Cathay Pacific to introduce Business Class ‘light’ fare

Rolling out over the next six months, the revamped fares accompany a reshuffle of checked baggage allowances.

By David Flynn, September 28 2021
Cathay Pacific to introduce Business Class ‘light’ fare

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."

Cathay Pacific's new three-tier economy fare family.
Cathay Pacific's new three-tier economy fare family.

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.

Also read: What it's like inside Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A321neo


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.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1000

As a regular overseas business traveller, I have to say that large luggage allowances rarely excite me.  I hate to travel with more than 23kg of luggage and, even if I'm going away for 3 weeks or so, I actively try to keep my suitcase well under 30kg.  It is just too much of a hassle lugging and lifting a heavy suitcase.

I suppose this move to Economy Light is aimed more at the lower end of the market who typically over-pack. The increases to luggage allowance across all other fares is surprising but also starts to stretch beyond practicality, do you really need two bags of 32kg EACH in business class? I find it's more common that I need an extra bag on my return leg because of shopping, rather than an increase in weight across the board. Anyway, I'm pleased that neither of these two 'Light' fares follows the trend of other airlines in cutting back everything in exchange for a slightly lower fare.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 339

This actually seems like a smart move by CX to one-up the likes of SQ and Emirates at least in terms of luggage. I would not have thought it makes that big a difference, obviously CX has some inside data which indicates it does, or maybe it's as ABT is saying above, they've just raised the numbers because they can and it looks good but only 1% of travellers will use that extra allowance anyway. Let's just hope CX doesn't turn around and reveal its new Business Light fare will actually be heavily unbundled!

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 214

Very pleased to here there will be nothing 'Light' about Cathay's 'Business Light' fare, compared to what some other airlines are doing. Same lounge access, advance seat selection etc. Still mystified CX can have a 'First Light' fare at all!

19 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

I can't wait to get my bum back on a CX flight! It's been way too long.

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