The World’s First 777 Will Be Retired Today

While United flew the world’s first 777 commercial flight, the first 777 produced actually belongs to Cathay Pacific. This is because Boeing used a 777-200 as a demonstrator for a few years during the airplane’s launch, and Cathay Pacific acquired the plane in 2000, and continue to operate it today. From then on, avgeeks around the world have made a point to try and fly on it, as there aren’t many 777-200s in Cathay Pacific’s fleet.

I had the chance to fly B-HNL (this aircraft) in June 2016 between Hong Kong and Taipei when it was swapped in place of an A350. Cathay Pacific’s lone A350 was grounded in Manila due to a battery error, and suffice to say that I was quite disappointed, as I was excited to try out Cathay’s A350 within the first month of its launch, not to mention that Cathay Pacific’s 777-200s are all configured with their subpar regional business class seats. Fortunately I was able to sample the A350 on my return flight, so all was well there.

IMG_0182Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport

However, the world’s first 777-200, B-HNL, will be brought out of service as of today, May 31, 2018. The aircraft took off today on the way to Osaka Kansai, and its last flight will be this afternoon on flight CX507 from Osaka to Hong Kong. CX507 will be operated by an A350 tomorrow, a 777-300ER this weekend, and a 777-300 starting next week.

Osaka Kansai Airport

This is part of a larger scheme where Cathay Pacific plans to take out their small 777-200 subfleet. Their plans are to retire two this year, and their other three early next year. It’s sad to see them go, for a variety of reasons.

What Retiring The 777-200 Means For Us

Cathay Pacific’s 777-200s currently run regionally, shuttling between Hong Kong and high-capacity routes. They run in a two-class configuration, with 42 seats in business class and 293 seats in economy.

For business class passengers the retiring of the 777-200 is great, as it only leaves 777-300s and select A330s with Cathay’s rather sad business class seats. Since Cathay currently isn’t taking delivery of any 777-300s or A330s, this means that more of Cathay’s regional routes will be flown by longhaul configured aircraft.

IMG_0183Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Regional Business Class

However, this is pretty bad news for economy passengers. Cathay Pacific plans to reconfigure all their 777-300ERs and 777-300s with 10-abreast economy seats by the end of the year, and those seats don’t look so good. The airline operates their comfy, plush “old” economy class seat on their 777-200s, so going forward only the A330s will feature this seat.

IMG_0185Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Economy Class

Bottom Line

It’s quite sad to see another aircraft being pulled out of Cathay Pacific’s fleet. I’m happy to see that Cathay Pacific’s dreadful regional business class seats are leaving with the aircraft, but I’m also sad to see that the great economy class seats are being pulled out with the aircraft as well. Going forward I’d go out of my way to fly an A330 when flying Cathay Pacific in economy class, and will continue to avoid their regional business class seat, which just isn’t so great.

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