Cathay Pacific is now flying its first class suites between Sydney and Hong Kong, with selected business class passengers enjoying a free upgrade to the elegant cribs.
However, the Hong Kong-based airline isn’t selling first class fares on the popular route and has no plans to do so, with a Cathay Pacific spokesperson assuring Australian Business Traveller “there are definitely no plans for first class out of Australia.”
Frequent flyers get a first class upgrade
Instead, the Cathay Pacific bump-ups from business class are being made on a ‘surprise and delight’ basis for top-tier frequent flyers if their aircraft happens to be one of Cathay’s four-class Boeing 777-300ER jets – which makes for plenty of delight on the 9½ hour journey.
The daily CX161/162 service between Sydney and Hong Kong has been seeing those jets over recent months as Cathay Pacific shuffles the Boeings through a refit program, and according to the Cathay Pacific spokesperson there is currently “no end date for first class on the route, it’s dependent on the retrofit schedule.”
The pointy end of those jets features six over-sized suites which are “allocated to Marco Polo Club and Oneworld members at the airport team’s discretion,” the spokesperson says.
Those six lucky flyers receive the same meals and drinks as their colleagues further back in business class, although some have remarked that the service is closer to first class standards.
Some of those Boeing 777s have also been fitted with fast inflight WiFi which Cathay Pacific is rolling out across its international fleet.
Cathay Pacific refreshed its Boeing 777 first class suites from late 2017 in the second makeover since the suites debuted in 2007, and plans to introduce all-new first class suites along with a next-generation business class on its Boeing 777-9 jets from 2021.
The airline is already working on mock-ups for its new first class, although Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year “we’re building models and testing different concepts, but we haven’t finalised it yet.”
High-walled private cribs and the more open design of the current Boeing 777 first class suites are both under consideration. “That’s the debate right now,’ Hogg confirmed, “although I won’t tell you which side of that debate we’re on, mainly because it’s not over.”