Cathay Pacific is Making Business and First Class Sleep Even Better

Cathay Pacific offers one of the very best first class products in the world. It’s not super modern, there are no doors, but it’s spacious and their seat gives me some of the very best sleep in the sky.

They’re cutting back on first class routes, though, and will no longer offer it intra-Asia other than Hong Kong – Tokyo Haneda and Beijing. That leaves business as their top cabin, and indeed they have some long haul North American flights without a first class cabin (Toronto, Washington Dulles, Newark).

Their business class is an excellent product though in many ways dated. Their seat is good, reverse herringbone direct aisle access, but it’s the same one that US Airways pioneered, that EVA Air uses, that American has on their Boeing 777-300ERs.

And while Cathay Pacific service is good by American standards, it always leaves something of a factory-like impression on me. Meal service is good enough that you aren’t hungry on a long flight but their food has never been great either, even with last year’s improved presentation and delivery.

Well Cathay Pacific adding mattress pads and slippers to business class and first class is getting an even thicker mattress pad. (HT: @HKTBlog_Dom)

Sources said business class fliers will get a thin mattress topper pad and slippers to accompany the existing duvet and pillow to help travellers sleep better. While in first class, ticket holders will get a thicker mattress pad, an upgrade on an existing topper used. New amenity kits are also going to be rolled out.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly Cathay Pacific has been behind even U.S. airlines in offering quality bedding in business class. Despite myriad cut backs to United’s Polaris product, the US carrier offers quality bedding in business class and though their pajamas may be shrinking (and getting ugly) United offers pajamas. So this is an investment that’s clearly needed.

Despite a business class seat that dates to 2011, it’s ultimately good to see Cathay continuing to invest in its premium product. They can’t compete on cost with low fare rivals and need to leverage the premium market at their Hong Kong base. When the airline takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-9 we’ll see a new first class seat as well.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Would be nice if CX also either 1) installed individual air nozzles or 2) didn’t keep their cabins at 85 degrees.

  2. It’s hIgh time CX hand out slippers, being an airline that is 1) culturally Chinese, 2) of a certain quality; 3) in J

  3. After my experience in first class a few months ago, I couldn’t wait to read what they were going to be doing to improve my sleep when I go back. In my opinion, I think this article could have accentuated the positive a little more than deriding one of the best first class experiences in the air today. You don’t have to cut everything else down just to say the mattress pad will be thicker. I was perfectly happy with my bedding and even more impressed with how they handle making the bed especially as compared America’s crap airlines.

  4. none of this really matters for sleep. the most important improvements would be to time meal service to meal times at the destination, reduce cabin noise levels, and increase knee/hip space. the UA gel pillows are also a huge factor. it amazes me how many airlines will spend money to provide everyone with worthless amenity kits but not cheapo hotel-type slippers.

  5. I have a hard time sleeping in CX J. A mattress pad would help (if there are empty seats I ask an FA if U can have an extra blanket, and use it as a mattress pad. Lacking individual air nozzles, the cabins are too hitcyi sleep under a blanket, but having it next to me makes it feel more like a bed.

    CX could be an excellent business class airline even with QR-style suites (which I love) if they offered a comfortable mattress pad, PJs, and dine on demand, and added individual air nozzles.

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