Cathay confirms new first class, business class for Boeing 777-9X

By David Flynn, April 12 2017
Cathay confirms new first class, business class for Boeing 777-9X

Cathay Pacific will use the arrival of the Boeing 777-9X to debut a new generation of first class suites and business class seats, cementing Boeing's advanced 777X series as the flagship of Cathay’s fleet for the next decade.

“At the moment we’re looking at what’s the optimal configuration for first class on the Boeing 777-9X,” James Evans, Cathay Pacific's General Manager of Product, revealed to Australian Business Traveller.

“We have a six-seat first class cabin on the Boeing 777-300ER, so it’s a question of forward planning and looking at the growth expectations in first class demand on premier routes the likes of New York, London, Frankfurt and Paris.”

Cathay Pacific currently flies first class only on its Boeing 777-300ER fleet, with the cabin getting a mid-life make-over in 2013.

Cathay is also considering adopting fully-enclosed first class suites similar those of Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad.

“A lot of seat manufactures are developing enclosed private suites, so we’re alert to that, and privacy is an important element of the experience which our customers love,” Evans said.

“But – and it seems a little bit of a contradiction – they also like that understanding of who's around them,” Evans pointed out.

“If you're a first class traveller there’s a ‘society’ piece to that as well. You like to know who’s travelling with you, so if (the seat) is too enclosed do you get that sense of the experience?”

Evans said that Cathay Pacific’s customer team is currently deep in “the research phase, so we haven’t locked that down yet.”

“At this stage in the journey we’re still doing a lot of research to see what resonates with customers and then trying to pitch into what would their expectations would be in 2021, which is exciting and also quite challenging.”

Third-gen business class

The Boeing 777-9X is also expected to launch a third-generation of the airline’s ‘fully flat business class bed’, to be developed under the internal moniker of FB3.

Cathay’s current Airbus A350 business class seat represents an finesse of the second-gen seat, which the airline tagged as FB2+, and while Evans allowed that “it would seem there is evolution beyond that, it that doesn't mean we are closed to revolutionary ideas as well.”

“There’s a psychological ‘anchoring’ that people have,” Evans elaborated. “If you're in a market where the national flag carrier has maybe a dovetail-type business class seat layout, you're so wedded to that that you wouldn't want to see anything different.”

“On Cathay Pacific our customers really enjoy our reverse herringbone seat, so it will be very important to build on that, if that’s what customer research does back with.”

“But you need to make sure that is right, so we’re going through customer research right now to see what really resonates with them.”


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 379

I'm thinking they won't be using Zodiac for the new seats due to the recent A350 problems

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 25

What problems have they been having? At they the same seat type on the present 777er?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 29

I flew the A350 in business from Dusseldorf last year and the seat was very poor quality.  Bits of the arm rest fell off, the tray table wobbled and the TV screen wouldn't tilt, the latter of which was supposed to be one of the much vaunted improvements. When I changed to the A330 seat for the HKG/SYD sector, the old seat didn't feel too different from the new A350 one - except that nothing fell off and everything functioned normally.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

Fiscal: Cathay's A350s use an updated version of the Boeing 777 seat, and one which has experienced many problems with 'fit and finish': see for more on this.

BE Aerospace must be drooling and very carefully nudging the Super Diamond towards Cathay, given how Zodiac's been dropping the ball lately. 

As for First, I'm hoping some variant of Etihad's "apartment" concept. Could easily fit 6 seats into roughly the same area, with more space for each passenger. Lowerable partitions etc. and allow passengers to choose just how private or just how showy they want to be. 

02 Jun 2016

Total posts 7

Why don't they work on the food as well !!?!! it's been going from ok to not so good and I'm talking Business Class !!

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 12

They are. They don't talk about it as much; it's not as urgent as any of the long-term decisions because they can change food budgets pretty quickly. Now ex-CEO Ivan Chu said "we have plans to improve our in-flight food and beverage services, especially for the business class" just yesterday.

If you've flown CX on any other class lately you would've seen a difference (on regional routes especially). A form of protein is being added to the appetizers in economy (instead of a basic salad); duck breast, smoked salmon for example. The cookie is being replaced by Haagen Dazs ice cream. Also, the basic "lattice pastry" with Anzac cookie and Nestea lemon tea on shorter routes to Taipei and being replaced with legitimate meals that you'd find on long haul flights. And I'm not sure if it's implemented yet, but premium economy will also have an option to have the burger and fries as a mid-flight snack (and yes, they're introducing fries with their burgers in business class too). 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 29

Agree!  I do love the total Cathay C class experience, especially the HKG lounges, but the onboard food is just too inconsistent. When other carriers are striving for great premium class food, Cathay just doesn't seem to be able to deliver.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Jul 2017

Total posts 18

Don't worry about the seat CX, do something with the aloof and, at times, arrogant staff. I've had more fun in a library than CX J.

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