Cathay Pacific Launching New Longest Flight to Washington DC

Cathay Pacific is expected to announce new service from Hong Kong to Washington Dulles next week operated by an Airbus A350.

Washington Dulles Airport

This clocks in at around the 12th longest flight in the world, as well as Cathay Pacific’s longest, the longest from Hong Kong, and the longest from Washington Dulles.

It’s slightly longer than Cathay’s Hong Kong – Boston and Hong Kong – New York JFK flights. It’s not the longest flight operated by an Airbus A350 though, since it’s around 300 miles shorter than the Singapore Airlines San Francisco – Singapore flight.

Cathay Pacific already serves New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in North America. I personally would have expected Seattle service before Washington DC. DC is particular offers little partner airline connecting traffic.

Cathay Pacific Business Class

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350s feature 38 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats and 214 coach seats. There is no first class.

American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles can be used for Cathay Pacific flights. So can British Airways Avios, and when flying to Hong Kong (though not destinations to the south) fuel surcharges tend to be immaterial. American Express and Citibank points transfer to Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles program directly.

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. Not a lot of connecting traffic…on THIS end…however D.C. has a huge SE Asian community, as you know, given your taste in restaurants. There’s your customer base.

  2. One of my favorite activities in the IAD areas is watching the Asian Crowds while at the Leesburg outlets. Just suitcases and suitcases of new purchased clothing. Once watched a guy buy 50 pairs of Nike shoes to take back.

  3. after this launch, the 3 next most likely CX HKG-USA routes i’m guessing might be SEA SJC IAH, in no particular order. Definitely not the 8990mi HKG-MIA fantasy nonstop daydreamed by many.

    I’m purposely excluding DFW because CX has shown themselves time and again that despite it being a “no brainer” with “massive feed”, CX has skipped past DFW on multiple occasions.

  4. Great news for IAD!! 🙂

    It will be interesting to see which lounge they funnel premium and OW elite pax to. The British Airways Galleries lounge complex would be the obvious choice, but given the departure will most likely be before 2:30pm, I have some questions.

    Prior to the 2:30pm, the lounge is accessible to Priority Pass members. The food and beverage options change dramatically between the daytime and evening when it is only accessible by British Airways passengers and OneWorld elites. If they do decide to funnel their passengers to this lounge, do we think they will offer upgraded food and drink offerings? And if so, do we think that there would be a negative impact to Priority Pass access (I personally wouldn’t care because I always go to the Turkish lounge at that time of day)? And if they time the departure to be later in the afternoon or later in the evening, would there be overcrowding issues? Would they offer some form of Club World dining to Business Class passengers?

  5. This is especially confusing given the relationship between CX and AA. Why serve nonhub BOS, United hubs EWR and IAD, but not an AA hub in PHL?

    Henry – AA operates a DFS-HKG flight codeshared with CX, which likely explains the lack of a second flight.

  6. Smart move, lucrative business and government travelers can now bypass connections. How long before UA matches this route? Or perhaps adds a flight to SIN?

    Note to Sam- The BA lounge is mediocre in terms of F&B offerings (at least for PP users). IMO the LH lounge is the best with TK maybe second. Even the UCs are better than BA. But I guess CX will likely go with a OW partner…

  7. @Boraxo – yes I agree re: BA lounge food and drink offerings for PP users. My question was would they improve the food and beverage offerings for the Cathay departure, and if so, would that have negative impact on PP access during that time.

  8. @Rexx – you do understand that CX is its own airline, not AA’s pawn, right? They don’t need to ask permission of AA to fly their own routes. There are probably about a billion people within a 3-hour feeder flight of HKG, and if CX wants to fly a couple hundred them per day to some cities in the United States, well then that’s their prerogative (pending U.S. regulatory approval, of course! :D).

  9. Kind of makes sense to me. The Balt/Wash Metro is one of the largest in the U.S. and there’s a lot of demand generated there, including a lot of government-related travel.

    While IAD doesn’t provide much in the way of connecting opportunities for Oneworld, consider that AA dominates DCA so there are a lot of Oneworld loyalists who live in the area. And currently there is no nonstop service to Asia on any Oneworld carrier from the DC area. I’m surprised JL hasn’t launched a route to Tokyo, maybe because of competition from NH and UA. But there definitely seems to be an opportunity for a OW carrier to Asia and CX is going to give it a shot. I wish them luck and hope they offer plenty of award seats on it!

  10. This sounds great no more looking for flights out of NYC/ORD and then dreaming of an AA connection to that flight.

    Any idea of what the start date would be?

  11. Airlines publish distances based on great-circle calculations. As I’ve said previously, great circle calculations are mere approximations because Earth is an oblate spheroid not a sphere. Until airlines make proper calculations we’ll never know which routes are longer than others. I would think it would be important for airlines to know the exact distance their aircraft need to fly.

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