Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is bringing back first class seating on a handful of routes, joining several other carriers in reviving their high-end offerings as air travel recovers.
Cathay relaunched first class on one of its daily Hong Kong-London flights last week, with Paris to be added from Jan. 18 and Tokyo Haneda on Feb. 1.
The routes are “incredibly popular” with passengers as “the world’s appetite for travel comes roaring back,” Vivian Lo, Cathay’s general manager customer experience and design, said in a statement Monday.
Cathay offers six seats in first class on its Boeing Co. 777s, which were largely sidelined during Covid
— the airline has been more reliant on Airbus SE A350s to operate pared back schedules. Perks include limited edition vintage champagnes, high-end dining and luxury bed linen.
Cathay has said it expects to operate at 70% of 2019 passenger capacity by the end of 2023 compared with 21% in October, and return to pre-pandemic levels the following year. That includes its budget unit HK Express.
Gulf carrier Etihad Airways said last week it would bring back Airbus A380 superjumbos, which include nine first-class berths and even a three-room Residence suite. Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways Plc and Qantas Airways Ltd. are among others reactivating their A380s. The Australian flag carrier has refurbished the premium cabins in its largest aircraft, too.
Air France said it plans a redesigned “La Premiere” class to be introduced by the end of next year, with suites that are five windows long and feature a seat, bed and sofa.