Cathay Pacific brings back First Class service

Cathay Pacific restores First Class on flights to London, with Paris and Tokyo Haneda to follow in early 2023.

After an absence of nearly three years, Cathay Pacific has restored First Class service on its network once again. 

“We are extremely excited to be bringing back our First class service after an extended absence as the world’s appetite for travel comes roaring back. We know our customers have been eagerly anticipating being able to fly First class with us again, and we are delighted to be offering it on routes that we know are incredibly popular with them.”

-Cathay Pacific

Flights between Hong Kong and London Heathrow now enjoy Cathay Pacific’s most premium cabin, with Paris and Tokyo Haneda set to follow in early 2023.

Cathay Pacific restores First Class service

Cathay Pacific First Class

For context, Cathay Pacific only offers a First Class cabin on its B777-300ER (B777W) aircraft, and even then, not all of them. There are three different configurations, of which only one has First Class:

 FJPYY
77A65334201
77K4032296
77P42396

Technically speaking, the 77A aircraft with First Class have already been flying for months- just that the First Class cabin isn’t sold, so Business Class passengers can assign themselves seats here while enjoying Business Class service. 

In any case, since 5 December 2022, Cathay Pacific has offered First Class on its daily CX251/CX252 service to and from London Heathrow.

FlightDep. HKGArr. LHRAircraft
CX25708251500A359
CX25313452020A359
CX25122200500(+1)B77W
CX25523450620 (+1)A35K
FlightDep. LHRArr. HKGAircraft
CX25211500740 (+1)B77W
CX23816501310 (+1)A359
CX25017501410 (+1)A35K
CX25422051825 (+1)A359

On 18 January 2023, CX261/CX260 to and from Paris will receive First Class service.

FlightDep. HKGArr. CDGAircraft
CX26122500615 (+1)B77W
FlightDep. CDGArr. HKGAircraft
CX26012150720 (+1)B77W

This will be followed by Tokyo (Haneda) on CX548/CX549 from 1 February 2023. 

FlightDep. HKGArr. HNDAircraft
CX54808551345B77W
CX54216252115B77W
FlightDep. HNDArr. HKGAircraft
CX54310101420B77W
CX54916052015B77W

While only three routes have been announced so far, I’m quite certain we’ll see First Class brought back to more destinations soon, since there’s economies of scale involved. My guess is that long-haul routes to the USA like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco will eventually return, as well as premium markets like Sydney and Frankfurt. 

What to look forward to in Cathay First Class

To mark the return of First Class, Cathay Pacific is serving up some special wines on the London route in December: a limited-edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne, and a celebratory edition of Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Château Lynch-Bages 2000. 

WineVivino Rating
Krug Brut Champagne 20044.6/5
Château Lynch-Bages 2000 4.5/5
Blanc de Lynch-Bages 20184.2/5

These are all highly-rated, especially the Krug (fun fact: there was a period where Singapore Airlines served this exact same Krug in First Class, although they’ve since switched back to the non-vintage version). It’s a champagne so special Lianne La Havas composed a piece of music to express the emotion she felt when tasting it (as one does).

First Class passengers enjoy dine-on-demand featuring a mix of wellness options and authentic Hong Kong dishes, with special Christmas-themed menus for flights up till 31 December 2023. 

Bedding and amenities kits come from Bamford, with 600-thread count sustainably sourced cotton bedlinen, plus men’s and women’s natural skincare products. Prior to COVID, Cathay Pacific offered Aesop amenities and pyjamas by PYE, so it’s sad to hear those won’t be coming back.

Cathay Pacific Aesop amenities kits
PYE sleeper suit

In terms of lounges, Cathay Pacific has reopened the First Class section of The Wing, but access is only available to:

  • Passengers beginning their journey in Hong Kong
  • Passengers transiting through Hong Kong from Mainland China

All other passengers will be directed to the Business Class section of The Pier, even if they’re connecting to First Class. This is due to Hong Kong’s current COVID regulations, and the need to keep passengers sterile for flights to the Mainland. 

Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Cabana- not for transit passengers! | Photo: Points Hacks

As for the hard product, Cathay Pacific’s First Class cabins have six seats spread over two rows of 1-1-1. First unveiled in 2007, it’s definitely getting on in years, with only a cosmetic update in 2013 and 2017. You’ll be comfortable enough, but don’t expect sliding doors or over-the-top luxury. 

Cathay Pacific First Class cabin | Photo: Points Hacks

For a full review of the pre-COVID First Class experience, refer to the post below. 

Review: Cathay Pacific B77W First Class HKG-SFO

Are there award seats?

Yes, but they’re really, really hard to find. 

Over the next few months I can only find a single First Class award seat from Hong Kong to Paris route, which will set you back 100,000 Asia Miles + HKD 1,482 (S$258) for a one-way ticket. I have to say, the fuel surcharges (S$196) are more modest than I thought they’d be, so that’s a relief. 

In the opposite direction from Paris to Hong Kong, I can find two dates with First Class availability (22 and 23 January 2023), but who knows if those seats will still be available by the time you read this. 

For easier award searching, be sure to try Seats.Aero (select the American Airlines search option for find Cathay Pacific space). 

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific has resumed First Class service after a hiatus of nearly three years. This cabin is now available on flights to London, with Paris and Tokyo Haneda to follow in early 2023. 

Award space, sadly, is extremely hard to come by at the moment, and do remember that you won’t enjoy the “full fat” experience if you intend to begin your journey in Singapore, since transit passengers are currently barred from the First Class section of The Wing. 

Any plans to try Cathay Pacific’s post-COVID First Class experience?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Zaos

These are some of the most comfortable seats. Sliding doors or bling isn’t really that great. Good to see that they are continuing to serve good wines.

Gareth T

Cathay Pacific is an airline in steep decline. As a HKer and CX Diamond member for over 20 years, I can tell you for a fact that CX’s service is about as good as Garuda Indonesia’s and the product (seats) is commensurate with SQ in the early 2000s. Their sky high prices are not justified.

mnlbay

I had tried the CX F seat last month to CDG on a Business award ticket through AS. J meal & amenity kit, but F seat, staff and bedding. The new Bamford bedding is excellent and so comfortable. – on a par with SQ Suites sleeping experience. Can’t wait to try it again.

Last edited 1 year ago by mnlbay
Tai

As long as flight attendants are masked, it’s not first class service.

I want to see people’s smiles.

I don’t enjoy being served by people who are muzzled.

Feels very much like a forced class difference: guests are maskfree, service staff are muzzled.

asprino

don’t worry – you are required to wear mask onboard CX as well!

Cookies

A quick DP – Made a booking on CX548 HKG-HND in F (connecting from CX714 SIN-HKG in J), for all of 27.5K AS miles.. If anyone else is booking SIN-TYO via AS, keep your eyes peeled – hopefully you’ll get lucky!

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