Now that Hong Kong has reopened to the rest of the world, Cathay Pacific is not only rebuilding its global network but restarting first class flights to prime destinations.
Following the return of its flagship Boeing 777-300ER jets with six first class suites to London as daily flights CX251/CX252 beginning last week, Cathay has also rostered first-equipped Boeing 777s to Paris and Tokyo for early 2023.
Paris will see Cathay’s first class on flights CX261/CX260 from 18 January 2023, followed by its Tokyo Haneda flights CX548/CX549 from 1 February.
“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,” notes Vivian Lo, the airline’s General Manager, Customer Experience and Design.
To celebrate the return of its first class service, Lo says First passengers will be served a celebratory limited edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne on board, as well as a special editions of Bordeaux vintages Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Château Lynch-Bages 2000.
Other creature comforts will include Bamford bedding and amenities, including 600-thread-count sustainably sourced cotton bedlinen, with a pillow menu and lavender-scented Bamford Pillow Mist.
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.
Although Oneworld partner British Airways resumed flights to Hong Kong in early December, 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.
Cathay Pacific expects to be operating around 70% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, "with an aim to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.”