Qatar Airways Leasing Cathay Pacific 777s With First Class!

Qatar Airways Leasing Cathay Pacific 777s With First Class!

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In December 2021 we learned that Qatar Airways will be leasing some Boeing 777s from Cathay Pacific (something first spotted by @AirlineFlyer). These planes have already been flying for Qatar Airways, but so far have been operating cargo flights. It looks like that might be changing soon.

Why Qatar Airways is leasing Cathay Pacific 777s

Qatar Airways is currently dealing with a serious aircraft shortage, due to the Doha-based airline grounding much of its Airbus A350 fleet. This is due to a dispute between Qatar Airways and Airbus over the condition of these planes — Qatar Airways claims that the A350 fuselage is degrading, while Airbus claims the damage is only cosmetic.

Due to this aircraft shortage, Qatar Airways has gotten creative with the planes it flies. Qatar Airways has reactivated part of its Airbus A380 fleet, and on top of that is leasing a few Oman Air Airbus A330s, as well as a couple of Cathay Pacific Boeing 777s. The Cathay Pacific lease makes sense — not only does Qatar Airways own a stake in Cathay Pacific, but Cathay Pacific is also struggling to survive, given the complete lack of demand for travel to & from Hong Kong.

These Cathay Pacific 777s are already in service for Qatar Airways, though up until now the planes have almost exclusively been operating cargo flights, without passengers. A recent schedule update suggests that will be changing.

Qatar Airways is leasing Cathay Pacific 777s

Qatar Airways will fly Cathay Pacific 777s to Hong Kong & Male

When we first learned of Qatar Airways leasing Cathay Pacific 777s, we saw the planes scheduled on some passenger routes, though they were quickly removed. In recent days we’ve once again seen the 777 loaded on more passenger routes.

Based on the current schedule (which is subject to change), Cathay Pacific 777s will operate the following Qatar Airways passenger routes:

  • Doha (DOH) to Male (MLE) between March 1 and October 29, 2022
  • Doha (DOH) to Hong Kong (HKG) between March 1 and October 29, 2022

Again, I want to emphasize that this remains highly subject to change, but that’s the most recent schedule filing. If you look at the seatmap, you’ll see that it matches the four class layout that Cathay Pacific has, which features 296 seats. This includes:

  • Six first class seats, in a 1-1-1 configuration; Qatar Airways will sell first class on these planes
  • 53 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 34 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration; Qatar Airways will sell this as economy, so there won’t be a dedicated service or pricing in premium economy
  • 203 economy seats, in a 3-4-3 configuration

Best of all, Qatar Airways seems to have two first class award seats available on most of these flights, so that’s kind of cool. Keep in mind that Qatar Airways otherwise only has long haul first class on Airbus A380s, which have recently been reactivated.

The Maldives route is definitely more useful here than the Hong Kong route, given that Hong Kong continues to remain closed to visitors.

While there’s no guarantee this schedule will stick, I’ve planned a trip to the Maldives for this spring, and I’ve gone ahead and locked in award seats for this service. Ironically there aren’t even business class award seats, so even in the event I get “downgraded” to business class, I’d still be snagging award seats I couldn’t have otherwise found.

What does this mean for passengers?

There are implications here for those in all cabins. Some people will be happy to have first class on more Qatar Airways planes, as that’s not something that Qatar Airways typically offers on 777s. Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is excellent. While Cathay Pacific doesn’t have fully enclosed suites with doors, it’s an incredibly spacious and intimate cabin.

Cathay Pacific’s first class

In business class it’s a different story. Qatar Airways’ 777 business class is phenomenal, as the airline is known for its Qsuites.

Qatar Airways’ business class

Meanwhile Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class consists of reverse herringbone seats, which are excellent, but not quite as good as what you’ll find on Qatar Airways. That being said, not all Qatar Airways 777s feature Qsuites, so it depends on which plane you’re otherwise scheduled to fly.

Cathay Pacific’s business class

In economy, some passengers will be treated to premium economy seats in lieu of economy, which is quite an upgrade.

Cathay Pacific’s premium economy

So yeah, personally I’d say this plane substitution is good for those in first class, as well as economy passengers seated in premium economy. For others, I’d say Qatar Airways’ standard 777s with Qsuites offer a better experience.

Bottom line

Qatar Airways is leasing some Cathay Pacific Boeing 777s. Up until now these planes have been used for cargo routes, but recent schedule updates suggest that these planes will fly to Male and Hong Kong as of March 1, 2022. It’s anyone’s guess if that sticks, but that’s the case for now.

Best of all, there are two first class award seats available on virtually all of these flights, which is a good opportunity for anyone looking to travel to the Maldives.

I’m curious to see if Qatar Airways’ arrangement of leasing Cathay Pacific 777s might increase further, given that Cathay Pacific has nowhere to fly these planes, and Qatar Airways has an aircraft shortage. It would be kind of cool to see these planes on some routes to the United States.

What do you make of Qatar Airways leasing Cathay Pacific Boeing 777s?

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  1. Quinn Guest

    So I had an AAdvantage award from CHS-DFW-DOH-MLE in J with the longhaul on QR. I called months ago when QR started leasing these planes to upgrade our DOH-MLE segment to F. AA issued separate tickets, CHS-DFW-DOH in J and then DOH-MLE in F. We got to DFW just fine and hung out in the great Flagship lounge before heading down to our gate. They had us go to the counter to reissue our tickets...

    So I had an AAdvantage award from CHS-DFW-DOH-MLE in J with the longhaul on QR. I called months ago when QR started leasing these planes to upgrade our DOH-MLE segment to F. AA issued separate tickets, CHS-DFW-DOH in J and then DOH-MLE in F. We got to DFW just fine and hung out in the great Flagship lounge before heading down to our gate. They had us go to the counter to reissue our tickets on QR stock. However they wouldn't do it since we had separate tickets issued, no other explanation and told us it was an AA issue. Ran back to the lounge to get there help. 2.5 hours later we missed our flight and they had to rebook us for tomorrow. Just beware that you'll need one PNR on AA in order to get QR to issue the tickets. Spending the night at the Grand Hyatt DFW now on our own dime... Hopefully we'll get to the St Regis Maldives soon.

  2. Jeff Guest

    Flying in September on a CX plane from IST to DOH in business. Does anyone know if this is Cathay or Qatar crew? And is the catering Cathay or Qatar?

  3. G Ramoso Guest

    Appreciate this article. I am flying from DOH to MLE next week, originally booked on a 777 with QSuites and notified recently that QA will now be utilizing a non-QSuite config (boo!). The seating chart on the QA website shows a 1-2-1 config but seatguru or other seat sites only show QSuite or 2-2-2 configs for QA 777. Could not find anything on the web that spoke to this change. Good to know, bummed I'm losing QSuite but glad it's not a 2-2-2.

    1. Rod Guest

      QA is not displaying the CX plane configuration on their website, and Seatguru has it underway CX because QA doesn't own them. On Seatguru, that configuration you mentioned is under> Airlines >Cathay Pacific >Planes & Seat Maps >Boeing 777-300ER (77H) Layout 1. I have a trip to the Maldives next month on currently, my leg to MLE to/from DOH is under that configuration. Flights 675 and 676. What did you think about your experience with...

      QA is not displaying the CX plane configuration on their website, and Seatguru has it underway CX because QA doesn't own them. On Seatguru, that configuration you mentioned is under> Airlines >Cathay Pacific >Planes & Seat Maps >Boeing 777-300ER (77H) Layout 1. I have a trip to the Maldives next month on currently, my leg to MLE to/from DOH is under that configuration. Flights 675 and 676. What did you think about your experience with that configuration?

  4. WaderPSU Guest

    Like many burning down their loyalty points, my wife and I booked a trip to Al Maha resort (points), the JW Marriott Maldives (cash - to snag the inclusive option), and Qatar Q suites on an AA award (180k each) for all segments from DFW.

    We were surprised at how often out aircraft* and flight times changed (we booked way in advance) and it looks like we are on a CX 777 in "First" from...

    Like many burning down their loyalty points, my wife and I booked a trip to Al Maha resort (points), the JW Marriott Maldives (cash - to snag the inclusive option), and Qatar Q suites on an AA award (180k each) for all segments from DFW.

    We were surprised at how often out aircraft* and flight times changed (we booked way in advance) and it looks like we are on a CX 777 in "First" from SHJ-DOH-MLE, returning on another CX 773 in business MLE-DOH-DFW.

    Is there an efficient way to rebook the MLE-DOH-DFW itinerary to:
    (1) not lose our DOH-DFW Q Suite and
    (2) part with the extra 10k AA miles to snag the CX first seats MLE-DOH + lounge access?
    Superficially, (given $165pp lounge access option and marginal utility of the F seats for the 4.5hr flight MLE-DOH), this isn't a slam dunk use of the 10k - but we do have a 7hr layover in DOH, so "guaranteeing" a sleeping room by booking F in advance might be an incentive (vs rolling the dice and paying for the F lounge upon arrival in J).
    Would this just be a phone call? I think all the DOH-DFW Q suite award space is gone, so I don't really have the option to hold a new itinerary and call in the cancellation/change.

    1. Vanessa Guest

      I’m in the same boat. Were you able to change the flight?

  5. emily gadacz Guest

    I just flew first class DOHA to Male, April 12 on the 1.30am flight and got this new Cathay product. My friend flew same day but on the earlier 12.55am flight - Both were the leased Cathay plane and both tickets on award points, a whopping 100,000 one way. It was AMAZING. Over the top service, F&B, 2004 Krug, caviar, the works. The seat was gigantic and so comfy. Interior pretty bland but still very nice. It was dreamy!

  6. Stuart Guest

    As an update, it appears they are using one of these aircraft out of ZRH to DOH. It's showing F is available using AAdvantage miles in late May on a 777.

  7. mark Guest

    im booked on 677 MLE-DOH, originally in Q suite for august 23, now on this aircraft. Kinda bummed about it but I'm sure it will still be a solid product (hopefully).

  8. John from FLL Guest

    Just flew this aircraft on QR677 from MLE-DOH on Saturday, February 26, 2022, in business class (1-2-1). Originally, when I purchased this ticket, it was Qsuite on 772. The Cathay-leased 773 was repainted white with Qatar livery and interior (seats, etc.) were with Qatar colors. The seats were a bit dated and far inferior compared to Qsuite. My seat 21A had a misaligned window and the television was defective. Took a peak at the first...

    Just flew this aircraft on QR677 from MLE-DOH on Saturday, February 26, 2022, in business class (1-2-1). Originally, when I purchased this ticket, it was Qsuite on 772. The Cathay-leased 773 was repainted white with Qatar livery and interior (seats, etc.) were with Qatar colors. The seats were a bit dated and far inferior compared to Qsuite. My seat 21A had a misaligned window and the television was defective. Took a peak at the first class (1-1-1), and it was the only part of the plane that seemed maybe better than Qsuite (massive seats). For a 4-5 hour flight it was just fine, not exceptional.

  9. MLE Guy Guest

    These flights actually started February 20th, hopefully we’ll see some reports flowing in.

  10. Mark Guest

    I was able to redeem BA Avios on the Doha to Male flight in First using 51,500 points on Monday, March 21, 2022 which is currently the CX 777 300 ER leased. Thank you for the information.

  11. Andrew Guest

    Are the 777 CX premium economy seats on these leased aircraft sold as QR economy preferred seats which can be paid for, or, are included in QR's Comfort class?

  12. Cliff Guest

    So does that also imply Al Safwa lounge access? Curiouser and curiouser!

  13. Eskimo Guest

    I guess everybody is heading to Maldives to burn Bonvoy points.

  14. Omar Guest

    I had snagged 2 F redemptions on JFK-DOH which this aircraft was scheduled for one day only in January but then it got reverted to the normal config. Didn't get any warning/call or compensation. I refunded my miles.

  15. JB Guest

    Hong Kong and Male makes sense.
    Male because it's a leisure destination, so most people flying QR won't mind the aircraft swap as long as their getting a good product. Hong Kong makes sense because no one flies to HKG now because of border closures, and those who do won't mind this swap too much since they are likely used to flying CX (and probably won't despise the swap). This was the way to...

    Hong Kong and Male makes sense.
    Male because it's a leisure destination, so most people flying QR won't mind the aircraft swap as long as their getting a good product. Hong Kong makes sense because no one flies to HKG now because of border closures, and those who do won't mind this swap too much since they are likely used to flying CX (and probably won't despise the swap). This was the way to deploy the plane while making the least amount of passengers disappointed. Everywhere else, pax would expect QR style and service (and in turn, the product they paid for).

    QR did the same with their leased LATAM A350's by flying them to/from Spain.

  16. fordpickup Guest

    Kind of a bummer but at least my friends and I are 50% of the mini cabin on MLE>DOH.

  17. FlyingHippo Guest

    Something I noticed (and something for anyone on these routes to be aware of). Even though the equipment change was only DOH > MLE, our selected seats had been cleared out for the entire trip both ways. Thanks to @Lucky, I was able to snag window seats in the forward J Mini Cabin on Cathay’s 77W.
    Thanks as always Lucky!

  18. PointsFlyer New Member

    JFK-DOH 0702 Jan 24 seat map on Seat Alerts app is a Cathay 777-300ER 4 class. Repositioning flight! Disappointing.

    1. Omar Guest

      I had booked this but it was changed to standard config.

  19. Points Adventure Guest

    "Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is excellent, with fully flat beds featuring direct aisle access."

    Sorry Lucky, but that's like saying "this steak is excellent, it has protein." Direct aisle access on all seats is standard on pretty much all international first class. I think what makes it excellent is the 1-1-1 configuration's spaciousness,

  20. Apso Eyot Guest

    Did Cathay finish retrofitting all of their 777s with 10-abreast economy seating? If not, for economy travelers, if they use a Cathay 777 with 9-abreast seating, it should be an improvement over Qatar’s 777s, which are all 10-abreast.

  21. Aaron Guest

    "In business class it’s a different story. Qatar Airways’ 777 business class is phenomenal, as the airline is known for its Qsuites."

    Yeah but do all of their 777-300's have Q-Suites? Or does Qatar usually fly Qsuites exclusively between those 2 destinations?

    1. Apso Eyot Guest

      I believe there are some Qatar 777s that haven’t been renovated with Q-Suites. They have their older business class seats, which are pretty basic reverse herringbones. There might even be some early delivery A350-900s that still have those seats.

  22. Eric Guest

    Well, I am looking at the exact same date/route now. And it's showing A350-900 again.

  23. Julie Guest

    What flight numbers have the flights between DOH -MLE? I have searched a bit for February and found none with the FC seatmap on ExpertFlyer. Is there a better place to find them (tried on QR website also, that was difficult)

    1. FlyingHippi Guest

      Seems to be QR 673/674. We’re booked in late October and I can confirm this has changed to a Cathy 777-300ER from the original 777-200LR.
      I personally am not too bummed as Cathay has some great seats. Agreeably not QSuites but I’ll take it over most other airlines any day.

    2. Chris Guest

      The article specifically mentions March 1 these flights start, so you’re not going to find them in Feb.

  24. James Guest

    Do you happen to know what the earliest date Qatar is using Cathay's planes for flights to MLE? I have a business award on QR from MLE to DOH on Feb 5, 2022 and ExpertFlyer still shows QR's old business class on the 77W. I flew Cathay's first almost ten years ago and would love another chance to use that seat.

  25. Joe1293 Guest

    Will we see a trip report from
    You & Ford?
    Flying CX 777 plane operated by QR

  26. DLPTATL Guest

    Possibly Dumb Question - Is Qatar the only airline with the A350 fuselage issue? If so, that just seems odd, unless it has to do with the extreme heat at their home base.

    1. Creditcrunch Diamond

      It’s not really a fuselage issue but rather the paint job is sub standard and is flaking away.

    2. GuruJanitor Guest

      I'm pretty sure Finnair has also had the same problems, and might have even been the first to report it several years ago. I think there are several other operators who have had the issue but have made less of a public stink about it. Qatar is banging the drum the hardest, for whatever reason. I'm sure there are other people who can confirm.

  27. Jon Guest

    Wet lease or dry lease, do we know?

    1. SQ51 Guest

      I imagine dry as was the case with their LATAM A350s

  28. Vl Guest

    You also can fly Cathay 77W first class on Russian charter Nordwind and Azur Air lol

  29. CB Guest

    Why won’t it let you book a FC award ticket from LHR or CDG using the A380 too?

  30. SQ51 Guest

    Were you not recently thinking about a trip to Male to check out one of the Marriotts before the Bombvoy devaluation? This would be a stellar opportunity to knock out two at once...

    Please?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ SQ51 -- Your wish is my command. I already have a QR F segment between DOH and MLE on hold. ;)

    2. SQ51 Guest

      And we all know this route will never see an A380... will be waiting with popcorn

    3. Julie Guest

      What flights numbers are using this plane? I have tried to find it but can't seem to find these flights. Have they added March onto the schedule with these?

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Quinn Guest

So I had an AAdvantage award from CHS-DFW-DOH-MLE in J with the longhaul on QR. I called months ago when QR started leasing these planes to upgrade our DOH-MLE segment to F. AA issued separate tickets, CHS-DFW-DOH in J and then DOH-MLE in F. We got to DFW just fine and hung out in the great Flagship lounge before heading down to our gate. They had us go to the counter to reissue our tickets on QR stock. However they wouldn't do it since we had separate tickets issued, no other explanation and told us it was an AA issue. Ran back to the lounge to get there help. 2.5 hours later we missed our flight and they had to rebook us for tomorrow. Just beware that you'll need one PNR on AA in order to get QR to issue the tickets. Spending the night at the Grand Hyatt DFW now on our own dime... Hopefully we'll get to the St Regis Maldives soon.

0
Jeff Guest

Flying in September on a CX plane from IST to DOH in business. Does anyone know if this is Cathay or Qatar crew? And is the catering Cathay or Qatar?

0
Rod Guest

QA is not displaying the CX plane configuration on their website, and Seatguru has it underway CX because QA doesn't own them. On Seatguru, that configuration you mentioned is under> Airlines >Cathay Pacific >Planes & Seat Maps >Boeing 777-300ER (77H) Layout 1. I have a trip to the Maldives next month on currently, my leg to MLE to/from DOH is under that configuration. Flights 675 and 676. What did you think about your experience with that configuration?

0
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