BOOKED: JAL Business Class, Cathay Pacific First Class

There are many good uses of miles. One thing I like is to buy miles during a promotion, when you can score a flight in a cabin that otherwise would’ve cost you double. Another way I like to use miles is to maximise them – for example, flying from Hong Kong to Perth for 65,000 KrisFlyer miles roundtrip, when Hong Kong to Taipei costs 40,000 KrisFlyer miles (actually…)

But there’s no better way than to fly from point A to point B with purpose and redeeming miles for an amazing product when you realise your miles are about to expire in the coming month.

Japan Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class

This is what happened to my mom late last week, so we spent some time securing a couple of flights for myself and her, and I’m so excited…

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Cathay Pacific Honors New Years Mistake Fare

Happy new year! How did you spend your new years? I spent mine counting down with a friend, getting home at 12:30 AM, and getting knocked out until 10 AM the next morning – the perfect night, if you ask me. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the guys at Cathay Pacific didn’t have as sweet a night as I did.

Cathay Pacific ran a mistake fare sale a couple of days ago when flights from Vietnam to the U.S. ran for ~HK$5,290 in business class and ~HK$8,000 in first class. Obviously, they probably left out a 0 or something, since a typical Cathay Pacific ticket can barely take you to Hong Kong from Vietnam for that price in a premium cabin.

IMG_0580Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin

The fare itself was gone when I woke up, so I couldn’t do any useful reporting on it. Instead I’m just a speculator at this point, and will talk about how I think Cathay Pacific handled this fare.

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I Flew Cathay Pacific’s New Narrower Economy Seat…and Hated It

TL/DR: Although I can’t blame Cathay Pacific for their new 10-abreast Economy seats, I had an awful experience, and I will be avoiding them like I do with all my school deadlines.

Hello from Hong Kong! I just came back from a short trip to Tokyo and had a fantastic time. This trip was especially noteworthy since it was my very first time flying on Cathay Pacific’s newly retrofitted regional Boeing 777-300 aircraft. In a bid to drive up profits, Cathay has begun rapidly retrofitting it’s Boeing 777 fleet with new “densified” Economy cabins, which squeeze in an extra seat per row. I wanted to book this flight to experience the new cabins myself to see if Cathay delivered on their promise to “ease the pain” of the reduced seat width in the new seats.

img_5635Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport

So, I finally flew the flight last Wednesday – and yeah, the experience wasn’t the best. Here are my first impressions:

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Cathay Pacific Promises Inflight WiFi On All Longhaul Flights By End 2019

Every now and then we see airlines give ambitious plans that they don’t manage to follow through with. You know Qatar Airways’ beautiful QSuite? That was supposed to be rolled out by 2015, but didn’t make an appearance until 2017 (expect a review of that mid-year, by the way). Remember Cathay Pacific’s first A350? That was supposed to come out in January 2016, but it made its inaugural flight in June.

One of the pet peeves I’ve always had when flying Cathay Pacific is the almost-universal lack of WiFi. I wrote about this at the beginning of the year, as I was irritated by the fact that none of Cathay Pacific’s longest flights featured WiFi. While this is ultimately a first-world problem, inflight WiFi makes the inflight experience much smoother for those traveling on business.

Cathay Pacific’s flights to New York are 16 hours long, and run by 777s; albeit comfortable, these planes don’t feature WiFi

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How To Deal With Cathay Pacific’s Latest Security Breach: “Do”s and “Don’t”s

Over the past few months Cathay Pacific underwent a security breach where details of many Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles accounts were revealed to the public. Airlines are really strict on security and privacy, due to the extensive documentation they require from you in order to fly you safely; these documents were made vulnerable during the latest security breach.

As you’d expect from any airline (I don’t consider their extensive research into the situation to be impressive by any means, though don’t have any complaints), Cathay Pacific immediately jumped onto the situation, and now account holders are receiving rolling emails about their details’ involvement in the situation.

Most of the below is common sense, but I thought I’d quickly compile a list of “do”s and “don’t”s for what to do, since a large number of accounts were breached.

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Cathay Pacific Is Closing Their Arrivals Lounge At Hong Kong Airport

I love when airlines offer arrivals lounges at their hub airports. They’re a good way to prolong the premium travel experience, so the airline continues to take care of you until it’s time for you to get to your hotel. It means you have somewhere to go when your flight arrives at 5 AM and your hotel check-in is at 3 PM (for this reason, a lot of arrivals lounges are only open from 5 AM to 12 PM, and close for the remainder of the day).

Cathay Pacific has long offered an arrivals lounge at Hong Kong Airport, located in one of the passageways between Terminals 1 and 2. The lounge opened in 2008, and is open all day, between 5 AM and 12 AM. It’s also open to everyone flying in first or business class on Cathay Pacific (read: not any oneworld airline), or oneworld Emerald members (Cathay Pacific Diamond and Gold members also have access) arriving on a Cathay Pacific flight.

img_2661Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge Hong Kong Entrance

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Comparing Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines’ A350 Business Class Seat

Last month Hong Kong Airlines introduced their new A350 business class product, which I had the chance to tour and extensively write about. Hong Kong Airlines’ newest A350s all feature reverse herringbone seats in business class, which Cathay Pacific has operated on a majority of their longhaul fleet since 2011 (including on their A350s, even though they evolved their reverse herringbone seat in 2016). Reverse herringbone seats are my favourite business class configuration out there, due to the smart balance between privacy, comfort, and storage, so you’ll have a comfortable flight either way.

However, as you’d expect, having installed this seat quite late in the game, there are definitely many features to Hong Kong Airlines’ reverse herringbone seat on their newest A350s that differ from what you’d find on Cathay Pacific.

Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin

IMG_0580Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin

I thought I’d put these two seats head-to-head, and decide which seat is more comfortable for a longhaul flight. Both of these seats will be deployed on flights of over 12 hours, so nuances in seat design can really catapult your experience in a business class product on such a long flight.

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SNEAK PEEK: Cathay Pacific’s NEW Business Class Dining Concept

I’m a fan of Andrew from Expatriate Days’ photos on Instagram. Earlier this month he had the chance to fly Cathay Pacific’s inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Washington Dulles on the new A350-1000, which included Cathay Pacific’s new dining concept. I reached out to Andrew to see if he could provide his thoughts in a post, and he was kind enough to oblige.

Here they are below. While all opinions below are his, I largely agree with them (I’ve been more critical of Cathay Pacific’s current premium product than he has, though). Thanks, Andrew! 🙂

In September, I had to fly from New York to Shanghai for business. The month of September must be a busy travel time as premium cabins were largely full on more desirable carriers — JAL, ANA, Cathay, even the U.S. carriers.

I couldn’t book myself onto one of the five Cathay flights from New York, but luckily space was available on the flight from Washington D.C.— Cathay’s longest flight by distance — and on the inaugural flight no less. The flight nicely coincided with the dates that I needed to fly, so as a result, I got to experience two new Cathay features: the A350-1000 service (with updated reverse herringbone seating and inflight WiFi) along with the new Cathay business class dining concept.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Washington Dulles Airport

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BOOK NOW: Cheap Cathay Pacific Fares From Mainland China to New York City

As part of Cathay Pacific’s latest push into the mainland Chinese market, they are now offering a series of cheap fares for travel between Beijing or Shanghai to New York. While this doesn’t really sit well with Cathay’s improved yields, I’m not exactly complaining.

Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class, which you’ll get on a majority of flights from Hong Kong to the U.S. – not the world’s best experience, though a very, good seat

These fares are for travel during December of this year. While dates tend to vary, I recommend heading over to Cathay’s website where you’ll find a published “matrix” of fare information with information about the cheapest days to fly. These fares generally tend to pop up with a departure date from early December onwards and a return date from after the 23rd of December, although it’s best to check dates that you will be travelling on.

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My Worst Flight on Cathay Pacific Yet…

Let me just preface this post by saying that this wasn’t a terrible flight by any means. However, having had the good fortune to fly Cathay Pacific pretty frequently over the past few years, the service that I received on this flight was pretty abysmal and not at all what I would expect from one of the world’s best airlines, so I thought I’d just share about this experience here. 

A few days ago, I flew from Hong Kong to Bangkok on one of Cathay Pacific’s late-night frequencies, which was operated by their regionally-configured A330 (Alvin’s flown this in the past, but in the meantime all the regional A330s with their newer economy seats were transferred to Cathay Dragon, leaving Cathay Pacific with shell seats on all but one of their regional A330s). Going into this flight, I was expecting it to be representative of your average Cathay Pacific regional experience — comfortable and decent, but nothing too surprising. As you can probably guess by this point, it turned out to be one of the most disappointing flights I’ve ever had on Cathay Pacific.

This specific flight pattern involves a night flight down to Bangkok, a one-night layover and then a morning or early afternoon return from Bangkok. This clearly isn’t especially desirable for crews, and it really showed in the service.

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