Cathay Pacific New Boston To Hong Kong Flight Coming

Last August Cathay Pacific made a game of announcing their newest US destination. They said within a few days they’d announce service to one of the pictured destinations, which included Boston, Seattle, Miami, and Newark.

Cathay_Pacific_New_Destination

Their newest destination ended up being Newark, much to my disappointment (because it’s not really a “unique” market, since they already have 4x daily flights to New York JFK.

Yesterday Cathay Pacific played a similar game on their Facebook and Instagram, having us guess their latest city. Their first picture made it pretty obvious the newest destination would be Boston based on the “red socks.”

Cathay-Pacific-Boston-1

However, based on their second picture it seemed they were trying to trick us, as it had a coffee cup with a picture of what looked like the Space Needle.

Cathay-Pacific-Boston-2

Cathay Pacific will launch new Boston flight

Fortunately they didn’t keep us waiting very long, and Cathay Pacific has announced they will launch service to Boston Logan Airport as of May 2, 2015. This will be Cathay Pacific’s sixth destination airport in the US, after Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, and San Francisco.

Cathay-Pacific-777

The new 777-300ER flight will operate 4x weekly, with the following schedule:

CX812 Hong Kong to Boston departing 6:00PM arriving 9:30PM
CX811 Boston to Hong Kong departing 1:45AM arriving 5:35AM

The flight will operate to Boston on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and will be operating from Boston on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

What’s surprising on the surface is that the flight will be operated by a four class 777, featuring:

  • 6 first class seats
  • 53 business class seats
  • 34 premium economy seats
  • 182 economy seats

But when you think about it that actually makes sense. Boston’s runway isn’t especially long so there’s a chance the flight might have to seasonally be weight restricted. As a result, flying the lighter/less dense aircraft makes sense, given that the plane has 75 fewer seats than the three class 777.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class

While Cathay Pacific is accepting reservations on the new flights, it doesn’t look like they’ve opened award seats yet.

It surprises me that Boston makes sense

I’m sure they’ve done their research, but it does surprise me that they’re picking Boston over Seattle. I was expecting them to launch Boston service when they get their Airbus A350s. There’s no doubt there’s a market there, but my assumption would have been that it’s a “long and thin” route, given that there’s not much connection potential there.

Meanwhile Seattle is a huge tech city, has a massive Asian population, is 1,500 miles shorter than the Boston route (so will have much lower operating costs), and is an Alaska hub, which is one of Cathay Pacific’s partners. On the surface it sure seemed like it had more going for it as a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER destination.

So I’m sure they’re right, it’s just surprising.

Anyone else surprised by the new Boston route?

Comments

  1. Living in the NYC area, I do feel EWR has a unique market —- the United/Star Alliance market! šŸ˜‰ I was thrilled when CX announced the new EWR service since mostly United and a handful of other airlines fly to EWR, with the majority of transpacific routes only going to JFK. For the past 15 years my family has flown UA/CO from EWR to Asia. It’s great that CX is now flying to EWR as well!

  2. I live in Boston, and am not that surprised by this- but really excited!

    There’s been huge foreign investment in Boston sprouting up over the last 2-3 years in the real estate sector. It’s estimated that as much as 30% of all real estate purchases in Boston will be by Asian investors.

    Living in one of the main neighborhoods for awhile (North End), I can tell you that there’s a countless amount of foreign tourists from Mar-Dec, mostly of Asian descent.

    I’d guess it also has to do with the plethora of colleges that are in the area that attract international talent.

    Definitely going to build miles now to start flying Cathay Pacific!

  3. Surprised by Boston over Seattle as well, but I think Seattle will be added as a CX destination in due time.

  4. I can see BOS over SEA. SEA already has a lot of flights to Asia plus the ever-growing non-alliance DL presence now. Seattle has a lot of tech stuff, but so does Boston and Boston is by far the educational capital of America which results in a significant tech presence and a lot of demand for US-Asia flights.

  5. I am surprised when travel bloggers question these types of decisions. Cathay personnel know their costs. They have intricate models to make these decisions.

    When you question these types of decisions, why don’t you also share your detailed model and then we can debate your assumptions?

  6. YESS
    As a person who has lived in boston for the past 14 years, all I can say is that I’m very excited and thrilled.

  7. @ Mark — Did you miss the part where I said “I’m sure they’ve done their research.” I’m sure it’s the right decision, but I’m saying that without knowing the numbers it surprises me. Which isn’t to question their decision in any way…

  8. I am not following this at all. But come this morning this is the post on my feebly top and I am super excited. Now I need to figure ways to get more aa miles. Could be clichy off topic but, Lucky: do you think applying new cards keeping this route in mind is going to be good or not. Since everyone is speculating devaluation post merger I am asking. TIA

  9. As a BOS flier, and as a family planning a trip to China in the next year or so, this is great news!

    Sam

  10. DL already flies SEA-HKG with A330/B767, so maybe CX thought BOS is worth tapping into with all the other research/investment going on. And CX has far better onward frequencies into regional Asia than JL has over NRT.

    This should do well for CX at just 4x weekly.

  11. Boston is really stepping up in international service lately … first JAL then EK, TK, now CX…lots of carriers for JetBlue to make friends with.

  12. After JAL started the Boston to Tokyo, I was expecting some of the other Asian carrier would follow suit. Massport has done a lot of work to get more options into Logan as they expand their options.

  13. I think CX probably looked at the two other non-stops to Asia that recently started out of Logan and saw that the load factors on those flights had met or exceeded expectations. ANA and Hainan’s ability to make Boston work probably helped convince CX that the market was feasible.

    Somewhat off topic, I can confirm, as Bruno says, that Boston has seen a huge influx of real estate investment from Asia (mostly china). As someone looking to buy an apartment downtown, it is frustrating how many apartments end up being sold to Chinese investors/students for all cash offers.

  14. Yeah, this makes sense to me. All the foreign investment and students, plus the fact that Boston has hardly any direct service to Asia currently. I would guess this is at least partly to do with the lack of service between Boston and mainland China in particular (especially Shanghai). It’s not easy to get from Boston to China, and a lot of people do fly those connecting routes. The only BOS-China flight is to Beijing on Hainan, and that’s very unlikely to change anytime soon. Cathay/Dragonair have tons of onward connections from HK to the mainland.

  15. Can’t say I love the flight times here. Arriving into Boston too late to make any connections elsewhere, and leaving so late you can’t enjoy a dinner service.

  16. Couldn’t agree more David. I had to buy in Eastie, and we’re seeing more and more cash offers here as well, mostly foreign.

  17. I fly to Boston from Sydney every now and then for work so I’m absolutely thrilled about this.

    Now if we could just get CX P class into Australia!

  18. @ PhatMiles — I think so. I don’t think we’ll see an American/US Airways devaluation this year, so as long as you’re booking semi-short term, you should be fine.

  19. Ben,

    Boston is a big tech city as well and we have a ton of international students. I’m sure you’d run into the daughter of the President of China on one of flight as she goes to Harvard, as an example

  20. The EWR service could be considered a replacement service for Singpore Airlines. Many travelers on SQ 21/22 flew that route, not because it was the quickest way, but because EWR was less of a hassle and closer than JFK. If SQ had a 1 stop from EWR, and a nonstop from JFK, many people who perfected SQ 21/22 would still fly the EWR service, even if the time in the air was shorter. That’s probably why CX came in to EWR. For Cathay Pacific, Seattle sounds like the most logical destination, though they could be waiting for DL to test the market with their new route, before they jump into the market. As you mentioned, SEA has a large Asian population, but the problem is, is that HKG is way too far south in Asia for any connections to North Asia, so ICN, NRT, and PEK always win there. With South Asia, it could work, but many pax would prefer to fly to NRT/ICN/PEK and connect, because they are much shorter flights, so they can break it up a bit.

  21. The CX forum on FlyerTalk has been discussing this flight since at least April, so it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.

    The interesting piece of news is the 4-cabin configuration. I suspect it’s due to a combination of weight restrictions and anticipated premium cabin demand to Boston. If you’re the kind of Chinese parent who can afford to send you kid to Harvard and buy them an expensive place to live, you probably don’t want to slum it in Business when going to visit. The question now is whether this route will be changed to the A350 when it launches, and if that plane will have a First cabin or not.

  22. There is a New England market and glad airlines are finally seeing it. I hope this opens up award space on all those JFK-HKG flights.

  23. Surprised they didn’t connect to Phoenix – hub partner in American. Phoenix wants routes to Asia! Do not want to transit in California

  24. @Josh, I would love to see that, but I doubt that’s going to happen any time soon. There’s still a lot of uncertainty on how the new AA/US routes will change with the merger, and how much connecting traffic might go away.

    That said, I would absolutely love it, other than the sad state of lounges in PHX T4. The new LAX OW lounge and TBIT is really nice, which makes the connection a bit more bearable.

  25. I feel like Delta’s daily SEA – HKG along with YVR CX twice a day makes SEA a less likely option for CX. Much to my chagrin

  26. Wow! I’m super thrilled about a non-stop from BOS-HKG (clearly, see my handle) šŸ˜€

    It’s a long time coming. I was actually more surprised that the earlier announcement from CX was EWR-HKG, since that route from EWR was already dominated by UA. In any case I’m super happy about this announcement and can’t wait to try out this route later on. Not super thrilled about the time myself either, but I suppose it’s no worse than flying out to HKG from the West Coast (flight tends to be late evening/early AM).

  27. Well Seattle may have a massive Asian population, but don’t forget Seattle already been served by a massive Asian flights already. OZ, KE, BR, NH, HU, with DL having 5 Asian flights that include HKG will be a direct competition. So if CX is going to add another flight, it won’t be able to fill up the seats not unless they have to sell lower price tickets constantly vs Boston only have JL and HU for Asian competitions.

  28. CX going into EWR is certainly no surprise.

    When SQ pulled their nonstop EWR-SIN flight, that left 200 biz seat capacity reduction to SE Asia, for any given day.

    CX, who has a shorter route to fly and a far more powerful connecting hub, came in and addressed that market. Their timings don’t really compete with UA117, which departs nearly a half day earlier.

    As for BOS, it should be interesting. I would’ve figured a lower-cost carrier who tends to specialize more on VFR traffic (e.g. BR, CI, OZ, etc) would’ve moved in first, but apparently CX feels it can get the yield it wants out of this city, with such a comparatively short runway. We shall see.

  29. What a lot of people don’t realize is the size of the metro areas just outside of the Boston area. Just 40-45 min south of Boston, Providence and surrounding cities and towns add well more than 1.5 million people to the mix. Throw in Worcester, southern New Hampshire, areas of Cape Cod, as well as eastern Connecticut, giving Logan a reach of 8 million people. The market is definitely there and will continue to grow. With Logan filling up, we may even see airports like T.F. Green benefit from potential overflow, as it is far less congested and far cheaper for airlines to land there.

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