Is Cathay Pacific a Good Airline? Looking at the reviews 👀

Discover if Cathay Pacific is a good airline as we delve into reviews and ratings 🌟 See what verified passengers have to say about their flights

Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong and one of Asia’s major airlines. The airline operates a large fleet of wide-body aircraft and offers first, business, and economy class cabins on its long haul flights. Cathay Pacific frequently receives praise for its premium cabins, airport lounges, and routes connecting global travelers via its Hong Kong hub. However, passenger reviews of the airline are mixed, ranging from glowing 5-star ratings to poor experiences with delays, canceled flights, and subpar service.

Passenger Ratings Depend Heavily on Cabin Class

When examining Cathay Pacific passenger reviews, it becomes clear that cabin class plays a major role in satisfaction levels. Those seated in first and business class tend to rate the airline very highly, impressed with amenities like lie-flat seats, quality meals, and attentive flight attendants in an upscale cabin environment.

For example, Josh flew business class from London to Hong Kong and gave a positive review, highlighting the comfortable seat that converted to a fully lie-flat bed, extensive entertainment selection, and amenity kit that included quality bedding and toiletries. However, some business class reviewers found the service rushed compared to top-tier Asian carriers like Singapore Airlines.

Meanwhile, reviews of Cathay Pacific economy class are more frequently negative. While all economy seats have in-flight entertainment and meals are served, the seats themselves are often criticized as narrow and uncomfortable for long flights. With tighter seating, reviewers also complain about mediocre legroom, recline, and aisle access. And as cabin crew juggle a much higher passenger-to-flight attendant ratio in economy, service levels suffer compared to premium cabins.

Customer Service Issues Lead to Poor Reviews

A common theme across Cathay Pacific reviews in any cabin class are complaints about customer service during irregular operations. When flights are delayed or canceled, reviewers describe great difficulty rebooking on alternate Cathay Pacific flights. Contacting the airline by phone involves extensive hold times, while communication via email and WhatsApp is slow.

According to multiple reviews, after flights were delayed for 2 hours or more, passengers did not receive the required compensation under passenger rights regulations. Other customers could not get a refund when Cathay Pacific itself canceled a flight. These dealings often left travelers feeling dismissed or treated unethically.

Baggage issues also brought down ratings for the airline. Reviewers describe checked bags failing to arrive with a flight, difficulties tracking missing luggage, and poor compensation for damages. A few mention valuables stolen from checked luggage as well.

Great Lounges and Cabins Balance Out Poor Service for Some

Despite bumps encountered during travel disruptions, many reviews still rate Cathay Pacific highly overall. Flying in first or business class and having access to Cathay’s famed lounges in Hong Kong seems to counterbalance the lackluster customer service when plans go awry.

For instance, although Nancy’s flight from Hong Kong to Sydney was delayed over 2 hours, she gave Cathay Pacific 4 out of 5 stars. She enjoyed reclining in a comfortable business class seat with an attentive flight attendant and praised the airline’s “fantastic” lounges. The overall experience balanced out the frustration of the delay.

Similarly, Mark’s flight from Delhi to Hong Kong was canceled just 2 days prior. He struggled to get rebooked and felt dismissed by agents. However, he still rated the airline 4 out of 5 stars as well, noting the “exceptional” amenity kits, delicious cuisine, and “unparalleled” airport lounge in Hong Kong.

For those seated in economy who lack lounge access and premium cabin perks, poor customer service seems to weigh more heavily on overall satisfaction.

How Does Cathay Pacific Compare to Emirates?

With its base in Dubai, Emirates is one of Cathay Pacific’s major competitors for long haul routes connecting Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Many reviewers compare their experiences between these two airlines.

Both airlines offer excellent first and business class products, but Emirates garners higher praise for food, entertainment, cabin comfort and service. As Emirates operates an all wide-body fleet, economy comfort is also better. However, reviewers favor Cathay Pacific’s airport lounges, particularly in Hong Kong.

When flights don’t go as planned, Cathay Pacific reviewers more frequently report problems obtaining compensation, rebooking, and receiving assistance from staff. Emirates also has a better track record for timely baggage handling.

Overall, while both airlines offer solid premium class experiences, Emirates seems to edge out Cathay Pacific with superior economy comfort, cuisine, inflight entertainment and customer service. Yet for routes via Hong Kong, Cathay remains a popular choice.

Passenger Experiences Booking Flights with Cathay Pacific

When booking flights with Cathay Pacific, reviewers highlight a mix of both positive and negative experiences. Those able to book premium class tickets directly through the airline often praise the process as smooth and efficient. However, customers seeking to redeem miles or upgrade existing economy bookings faced more difficulty interfacing with Cathay’s reservation systems online and via call centers.

While many opt to book directly with the airline, using a third-party like a travel agent does introduce risks. Some travelers found that Cathay Pacific would not honor flight changes or cancellations booked via an agency. Direct customers had an easier time making ticket adjustments when needed.

Handling of COVID-19 Disruptions Met with Mixed Reviews

The COVID-19 pandemic provided a major test of Cathay Pacific’s customer service. Reviews are very mixed on how the airline handled flight cancellations, rebookings, and refunds as travel restrictions fluctuated. Some praise quick and helpful assistance from the airline as they repeatedly changed flight dates.

But many others faced great difficulty obtaining refunds for cancelled Cathay Pacific flights during COVID-19. After spending hours on hold or exchanging countless emails, their requests remained unresolved for months. A few mentioned needing to dispute the charges with their credit card company.

In-Flight Experience Varies Among Travelers

Passenger commentary on in-flight experiences ranges widely for Cathay Pacific. Some economy class reviewers praised friendly flight attendants, decent legroom, tasty meals, and a solid selection of entertainment. But others called out uncomfortable seats, bland food, small portion sizes, and inattentive cabin crew on long haul economy flights.

Among premium cabin guests, most reviews of the in-flight experience are positive. Travelers complimented various aspects like spacious lie-flat seats, amenity kits, high-quality cuisine with Asian and Western menu choices, an extensive entertainment library, and polite, prompt inflight service.

So the in-flight experience on Cathay Pacific depends heavily on cabin class. First and business class passengers typically have a much more comfortable and enjoyable journey. As one of the best airlines for premium flyers, Cathay Pacific delivers a top-notch experience. But their long haul economy product lags behind key competitors.

Key Takeaways on Cathay Pacific from Passenger Reviews

In summary, key themes that emerge from passenger reviews of Cathay Pacific include:

  • First and business class fliers have an excellent experience, while economy class reviewers are more critical of comfort and service.
  • Customer service shortcomings during irregular operations like delays and cancellations drag down satisfaction scores.
  • Access to Cathay’s highly-rated airport lounges balances out frustrations over poor customer service for some reviewers.
  • Compared to Emirates, Cathay Pacific lags on economy comfort, catering, entertainment, and service recovery.
  • But if flying via Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific remains a leading choice given its hub location and lounge access.

So is Cathay Pacific considered a good airline? For premium class passengers, generally yes, as long as you don’t face major disruptions. Economy fliers may prefer other carriers. But no airline is perfect, so read recent reviews carefully when choosing an airline.

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