One thing I love about Cathay Pacific in comparison to some other Asian airlines is the number of routes they operate within Asia with first class service.
There’s nothing quite like an international first class cabin on a one to four hour flight. That’s especially true after a longhaul, when you really just want to sleep. Over the years I’ve flown Cathay Pacific first class intra-Asia on Hong Kong to Singapore, Hong Kong to Manila, Manila to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong to Tokyo.
Anyway, years ago a majority of Cathay Pacific’s flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita featured a first class cabin. However, as of late they’ve mostly been operated by regionally configured planes with just economy and business class.
Interestingly Cathay Pacific has been sending their longhaul planes with a first class cabin to Tokyo Haneda instead. I guess that’s not really surprising given that premium cabin passengers actually traveling to/from Tokyo would prefer flying into Haneda as opposed to Narita.
However, it looks like Cathay Pacific is finally putting some longhaul aircraft (with a first class cabin) back in the Tokyo Narita rotation between March 28 and May 31, 2014. It seems like on average they’ll be running two 747s per day — one nonstop from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong, and the other from Tokyo Narita to Taipei to Hong Kong.
This is exciting because I’ve been wanting to try Japan Airlines’ new first class between the US and Tokyo Narita, but have sort of hesitated because most of the flights out of Tokyo Narita are operated by aircraft with a regional business class cabin (which is one of the reasons I was eying the Japan Airlines Tokyo Narita to Jakarta flight, operated by a 777-300ER).
Don’t get me wrong, that’s totally a “first world problem,” but it’s tough to justify flying into Narita and then doing four hours in regional business class, when you could otherwise fly first class all the way from the US to Hong Kong nonstop on Cathay Pacific.
First class award availability on the route is very good, as you’d expect.
The flights are well timed for US connections as well, given that one of the 747s leaves Tokyo Narita at 6:20PM (after most of the flights from the US land), and in the other direction it arrives at Tokyo Narita at 2:40PM, before most flights to the US depart.
Admittedly this is a minor equipment change in the grand scheme of things, though hopefully someone can take advantage of it.
(Tip of the hat to David)