Cathay Pacific has been busy recently. In addition to the new business class cabin Australian Business Traveller reported on last month, the Hong Kong airline has announced a new flight to Chicago, a third daily flight to New York, and an aircraft upgrade for regional Asian flights.
New flight to Chicago
The new Chicago flight means that travellers can reach the city without transferring to a US domestic airline at a west coast hub. Since Chicago's O'Hare airport is one of American Airlines' hubs, the new route also provides a lot more options for transferring to connecting flights.
Travellers to Australian cities without direct flights to the USA, could find this a time-saver. Connecting in Hong Kong will also be significantly more pleasant than LAX, especially with access to the excellent Cathay Pacific lounges: the Wing, the Pier and the new Cabin.
Beginning in March, but bookable right now, CX806 will leave Hong Kong at 1145 local time, arriving in Chicago at 1345 on the same day and taking 15 hours. Its return, CX807, leaves at 1525 and arrives in Hong Kong at 2000 the next day, taking 15 hours and 35 minutes.
In Australia, Cathay Pacific flies direct to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Flying via Hong Kong does add on a few hours compared with a flight to the US from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, though -- around nine hours from Australian cities to Hong Kong, then fifteen to Chicago, rather than fourteen to LA and then four to Chicago.
A third flight to New York
Cathay will also be adding on a third daily flight to New York JFK in March, giving Australians heading for the capital of the world more connection options and timetable choice.
The 0120 departure on CX845 sounds excellent: it's an opportunity to fly out after a full evening in New York while still getting some proper sleep. Currently, travellers have to take an early morning US domestic flight westbound and connect at a west coast hub.
CX845 takes just under 16 hours and arrives into Hong Kong at 0515 a day later. Its corresponding flight, CX846, leaves Hong Kong at 1830 and arrives into JFK at 2225 the same day.
Cathay's JFK departures will now be at 0120, 1405 and 1900, getting into Hong Kong at 0515, 1405 and 1900 the following day, respectively. Flights will depart Hong Kong at 0925, 1625 and 1830, with arrivals into JFK at 1310, 2030 and 2225 the same day.
Longhaul planes with better seats on shorthaul Asian flights
In what outgoing CEO Tony Tyler -- off to head up IATA -- calls "intelligent misuse", more longhaul Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft that would otherwise be sitting on the tarmac at Hong Kong will be flying short-haul to Asian destinations.
Cathay has nine of these aircraft on order, plus thirty of the brand new Airbus A350s (which are due to arrive from 2016).
This is a smart move by Cathay, which currently uses its regional fleet of A330s for these Asian flights, so the upgrade to better seating will please business travellers. With Cathay's fantastic new business class seats due to start appearing on the Sydney-Hong Kong route soon, it would be a bit of a shock to find the old-style recliners on a Hong Kong-Asia connection.
What do you think about the new flights and upgraded aircraft? Let us know in the comments section.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.