Part 1 – Getting To The Maldives

Intro – Maldivian Paradise With A Little Europe Sprinkled In
Part 1 – Getting To The Maldives
Part 2 – Welcome To Paradise
Part 3 – A Couple Of Days In Kuala Lumpur
Part 4 – Paris On A Dime
Part 5 – My First Trip To Berlin
Part 6 – Going Home In Style: The Lufthansa First Experience

I had originally booked my outbound on AA metal to Tokyo in First, requiring an overnight in Narita, then onward to Singapore on Cathay Pacific in Business.   Checking obsessively for a better routing paid off when a seat on Cathay Pacific in First opened up, all the way to Singapore.  The new itin consisted of an early morning flight on AA to SFO, then catching the afternoon flight on a Cathay Pacific 747 to Hong Kong.  After an overnight in Hong Kong, I would complete the final leg on Cathay first from HKG – SIN.  Two rides up front with Cathay.  Perfection.

My Ride From SFO To HKG In The Nose Of The 747

I arrived early enough at LAX to sample the American First Class Flagship Lounge, located through and behind the regular business lounge.  It was early in the morning, so there wasn’t much activity.  There was a selection of breakfast foods, fresh fruit, prepackaged snacks and the usual variety of beverages stocked.   After a light breakfast, I boarded the 737 for the quick ride to SFO where I made my way over to the international terminal.

Cathay has its own premium lounge in SFO, though its pretty cramped and faces a building.  I sampled  a couple of snacks, and moved on to the British Air lounge which had better views and was a little more space.  Food and beverage selection was meh, so I relaxed with a sparkling water and couple more nibbleys before making my way to the gate.

Once the plane was ready to board, I proceeded to seat 2K in the nose of the massive jumbo.  Waiting for me were Shanghai Tang pajamas and  a Trusardi amenety kit.   And eventually this also arrived 🙂

Pre-Departure Beverage

I specifically chose the early afternoon flight so that I would be awake to enjoy the experience.     Not sure why anyone would book a first class premium seat, board and go right to sleep.  To each his own…

Shanghai Tang PJs
The seats were massive, the cabin huge.  I tried caviar (and Krug) for the first time!  Essentially, there wasn’t really much that you could ask for that wasn’t immediately available to you.  I particularly loved the in-flight tea service, quality tea steeped and served in a proper tea pot, not from a machine.  My personal barometer of luxury!

More than once, the FAs inquired as to if I would like my bed made up for sleeping.  I declined, though did lounge around the entire time in my Shanghai Tang PJs…

My Home For The Next 14 Hours

After 14 hours of  having my every need catered to, we arrived in Hong Kong where I made a quick visit to the Cathay Arrivals lounge for a bit of relaxation and refreshment before heading to the hotel for the night.  I booked the Marriott Sky City for the quick overnight stopover using AA miles (on  It was close to the airport (even walk-able for the adventurous) and though nothing special, served its purpose well.

I arrived the next morning ready for the next first class Cathay 747 flight of the journey.  Check in was fast and easy, and once complete, I was turned over to a personal minder who would escort me through immigration, and deposit me in the first class lounge.

The First Class Restaurant In The First Class Lounge

The lounge is just past immigration, and has a full sit down restaurant where you can either order from a set menu, or pick and choose from the nicely laid out buffet.  I did a little of both, and when finished, headed out to sample as many of the other One World premium lounges as I could.  Of course the winners by far were the Cathay lounges, with amazing food options and beautiful decor.

Restaurant Buffet

I boarded my second CX 747 in as many days,  for my last leg to Singapore where I would meet up with my friend, and overnight at the Conrad before our SQ flight to Male the next night.  Sadly, this normally pristine city was shrouded in smog due to neighboring Malaysia’s yearly field burning, so aside from a bit of exploring, we mostly stayed in to get a jump on jet lag.  The following day, we requested and received a 4pm late check out, which would give us plenty of time to get to the airport and spend pre-departure time in the Singapore lounges.

By the time we boarded our flight to Male, I was exhausted and more than a little full from ‘sampling’ the various lounges.  I collapsed in my angled lie flat  seat, and woke up just before landing.

Next – Part 2:  Welcome To Paradise


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