The 8 best beds on a Boeing 777 (Video)

Last week I had the chance to ride on one of Cathay Pacific’s brand new Boeing 777-300ERs from the factory in Seattle to Hong Kong.

This was a “delivery flight” from Boeing to Cathay Pacific, so there were only about 80 passengers on a jumbo jet that can carry about 350. While the seats and service were fine, I was curious to see the large crew rest area on this plane.

Since long-range aircraft like the Boeing 777 can fly nonstop for 16-18 hours, airlines are required to offer rest areas for inflight crews who work on shifts. On this plane, the rest area is located above the economy class section at the rear of the plane. It’s accessed via a non-descript door in the galley area. There’s another rest area (which I did not see) for pilots at the front of the plane.

Come on along and have a look- it might be the only time you’ll ever see a crew rest area since visits by passengers on regularly scheduled flights are forbidden.

(Chris McGinnis publishes The BAT and The TICKET blogs for frequent travelers.  Do you have comments or questions about this post? Email Chris.)

Two stunning new airline lounges at SFO (Photos)

Gorgeous white marble and backlit Fabbian glass tiles make for a dramatic entrance at Cathay Pacific's new SFO lounge.

International business and first class travelers departing for Hong Kong, Dubai or beyond can now cool their heels while awaiting flights at two gorgeous new lounges at SFO. These perches are so plush that passengers may want to get to the airport early just to enjoy the surroundings and get a great pre-flight meal.

In December, Cathay Pacific and Emirates opened new lounges at SFO’s international terminal. Both invited me out last month for a look around, and allowed me to take photos to share with readers.

The gorgeous 5,500 sq ft Cathay Pacific lounge is located up an escalator just beyond the security screening area near most other airline lounges on south (A) side of the International Terminal. Prior to the opening of this lounge, Cathay Pacific passengers used facilities offered by Oneworld partner British Airways. Now they have a lounge all to themselves. The lounge’s minimalist design is based on Cathay’s flagship lounges at Hong Kong International- materials such as white italian marble, bamboo paneling and Fabbian crystal are the same. Another similarity: the chef-staffed noodle bar!

The Emirates lounge is located about halfway down SFO’s south side international terminal corridor on the left hand side. First, business and Skywards elite passengers enter and check in, then descend into the enormous 9,500 sq. ft. lounge  located one floor down- with direct access to the waiting B777- there is no need to exit the lounge to board the plane. Again, the design of this club should be familiar to Emirates flyers- the rich contemporary look (wood, leather, brass, earth tones, sprays of fresh flowers and plants) is nearly identical to Emirates’ 25 lounges in Dubai and around the world. Similar to the carrier’s main hub lounges in Dubai, passengers are tempted by a visually stunning, seemingly limitless smorgasbord of dining options designed to appeal to western, Indian, Asian and Arab palates. There’s even a Muslim prayer room- with it’s own foot-washing station.

Let’s go take a look! Cathay first:

The big, bright Cathay lounge is open from 7:45 am until 11:50 am, and then again from 8:05 pm until midnight.

The unique and popular Cathay Solus Chair is a specially built unit offering a private space to eat, work and relax.

Cathay's signature fresh noodle bar turns out the perfect pre-flight comfort food-- made to order. There is also a wide variety of hot and cold Western and Asian dishes at the self-service counter

Plenty of space to spread out and work or chill, bathed in natural light

There are three unusually large shower suites, sheathed in marble and other unusual finishes like this white river stone tile.

A large carrera marble communal table in the dining area.

Cathay offers two flights per day from SFO to Hong Kong-- noon and midnight. SFO-HKG nonstops last about 14 hours.

Now, let’s walk on down to the Emirates lounge….

Emirates passengers check in here, then descend to the lounge. It opens at noon and closes once all passengers have boarded for the 3:45 pm departure to Dubai (15.5 hours away!)

The enormous, light-filled lounge is filled with cozy seating nooks like this. Floor to ceiling windows look out onto the ramp and the waiting Emirates B777.

There are several of Emirates signature Rolex wall clocks throughout the lounge.

A private prayer room.

This is the foot washing station adjacent to the prayer room.

Passengers get restaurant-style service at the largest private dining room at SFO.

Foodies will delight in the array of gorgeous hot and cold options-- all labeled.

Vegetarian options abound to appeal many travelers who travel through Dubai to get to India.

Passengers can even get a steak! There's also a full bar, a fine wine selection, including champagne.

Nice touch: Free wi-fi throughout the lounge. There is also a business center with several internet connected PCs.