After my recent obsession with traveling to Asia and seeing many posts about the cheap fares to Hong Kong, my boyfriend and I decided to take the journey to the far east. I needed miles on American to lock in Executive Platinum for the following year, so we opted for the SJC > LAX > HKG route rather than SFO > HKG on Cathay Pacific (CX). Instead of doing a quick mileage run like last year, I decided to take advantage of my Hilton hotel points (5th night free) and we stayed for 5 days.
Timeline up to the trip:
July 21, 2016: Purchased 2 tickets for $502 round trip from SJC to HKG with a stop in LAX 12/6/16-12/12/16 in Booking Class O. I immediately called American Airlines and asked to be placed on the waitlist for a System Wide Upgrade.
—– For months I constantly checked AA.com for upgrade clearance and expert flyer to see if seats were still available —–
December 4, 2016: Two days prior to our trip, after months of seeing plenty of business class seat availability, I noticed our SWU had cleared. There was no notification or email, so being proactive and looking is a must. I then checked seatguru for the best seats.
December 6, 2016: During the two weeks prior to departure, I had been checking flight stats to see what the on time rates were, which helps calm down my OCD nature of excitement. I had noticed the flights were delayed often, and sometimes significantly. Thankfully, our flight was on time and we had no problems.
With Executive Platinum, I am able to access the First Class international lounge with a guest. Of course being LA, a celeb sighting is always in order, although I’m not naming any names here. We crafted some cocktails, drank way too much coffee, and ate plenty at the full buffet.
We boarded the plane, which didn’t seem to have any dedicated area for premium passengers. That was okay since we had just spent the maximum time in the lounge for ultimate relaxation.
Upon entering the plane, we were greeted with the usual friendly flight attendants, and I was happy to see the welcoming business class section.
I took an inventory of all the amenities:
- Mattress pad
- Cole Hahn toiletry bag
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Bigelow lip balm and lotion
- Eye mask
We also received a business class menu and glasses of champagne (water and juice were also options). I was happy that the menu on the return flight (AA192) was not the same as the outbound menu (AA193).
Snapchat prior to takeoff 🙂
Service was just okay. As I mentioned earlier, the FAs were extremely
nice, but inconsistent. I was in seat 12 D and my boyfriend was in 12 G. He was offered a newspaper prior to takeoff, but I was not. Upon landing, I was offered a smoothie and he was not. Our dinner choices were fully available, however somehow they ran out of eggs for breakfast by the time the service cart reached our seats.
I have to admit, the pajamas were a nice touch, and I felt really cool rocking them.
We had basically the same experience on the return flight except that the service was much better. Of course the pre-flight lounge experience cannot compare. The Cathay Pacific Pier First Class Lounge outshines the LAX lounge exponentially. Although when we arrived in LAX, I was happy to take a shower before our final connection back to San Jose.
All in all, using 4 system wide upgrades (Round trip for 2 people) was totally worth it. We basically flew a top quality flight for 13-15 hours with lie flat seats for $500 each. I would definitely recommend using an upgrade if possible on this flight.
Stay tuned for my review of the Conrad Hong Kong Hilton hotel next.