With Hong Kong taking its first steps towards reopening, Cathay Pacific is not only boosting flights to London among other destinations but also restarting first class flights to Heathrow.
The airline has confirmed that its flagship Boeing 777-300ER jets with six first class suites will reappear on the 14-hour route on flight CX251 from Hong Kong as of December 5, and the return leg CX252 from London starting December 6.
“London Heathrow will also see a substantial increase in passenger flights in November and December” notes Cathay Pacific’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam, adding that “on certain days in December we will be operating four flights a day.”
Cathay’s pre-pandemic schedule stretched to five daily flights to London Heathrow, so there’s still some way to go in the recovery, although the airline continues to bring many of its long-range Airbus and Boeing jets out of desert storage.
While flying first class with Cathay Pacific typically sees excellent dining, drinks and crew service, the suites themselves are perhaps the most dated in the skies, having debuted in 2007.
Despite revamps in 2013 and 2017 they’re far from cutting edge, although the spacious open suite design still has many fans.
An all-new first class suite shaped by feted London-based firm JPA Design for Cathay’s Boeing 777-9 jets remains under wraps, given that these next-gen 777s won’t arrive in the Hong Kong hangars until sometime after 2025.
The airline’s highly-regarded first class and business class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3 are still popular with business class travellers and frequent flyers who generally rate them as T3’s best Oneworld lounges.
If you’re headed from London to somewhere else on Cathay’s network, however, it’s worth noting that those quick side-trips into Hong Kong during an extended layover are currently not permitted – leaving you to cool your heels at The Pier Business lounge, which remains the only Cathay Pacific lounge open to passengers in transit.
Cathay Pacific saw an almost-doubling of passenger numbers in September 2022 compared to September 2021, although this is still an 89% decrease against September 2019.
Oneworld partner British Airways will resume flights to Hong Kong in early Decembe. As previously reported, Virgin Atlantic will no longer fly to Hong Kong, leaving BA and Cathay Pacific to soak up a Oneworld monopoly on flights between the UK and Asian financial hubs.