A Guide to Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club

Anyone who has flown with Cathay Pacific will have no doubt heard of the Marco Polo Club. “The Club”, as it’s sometimes referred to, is Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program, rewarding high-flyers with elite status. Despite how well-known the Marco Polo Club itself is, people generally tend to have a limited understanding of its inner workings and often have many unanswered questions about the program. Because I’m obsessed with Cathay Pacific and basically have no life, I thought it would be a good idea to dispel some common misconceptions about the program and do a quick “guide for dummies” about the program.

img_5635Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER

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Hong Kong Airlines Will Stop Flying To Miyazaki, Japan

This quick update is one that I found kind of sad. Hong Kong Airlines flies to many regional destinations around East Asia, and they fly to many destinations in Japan that the Cathay Pacific group doesn’t. While Hong Kong Airlines doesn’t fly to Fukuoka, they fly to Kagoshima and Miyazaki, both of which are pretty big tourist cities in Kyushu. They also fly to Yonago and Okayama, which no other airline flies to.

Hong Kong Airlines isn’t worried about experimenting newer routes with lower fares and lower frequencies, whereas Cathay Dragon strives for consistency, so they won’t launch a route until they’re sure they can fly it at least four or five times a week. Unfortunately this means that there’s less demand for some of the routes that they fly. In the case of their two Kyushu flights this time there’s good news and bad news.

Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A320 Taking Off Hong Kong Airport

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Introduction: A Wandering Seoul

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class Hong Kong To Seoul (First Class Seat)
Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (West)
Korean Air 777 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong

This trip report will consist of comprehensive reviews of the flights, lounges, and hotels that I visited during a quick family trip to Seoul, including a roundtrip booked on Korean Air business class.

Needing to be in Seoul with my family, I immediately had a look at Korean Air and Asiana’s business class prices on the route, since I know that Korean Air and Asiana consistently offer low prices on regional flights (the same can’t be said about their longhaul flights, though). I was able to pull up fares of HK$5,200 roundtrip on both airlines, which I don’t consider to be astronomical for intra-Asian business class (Cathay Pacific charges thrice as much). I would also be able to earn Korean Air SkyPass miles had I flown Korean Air, and Singapore KrisFlyer miles had I flown Asiana. I had also flown Korean Air many times before, but I’ve never flown Asiana.

One deciding factor made the choice very easy for me. Korean Air was flying some of their new aircraft with Apex Suites between Hong Kong and Seoul, which we’d be able to book ourselves onto on the outbound flight, despite not being able to on the return flight. Meanwhile, Asiana was flying A330s and 747s between the two cities, both of which feature angled flat seats that wouldn’t make as exciting of a review.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Business Class

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Incheon’s Disappointing Brand New Terminal 2

Yesterday I flew Korean Air from Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong, and I detailed my initial thoughts in a “preview” post as usual (the review will come next week). To get to my flight I had to use Seoul Incheon’s brand new Terminal 2, which Korean Air started using in January this year. I’ve heard very good things about the terminal, and was excited to check it out.

Korean Air Terminal 2 Seoul Incheon

Incheon’s Terminal 2 is a really nice terminal. The terminal is airy, the waiting lines are way shorter than in Terminal 1, and everything is pretty new, which I like. However, I was left disappointed and don’t think the terminal has anything on some of the best in the world, such as Singapore Changi or even Hong Kong Airport.

Why, might you ask? What’s not to love?

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What Is Korean Air’s Old 777 Business Class Like?

I’ve spent some time with friends and family in Seoul over the past week, and just last Friday I detailed my (unexpected, given the circumstances) reseating in Korean Air 747-8 first class on the way to Incheon Airport. On the same ticket I had to get back home, and just now I did so on a Korean Air 777-300ER. While I would’ve wanted to get on one of Korean Air’s frequencies with Apex Suites, the flight we ended up booking was more suited to our schedules by far, so I was happy to try out Korean Air’s older product on the way home. While I’ve done so on the Korean Air A330 and 777-200, it’s been a couple of years, and I’ve never flown Korean Air’s 777-300ER.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class 

Once again the first class cabin was opened up for business class seat selection on this flight. However, they only decided to open up the cabin to full fare passengers, and we were booked into the lowest fare bucket (while I’ve written that you shouldn’t take BS from an airport officer when it comes to managing your travels, this is a reason I can completely get behind). So while I didn’t get to sit there, I still got to photograph the first class seat, which I’ll include in the full review.

With that, how was my flight? Good, actually – I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

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Cathay Pacific Changes Website Regions, Pisses Off Facebook…

Cathay Pacific recently changed their website regions to reflect the Chinese government’s “One China” policy, renaming Taiwan to “Taiwan China”. This comes following orders from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, who recently sent notices to 44 global airlines to change their websites to explicitly reflect Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet as parts of China. Airlines who did not comply would face unspecified sanctions.  Cathay Pacific, along with American Airlines, Delta and United, was one of the last airlines to make the change, doing so right before the CAAC’s deadline.

On Cathay Pacific’s website, Hong Kong is now explicitly listed as a Special Administrative Region, while Taiwan is now called “Taiwan China” (wtf?). In comparison, Cathay Pacific’s previous website menu listed Taiwan as a “region” of China but did not explicitly refer to Taiwan as a part of China. I guess that Cathay Pacific could hypothetically get away with not referring to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China”, but rather as “Taiwan China”, implying that it is not technically a part of China but rather another China…

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Korean Air’s 747-8 First Class Seat In 10 Pictures

Yesterday I detailed how I managed to “charter” the nose of a Korean Air 747-8 out for our family on business class tickets. We were incredibly lucky for everything to have worked out the way it did, and at the end I probably ticked something off my bucket list that I never thought I’d be able to – getting the entire family in first class and letting them see firsthand what our entire industry aspires to be able to do for pennies on the dollar. While obviously I’ll have a full review coming next week, this is the “teaser” post detailing the first class cabin. As for the soft product, I detailed this in my teaser post of the business class experience yesterday, as we still received business class service and catering.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 First Class Cabin (not pictured: me silently screaming behind the camera)

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SO COOL: How Our Family Scored A 747 First Class Cabin To Ourselves On Business Class Tickets!

Earlier today I mentioned that I booked business class flying from Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon. I was booked on the 747-8, featuring Apex Suites in business class. It’s in my knowledge that it’s common for airlines to assign first class seats to frequent flyers booked in business class on select regional flights, and it’s also not impossible for non-frequent flyers to get these seat assignments as well (I’ve actually done some of these seat assignments for readers in the past). However, today was a series of lucky streaks that eventually got me flying in a first class seat from Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon on a Korean Air 747-8.

Happier than pretzel day in Korean Air first class!

I decided I’d share my story, as well as some tips for how you can get assigned a first class seat on a two-class-service airline (it was more or less pure luck that we had the cabin to ourselves, though).

Continue reading “SO COOL: How Our Family Scored A 747 First Class Cabin To Ourselves On Business Class Tickets!”

What Is Korean Air’s 747-8 Business Class Like?

Hello from Seoul! Today I flew Korean Air’s 747-8 from Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon. I can’t even begin to say how much we lucked out on this flight, and how it’s hands down the best flight I’ve ever had in my life. However, first of all I need to objectively review Korean Air’s business class product.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Hong Kong Airport

I’ve flown Korean Air’s business class many times in the past, and have sampled their angled flat business class product, as well as their fully flat business class product featured on most of their aircraft. Today I had the chance to sample and photograph their newest business class product, which is the Apex Suite. I’ve never flown the Apex Suite before, though people have christened it one of the world’s best business class seats.

As usual, you can expect a full review of Korean Air’s business class (or at least what I flew), but here’s my first impressions of the product.

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What’s It Like To Fly Cathay Pacific’s One-Stop Service to New York?

I recently had the chance to fly on Cathay Pacific’s service from Hong Kong to Vancouver to New York. While I ordinarily would have chosen a non-stop service straight to New York or Newark, I needed to take advantage of the late departure time of the flight as well as the early morning arrival to catch a bus to my summer school.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

While we’ve extensively reviewed Cathay’s long-haul Business Class product on the Boeing 777-300ER, I thought I would only report on the Vancouver connection experience and talk a little bit about the ways in which the experience was different from taking a non-stop flight.

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