Photos: Cathay Pacific reveals first class suite refresh

By David Flynn, July 25 2013
Photos: Cathay Pacific reveals first class suite refresh

Cathay Pacific has showcased a smart mid-life refresh to its first class suites to carry the product through to the debut of a next generation of first class slated for 2018.

As Australian Business Traveller first revealed in June, the new first class cabin will be fitted to all 24 of Cathay’s long-range Boeing 777-300ER airliners, with the first overhauled jet flying this weekend and the entire fleet due to be upgraded by the third quarter of 2014.

However, the project doesn't extend to the soon-to-be-retired Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets.

The refresh has been led by London-based architects Foster + Partners, which also designed Cathay's new-look Hong Kong Airport lounges including The Wing and The Cabin, plus the lounge's bespoke Solus airport lounge chair.

Read: Inside story – creating Cathay Pacific’s Solus chair

“We saw no pressing need to completely replace the first class product as the suites were only introduced in 2007 and are still very popular with our passengers” said Toby Smith, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Product, speaking with Australian Business Traveller prior to the launch

“However, elements of the cabin were looking tired so we decided to make a few changes that will enhance the overall experience for our premium passengers.”

Here's a quick run-through of what's new...

  • Each suite features a new side console with a drink holder.
  • The meal table has broader scope for adjustment.
  • There's more space in the personal closet as well as the console compartment so that passengers can stow personal items such as smartphones, MP3 players and reading glasses.

  • New custom-designed reading lights have five brightness levels and rotate through a wider angle.
  • A 4.3 inch LCD touchscreen controller allows passengers to easily recline the seat, adjust lumbar support and turn the lights on or off.
  • Each passengers gets a BOSE QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphones – but no, they're not yours to keep!
  • There's a USB socket to keep your phone or tablet juiced up during the journey and a multi-port connector for piping music or video from your iPhone or iPod through the inflight entertainment system.
  • Redesigned bedding includes 500 thread cotton fabrics for the duvets, pillows, cushions and the thicker mattress.

  • The Shanghai Tang pyjamas have been replaced by a new "100% organic cotton sleep suit" from home-grown Hong Kong brand Pye (seen below).

  • The toilets sport a new wash basin and counter top.
  • A highly glossy dark grey textured material is featured on the outer surface of the suite, while warm-tone natural leather is used extensively on most interior surfaces.
  • The suite's interior and side console are wrapped in natural leather with "subtle linings, refined stitching and fewer panels for a more clean and sophisticated look". Leather pads with subtle stitching are also introduced on latches to provide a softer touch.
  • The seat fabric is custom-made "with a specially selected combination of materials that is soft and smooth to touch", Cathay Pacific says.

Cathay's all-new first class circa 2018

The refresh will bridge the gap until Cathay Pacific introduces its new first class around 2018, tied to the delivery of the airline’s Airbus A350-1000 jets.

While the Airbus A350-900s scheduled for February 2016 sport a three-class configuration with business, premium economy and economy class, the larger A350-1000 will add a compact first class cabin.

“For the A350-1000, we will be looking at probably a new first class by that stage” Smith told Australian Business Traveller late last year.

Read: Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350 to get new first, business class seats? 

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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.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

Looks like the QF F layout, albeit fixed

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 259

Looks great, much better than the new BA First suites. It seems like CX are changing their aircraft seating every few months lately.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

Very classy colour scheme, very smart to do this refresh. The seat can easily compete with newer F class products out there IMHO.


Qantas P1

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

I like it! Very similar to the QF product

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 542

The seat is getting closer and closer to a suite. I would add doors though, just for first class privacy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

Certainly a close cousin to the QF F product which is not a bad thing at all.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 125

Have you ever done a report on CX first class or will you do a trip report anytime soon?

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