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Cathay Pacific adds mask exemption for premium passengers

Feb. 08, 2021
3 min read
Cathay Pacific adds mask exemption for premium passengers
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Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific said that it's easing mask restrictions for its business- and first-class passengers.

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In an internal memo sent on Friday, the airline detailed its plan to offer a mask exemption "when a passenger is lying flat in business or first class." The memo, which was first reported by Executive Traveller, detailed the reasoning for the policy being that the premium cabins offer suite-style seats with high enclosures surrounding the passenger.

"Seats in first and business class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted when lying flat for sleep," a spokesperson for Cathay explained.

When the first- or business-class passenger's seat is in the lounge or the upright position, they will still be required to wear their mask. The exemption only applies to when the seat is in its lie-flat mode.

Since May 2020, Cathay has enforced a one-size-fits-all rule to mask-wearing when flying: every traveler aged two years or older must wear a mask unless eating or drinking, no matter which cabin they're flying in. Additionally, all passengers must wear a mask during check-in, in Cathay lounges, during boarding, during disembarkation and when directed by airport staff or cabin crew.

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Related: Why pilots don't have to wear masks when flying

Most other airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in the U.K., continue to mandate strict rules regarding masks for all passengers in all cabins.

In the United States, President Joe Biden implemented a new mandate that requires all passengers wear a face mask on aeroplanes, trains, buses, taxis and rideshares as of Feb. 2. The CDC said that scientific evidence shows that “consistent and universal use of masks” on public transit will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Elsewhere, in the Middle East, Qatar advises its passengers flying in business class to wear their mask "onboard at their own discretion, as they enjoy more space and privacy." A Qatar Airways spokesperson clarified to TPG that "wearing face shields and masks simultaneously is at the wearer's discretion, however at minimum masks are mandatory." Non-business class passengers on Qatar are required to wear a face mask and protective face shield at all times.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more