Cathay Pacific plane
Business & Premium Classes

The Complete Guide to Cathay Pacific Business Class



August 8, 2023

7 min read

Table of Contents

Cathay Pacific has a long-standing reputation for providing premium class services that reflect the cosmopolitan East-meets-West heritage of Hong Kong. It flies from New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Hong Kong and onward to destinations across Asia. It’s one of a handful of certified five-star airlines from Skytrax for the quality of its products and services—and its business class certainly helped earn that distinction.

What to know about Cathay Pacific business class

Business class is available on all Cathay Pacific flights, but the carrier has different aircraft configurations for regional and long-haul flights. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus on the Cathay Pacific business class experience on long-haul flights from the United States.

Examples of business class deals Going has found on Cathay Pacific

  • $2,758 roundtrip to Tokyo
  • $2,628 roundtrip to Seoul
  • $2,629 roundtrip to Bangkok

The Cathay Pacific business class experience at the airport

Cathay Pacific business class lounge

Cathay Pacific business class lounge.

All Cathay Pacific Business Class passengers have access to a lounge. The airline is noted for the lounges at its Hong Kong hub, where Business Class passengers have access to The Pier. There, passengers will find food hall-style dining with a focus on Chinese comfort food, a tea house where fine tea specialists help passengers select the ideal brew, a noodle bar, and coffee cart.

In North America, Cathay Pacific operates its own lounges in San Francisco and Vancouver. Passengers have access to oneworld Business Class lounges at Chicago (O’Hare), New York (Kennedy), Boston, and Los Angeles. A third party lounge is available at Toronto Pearson.

Cathay Pacific business class check-in

Cathay Pacific has dedicated check-in desks for business class passengers. Members of oneworld member programs who have achieved Emerald status can use first class check-in desks at airports that have them.

Baggage allowance

Business class passengers can check-in two bags up to 70 pounds/32 kilos each. Elite members of frequent flier programs of oneworld member carriers may have an additional baggage allowance.

Business class passengers can carry on one bag and a small item with a combined weight of up to 22 pounds/0 kilos.

The Cathay Pacific business class experience in the air

Cathay Pacific business class seats

Cathay Pacific business class seats.

The Cathay Pacific business class seat is standard across all aircraft types for long haul flights.

  • A330: The A330 is configured for both long haul and regional business class services. The long haul configuration has lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration; regional business class has recliner seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. There are multiple configurations with varying numbers of business class seats.
  • A350: The A350 is configured for long haul business class services, with lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
  • 777-300: The 777-300 is configured for both long haul and regional business class services. The long haul configuration has lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration; regional business class has recliner seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Business class is the forwardmost cabin on the aircraft in all configurations except for those with a six seat first class cabin up front.

Benefits of Cathay Pacific business class

At airports where priority security screening and boarding is available, business class passengers can take advantage of that benefit.

The British brand Bamford provides amenity kits and bed linens in Cathay Pacific’s premium cabins. Passengers in the long haul business class cabin will bed down with 400 thread count, sustainably-sourced cotton linens, mattress pad, duvet, and pillows and receive a kit with naturally-sourced skincare products. Slippers and eye masks are also available for passenger comfort.

Business class passengers will also benefit from priority boarding and deplaning. At gates with multiple boarding doors, business class passengers may have a dedicated jet bridge.

Meals in Cathay Pacific business class

Meal in Cathay Pacific business class.

Business class passengers can pre-order specific main dishes from the menu by logging on to their reservation online prior to departure. Once onboard, meals start with a soup or appetizer, followed by up to five choices of main course, a bakery basket, cheese, desserts, and beverages.

The focus is on Hong Kong and Western cuisine, along with route-specific cuisines for each country Cathay Pacific serves (e.g. a variety of Japanese dishes is typically available on flights to Japan). Breakfasts include congee and dim sum—a favorite in Hong Kong and Cantonese cuisine.


Alcohol is complimentary in business class on Cathay Pacific. Customers enjoy a curated wine list with French Champagne plus vintages from all over the world. Cathay Pacific also serves bottles of its own brand of pale ale, called “Betsy” after the airline’s first aircraft. The beer is specially designed for consumption at 35,000 feet.

Cathay Pacific business class vs first class

First class on Cathay Pacific offers a space premium over business class, with a larger seat, on-demand meal service, and an upgraded selection of wines and other beverages. First class passengers typically also have access to an upgraded lounge on departure.

How to book Cathay Pacific business class

How much does it cost for a business class ticket on Cathay Pacific?

Roundtrip tickets to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific business class start at around $6,000 from Los Angeles and just under $9,000 from New York. Going has found Elite members deals under $3,000 roundtrip to cities across Asia.

How to upgrade to business class of Cathay Pacific for free

Cathay Pacific doesn’t typically upgrade passengers unless needed for operational reasons, such as an oversell, or change of aircraft type that affects seat availability. In the event upgrades are necessary, Cathay Pacific typically favors elite travelers in its own frequent flyer program or those of its oneworld partners.

How much does it cost to upgrade to business class on Cathay Pacific?

Cathay Pacific sells upgrades at any time after the initial ticket purchase, up to and including after passengers have boarded the aircraft. Passengers can also bid on upgrades prior to departure. Upgrades from economy to business class can range several thousand dollars per flight; upgrades from premium economy can be lower.

How many miles to upgrade to Cathay Pacific business class?

AsiaMiles members can upgrade from qualifying premium economy fares to business from 25,000 miles per segment on long haul flights. It is not possible to upgrade from economy to business on aircraft equipped with premium economy cabins, which is every flight scheduled to/from North America.

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Published August 8, 2023

Last updated December 21, 2023

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