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Cathay Pacific First Vs Business Class: Is First Worth Paying For?


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I have flown with Cathay Pacific in First Class and Business Class and have compared one vs. the other to answer the question, is it worth paying to upgrade to First Class?

I have flown with Cathay Pacific a number of times and have reviewed their long-haul flights in First and Business Class. My trip reports can be found below. Cathay Pacific also features in my top 10 best business class airlines in the world. I also have compared Cathay Pacific vs. Singapore Airlines in Business Class.

Cathay Pacific in First Class is one of my favorite ways to fly long-haul, and I always look forward to traveling this way. Cathay Pacific’s First Class has one of the best seats in the skies. Japan Airlines serves better food, Emirates is snazzier with a shower on the A380 and Lufthansa has an incredible First Class Terminal which beats any other First Class lounge, but overall Cathay first offers one of the best in-flight experiences in the skies.

In fact, Cathay is the airline that I have slept best on, in particular when traveling in First Class. The sheer width and comfort provided by the mattress pads in the First Class cabin, combined with the lack of passing traffic (as there are only two rows in First), means that you are unlikely to get a better night’s sleep on any other airline in the skies.

Booking First And Business On Awards

It is not easy to book Cathay Pacific in First Class on awards. There is not great availability. Cathay Pacific Business Class seats are much more readily available, even in advance. Cathay Pacific releases up to five business class award seats per flight.

How much better is Cathay Pacific first class than business class?

Crucially, you will get one of the best night’s sleep in the skies if you choose to fly First. However good the Business Class is, and it IS good, you will not get such a good night’s sleep. The seats are thinner, and there is more passing traffic. First offers an excellent comforter, duvet, and set of pillows. I also like the First Class Pyjamas from luxury Asian clothing brand, Pye.

If you like Caviar, you must fly First. The fact that you can have meals and snacks whenever you like is also a major bonus. The champers is Krug (v good), and the Amenity kit is better, too.

Pre-flight Lounges

The Cathay Pacific First Class Wing Lounge in Hong Kong is good. Just have a read of our reviews of the best airline lounges at Hong Kong airport. The Cathay Pacific First Lounge is The Wing. It’s great but not worth paying much more for. The Cathay Pacific Bridge Lounge and Qantas Lounge Hong Kong (which are for both First & Business Class passengers) are excellent, too.

How Is Cathay Pacific Business Class?

Cathay Pacific Business Class is extremely comfortable and consistent, with reverse herringbone seats and decent bedding for Business Class, but it is not as good as First. The food is good but not great, unlike First, which is pretty darned good. The delivery of the food is a little more like an assembly line.

The StudioCX entertainment selection is identical to what’s available in first-class,

Should I Book Cathay Pacific First over Business Class?

If you are booking on awards, book in Cathay Pacific Business Class on award space in advance, but look out for the opportunity to upgrade to First on points. Availability often appears closer to departure.

Is it worth paying for the upgrade in points or cash? Should you pay (or get your company to pay) for First? Is it worth the extra money? Well, the answer varies from person to person. If you put a high value on the following aspects of your flight, you should upgrade. If you aren’t that bothered, you shouldn’t.

You will get the following in First Class:

  • A better night’s sleep in First
  • Caviar and Krug Champagne
  • You can eat at any time you want
  • If you enjoy fine dining, there is a much better and more personalized dining experience in First
  • You get a better amenity kit in First
  • You get gorgeous Pyjamas in First. Pajamas are ONLY given to those traveling in First Class

In Business Class you do get good food, a comfy seat which goes lie flat and the experience is undoubtedly excellent. It won’t fail you, but she won’t excite you either. Business on Cathay is very good, but it’s not as good as the experience in First.

Below, you will find my most recent flight reviews on Cathay Pacific in First Class. You can draw your own conclusions.

Cathay Pacific First Class Reviews

Review: Cathay Pacific First Class On Boeing 777-300 JFK to HKG

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review Cathay Pacific First Class on the B777-300 JFK to HKG. On my trips between Asia and the United States, I have had the opportunity to fly Cathay Pacific First Class a few times. Cathay… Read More.

And how about Business Class? Check out my Business Class reviews here:

Business Class Reviews

Flight Review: Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG to ICN

In "Reviews"

At the end of September, I finally got the chance to take the business class in the Cathay Pacific A350 planes for my trip from Hong Kong to Seoul. I have previously sat in the Premium Economy seats on the… Read More.

Flight Review: Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review my flight on Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Hong Kong to Düsseldorf. You can read all my Cathay Pacific Business Class flight reviews and First Class reviews. Read More.

Review: Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class

In "Reviews"

This trip review was in Business Class on a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 from Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar to Hong Kong (HKG). The flight itself was okay, with a great cabin crew, excellent seats, and unimpressive food. Cathay… Read More.

Review: Cathay Pacific A350-900 Premium Economy

In "Reviews"

We review Cathay Pacific on the A350-900 in Premium Economy from London Gatwick to Hong Kong. We have also reviewed Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy Singapore to Hong Kong, and Cathay Pacific Business Class on the A350. Read More.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.