Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong To Tokyo Narita

One thing I love about Cathay Pacific in comparison to some other Asian airlines is the number of routes they operate within Asia with first class service.

There’s nothing quite like an international first class cabin on a one to four hour flight. That’s especially true after a longhaul, when you really just want to sleep. Over the years I’ve flown Cathay Pacific first class intra-Asia on Hong Kong to Singapore, Hong Kong to Manila, Manila to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong to Tokyo.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER first class

Anyway, years ago a majority of Cathay Pacific’s flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita featured a first class cabin. However, as of late they’ve mostly been operated by regionally configured planes with just economy and business class.

Interestingly Cathay Pacific has been sending their longhaul planes with a first class cabin to Tokyo Haneda instead. I guess that’s not really surprising given that premium cabin passengers actually traveling to/from Tokyo would prefer flying into Haneda as opposed to Narita.

However, it looks like Cathay Pacific is finally putting some longhaul aircraft (with a first class cabin) back in the Tokyo Narita rotation between March 28 and May 31, 2014. It seems like on average they’ll be running two 747s per day — one nonstop from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong, and the other from Tokyo Narita to Taipei to Hong Kong.

This is exciting because I’ve been wanting to try Japan Airlines’ new first class between the US and Tokyo Narita, but have sort of hesitated because most of the flights out of Tokyo Narita are operated by aircraft with a regional business class cabin (which is one of the reasons I was eying the Japan Airlines Tokyo Narita to Jakarta flight, operated by a 777-300ER).

Don’t get me wrong, that’s totally a “first world problem,” but it’s tough to justify flying into Narita and then doing four hours in regional business class, when you could otherwise fly first class all the way from the US to Hong Kong nonstop on Cathay Pacific.

First class award availability on the route is very good, as you’d expect.


The flights are well timed for US connections as well, given that one of the 747s leaves Tokyo Narita at 6:20PM (after most of the flights from the US land), and in the other direction it arrives at Tokyo Narita at 2:40PM, before most flights to the US depart.

Admittedly this is a minor equipment change in the grand scheme of things, though hopefully someone can take advantage of it.

(Tip of the hat to David)

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific
  1. Thank you Ben. Maybe if you have time you could write a post about which F routes are available intra-Asia with each alliance miles? I think it would help other readers as well.
    Thank you.

  2. Have you noticed any BA phantom for CX F. Seems like AA agents can’t see tons of CX F showing on BA for the lax-hkg route..

  3. @ Lantean — Let me see what I can do. The one issue is that airlines are constantly changing equipment types on routes, though I’ll do some research.

  4. Do you know which F routes will get amenity kits and PJs? ANd which ones feature caviar dish?

  5. I was having problem with the 85 min connection in NRT since JL 61 lax-nrt coming in at 4:55p and CX flight leaving at 6:20p. AA wouldn’t ticket my reservation, claiming JL requires the minimum connection time is 90 min. They had no problem ticketed me when I picked JL 711 to SIN that leaves at 6:10p. Finger crossed on the new J on 767

  6. Availability from HKG-HND and vice versa has also been very good, and it seems like a few days ago they opened up most of the schedule for CX548 (the morning flight from HKG to HND) when I couldn’t see any dates available in the past.

    Shame there’s no kaiseki on the morning flight, but it beats the evening flight which arrives at 9pm. It gives me a nice 22 hour layover (time for a good dinner) before connecting to JL F NRT-JFK.

  7. By the way, the timing of the flight HKG-NRT is a bit inconvenient for JL F connections. JL F to ORD and JFK leave at 11am in the morning.

  8. @Lucky

    really? doesn’t Emirates give out amenity kits and pjs on their HKG-BKK flight? i know it’s short… but it is Emirates after all…

  9. @ Lantean — No they don’t. Emirates doesn’t even give out amenity kits in first class on many flights between Dubai and London, which are substantially longer.

  10. @Lucky

    oh no! i didn’t know that! i actually got two kits on my SIN-DXB and two on my DXB-LHR flights… both times i said i need an extra for my mom or my dad and they complied. i guess i got LUCKY!

  11. CX has one flight a day between HKG-PVG that’s operated with a 744 at the moment, with the F cabin sold as J. If you’re a MPCDiamond or Gold you can generally get one of the 9 pods, OWEmeralds from other programs is hit and miss and must be requested at check-in. There are two FAs assigned to the cabin so you get the same level of service as if it was really F. And except for the lack of caviar and Dom, you’d hardly notice the catering (breakfast to PVG, lunch to HKG) is not F on this 3-hour flight. Business award availability is quite good on this run if booked early enough.

  12. Yeah, cos slumming it in regional business class is SUCH torture after longhaul first. This goes beyond #firstclassproblems to #iamsuchatool.

  13. @Lucky

    Am I wrong when saying TG from TYO to BKK would give you both caviar, PJ and amenity kit in F?

  14. Cathay still flies on a very limited schedule from HKG-SIN with First Class but only 3 flights a week, but nice if you can snag an extra 4 hours in First on that award redemption.

    If you book any of these flights months in advance, it’s worth keeping tabs on your itinerary as mine has switched 4 times already as they keep moving the First class operated flights around.

  15. @ surrrr — When I flew the route last August they offered amenity kits, but not pajamas or caviar.

  16. @lucky – I know recently there seems to be phantom space on BA. However, this morning I saw an F CX seat pop up via Qantas award search, which I then also went on BA & CX to make sure that this seat was there (it was). Confident, I called AA twice to book, and both agents told me they don’t see any availability… I’m so confused!

  17. @ Peter — Well Qantas sometimes shows the same phantom space as BA. And keep in mind that Cathay Pacific sometimes releases more space to members of their own programs than to members of partner programs. So it could be that the space is available to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles members, but not to members of partner programs.

  18. Thanks for the response! I understand what you’re saying. I also checked JAL and the same seat was there. Called AA for the 3rd time just now and again, no luck šŸ™

  19. Hi Ben

    I have a burning question: how can you find out what classes of service an airline has on a specific flight? I’m particularly interested in finding PY on ANA and F on everyone else…

    It would be a really useful blog post if complicated and a great one-liner if not šŸ™‚


    another ben

  20. @ sendaiben — Airlines are constantly updating the equipment types operating routes, so it would be tough to compile an accurate list. Generally your best bet is to just price out tickets (or look at the fare classes) and see if the cabin you’re looking for is offered on the flight. If it isn’t it won’t appear at all.

  21. Dear Lucky, if flying out HKG to HND/NRT, would you choose CX F or JL F? For what reason?

  22. @ Alan — As far as I know Japan Airlines doesn’t offer a first class product between Hong Kong and Tokyo, so I would do Cathay Pacific.

  23. @ Lucky Is it possible to fly CX JFK-HKG-NRT using 67500 American Advantage Miles? or HKG-NRT would have to be separate redeemed separately requiring more miles?

  24. @ Lucky oops embarrassing typo.. “Is it possible to fly CX JFK-HKG-NRT using 67500 American Advantage Miles? or HKG-NRT would have to be redeemed separately requiring more miles?”

  25. @ travellingdds — Has to be a separate award since you can’t route from the US to Asia 1 via Asia 2.

  26. @ Lucky – Thanks. Do you think we still have the phantom availability problem? I’m looking into Jan 23 JFK-HKG and it seems that both BA and JAL website shows seats are available.

  27. @ travellingdds — Yes, there definitely are still phantom availability problems, unfortunately.

  28. Hi Lucky:

    for a short intra-asia less than 5 hours, is it appropriate or “normal” to get the seat made into bed after the meals for the sake of experiencing sleeping on it..haha? it seems Cathay no longer offer first class to Singapore, but they do fly to Jakarta


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