Here Are New First Class Concepts Cathay Pacific Is Playing With

Cathay Pacific first revealed their plans for a new first class product to be offered on board Boeing 777-9 aircraft when they’re delivered in 2017. A year later they still didn’t know whether they would offer enclosed suites and hadn’t settled on a seat supplier.

Instead they said they’d look at the current creative offerings of seat suppliers to decide who they wanted to go with, and “co-create” a new concept. With all of the delays to the Boeing 777-9 there’s been no hurry. We aren’t likely to see the new plane flying for a commercial airline before 2025. (Cathay Pacific was originally slated to get these planes starting this year.)

However Executive Traveller has some insight into concepts that Cathay Pacific has been playing with for their new first class seat.

European agency Yellow Window was among the firms shortlisted, and its work provides a tantalising take on the evolution of Cathay’s first class.

“In the context of the delivery of its new Boeing B777-9X and the refit of the Boeing B777-300ER, Cathay Pacific wanted to rethink the passenger experience and the first-class cabin concept to strengthen its position as leader among the world’s top airlines,” Yellow Project explains.

This is the first time I’ve seen discussion of Cathay Pacific putting new first class seats into existing Boeing 777-300ER aicraft, though I wonder how those plans will hold if the seat doesn’t debut for five years. In an ideal world for customers we’d see Cathay Pacific retrofit existing planes first rather than waiting. However Cathay’s open first class suite without doors still remains one of the best sleeps in the sky and one of the most private cabins with just six seats spread across two rows.

Yellow Window developed two different seat designs. One of them is a larger suite, designed three-across like Cathay’s current configuration. The second idea is more of a true suite in the Etihad Apartment or new Singapore Suites model, configured as two rows of two seats. Good luck finding award space with only four seats in a cabin!

Here’s the 2×2 suite concept:

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

And here’s 3-across:

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

Credit: Yellow Window

While this concept appears more ‘open’ it can be offered with a privacy screen that creates more of a cocoon. The seat actually reminds me somewhat of the new Air France first class seat.

What do you think of these ideas? Executive Traveller has more commentary on the subtle details of each of the two seat concept designs.

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. It also reminded me of the AF first class seats though I still think the AF ones are more stylish.

  2. I actually prefer the 3 across. Maybe it’s an optical illusion but the 2 across looks to offer less legroom and the current 3 across on Cathay is hardly lacking in space.

  3. Privacy in both configurations is overrated. I read comments complaining about such and can only think peeps think they are exclusive enough, Jay Z, to warrant such a set up. Cathay’s First is incredibly comfortable, especially on the A side of the plane. It’s just dated and needs an update though a complete reconfig is unnecessary. Nothing like seeing points enthusiast complaining about such trivial issues. Cathay or any other carrier could give two shits to anyone but the paying customer.

  4. Even the hint of discussion about a brand new J/F product is so disconnected from the past year’s abject trash that I will consume it with total abandon. Bring it!

  5. it’s for private seat, right?

    so exciting, but i do not really like the design and that position. but, it’s so privately

  6. The corner seat in the 2×2 setup looks really uncomfortable. No seat back. And for the person sitting in it, I hope they’re prepared for a huge neck kink after talking to their companion sitting in the main seat.

  7. The 3 seat setup looks better than the 2 seat. Why can ANA come up with a better design than this? If they go with the 2 seat setup, I’ll skip Cathay. After 2 roundtrips, Cathay’s first class inflight service is pitiful. Lazy, old flight attendants and God awful food! The seat was Cathay’s only redeeming factor. But the 2 seat setup offers zero privacy compared to the vast majority of competing airlines.

  8. @JohnB – I’ve had the pleasure of flying Cathay first class quite a number of times and it’s always been uniformly spectacular, from lounges to onboard food to service. The seats are superb and despite your comment, I’ve never seen an old flight attendant during dozens of flights. I find Cathay to be far and away better than Singapore, JAL, or ANA first, although each has individual good points. Which East Asian airline do you find to be better than Cathay?

  9. Interesting, although I think Cathay is pretty much dead, along with its neutered Hong Kong city and base. Think twice before you spend any money that would support the repressive gov’t of the mainland.

  10. I agree with @Ryan, the 2-across layout has seats too far from the windows. I like a view during takeoff and landing – particularly when the approach to LHR goes along the Thames and I can see the Houses of Parliament, Royal Albert Hall etc.

  11. I have no strong feelings as CX J is good enough for me, but at this point I miss Hong Kong enough to happily fly there in Y, in a middle seat, in the last row that doesn’t decline.

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