Cathay Pacific brings first class suites to Sydney-Hong Kong flights

By David Flynn, September 5 2018
Cathay Pacific brings first class suites to Sydney-Hong Kong flights

Cathay Pacific is now flying its first class suites between Sydney and Hong Kong, with selected business class passengers enjoying a free upgrade to the elegant cribs.

However, the Hong Kong-based airline isn’t selling first class fares on the popular route and has no plans to do so, with a Cathay Pacific spokesperson assuring Australian Business Traveller “there are definitely no plans for first class out of Australia.”

This comes despite Qantas’ selling first class on its Sydney-Hong Kong Airbus A380 flights from 1 December 2018 through to 28 March 2019.

Frequent flyers get a first class upgrade

Instead, the Cathay Pacific bump-ups from business class are being made on a ‘surprise and delight’ basis for top-tier frequent flyers if their aircraft happens to be one of Cathay’s four-class Boeing 777-300ER jets – which makes for plenty of delight on the 9½ hour journey.

The daily CX161/162 service between Sydney and Hong Kong has been seeing those jets over recent months as Cathay Pacific shuffles the Boeings through a refit program, and according to the Cathay Pacific spokesperson there is currently “no end date for first class on the route, it’s dependent on the retrofit schedule.”

The pointy end of those jets features six over-sized suites which are “allocated to Marco Polo Club and Oneworld members at the airport team’s discretion,” the spokesperson says.

Those six lucky flyers receive the same meals and drinks as their colleagues further back in business class, although some have remarked that the service is closer to first class standards.

Some of those Boeing 777s have also been fitted with fast inflight WiFi which Cathay Pacific is rolling out across its international fleet.

Cathay Pacific refreshed its Boeing 777 first class suites from late 2017 in the second makeover since the suites debuted in 2007, and plans to introduce all-new first class suites along with a next-generation business class on its Boeing 777-9 jets from 2021.

The airline is already working on mock-ups for its new first class, although Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year “we’re building models and testing different concepts, but we haven’t finalised it yet.”

High-walled private cribs and the more open design of the current Boeing 777 first class suites are both under consideration. “That’s the debate right now,’ Hogg confirmed, “although I won’t tell you which side of that debate we’re on, mainly because it’s not over.” 

Read more: Cathay Pacific plans ahead for new first class, business class


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.

05 Jul 2016

Total posts 22

I would file this under hoax. None of the CX161 in September is rostered with an aircraft with suites

15 Nov 2016

Total posts 18

Perhaps the word crib gives it away. No one would pay an F class fare for a Vampire nest would they?

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

Aug 30 - 77H with First Class

Aug 31 - 77H with First Class
Sep 1 - 77H with First Class
Sep 2 - 77H with First Class

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 229

Last night's CX101 and today's CX100 are operated by a 777 with the suites. Appears to be more of a short-term surprise and delight situation because of aircraft deployment requirements.

28 Sep 2017

Total posts 8

Other than the wifi and new first class seats, does anyone happen to know what else the 777 retrofits will cover? Any changes to business?

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

3-4-3 in YCL is the main retrofit.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

(Decoded: 3-4-3 economy class seating is being fitted, replacing the original 3-3-3 economy seating)

05 Jul 2016

Total posts 22

CX101 perhaps ;)

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 86

CX J miles better than out dated and over priced QF product, plus better frequency and connections.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 40

Unfortunately not for the trump flight CX111.

06 Sep 2018

Total posts 1

CX162 on Sunday 2 Sept - lucky enough to get seated in first. Same meals as business but great service with only 6 people in the cabin

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 40

Last night it was CX138. Due to red eye flight, the only difference is a wider seat/bed. No PYE pj, no bed cushion, but fair enough. Just a bit funny when you read the boarding pass - Row 1 but Business.

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