Today, Cathay Pacific announced that Seattle will be their new destination for North America. Currently, Cathay Pacific flies to 5 destinations in the United States (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York) and 2 destinations in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver). Earlier this year, we have also seen Cathay Pacific adding Washington DC as their new destination with service beginning 15th September using the new A350-1000.
Per their press release, Cathay Pacific will begin flying to Seattle as of 31 March 2019 using an A350-900. The flight will be 4-weekly and the schedule as follow:
It is also worth noting that Delta will end its Hong Kong – Seattle service as of 4th October 2018. So there will be no direct flights linking Hong Kong to Seattle, your nearest alternative will be flights to Vancouver, which is served by Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, as well as Hong Kong Airlines. It is also worth noting that since Delta will no longer serve this market, Cathay Pacific will have a monopoly on this route after its launch.
In terms of passenger experience, it is generally positive. Delta’s 777-200ER that serves this route currently offers 37 Delta One suite (Business), 36 Comfort Plus (Extra legroom economy), and 218 standard economy seats. Cathay Pacific’s A 350-900 features 38 Reverse herringbone seats in business, a proper premium economy cabin with 28 recliner seats and 214 standard economy seats.
In total, this is a slight capacity reduction of about a dozen seats.
For economy passengers, the seat width will reduce from 18.5 inches to 18 inches due to A350’s narrower fuselage.
The proper premium economy cabin on the A350-900 is definitely a welcomed addition that will serve traveler not willing to purchase a business class seat while wanting to up their game from economy class.
For business class passengers, the switch to Cathay Pacific’s reverse herringbone seats will see a decrease in seat width from 21inches to 20inches and the pitch reducing from 78 inches to 75 inches, again this is due to A350-900 being a smaller plane. Overall though, the A350-900 is still a much quieter and newer plane. I will leave the details below for you to compare for yourself:
The best way to book Cathay Pacific award space is using Alaska Mileage Plan, You can redeem a one-way Business class ticket from the US to any Asian destinations using only 50,000 miles. Mileage Plan also allows stopovers in one-way tickets. Alternatively, you can redeem 70,000 Asia miles for this flight on a standard award (6500miles, long type 2 award) or 105,000 miles on a choice award. It is worth noting Mileage Plan does not have access to all award availability compared to Asia Miles and other Oneworld Frequent Flyer Programmes. The flights to and from Seattle are now bookable, so do it quickly while award availability lasts.
It is always good to see Cathay Pacific increase its footprint in North America. Comparing to other Airlines in the region such as the Japanese and Chinese carriers, Cathay Pacific is very conservative in launching new US/Canada services. Seattle is the home of Alaska Airlines, and given the partnership between Cathay and Alaska, Cathay should be able to get a lot of connecting traffic from this route. This new flight also greatly benefited travel to the Seattle region as now you no longer need to fly to Vancouver first before crossing to the United States.
If you are traveling to Alaska, this new flight will be a deal breaker as now we have a one-stop connection to Anchorage via Seattle. There are 27+ flights per day connecting Seattle with Anchorage while only 1 flight per day from Vancouver.
A new destination is always a positive, but it all comes down to pricing and comfort at the end of the day.