Luxury style: Cathay Pacific brings back First Class as Hong Kong fully re-opens

by James Wilkinson

Cathay Pacific’s legendary First Class has made a sensational return to the sky, with the Hong Kong-based carrier now offering the cabin on flights to London Heathrow, with Paris and Tokyo (Haneda) set to re-join the network over the coming months.

The move to bring back First Class comes alongside the exciting news Hong Kong is dropping all quarantine requirements from this week (Dec 14).

According to Cathay Pacific, the decision to remove the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong “will help further boost sentiment for travel, especially among inbound visitors, thereby facilitating the resumption of travel activities and strengthening of network connectivity at the Hong Kong aviation hub”.

The Cathay Pacific Group, which includes passenger airlines Cathay Pacific and HK Express, has already added about 3,000 passenger flight sectors in the fourth quarter of this year.

This includes Cathay Pacific resuming flights to popular destinations such as Tokyo (Haneda), Denpasar (Bali) and Zurich in November, as well as Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang and Dhaka in December. More popular destinations are set to be resumed in 2023, including Phuket and Nagoya in January.

“The Group remains fully committed to rebuilding the connectivity of the Hong Kong international aviation hub,” a Cathay Pacific spokesperson said.

“As a Group, we are on track to achieve our target of operating up to one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels by the end of 2022.

“We anticipate that we will be operating around 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, with an aim to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.”

Back onboard and since 5 and 6 December, customers can now travel First class with Cathay Pacific on the airline’s prime daily London Heathrow flight, CX251/CX252 respectively. This coincides with the addition of even more flight frequencies to and from London Heathrow.

First class will then be returning to Cathay Pacific’s Paris flight CX261/CX260 from 18 January 2023, followed by its Tokyo (Haneda) flight CX548/CX549 from 1 February 2023.

“We are extremely excited to be bringing back our First Class service after an extended absence as the world’s appetite for travel comes roaring back,” said Cathay Pacific General Manager Customer Experience and Design, Vivian Lo.

“We know our customers have been eagerly anticipating being able to fly First class with us again, and we are delighted to be offering it on routes that we know are incredibly popular with them.

“We are very proud of the elevated First class experience we provide, which has been thoughtfully curated to offer our customers a bespoke journey centred on enjoying inspired flavours, calming fragrances and refined textures whenever they travel.

“We very much look forward to welcoming our First Class customers on board and delivering the very best of what Cathay Pacific has to offer,” Lo said.

To mark the return of its First Class service, Cathay Pacific is introducing a celebratory limited edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne from the House of Krug as well as a special celebratory edition of Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Château Lynch-Bages 2000 – both superb vintages from Bordeaux.

Available in First class on flights to and from London in December, this special offering celebrates Cathay Pacific’s long-standing partnerships with House of Krug and Château Lynch-Bages, with whom it has partnered since 1986 and 1989, respectively.

In addition to the airline’s extensive wine cellar, beverage options also include teas from JING, cold pressed juices from Bless and the airline’s own Betsy craft beer produced by expert Hong Kong brewery, Gweilo Beer.

Cathay Pacific’s First Class service allows customers to dine at their preferred time choosing from a wide variety of fresh flavours and contemporary dishes that include not just hearty favourites, but more nutritious wellness options and authentic Hong Kong dishes.

The airline has sourced some of the best ingredients from producers that support sustainable and ethical practices. This includes award-winning pork from Dingley Dell Farm, certified sustainable Nordic Skrei cod, organic free-range eggs from Sunny Queen Farms in Australia, and more.

Customers flying First class from Hong Kong before 31 December will also be able to enjoy Cathay Pacific’s special Christmas-themed menus.

The First class dining service is complemented by contemporary tableware, including chinaware from Noritake, cutlery from Robert Welch and restaurant-range wine glasses from Riedel.

Cathay Pacific has also partnered with Bamford to provide First class passengers with exquisite bedding and amenities, including 600-thread-count sustainably sourced cotton bedlinen, men’s and women’s natural skincare products, and amenity kits.

Customers can also select their choice of pillow from the pillow menu and when they are ready for their turndown service, cabin crew will transform their space into the softest bed in the sky.

This starts with laying down their mattress and duvet, followed by their pillow of choice with lavender-scented Bamford Pillow Mist. A cotton sleep suit, slippers and eye mask from Hong Kong brand PYE completes the sensory experience.

To offer customers an even more elevated First Class experience, Cathay Pacific has its Premium Ambassador programme.

Working with Hong Kong hotel The Upper House, the programme provides specialised hospitality training for Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew to enable them to become ambassadors for its elevated First class offering.

According to Cathay Pacific, all these elements come together to relax the mind, body and spirit, and give customers a complete, personalised journey as lavish as any experience they would enjoy on the ground.