The Hong Kong SAR Government has eased travel restrictions into Hong Kong, including removing the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong, effective 14th December 2022.
This is welcome news for Cathay Pacific which, while it carried 526,827 passengers in November – an increase of 652.1% compared with November 2021 – is still a 79.9% decrease compared with the pre-pandemic level in November 2019. November’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 565.5% year-on-year, but were down 73.7% versus November 2019. Likewise, passenger load factor also increased, by 51.7 percentage points to 78.5%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 127.2% year-on-year, but decreased by 73.1% compared with November 2019 levels. In the first 11 months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 220.5% against a 33.9% increase in capacity and a 211.9% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2021.
Cathay Pacific is finally looking to real recovery, and continues to add more flights and more destinations. The airline is also reintroducing its First class service, initially on select daily flights to and from London Heathrow (CX251/CX252).
First class will then return to Cathay Pacific’s Paris flight CX261/CX260 from 18th January 2023, followed by its Tokyo (Haneda) flight CX548/CX549 from 1st February 2023.
Cathay Pacific’s general manager for customer experience and design, Vivian Lo said, “We are extremely excited to be bringing back our First class service after an extended absence as the world’s appetite for travel comes roaring back. We know our customers have been eagerly anticipating being able to fly First class with us again, and we are delighted to be offering it on routes that we know are incredibly popular with them.”
A toast to luxury
To mark the return of its First class service, Cathay Pacific is introducing a celebratory limited edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne from the House of Krug, as well as a special celebratory edition of Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Château Lynch-Bages 2000. Available in First class on flights to and from London in December, these vintages celebrate Cathay Pacific’s long-standing partnerships with House of Krug and Château Lynch-Bages, with whom it has partnered since 1986 and 1989, respectively.
In addition to the airline’s extensive wine cellar, beverage options also include teas from JING, cold pressed juices from Bless, and the airline’s own Betsy craft beer produced by expert Hong Kong brewery, Gweilo Beer.
A fresh take on fine dining
Cathay Pacific’s First class service allows customers to dine at their preferred time, with choices including contemporary dishes that include not just hearty favourites, but more nutritious wellness options and authentic Hong Kong dishes.
The airline has sourced some of the best ingredients from producers that support sustainable and ethical practices. This includes pork from Dingley Dell Farm, certified sustainable Nordic Skrei cod, organic free-range eggs from Sunny Queen Farms in Australia, and more.
Customers flying First class from Hong Kong before 31st December will also be able to enjoy Cathay Pacific’s special Christmas-themed menus.
The First class dining service is complemented by contemporary tableware, including chinaware from Noritake, cutlery from Robert Welch, and restaurant-range wine glasses from Riedel.
Soft bedding and premium amenities
Cathay Pacific has also partnered with Bamford to provide First class passengers with luxury bedding and amenities, including 600-thread-count sustainably sourced cotton bedlinen, men’s and women’s natural skincare products, and amenity kits.
Customers can also select their choice of pillow from the pillow menu, and when they are ready for their turndown service, cabin crew will transform their space into a soft bed complete with mattress and duvet, a pillow sprayed with lavender-scented Bamford Pillow Mist. A cotton sleep suit, slippers and eye mask from Hong Kong brand PYE completes the experience.
The service is top notch, partly because of Cathay Pacific’s Premium Ambassador programme. Working with Hong Kong hotel The Upper House, the programme provides specialised hospitality training for Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew to enable them to become ambassadors for its First class offering.