows airlines to make money in the second-hand market, there is virtually no demand for second hand A380s as has been shown by the ex-Singapore jets which are still yet to be bought.

Flying Vietnam Airlines A350 last summer

For me this news is sad, as a young child the A380 was always my favourite aircraft. My first flight on the A380 was in 2015 when I flew from London to Dubai with Emirates. Flying such a large aircraft was incredible and since then I have flown the beast a handful of times.

If you want to watch my A380 flight from hell with China Southern then see below!

My Favourite Free Credit Card Choices for 2019

Now that the new year has begun and our wallets are starting to recover from the onslaught of Christmas, I have decided to write an article about a question I get almost every day: Which free credit card is the best?

All paid with miles and points. How? Read on.

Now, obviously this question has a lot of answers and depends on your spending habits, airline choices and so on but in this article I will explore your options for credit cards in 2019.

What do I use?

Personally, I have used all of American Express’ airline credit/charge cards out there apart from the top-of-the-range platinum card. As a university student, my biggest spends go on accommodation payments for my student halls which can luckily be paid using American Express cards. This is perfect for me as I am able to sign up for credit cards based on the timings of these payments to ensure that I hit the sign up bonuses most semesters. In my first semester I used my favourite charge card going at the moment which is the AMEX Gold Card. The payment of £1,600 enabled me to be only £400 off the sign up bonus. After three weeks I hit this bonus and was rewarded with a total of 22,000 Membership Rewards points which I recently transferred into Avios (British Airways Miles).

For my second semester I will be using the British Airways Premium Plus credit card to pay my rent. This will leave me £1,400 off the sign up bonus but seeing as I recently spent £1,000 on British Airways (netting me 3x points) I am only £400 away from the sign up bonus where I will rack up 26,000 Avios points.

That’s enough of my story but hopefully it shows you how easy it is to acquire large amounts of frequent flyer miles in a short space of time.

My Picks for 2019:

The Freebies

Being British, a love a bargain but there is one thing we all love more than a bargain and that is a freebie. There are currently two cards on the market that cater to this market and those are as follows.

1.  The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

The number one selling point of this card is that it is free. Not only will it not hurt your bank account but as mentioned above it will net you a wonderful 21,000 point sign up bonus (22,000 if you use my special link). For the full review of this card including how it can get you lounge access, hotel upgrades and more click here.

Photo: AMEX

2. The British Airways American Express Credit Card

The lesser of the two is also the more simple. Netting you only 5,000 avios (6,000 through my special link) it has the perk of being free forever unlike the gold card which will charge you £140 every year after your first year. This card has the simplicity of transferring your points to British Airways at the end of every month and is definitely a good start up card. What you could do is have the two running side-by-side to net yourself a 28,000 sign up bonus.

3. British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card

While I suggest those two cards if you want a free card, another recommendation of mine is the premium BA card. This card carries a charge of £190 a year but what people don’t realise is that if you cancel your card after receiving your sign-up bonus, money will be returned to you based on how long you had the card for. This card carries a lovely 25,000 (26,000 using my link) sign-up bonus which again is directly moved over to British Airways. For more details and how you can use this card to travel 2-4-1 on British Airways click here.

Final Thought

The choices may not be perfect but in the UK that is all we get. My top choice for anyone out there is the Gold Card. I think the perks of this card are fantastic and being free makes it even more appealing. Good luck with your miles and points in 2018.

TAP Portugal A330neo Full Cabin Tour

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to visit Toulouse, home of Airbus, where I visitied the TAP Portugal A330neo. The product onboard is fantastic and in this short post I will show you around the aircraft. Below you can watch my video tour of the aircraft.

Business Class

There is only one business class cabin onboard which is fitted in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The new business class cabin

The window seats have alternating setups with one closer to the window and one closer to the aisle.

The real ‘window’ seat
The ‘aisle’ window seat

If you enjoy looking out of the window I would always choose the seat closer to the window. The window seats are in the odd-numbered rows.

In the middle of the cabin the seats alternate between honeymoon seats which are close together and seats which are further apart and closer to the aisle.

Honeymoon seating
More private centre seating

Economy Class

The economy seats are configured in a 2-4-2 configuration.

The green economy cabin

I personally love 2-4-2 setups and these slimline Recaro seats made the aircraft look very spacious. In terms of comfort, I would always choose business class over this economy if I wanted a comfortable flight!

2-4-2 setup

The 2 seats by the window look like this.

Slimline seats

The four middle seats look like this.

Grey economy seating

Each seat is fitted with a personal IFE screen.

Personal monitors at each seat

Towards  the back of the aircraft, the setup becomes a 2-3-2 setup as the aircraft narrows.

This is only a brief tour of the aircraft and I hope to review it sometime in the future.