Guide to Cathay Pacific First Class: All You Need to Know in 2024

by Jem
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Ready for luxury in the skies? Welcome to our comprehensive guide to flying Cathay Pacific first class. We’ll cover everything from booking to landing, in-flight amenities, and tips on how to save money on your airfare. Discover what makes Cathay Pacific one of the best airlines in Asia.

On my trip to Asia last year, I had the pleasure of flying Cathay Pacific first class to their hub in Hong Kong. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the air, hands down. In this guide, I’m sharing everything you need to know, drawn from my own travels with one of Asia’s best airlines.

As a travel blogger, I’ve reviewed dozens of airlines, providing my readers with transparent, firsthand insights into the best (and worst) in-flight experiences. This guide is based on my direct experiences with Cathay Pacific’s premium offerings.

I’ll take you through the complete first-class experience, from the exclusive check-in process to the superior in-flight service and amenities. You’ll get insights into amazing airport lounges, seat features, dining options, and entertainment available on board. Let’s dive right in!

My #1 tip to find cheap first class tickets with Cathay Pacific

Looking to save BIG on Cathay Pacific First Class? Before jumping into the article, I first wanted to give you this insider tip to find cheap airfare on first class flights.

For years, I’ve been using this site called Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which sends you alerts on airline deals, discounts, and mistake fares. It’s a total game-changer, saving me $10,000+ on flights each year.

Their $49/year premium version is well worth it- just one discounted flight pays for the whole thing. I recommend trying the free trial and using my special discount code JON20 to save 20%!

And if you’re into business/first class, you’ll want to sign up for their Elite version. Last year, this service saved me $2,750 on a first class flight and $1,500 on a business class flight. At just $199 year year, trust me, it’s a small price for massive savings.

Overview of Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is Hong Kong’s largest airline, based at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). It connects to 81 destinations in 29 countries, including major cities across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. In the U.S., it flies to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.

Recognized as a 5-star airline, Cathay Pacific has been voted the world’s best airline four times by Skytrax. It’s also a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, which broadens its reach through partner airlines.

The airline boasts a modern fleet of 157 aircraft, with significant orders placed for future expansion and upgrading. These include 8 A320neo, 28 A321neo, and 21 777-9 aircraft.

Cathay Pacific First Class flight for all types of travelers.

Cathay Pacific first class configuration & routes

Cathay Pacific’s first class is an exclusive experience, offered only on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The airline offers first class flights from Hong Kong to select destinations such as Beijing, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Paris, and Tokyo Haneda. These routes cater to travelers looking for comfort on long-haul flights.

The first class cabin is designed for utmost privacy and comfort, featuring just six seats. These are arranged in a 1-1-1 layout. This allows every passenger direct aisle access and a personal, secluded space. Hands down, it’s one of the best first class seats in the world.

Cathay Pacific first class baggage allowance

When flying Cathay Pacific first class, the baggage allowance is as generous as you’d expect for such a premium service.

Passengers can check three bags, each up to 32 kg (70 lbs). This ample limit allows you to pack extensively, whether for a long vacation or an important business trip, without worrying about leaving essentials behind.

For carry-on luggage, the allowance is also quite liberal. You can bring one main piece weighing up to 15 kg (33 lbs), along with a smaller personal item measuring up to 40 x 30 x 15 cm (16 x 12 x 6 in).

Airport experience when flying Cathay Pacific first class

Flying Cathay Pacific First Class begins with a standout airport experience, clearly a notch above even their own business class.

Check-in

At Hong Kong International Airport, first class passengers enjoy a private check-in area. This not only speeds up the process but also connects directly to a dedicated security line.

The Pier Lounge

Cathay Pacific offers two first class lounges at its Hong Kong hub. The first, named The Pier, redefines what an airport lounge can be. It’s styled like a luxurious living room rather than a typical lounge, complete with mid-century modern furniture and an elegant, calm ambiance. The Dining Room at The Pier offers a large menu and gives you runway views that turn a meal into a special event.

Opposite this, The Bar is a striking circular space surrounded by greenery and soft lighting, perfect for relaxing with a drink. The lounge also includes shower rooms and private day suites, offering places to refresh and unwind.

The Wing Lounge

Cathay’s other first class lounge is called The Wing. It features exclusive first class amenities, including cabanas. These are private suites with showers, bathtubs, daybeds, and large mirrors. The cabanas offer privacy and luxury unmatched in most airport settings. Moreover, The Wing provides a great selection of food and drinks, maintaining high standards of comfort and quality.

Arriving at the airport is superb when flying with this airline, compared to their business class.
Arriving at the airport is superb when flying with this airline, compared to their business class. | Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

In-flight comfort & amenities on Cathay Pacific first class

The experience in the air is one of the reasons why Cathay Pacific is one of the best first class airlines in the world. Here’s what you can expect on board.

Seats

The cabin’s 1-1-1 layout guarantees both space and privacy. Each seat is the world’s widest in first class at 36 inches and extends to a full flat bed when you’re ready to rest. You get massage functions, plenty of storage, and charging ports right at your seat. For sleeping, there’s luxurious bedding from Bamford, complete with high-thread-count sheets, your choice of pillows, and a cozy duvet.

In-flight entertainment

Each first-class seat is equipped with a 17-inch monitor, offering a vast selection of films and TV shows. With such a large selection, finding something to match your mood is easy.

Amenities

Enjoy top-notch comfort items like Bose noise-canceling headphones, a high-quality amenity kit featuring brands like Aesop or Bamford, and soft designer pajamas with slippers and an eye mask.

Wi-Fi

While Wi-Fi isn’t available on all of Cathay Pacific’s 777 aircraft yet, the service is being progressively rolled out. However, the selection of movies and TV shows on the IFE system should keep you occupied.

This airline is among the top first class airlines in the world due to the journey it offers while flying.
This airline is among the top first class airlines in the world due to the journey it offers while flying. | Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

On-board dining in Cathay Pacific first class

You won’t go hungry when flying first class with Cathay Pacific. The menu is extensive and caters to every taste.

Food

From the moment you settle in, a glass of high-end Champagne welcomes you. The seats are designed for space, easily accommodating dining for two. You can start with a caviar course, complete with blinis, chives, crème fraîche, and chopped eggs. For your main course, there’s a choice between a three-course Western or Chinese menu. Both are crafted to impress. If you get hungry later, you can always pick something from the snack menu. This usually includes fresh noodles and dim sum.

Beverages

The drink selection is just as impressive. You’ll find everything from rare champagnes and fine wines to premium spirits. For those preferring non-alcoholic options, there’s a variety of teas and coffees. Whatever your choice, it’s sure to perfectly complement your meal.

This airline offers a wide range of options to suit every taste.
This airline offers a wide range of options to suit every taste. | Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

Tips for booking Cathay Pacific first class flights

Hunting for cheap first class flights to Hong Kong? It might seem daunting, but with the right tips, you can secure a spot in this premier cabin without overspending. Here are some pointers to help you navigate the booking process.

  • Use Asia Miles: Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program, Asia Miles, is often the best way to book first class flights to Hong Kong. You’ll find more availability and can book almost a year in advance, which is ideal for planning those special trips.
  • Maximize long flights: With Asia Miles using a distance-based chart, your best value comes from booking longer flights. Aim for the upper limit of their chart, around 7,500+ miles, to get the most out of your miles.
  • Subscribe to Cheap Flight Alerts: Again, if you want to find the best possible deals on business class airfare, I highly recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going.com). While the free version is great for finding discounted economy flights, the Elite version is what you’ll need to find cheap business and first class deals.

By following these tips, you can make booking Cathay Pacific first class a more attainable and rewarding experience.

Cathay Pacific first class vs. rival products

There are plenty of airlines that fly to Asia from the US. Comparing Cathay Pacific first class with its rivals means looking closely at what each offers, and I’ve flown enough to have a say on this. Here’s how it stacks up:

Singapore Airlines vs. Cathay Pacific

Singapore Airlines is renowned for its luxurious individual suites that feel like mini hotel rooms, complete with sliding doors for privacy. Their service is impeccable, and they offer a wider range of international routes.

Cathay Pacific, while not offering enclosed suites, provides exceptionally comfortable seats and personalized service. If your priority is privacy and a larger network, Singapore Airlines might edge out. However, for a warm, personalized flying experience, Cathay Pacific holds its ground well.

Cathay Pacific vs. ANA

ANA’s first class features the latest in cabin design, including “THE Suite,” which boasts large doors and a huge entertainment screen. Technologically, ANA leads, and offers a slightly wider range of routes within Asia.

Cathay Pacific’s strength lies in its service and less tech-heavy but highly comfortable cabin experience. For tech enthusiasts and frequent flyers within Asia, ANA could be more appealing. Otherwise, Cathay Pacific’s service excellence is hard to beat.

Japan Airlines vs. Cathay Pacific

Japan Airlines provides a high level of luxury, with standout dining and an extensive wine selection. Their First Class cabins offer privacy and comfort, and JAL has a wide reach, especially within Asia.

In comparison, Cathay Pacific’s first class is more restricted. It’s available only on select Boeing 777-300ERs serving limited but strategic long-haul routes, primarily to major cities like London, New York, and Los Angeles. This limits options if you’re looking for a first class experience on other routes.

The superiority of Cathay Pacific's services is difficult to surpass.
The superiority of Cathay Pacific’s services is difficult to surpass. | Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cathay Pacific first class

Are you still curious about which airline is the best to fly to Hong Kong? Here are some questions I get asked a lot that will help decide whether Cathay Pacific first class is the right option for you.

Is Cathay Pacific a good airline to fly with?

Yes, Cathay Pacific is highly regarded as a good airline to fly with. It consistently receives accolades for its service, comfort, and safety. As a 5-star airline according to Skytrax, Cathay Pacific is known for its excellent customer service, modern fleet, and high standards in both economy and premium classes.

Which is better: Emirates or Cathay Pacific?

The choice between Emirates and Cathay Pacific often depends on personal preferences and specific needs. Emirates excels in luxury, particularly with its first class services and extensive entertainment system. Cathay Pacific is favored for its exceptional service and strong network in Asia. Your choice might depend on whether you value opulence or connectivity and service.

One of my favorite plane travel experiences was first class on Cathay Pacific.
One of my favorite plane travel experiences was first class on Cathay Pacific. | Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

Do you get free alcohol on Cathay Pacific?

Yes, Cathay Pacific provides complimentary alcohol on all its flights. Passengers can enjoy a variety of wines, beers, and spirits.

Does Cathay Pacific have lie-flat seats?

Yes, Cathay Pacific offers lie-flat seats in its long-haul business and first class cabins. The first class seats are especially spacious and comfortable, converting into fully flat beds.

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