What I Booked In Place Of Hainan Business Class

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific, Hainan

I’d say I just “upgraded” big time, and I hope it makes an even more interesting review.

My Hainan Airlines Aircraft Swap

Later this week I was supposed to fly Hainan Airlines from Beijing to Boston. I was looking forward to this, because Hainan’s reverse herringbone business class product on the 787 is one that I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve reviewed their “old” 787 business class, and wanted to see what their new hard and soft product was like.

As I wrote about a couple of days ago, unfortunately I was impacted by a last minute aircraft swap. Hainan is notorious for changing their cabin types last minute, and I drew the short end of the stick there…

Rather than being on a 787-9 featuring reverse herringbone seats as originally scheduled…

…I was now on a 787-9 with a 2-2-2 configuration.

Given that this is exclusively a review trip, I decided it was time to rebook on another airline I’ve been wanting to try. I absolutely still intend to review Hainan’s business class soon (and early next year want to have a mainland China focus), but only if the flight actually features their reverse herringbone seats.

The good thing is that I had booked through Alaska Mileage Plan and am an MVP Gold member, so I was able to redeposit the mileage ticket at no cost.

Hello Cathay Pacific!

For years Cathay Pacific first class was probably the most reviewed first class product out there. Many dreaded seeing more reviews of Cathay Pacific’s first class, because it was so easily accessible and widely reviewed. Not only that, but Cathay Pacific first class is so consistent, to the point that nothing changed for years (including the food).

I largely choose the airlines I fly based on whether or not they’re interesting to review, so I haven’t flown Cathay Pacific first class in almost a couple of years (the last time was with Tiffany, when I was recovering from the flu).

Yet interestingly the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting many requests to review Cathay Pacific first class, and I think it has reached the point where it’s interesting once again.

For one, Cathay Pacific now has wifi on a majority of their 777s with first class, so I’m hoping my flight features that, and I’m curious how it impacts my perception of the product.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER

Beyond that, Cathay Pacific just recently updated their first class soft product, and there’s now new bedding, a completely different dining concept, and more.

Yep, this is exactly what I look like when sleeping in Cathay first

I’m really curious to see how the product has evolved.

The catch is that Cathay Pacific is making virtually no first class award seats available to partner programs last minute, even when the cabin is wide open. So in a separate post I’ll be sharing the “trick” to booking Cathay Pacific first class awards last minute.

Stay tuned, I’m very excited to experience Cathay Pacific’s new product. I was so familiar with the old experience that I felt like I could have easily worked one of the flights!

Has anyone experienced Cathay Pacific’s new first class soft product? Should I expect a significant difference, or is it just minor tweaks?

  1. Looking forward to your review, flew on CX830 and CX841 two weeks ago in J and I loved both flights. Everything was excellent, hard and soft product.

  2. I’m looking forward to the trick because I recently flew J and was hoping F would open up. It didn’t and they were empty when I peeked in.

  3. Nice! I have seen a lot of bitching lately about last minute CX avail, however it looks like they are back to usual. I just checked LAX-HKG for the next few days and both J/F are wide open. The CX F seat is likely the most comfortable in the sky, at least in my limited experience. Any chance you’ll do a post on the fees you pay, or avoid, with route changes?

  4. Flew it last week, it’s similar to the previous experience. I didn’t get the Jing pre departure, but had the bamford amenities. The pillow mist is great.

    They were serving comtes instead of krug, which I prefer


  5. “Yet interestingly the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting many requests to review Cathay Pacific first class, and I think it has reached the point where it’s interesting once again.”

    Many requests? lol The only people flying CX F in the last year have been those who got in on the Vietnam fare.

  6. The trick is booking a throw-away segment. For example, booking JFK-HKG-CAN (and not flying the CAN segment). Costs the same amount of points. Lots of availability when doing this. Works well for redemptions on Asia Miles, not sure about partner programs.

  7. Well I too n 11/22 was stung by a last minute a/c swap by Hainan to the old 2-2-2 config. My return flight on 12/2 however was in the 1-2-1 config with reverse herringbone. While I wasn’t too pleased on 11/22 with the old config in hindsight its BETTER than the reverse herringbone! 1. Seats are wider 2. You get a moveable leg rest which I like for reclining 3. Slept for 10/14 hrs. Flight in the old config much more comfy AND its so wide made it easy to turn from back to side! All in all herringbone seat was terrible by comparison. Hainan = basic biz class.

  8. @Angus:

    Kinda hard to throw away a CX segment when you’re originating in China and the destination is the US… 😉

  9. What do you suggest from Houston to Manila? Business class. What airline? Why is Skylux pushing so many Chinese airlines? Such poor service and long layovers? What’s your take?

  10. Just flew BOS-HKG and agree it’s not much different. Especially as this route doesn’t have the new DO&CO catering. I’m not sure if the crews have had that much time to figure out the amenities just yet – had to specifically ask/tell the cabin attendants about the different pillow options.

  11. I flew CX F for HKG LAX last week, the new soft products were wonderful! The pillow, blanket and the mat are all noticeably better. WiFi is complimentary and was plenty fast (I shared images and videos with friends via the WiFi.) no doubt there are still some room for improvement, but I am happy about the changes, and look forward to fly LAX-HKG next week. I need to finish Good Girls season 2!
    Lucky, hope you will enjoy the flight!

  12. Totally agree about the pillow mist – am using it at home…

    (Rest of the amenity kit is a definite downgrade from Aesop)

  13. I have a CX segment in my next upcoming Asia trip, ORD-HKG in F. Quite frankly, I’ll be interested to see the changes but even if CX did not change a thing, I LOVE this product!! Cathay First is a dream!!!.

  14. flew HKG-BOS a week ago. Great new bedding and prefer the new amenity kit which is unpopular but no new meal service unfortunately.

  15. @Angus
    The ‘trick’ you mention (a throw away segment) used to work pretty well with AlaskaMP about 5 years ago. No more however. These days they are the master of tricks, with all their fake business awards for the unwary, euphemistically deemed Mixed Cabin! Bit like a Christmas pudding with only 5% mixed fruit.

  16. Whether or not the changes in first class are significant, a review from you would at the least be reassuring . Besides, you’ve had quite a few less than stellar flying experiences over the past few years (as part of the call of duty) and you deserve to have a 5-star flight now and then.

  17. Eagerly waiting your next post as my wife icm about to fly LAX to HKG in January 2020. My wife is in F and I’m in J, booked using AS miles. Hoping to join her I’m F!

  18. I flew BOS – HKG a few weeks ago in J, as I couldn’t find award availability last minute for F.

    They have a great product, service was excellent, I thought the food was good, and I like the new Jurlique amenity kits… One of my best transcon flights in a while, even if I wanted to get that F seat

  19. So this is Lucky’s new trick for generating clicks and views – promise a separate follow up on booking CX First and yet here we are 10-posts later on everything from mileage sale promos, Changi jewel review, lounge reviews, etc and ZERO about any kind of “trick” to booking CX First.

    The trick – buy CX F. But Lucky can’t say that because then it defeats the theme of his blog “flying 400,000+ miles a year using points to enhance my first class experiences.” 50% of his posts now are purchased J & F flights.

  20. I was booked in business class. Well never again I take on food was disgusting if ask for cuppa, that never came. Service came very poor, so I think better I save money as Cathay didn’t seem worry. it was my first time experience that my partner pay for so I’m going keep money in bank. I got NO apology even those I wrote to company not even reply.

  21. @Bradley

    Chinese airlines can be a really good value. I booked a ticket with Cook Travel from Houston to Taipei on Air China and would have paid double the price on another carrier.

  22. I am not available to see any availability of CX on British airways website. How is everyone looking for CX flights nowdays for first/ business class?

  23. @Rav
    CX still show on the BA site. If you are looking too far ahead you won’t find anything as CX don’t release awards right to end of schedule. Availability can be spotty, but I’m not sure whose fault that is. (They also seem happy to fly out with near empty premium cabins, rather than make too many awards available. Go figure!)
    You could also try the Qantas search engine if you have a lot of free time, and patience.

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