Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Cathay Pacific Brings Back First Class Service to New York

The airline has resumed its First Class service on one of its daily flights to New York, after discontinuing it during the pandemic

by Lauren Smith

April 3, 2024

Photo: First Class meal service. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has reinstated its First Class service from Hong Kong to New York after discontinuing it during the pandemic, giving travelers a luxurious path between the two financial hubs.

Starting March 31, one of Cathay Pacific’s three daily departures between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is operated on a Boeing 777-300ER with a six-seat First Class cabin.

Photo: Boeing 777-300ER. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

During the 16-hour nonstop flight CX830 and the return CX831, six lucky passengers in that cabin can soak up the finest Cathay Pacific has to offer. That includes lie-flat seats, each an astonishing three feet wide and tucked away in individual suites.

While the suites don’t have closing doors like competing suites from Emirates and Air France, their seats are angled away from the aisle for privacy.

Each seat boasts organic 600 thread-count linens from Bamford, thick mattress pads, and the choice of either a firm or soft pillow.

Photo: First Class, turndown service. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

While sleep is tempting, passengers will want to stay awake for mealtimes, as Cathay Pacific serves restaurant-qualify dishes, some crafted in collaboration with Michelin-starred Hong Kong eatery Duddell’s.

On the menu are authentic dim sum, such as wonton noodle soup and bean curd rolls filled with boneless pork, served in strawberry sauce. It’s all served with jasmine rice cooked fresh during the flight.

Photo: First Class meal service. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

For breakfast, passengers can enjoy congee and dumplings, eggs made to order, and fresh smoothies. Hungry between mealtimes? You don’t have to wait for the meal cart and can also order off the ‘All Day’ menu.

Cathay Pacific’s First Class Amenities

Cathay Pacific has paid attention to the smallest details throughout the cabin. Travelers will find orchids and hand-written welcome notes in each suite, and once on their way, they can drift to sleep in cotton pajamas from Hong Kong brand Pye and on pillows sprayed with calming aromatherapy mist.

Meanwhile, nothing about the First Class amenity kit is small. It includes large-format bottles of Bamford’s organic skincare products and Bose noise-cancelling headsets.

Photo: First Class, Boeing 777-300ER. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific First Class experience starts on the ground, especially when for travelers departing from its home base in Hong Kong. Premium passengers can access The Pier, named the world’s best airline lounge in our Business Traveler Awards 2023.

The Pier, First lounge offers free spa treatments, including massages, and rooms for showering and napping. It also hosts a gourmet restaurant, which has just launched a collaboration with the Rosewood Hong Kong hotel and is serving tasting menus from its lauded restaurants throughout this year.

Photo: The Pier. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

Between now and the summer, the menu is curated by Legacy House, a purveyor of elevated Cantonese cuisine from executive chef Li Chi Wai.

The return of its First Class service to New York signals Cathay Pacific’s commitment to luxury travel.

The airline grounded all of its first-class-equipped Boeing 777s during the pandemic. In 2022, it began reintroducing first-class service to select cities, but until now, Los Angeles (LAX) has been the only North American city served.

Photo: Courtesy of Cathay Pacific / Rosewood Hong Kong

But all along, Cathay Pacific has insisted that it wants to compete for high-flying travelers. It’s poised to make an even bigger play for First Class business, with its teased new ‘Halo suites,’ set to debut on the 21 Boeing 777-9s it has on order.

However, with the certification of the Boeing 777-9s repeatedly delayed and Boeing now under scrutiny for safety failings, the launch of this new product has been postponed until at least 2025.

For now, travelers must content themselves with Cathay Pacific’s existing First Class product, which is nothing to sniff at.

The first-class-equipped CX830 departs daily from Hong Kong at 09:05 AM local time and lands at JFK at 1:15 PM EDT. The same day. The return CX831 takes off from JFK at 2:55 PM EDT and lands in Hong Kong at 6:55 PM HKT the following day.