PREVIOUS | Cathay Pacific is updating its first class suites in what the airline terms a ‘mid-life refresh’, ahead of the expected debut of a new first class around 2018.
The overhaul will encompass all 24 of Cathay’s long-range Boeing 777-300ER airliners, but not the soon-to-be-retired Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets.
The first of the upgraded aircraft will begin flying at the end of July, and the project will be completed by the middle of next year.
Each seat will be re-covered with what Cathay describes as "a custom-made fabric that is soft and smooth to touch” and feature completely redesigned bedding plus a touch-screen controller for adjusting the seating position.
“The meal tray is now adjustable, we’ve created more room inside the personal closet and there’s a drinks holder on the new side console” says Toby Smith, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Product.
A pair of BOSE noise-cancelling headphones will also be on hand, although travellers may be less thrilled to see the popular Shanghai Tang pyjamas replaced by a sleep suit from Hong Kong “premium cotton and shirt specialist” Pye.
“We saw no pressing need to completely replace the first class product as the suites were only introduced in 2007 and are still very popular with our passengers” Smith explains.
“However, elements of the cabin were looking tired so we decided to make a few changes that will enhance the overall experience for our premium passengers.”
Changes to the cabin itself include a premium colour scheme involving “a glossy dark grey textured material on the outside of the suite, warm toned natural leather for most of the interior surfaces and a plush burgundy carpet in the aisle.”
Even the toilets are in for a touch-up, with new basins and counter-tops.
New first class circa 2018
The refresh will bridge the gap until Cathay Pacific introduces its new first class around 2018, tied to the delivery of the airline’s Airbus A350-1000 jets.
While the Airbus A350-900s scheduled for February 2016 sport a three-class configuration with business, premium economy and economy class, the larger A350-1000 will add a compact first class cabin.
“For the A350-1000, we will be looking at probably a new first class by that stage” Smith told Australian Business Traveller late last year.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.