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CATHAY PACIFIC: Return of B777s and First Class

CATHAY PACIFIC: Return of B777s and First Class

Cathay Pacific sure has done it tough under the Chinese government’s lockdown and pandemic rules. Having had a bunch of planes parked outside Alice Springs, some of those 777s, containing First Class cabins, are being re-commissioned to service Hong Kong to London, Paris and Tokyo in 2023.

people sitting in an airplane
Cathay in Premium Economy – Hong Kong to Sydney


So after suspending long haul flights for 2.5 years, Cathay Pacific has/will be running B777s with First Class cabins on the following routes and flights:

  • Hong Kong (HKG) – London (LHR) started December 5, 2022, CX251/252
  • Hong Kong (HKG) and Paris (CDG) – January 18, 2023, CX261/260
  • Hong Kong (HKG) and Tokyo (HND) – February 1, 2023, CX548/549

Which routes next?

Cathay has been getting its Airbus A350’s back in the air as a matter of priority for long-haul, but those don’t have First Class cabins. As it slowly resurrects its B777s, expect more routes to see a return of First Class. My bet is that the USA will be first – as some flights are already using 777s, but are not marketing the First Class cabin. Needless to say, the first routes will be where Cathay thinks it can earn for its premier cabin. Pre-Pandemic, Cathay flew first class to European destinations, including London, Paris and Milan, and north American routes, such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco.

a white flower on a bed

Airport Lounges

Cathay has opened its First Class and Business lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3 (T3), but the First Lounge in Hong Kong remains closed, with no word on when it will reopen. We may have to wait longer as Cathay Pacific only expects to reach 70% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, adding that final 30% to get it back to pre-pandemic levels by the close of 2024.

In Flight Treats for First

To celebrate the return of First Class, Cathay has upped its wine game, with First Class passengers able to sip limited edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne and special editions of Bordeaux – Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Château Lynch-Bages 2000.

a woman sleeping in a bed

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

According to those who have flown it, Cathay Pacific’s First Class, with only 6 seats on the Boeing 777-300 is one of the best rides on any airline, despite being one of the oldest having debuted in 2007, with refreshes in 2014 and 2019. I have not had the pleasure. My only Cathay experience has been in Premium Economy. Maybe I will have to wait until the advent of a new First Class cabin on the new 777-900s, originally scheduled for 2021 and now expected to be delivered from 2025.

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