Cathay Pacific plans to roll out entry-level 'Light' versions of its business class and even first class fares in line with the airline's adoption of a revised three-tiered economy fare structure of Economy Light, Economy Essential and Economy Flex.
Those revamped economy fares, which the airline officially launches today on selected routes ahead of a global rollout over the coming six months, incorporate a shift in baggage policy from being based on weight to being based on 'pieces', or the number of bags.
However, there's no need for business travellers and frequent flyers to panic: Cathay's 'Business Light' and 'First Light' fares won't follow the unbundled trend usually associated with 'Light' fares such as removing lounge access, reducing checked baggage allowance or stripping away any other long-standing primo perks.
According to the Cathay Pacific wesbite, business, first and even premium economy fares "will display the Light/Essential/Flex label", although happily the "offerings will remain unchanged."
In other words, Cathay Pacific's three types of business class fares will transition from being badged Save, Standard and Flex to Light, Essential and Flex – but will still include lounge access, advanced seat selection and everything else that business class flyers have come to expect over the decades.
Cathay Pacific's new economy fares take effect today for flights ticketed from Malaysia, South Korea or the Taiwan region, and will be "extended across the rest of the network over the next six months."
The lower-priced Economy Light fare provides only one piece of free checked baggage (up to 23kg), compared to the two bags permitted under the Economy Essential and Flex fares – although Gold and Diamond members of Cathay's Marco Polo Club are entitled to one piece of complimentary checked baggage on top of their fare's baggage allowance.
Economy Light fares also forego niceties such as free advance seat selection (although this remains available to Marco Polo Club Silver, Gold and Diamond members) and the ability to upgrade to premium economy or business class using Asia Miles.
The checked baggage allowance for premium economy will remain fixed at two bags of up to 23kg each.
In business class, that baggage allowance increases to two bags of 32kg each, although flights between Hong Kong and New Zealand will see that bumped up to three bags of 23kg each.
Cathay's piece-based baggage allowance for first class will be three bags of 32kg each.