Cathay Pacific’s inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport
Cathay Pacific’s new non-stop service from Seattle to Hong Kong launched on April 1 with four flights per week; the service will go daily starting July 1.
The new offering is the only current flight between the two Pacific Rim cities; that should make it a popular option for travelers.
Cathay Pacific went all-out with a launch party at the gate
Cathay Pacific is using its excellent Airbus A350-900 on the route, which is now the airline’s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco, and Washington DC.
Loyal readers will recall our 2017 review of Saga Premium (which, at the the time, was called Saga Class) on Icelandair’s venerable 757-200s.
Since then, Icelandair has added several Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to their fleet (they ordered a total of 16 of the MAX in both the -8 and -9 variants), using them on routes to U.S. destinations on the east coast and upper midwest, along with several European routes.
I flew SEA-KEF on a 757, then returned via Chicago on a 737 MAX 8, as Seattle is, unfortunately, beyond the working range of the MAX 8.
So, two years on, what was it like to fly Saga? Candidly, I was a fan of the last trip, so the memory still felt fairly fresh. My outbound flight was on TF-FIR, aka Vatnajökull, aka 80 years of Aviation, aka the glacier livery.
This AvGeek was stoked at the opportunity to fly on Vatnajökull, even though it was parked at a corner gate between two diagonal jetways at SEA, making photos pretty much impossible that day. IMHO, it’s the one of prettiest planes in the sky today, tied for that honor with Icelandair’s Hekla Aurora livery on TF-FIU.
The outbound flight from SEA to KEF was as good as the last time – I was in seat 1A for this flight, which is in a bulkhead row. The seats themselves are the same as we reviewed in 2017. They feel even more dated now, especially when compared to contemporary options even on some domestic US carriers, but they’re still very comfortable and offer a generous amount of recline.
JetBlue’s Mint service has been around for a while now, but we were finally able to give it a try on the inaugural Seattle to New York City flight. And long as we were at it, we decided it’d be fun to give all three of the airline’s seating classes a try as well.
Mint is the airline’s business class product, Even More Space is their premium economy class, and then there’s standard economy (Core), which the airline bills as having the most legroom of any domestic airline.
We did the review across several flights on two routes: Mint from SEA-JFK, Even More Space from JFK-SEA in April, then in May we chose Even More Space from SEA-BOS and Core from BOS-PIT, PIT-BOS, and BOS-SEA.
There are 16 Mint seats on JetBlue’s A321s, which are the only aircraft in its fleet so equipped. And what lovely seats they are, especially considering that they’re available on domestic flights.
The Irish and American flags were flown as Aer Lingus’ inaugural flight taxied to the gate
On May 18, yet another European airline started non-stop service to Seattle: Ireland’s Aer Lingus is now connecting Dublin with Seattle four times weekly.
The first ever pre-cleared transatlantic flight into Seattle, Aer Lingus EI 143 touched down ahead of schedule at 4.55 p.m.
Until this inaugural, Dublin was the largest European city without direct service from Seattle. Aer Lingus is using an Airbus A330-200 on the route, and flies on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from departing at 5.35 p.m.
An Aer Lingus A330-200 landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The Port of Seattle Fire Department welcomed Aer Lingus with a customary water cannon salute
Flying the flags
Aer Lingus COO Mike Rutter said “We are delighted to commence Ireland’s first and only direct service to Seattle, Washington State, with four direct flights each week. Seattle as a destination holds great promise for Aer Lingus given the strong business ties between the two regions making this an important route for business travel as well as leisure trips as exemplified by the high demand for business class tickets on the route to date.”
With the strong demand Aer Lingus is seeing in this route, the airline is apparently already looking at eventually increasing the frequency from four to seven flights per week.