Our Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.
First up we are reviewing Cathay Pacific which was ranked number 1 airline by Skytrax in the 2014 Passengers Choice Awards and by leading airline safety body JACDEC. (Note they slipped to number 2 in 2015 and 4 in 2016)
Base: Hong Kong
Skytrax Rating 2016: 4
JACDEC Rating 2015: 1
Cathay Pacific Pregnancy Policy
For all pregnancies after 28 weeks a medical certificate dated within 10 days of flying is required. Uncomplicated multiple pregnancies are accepted up to 32 weeks; single pregnancies up to 36 weeks. If you have a ‘complicated pregnancy’ a medical clearance form needs submitting no later than 48 hours prior to departure.
Infants cannot travel for 48 hours after birth and a medical clearance certificate is required if travelling within 7 days of delivery.
Infants (under 2 years)
A maximum of two infants can sit with a full-fare paying adult; one of these children must be over 6 months old and able to sit in an infant car seat, paying the full child fare, the other in your lap.
From 6 months to 2 years an infant can sit on adult laps, in your own approved car seat or they can provide a child restraint seat (pictured) which can be used by children up to 3 years or 20kg.
Personal food items should not require reheating and chilling as for hygiene reasons staff will not be able to do so.
Cathay Pacific Baby Bassinets
Requests can be made at the time of booking for a bassinet. Their bassinets measure 76.2cm x 38.1cm x 20.3xm for babies up to 12kgs. They suggest infants ‘may be uncomfortable’ after 6 months but this does not stop you from requesting.
Children (2-11 years)
They refer to their younger passengers as Junior VIPs. Children’s fares are charged at approximately 75% of the adult fare.
Children aged 2 to 3 years can use a lap belt, their own seat or a child restraint seat as mentioned above. They have an extensive guide on their website as to what devices are allowed and which air crafts can handle various safety devices.
For passengers aged 3 to 6 they will provide a fun pack, including stationery, games and activity books. Children meals must be ordered in advance and are served with colorful cutlery sets.
Guests aged 6 years up to 12 years travelling alone must be registered as unaccompanied minors. Aged 12 to 18 years a child can travel as an unaccompanied minor at the parents request. Arrangements must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Transfers covering a time greater than 5 hours cannot be accomdated and they will only assume responsibility for the passenger from 90 minutes before the flight. Charges as quoted on their website are USD $26 – 64 depending on the journey destination. The service cannot be provided on all flights.
Luggage allowances seem to vary a lot by route. Specific for infant tickets they can have baggage in the hold of a maximum combined weight of 10kg. On board you can take a bag with infant supplies, a collapsible bassinet, a collapsible umbrella stroller and an approved car seat. I could not find any specifics on weight or number of equipment pieces in the hold.
Frequent Flyer Programs
I was disappointed on first reading the conditions for Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo club to see that it was only open to those over 18 years and a US$50 joining fee applied. However, on closer investigation, they are part of the One World alliance and you can sign family members up to the Asia Miles rewards program for free. Children aged 2 to 18 years are eligible to apply and you can group points together under a “Redemption Group”.
The Globetrotters View of Cathay Pacific
I am surprised to say that despite all my globetrotting days before and after children and using Hong Kong as a stopover hub on several occasions I have never actually flown Cathay Pacific – shame on me!
Their family policies are fairly standard. I do like the child seat option for children under 3 – my Miss Z is still a small girl even at 5 and I really could have used a better fitting device than a standard lap belt when she was smaller, without the hassle of bringing car seats on board.
Over the past 12 months, they have topped the Skytrax ratings and are a 5 star rated airline, as well as recently topping the tables in the JACDEC Safety rankings. I don’t think you can go too far wrong flying with such a reputable airline.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is informational only, gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (May 2015). Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of Cathay Pacific’s services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline. For further information on airline ratings used and airline alliances, please consult my introductory article here.
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Have you flown pregnant or with infants/children on Cathay Pacific? Do you have a review or advice to share with travelling families?
Before you go – have you read our advice for flying while pregnant? or how to take that very first flight with a baby?