More Cathay Pacific First Class To Chicago

Filed Under: Awards, Cathay Pacific

Last October, Cathay Pacific announced that they’d be launching an additional 3x weekly flights to Chicago as of August 2, 2014. That’s some impressive growth, given that Cathay Pacific only began service to Chicago as of September 1, 2011.

While their daily frequency is operated by a four class Boeing 777-300ER (featuring first, business, premium economy, and economy), the flight operating the additional 3x weekly frequencies is presently operated by a three class 777-300ER (featuring business, premium economy, and economy).


Via, Cathay Pacific will exclusively be operating four cabin 777-300ER aircraft to Chicago as of January 1, 2015.

This means that the route between Chicago and Hong Kong is gaining a net of 18 first class seats per direction per week. As a reminder, the flights which are transitioning from three cabin to four cabin are as follows:

CX808 Hong Kong to Chicago departing 7:05PM arriving 7:35PM — Tue/Thu/Sat
CX801 Chicago to Hong Kong departing 12:15AM arriving 06:05AM (+1 day) — Wed/Fri/Sun

I actually far prefer those flight times to the times of their current daily frequency, which operates with the following schedule:

CX806 Hong Kong to Chicago departing 11:50AM arriving 12:20PM
CX807 Chicago to Hong Kong departing 2:00PM arriving 7:50PM (+1 day)

That’s because the current daily frequency is horrible for connections in Hong Kong in both directions — you leave Hong Kong too early to connect from most places, and land in Hong Kong too late to connect to most places.

Why should you care about the addition of first class on these flights? Because Cathay Pacific is releasing two first class award seats on each of the new frequencies which has picked up a first class cabin.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-2 Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-1

Cathay Pacific is (understandably) getting stingier with releasing first class award space in advance, so this is fantastic news for those looking to lock in first class awards. I even see availability during peak travel periods, like right after the new year and over spring break.

It’s tough to beat just 67,500 AAdvantage miles for one-way first class between the US and “Asia 2,” or 120,000 US Airways miles for roundtrip first class travel between the US and North Asia.

I expect a lot of this space will be snagged up pretty soon, so if interested I’d book sooner rather than later.

  1. Lucky,

    This is amazing information. I just managed to snag two award flights on January 1st in first to Chicago. Switched from business class to JFK and I am much happier with my flight since I needed to get to Chicago anyway! Thank you!

  2. @ Andy — Good point, though my guess is they’ve just updated through their winter schedule and haven’t gotten around to updating their summer schedule yet.

  3. I would agree on the schedule. I’m looking for flights and may and it still says “cabin not available” and it isn’t reflecting the new times. I supposed I could always book in J, and since I’m using Alaska miles, I could change to F for free when the new schedule comes out?

  4. @ Josh — You certainly could, though in your shoes I might look for a route that has first class confirmable, and then you can switch to the Chicago route if/when the schedule is updated.

  5. Thanks, but I’ve had trouble finding availability in F for 2 from any US gateways for late May next year up to this point, so hopefully they release the spring/summer schedule soon. Looking to get from MLE to the US — what would you recommend between CX F and SQ Suites?

  6. @ Josh — Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other. Both great products. Maybe slight edge for Cathay since they can get you there in one stop from the US.

  7. Lucky, my apologies in advance for this being a bit off topic. I recently booked two one way J awards on CX, one way using AA miles and the other using AS miles. I have the CX Booking Reference Numbers for both flights and I can view my reservations and select seats on the CX website. My question is that the Booking Status for both flights say “confirmed”. I’ve seen on other airlines that confirmed does not necessarily mean ticketed – is a further step needed to get the status updated to ticketed on Cathay?

  8. I’m booked on CX805 on May 22. And it is definitely not changed to a 4 class aircraft. The flight connections are better for that 1AM flight, otherwise even revenue passengers have a forced overnight in Hong Kong departing on the 3PM flight from ORD. This equipment change was supposedly told to Marco Polo members, so I guess it isn’t a rumor anymore.

  9. JoeEZ,

    In your email from AA/AS confirming your reservation. There should be ticket numbers on it. If there isn’t, although I doubt if there is a problem,….call AA/AS and ask them for the ticket numbers. Cathay won’t make a reservation without them issuing a ticket.

  10. Thanks Lucky. Actually saw some of these a day or two ago. Sadly nothing left for the first 2 weeks of Jan ex-HKG. Plenty plenty after that though.

  11. @ Joe EZ — “Confirmed” is the correct status for it to display. As long as you have ticket numbers with American and Alaska, you’re good to go.

  12. I really wish the new flight was daily as those times are more like the typical red-eye flights from California to Asia. Thankfully even with the current daily times I can still make the short hop across to Taiwan from HKG, albeit getting in at midnight is not fun. Hope it goes to two daily flights sometime!

  13. Lucky, I want to book 2 one way award tickets using AA miles from HKT-KUL-HKG-ORD-DCA in February. Right now the HKG-ORD leg in Cathay First Class is available but not at the time I want. In a previous answer you said you can switch routes “if/when the schedule is updated”. Is there a fee to do this? Also, we’re trying to stay overnight but less than 24hrs in Hong Kong. If something opens up that would force me to switch more than one flight most likely to avoid going over my 24hr connection. Is there rules to what I can and can’t switch? Thank you!! Love your site! 🙂

  14. @ JC — As long as your origin and destination remain the same you could switch at no cost. As long as all connections stay under 24 hours you should be fine.

  15. @Lucky This is misleading. I don’t see a single F award on that flight opened up from Jan 2015 and going forward.

  16. @ doublejade — Maybe you’re not looking at availability correctly? Just randomly pulled up availability for February 14 from Hong Kong to Chicago, and it has two first class award seats. It’s the first day I checked…

  17. Hey Lucky,

    Any guess on when they will update the schedule past March? I’m looking for seats on 1st week of April… just missed the cut apparently.


  18. @ acs — Sorry, really not sure, they seem to be all over the place in making those decisions. I’ll post if I see that they update it past then.

  19. More flights with First class were loaded last week. Cathay is only releasing 1 seat, like you have stated. I need 2 seats. So, I upgraded one J seat, and crossed my fingers, because it meant us possibly being in separate cabins. Yesterday, Cathay released another seat to partners. It was not immediately available to AAdvantage awards. But this morning, I checked BA and QF and it was still available. Called AAdvantage, and they could see it. So, with some patience and luck, one can still get 2 F seats on Cathay flights.

  20. This flight got cancelled for my March trip. Had 2f award seats. They rebooked me on the fight a day earlier without calling, didn’t rebook my DFW-ord flight. The new flight forces an overnight in HkG and forces me to take an additional day off of work. Do I have any leg to stand on?

  21. Hi Lucky,

    Cathay just cancelled our reservations and rebooked us to the day flight, from ORD, on May 21. It seems that late flight has been cancelled. We had connecting flights from PIA, as well. doesn’t allow me to even view our trip because the web site says the the reservation was changed outside of Really sucks because I can’t get that day off from work. Never saw Cathay do this before.

  22. Lucky,

    Some of your luck rubbed off on us. I was tracking comments on this post. The gentleman’s comment previous to mine, was in my email. So, I checked my reservation on the Cathay site, and found the change. Never received an email from American or Cathay about the cancelled flights and changes. I called American and they were able to get our flight from PIA changed to the early morning. Since those planes only have 50 seats, they had to override availability of award seats. I consider us very “lucky” to still be in First class and still have trip going. Thanks to you for always posting info about Cathay.

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