Last October, Cathay Pacific announced that they’d be launching an additional 3x weekly flights to Chicago as of August 2, 2014. That’s some impressive growth, given that Cathay Pacific only began service to Chicago as of September 1, 2011.
While their daily frequency is operated by a four class Boeing 777-300ER (featuring first, business, premium economy, and economy), the flight operating the additional 3x weekly frequencies is presently operated by a three class 777-300ER (featuring business, premium economy, and economy).
Via airlineroute.net, Cathay Pacific will exclusively be operating four cabin 777-300ER aircraft to Chicago as of January 1, 2015.
This means that the route between Chicago and Hong Kong is gaining a net of 18 first class seats per direction per week. As a reminder, the flights which are transitioning from three cabin to four cabin are as follows:
CX808 Hong Kong to Chicago departing 7:05PM arriving 7:35PM — Tue/Thu/Sat
CX801 Chicago to Hong Kong departing 12:15AM arriving 06:05AM (+1 day) — Wed/Fri/Sun
I actually far prefer those flight times to the times of their current daily frequency, which operates with the following schedule:
CX806 Hong Kong to Chicago departing 11:50AM arriving 12:20PM
CX807 Chicago to Hong Kong departing 2:00PM arriving 7:50PM (+1 day)
That’s because the current daily frequency is horrible for connections in Hong Kong in both directions — you leave Hong Kong too early to connect from most places, and land in Hong Kong too late to connect to most places.
Why should you care about the addition of first class on these flights? Because Cathay Pacific is releasing two first class award seats on each of the new frequencies which has picked up a first class cabin.
Cathay Pacific is (understandably) getting stingier with releasing first class award space in advance, so this is fantastic news for those looking to lock in first class awards. I even see availability during peak travel periods, like right after the new year and over spring break.
It’s tough to beat just 67,500 AAdvantage miles for one-way first class between the US and “Asia 2,” or 120,000 US Airways miles for roundtrip first class travel between the US and North Asia.
I expect a lot of this space will be snagged up pretty soon, so if interested I’d book sooner rather than later.