Cathay Pacific Adding Cape Town Flights As Of November 2018

About a month ago I wrote about the rumor that Cathay Pacific was expected to announce flights to Cape Town soon. This was per the always reliable Danny Lee at the South China Morning Post. As expected, this rumor has now been confirmed.

Cathay Pacific has announced that they’ll offer 3x weekly seasonal flights between Hong Kong and Cape Town, between November 13, 2018, and February 18, 2019. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

CX795 Hong Kong to Cape Town departing 11:45PM arriving 8:05AM (+1 day) [Tue, Thu, Sun]
CX794 Cape Town to Hong Kong departing 11:05AM arriving 6:55AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Fri]

The flight covers a distance of ~7,350 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 14hr20min westbound and 13hr50min eastbound.

As of now this flight will only operate seasonally, though it will complement Cathay Pacific’s daily, year-round flight to Johannesburg. This will also be the only nonstop route between Cape Town and Asia (Singapore Airlines flies to Cape Town, but only as a tag flight to their Johannesburg service).

Cathay Pacific will use an Airbus A350-900 for the route, featuring 38 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 214 economy seats. The plane is also the first in Cathay Pacific’s fleet to feature wifi.

This new flight is already bookable, though it looks like Cathay Pacific hasn’t yet gotten around to loading award seats. I suspect they will soon.

Once they do, redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan miles for this flight will be an exceptional deal, thanks to their generous routing rules. They let you fly from the US to Africa one-way on Cathay Pacific for just 62,500 miles in business class or 70,000 miles in first class (there’s no first class on the Hong Kong to Africa flight, though paying 7,500 miles to upgrade to first class between the US and Hong Kong is quite a deal).

With Mileage Plan you can also do stopovers on one-way awards, so you could fly New York to Hong Kong in first class, then have a stopover, and then fly from Hong Kong to Cape Town in business class, for just 70,000 miles one-way. That’s an incredible deal.

This is a surprising time for a route like this to be announced, given that Cape Town is on the verge of running out of water — as of now they’re expected to run out of water as of July.


  1. Lucky, I think you have a typo in the arrival time for the eastbound flight–should be 6:55am instead of 6:55pm.

  2. Singapore Airlines used to go non-stop to Cape Town way back in the day, but at least they are increasing the frequencies to Cape Town to daily via Joburg.

  3. Why is the timing strange? Cathay should write us off because of a temporary water crisis? Sigh. Day zero is now July and long term solutions are in progress.

  4. Weird choice of choosing Cape Town from so many other places. They are in water shortage problem now, do they really want more tourists to go and use more water. I don’t think tourists will have conserve and save water in their mind when they are on vacation.

  5. I have an HKG->JNB leg booked in late November. Looking forward to seeing if I can change it directly to CPT.

  6. SA used flying JNB-TPE but not anymore due to politics.
    BTW NZ just announced flying AKL-TPE since Nov 1st, 2018.

  7. Is the only way to book Cathay Award tickets with MileagePlan by calling in?

    What is a good site to check availability since alaskas website doesnt show any?

  8. @ Huntington — Correct, you have to call to book. You can use BA’s site to search for availability, but Alaska sometimes only sees a subset of that availability.

  9. I visited Cape Town in January. Water shortages were well publicised but didn’t cause any issues. Fabulous city and surroundings, highly recommend visiting.

  10. I love CPT, been there numerous times both via Europe & via JNB direct from the US. So this routining is awesome, so please let’s us know when award space becomes available. Thanks!!

  11. @ralph

    Use AS to connect to Cathay in YVR – easier than SEA. Other options are SFO and LAX on west coast.

    Water shortage is real. We have been here for three months and are trying to meet the requirement of 50 liters per person per day. That’s about 12.5 US gallons. It is surprising how many people are ignoring the shortage and claiming it is a hoax.

    The water shortage has been coming for the last 4 years at least. Politicians don’t believe that it might be permanent so nothing of value has been done (ie: desalination plants). One wet winter will not solve the problem. It’s like Vegas – too many people and not enough water.

    But do not despair – it is only the Western Cape that is water short. Just a short distance away is Hermanus (good for whale watching and pinot noir) where there is no water shortage at all.

    As I have written before – we are staying in a house that is relatively new. ONE toilet flush is 9 liters of water (some are up to 15 liters or more). Your daily water ration is just less than 6 toilet flushes. The could make a huge difference if they encouraged everyone to replace the older water using toilets to some of the new ones that can be 3 liters or less.

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