Hey, this is exciting! Cathay Pacific is teasing a new business class product, which will debut in a matter of months…
Cathay Pacific plans new Boeing 777 business class
Hong Kong-based oneworld member Cathay Pacific has announced that it will introduce a new business class seat on its fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs as of the second quarter of 2024. The airline is branding the new product as the “Aria Suite.” So far the airline has just uploaded a roughly 40-second clip to social media with details about the seat, and other than that we’re told to “stay tuned.”
So, what can we figure out based on the video?
- The seats will be in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, based on the center pair of seats facing inwards
- The seats will have privacy doors, which is increasingly becoming the standard in business class
- The seats will have plenty of storage, including the center armrest being movable to expose storage compartments
- The seats will clearly have great tech, including wireless charging, at a minimum
Based on the little information we have so far, I can’t say with certainty which company manufactures the seat. Nowadays so many new business class seats can be customized considerably, so it’s not always so obvious who is manufacturing seats.
If I had to guess, the Collins Aerospace Elements seat seems to be the new “it” product nowadays, as it’s what Starlux Airlines has on its Airbus A350s, and it’s what Etihad Airways will have on its upcoming Boeing 787s. So I certainly could be wrong, but that looks to me like the most likely option, especially as the center armrest design looks pretty similar.
Will other Cathay Pacific aircraft get these new seats?
Keep in mind that Cathay Pacific was initially intending to introduce all-new premium cabins on its Boeing 777-9s, of which the airline has 21 on order. However, that aircraft has been delayed by at least five years due to certification issues, from 2020 to 2025 (or later).
So presumably Cathay Pacific decided it was time to refresh its cabins even before those planes enter service. I would assume that Cathay Pacific intends to introduce the same product on 777-9s, since I can’t imagine the airline would introduce two separate long haul business class products just a couple of years apart.
So far there’s no indication of Cathay Pacific refreshing its Airbus A350s, though I imagine that could come as well.
What about Cathay Pacific first class?
Some of Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300ERs feature a first class cabin. This consists of six seats, spread across two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration. While this isn’t the world’s most private first class, it is one of my favorites.
The announcement of Cathay Pacific’s new 777 business class has no mention of any changes to first class. Is Cathay Pacific really following British Airways’ lead in having doors at business class seats, but not at first class seats? The way I see it, there are a few ways this could play out:
- Perhaps Cathay Pacific will first reconfigure Boeing 777-300ERs in a three cabin layout (without first class), and will announce a new first class in the near future
- Perhaps Cathay Pacific will maintain the current first class on Boeing 777-300ERs for now, and will introduce a new first class on Boeing 777-9s, as planned
- Perhaps Cathay Pacific is introducing a new first class seat as well, but figures it might as well create as much hype as possible by teasing these products separately
Honestly, Cathay Pacific’s first class is excellent, so even without doors, it wouldn’t be a tough sell to maintain this product and get a premium for it over the new business class.
Cathay Pacific will introduce a new business class product on its Boeing 777-300ERs as of the second quarter of 2024, which will be branded as “Aria Suite.” You can expect new reverse herringbone seats with privacy doors and great tech, in what looks to be a great product. I’d assume that this is the same product that will eventually be installed on Boeing 777-9s.
I can’t wait to learn more details! I’m incredibly impressed by this premium product investment given what a tough few years Cathay Pacific has had! Obviously the airline is committed to offering a quality product, and that’s always exciting to see.
What do you make of Cathay Pacific’s new Aria Suite business class?