Cathay – is it worth 2 x price to bangkok than emirates?Back to Forum
I flew Cathay to Bangkok on Wednesday and all i can say was that it is mediocre for twice the price of emirates and on a grubby a330 (not regional thankfully).
Check in was empty and security efficient. Lounge, i managed an excellent quick lunch – I would not say much service but one of best lounge food.
I boarded and staff welcoming. I did find the space quite good for working. Food was very good but yet again Cathay service so haphazard and there is no structure which is poor for a high cost airline. For once, I was lucky and got my food quickly but my friend waited nearly 45 minutes after me. I asked for another drink and the flustered crew member said she so busy – is this premium service?
I would say excellent at an Emirates price but not at Cathay price with an average product.
Cathay needs to up its game.20 Nov 2023
in a word…no its not worth 2X, for the miles, TP and service when something goes wrong (EK are awfull if there is a problem) one could argue worth a little more, especially if like me you use CX points a lot on short travel in Asia where availability is good. but 2 x no way21 Nov 2023
People buy the tickets and the flights are usually full so it is difficult to argue that their price is too high. Rather one might say that they are forgoing revenue by not having sufficient seats for sale which appears to be due to a lack of qualified crew.21 Nov 2023
I would say on the whole that this is not uncommon in similar markets. Airlines will nearly always be most expensive when flying point to point from their hub city. My family are coming from Brazil to visit me in the UK. It was £1050 cheaper for each of them to buy a ticket on BA and fly GRU – LHR – MXP – LHR and then MXP – LHR – GRU in business than just the GRU – LHR – GRU itinerary. Its what most businesses do – try and undercut competitors in their home market.
Another example is when BA used to fly to Buenos Aires from london via Sao Paulo and were also able to sell tickets to the local market on the Sao Paulo – Buenos Aires sector. It was significantly cheaper to buy a business class ticket on BA (with a flat bed product on a 747) than on TAM or Aerolineas Argentinas who only offered short haul aircraft. Again, frequency is what the local airlines were selling.
Although EK definitely offer a superior onboard product I would imagine that the number 1 preference for most business travellers on a short haul flight would be punctuality and number two frequency. In this area, the option of five CX flights at various times throughout the day beats Emirates one. When you factor in that Hong Kong is Cathay’s home base and the majority of business travellers in HKG will likely hold some kind of frequent flyer status with CX strengthens the ties and motivations to fly CX.
I would put a reasonable bet on it that say if the situation was reversed – CX flew a route say HKG – DXB – CAI and was able to sell the DXB – CAI leg – that you could start a thread ‘is it worth 2 x price to Cairo on Emirates than Cathay’?21 Nov 2023
I do like Cathay, the lounges at HKIA in particular I think are great. Not worth twice the price though.
I maybe wrong but are there not a number of carriers who have fifth freedom rights between HK, BKK and Singapore? Im thinking Gulf, Ethiopian Kenya Airways etc?
Agree with Rferguson2, airlines feel they dont need to try so hard from their home market.21 Nov 2023
Haven’t CX always been costly? My route into the Far East (for BKK) is nearly always via HKG and I cant recall ever having used CX for the long-haul as the prices have been way too high. For inter Asia, happy with CX pricing.21 Nov 2023
@Superchris, correct. Ethiopian is King of fifth freedom routes and operate loads of them (nearly always undercutting the home market airlines). Some of their asia fifth freedom routes include: SIN-KUL, BKK-HKG and ICN-NRT. In europe they fly ARN-OSL, GVA-MAN, MXP-ZRH.
Other airlines that use 5th freedom flights within asia include:
Gulf Air – BKK-SIN
KLM – SIN-DPS, SIN-CGK, KUL-MNL
Qatar – SGN-PNH
Saudia – MLE-SIN
There were more before COVID.
There are certain markets that have a large amount of fifth freedom flying which is usually down to two factors. 1) the final destination would not profitably sustain a direct flight of its own. 2) The airlines have govt approval to sell tickets on the ‘tag’ sectors as a standalone.21 Nov 2023
@Martyn – generally I found CX fares, when travelling to Asia from London pre-Covid, competitive.
I’d usually incorporate Shanghai or Beijing as well as HK and the J fare was around £2.5k.
Post Covid their fares are noticeably higher – so much so I used Qatar last month. Given how much better I found them, I doubt I’ll look at CX again in a hurry. (Though their lounges remain excellent).
I did use Avios for a SIN-HKG leg and it was bang average. Flight was maybe 70% occupied. I’ve noticed their intra Asia fares are always on the high side so try to burn Avios for these standalone sectors.
In speaking with HK based clients their general gripes were the much higher fares and taking an age to get back to the schedule they had pre-Covid.21 Nov 2023
Very few large Asian airlines have got back to running a full schedule. I read last week that SIA was still only at 89% after 2.4 years of opening up. Some other large airlines are at an even lower percentage.
Cathay at over 70% after about 10 months seems pretty good to me. Cathays HK Express is at about 120% of pre-pandemic.22 Nov 2023
I don’t think that Cathay Pacific is at 70% yet. That is most probably the figure for the group including HKExpress. We can get a more accurate figure for Cathay Pacific when they release their traffic figures for October. September 2023 had them at 57.2% of the capacity of September 2019. I indeed look forward to them getting back to 100% of 2019 capacity but think that this is going to be a challenge having reduced their A330 fleet by 12 and single aisle fleet by 10. The reduction in 777ERs has essentially been offset by additional A350s. It appears as though we will have to wait until the 777Xs arrive in number, and then hope that they are not offset by returning more leased 777ERs to their lessors.22 Nov 2023
Something that I think you do not really find outside of Asia is the absolute fierce loyalty some nations have to their ‘flag’ carrier. I guess this exists in nearly all countries to some level but it seems more on a love/hate level in say the UK, Europe, US or Australia yet in Asia it seems on a whole different level.
I flew SQ last year for the first time in Biz and tbh I found it entirely mediocre and for me personally just did not live up to the hype. When I recounted my experience on some other forums/blogs the level of nastiness I had directed at me from some loyal home ‘fans’ was really quite something.
The tendency for the Japanese and Koreans to stick to their home airlines even if they are more expensive is well known and the low cost market in Asia seems to more have had an effect on increasing the number of people flying in the region instead of taking customers from the established legacy airlines as they did here in Europe/uk.
However, standards demanded of the legacy airlines remain high, even for short haul flights and also in economy. Though this obviously comes as a cost to the airline, and the passenger.22 Nov 2023
RF2 – interesting to hear your views on the loyalty of Asian based customers towards their home airline and behaviour of people on other forums who are dogged and even aggressive in their defense of “their” airline. It does happen on this forum too and one comes to mind not too dissimilar to the banned Vintage Krug back in the day.
Back to Cathay, a friend of mine recently flew CX, BA and AA in the last few weeks all on long haul flights in J. He felt the best lounges were the CX ones, but their cabin crew “mediocre at best”, with BA being on average the most consistently good. However he thought the food on AA was the best of the 3! Would not have predicted that! There was also the choice of 4 main courses in J whereas on BA it was only 3.
Personally I would like to try CX but not yet done so.22 Nov 2023