Cathay Pacific Introduces Free First Class Wifi

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific, Travel Technology

Just a few weeks ago, Cathay Pacific unveiled some positive changes to their first and business class soft product, including new bedding and dining.

Cathay Pacific’s new first class dining 

Well, the airline has now made yet another positive change to their first class service.

Cathay Pacific Adds Free First Class Wifi

Effective immediately, Cathay Pacific is offering free wifi to first class passengers. First class passengers will be given a code for the free wifi upon boarding on eligible flights.

Cathay Pacific is working on installing wifi throughout their fleet, and as of now, 20 of their 31 planes featuring first class have wifi (all of these are 777-300ERs).

In general Cathay Pacific’s new wifi offering is excellent. They’re installing Gogo 2Ku technology. Cathay Pacific’s wifi pricing is reasonable to begin with, as they charge $10 for one hour, $13 for up to six hours, and $20 for the entire flight. All of those plans come with no data caps.

While I’d be very happy paying $20 for wifi with no data caps on a long haul flight, It’s even nicer when wifi is complimentary.

Why Isn’t Wifi Always Free In Premium Cabins?

One common question I get is why wifi isn’t always free in first and business class. After all, if you’re spending thousands of dollars on a ticket, many people view it as cheap to be charged for wifi.

The answer is simple — wifi is provided by a third party, so the airline would have to pay to offer free wifi (presumably at some discounted cost, but still).

I imagine most airlines assume that those traveling in business and first class can expense inflight wifi, or otherwise don’t view paying for wifi as a big deal, so it’s not much of a value-add.

With airlines typically having very limited budgets for premium amenities, most airlines assume they can invest better elsewhere. I’m not saying I agree with the logic, but that is the thought process of many airline executives.

Then again, it’s only a matter of time before that changes. JetBlue already offers free high speed wifi to all passengers, and with other airlines working towards that, free wifi on planes may eventually become a reality, just as it has everywhere else in the world.

  1. I flew SFO to AKL recently (mid November) in Economy Premier and Wifi was free for everyone and quite reasonable speed too. I haven’t flown with them for a while, and was super impressed overall.

  2. Had two flight in first with British Airways last week, both had free wifi for first class passengers and speeds were surprisingly good.

  3. Was just on CX’s 77W monday and saw this. Unfortunately, I was unable to use one of my Gogo passes from my Altitude Reserve card.

  4. Mis-read the article. You did mention aircraft *with* First. Therefore my previous comment is irrelevant.

  5. viewing this from BA F right now thanks to the free wifi, it is very fast and that is not good for my Youtube addiction 😛
    also someone has to mention that Norwegian, a LCC, provides free wifi to all intro EU passengers. Free wifi, on LCC! (not very usable but still!)

  6. Flew Cathay ORD-HKG in F last week and WiFi was free. No code needed. Just enter your last name and seat number.

  7. F should get it free.
    J should pay.

    Totally agree with the logic for business travelers… that should be expected, to a degree. Business is about work and sleep.

    But when you’re in First, the experience is different. You shouldn’t have the hassle of typing codes, credit cards, etc. Everything should work smoothly. First is about luxury and fun.

  8. Flew Cathay first JFK-HKG over Thanksgiving week. I was pleasantly surprised about the free Wi-Fi in first. The speed was pretty good. Service went out after Greenland heading towards the Arctic. I went to sleep. Woke up, we were over Russia, and Wi-Fi was working again all the way to HKG.

    You posted before about Cathay’s new first & business class soft product. I didn’t really see any difference although the lavender sprayed on my pillow was a nice touch, which may have contributed to my 5-6 hours of sleep…or maybe, it was too much champagne. 🙂

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