The Best Flight Within North America Will Be Discontinued Next March

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Update: Cathay Pacific’s final JFK-Vancouver-JFK flight will be on March 27, 2020.

Originally posted on 9/9:

5th freedom flights, where an airline sells tickets between 2 foreign cities, are a dying breed. Once upon a time airlines like Northwest and United operated extensive route networks in Asia, but the ability to fly nonstop from the US to more remote locations on fuel efficient planes have meant that those are becoming increasingly rare.

But the latest route cut hurts most.

Cathay Pacific currently flies nonstop between JFK and Vancouver. Sadly it will be discontinued next March. It’s the best flight within North America by a long shot. The flight is operated by a 777 with 4 classes of service, including a first class cabin that is among the best in the world, let alone in North America where true first class fell out of fashion long ago.

Mileage availability on the flight is excellent and I’ve flown the route several times in business and first class using miles. I wrote about our first trip to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific some 7 years ago here. Mimi and I flew back to Vancouver a few years ago and once again had an amazing trip to the beautiful city, with fantastic Cathay Pacific first class service.

If you want to book an award to Vancouver it just takes 17.5K Alaska miles for coach, 20K for premium economy, 25K for business, or 35K for first class. Note that you need to call to book Cathay awards using Alaska miles. Or you can use 13K BA miles for coach, 38,750 miles for business, or 51.5K for first class. Note that you need to call to book Cathay awards using BA miles if you want to travel within a week, but you can search for award space using Qantas.

Cathay Pacific is known for releasing lots of award space as it gets within 2 weeks of a flight. They increase the amount of award space with each passing day if the flight has seats for sale.

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Have you flown Cathay Pacific between JFK and Vancouver?

HT: mendyt, via DDF and TPG

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47 Comments On "The Best Flight Within North America Will Be Discontinued Next March"

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When whenever I flew it, it was full.
So sad.

Maybe delta will raise its prices.


I flew this flight in economy $. Was not able to get award space to book it both ways, and one way is expensive. The economy cabin was ok – nothing amazing. Seats were dated – JetBlue i feel is better. Service was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best flight in North America.
Maybe business and first is better, but transcon business is pretty good on most airlines now – JetBlue mint is excellent for example!


Back in 1998 I flew Cathay Pacific from JFK-HKG in business class with the stop in vancouver. Besides earning a bunch of AAdvantage miles for the flight, they also had a promotion that one round trip JFK-HKG flight in economy awarded you a free ticket for JFK-Vancouver, and a business class ticket received two free tickets for JFK-Vancouver.

Ed Travel

I just did that route last week…Sad to hear that…There is still the JFK to LAX and JFK to SFO I have done it on Delta one many times, still is very nice…


This hurts, was really hoping to take this flight at least once after reading all the reviews. Do we know why they are cancelling?


@dan do you know what day in April 2020?


This is the worst news I’ve heard in a long time. Took this flight all the time and I have always sworn by Cathay Pacific because of it.

Fred gleenblatt

Excellent first class service – but alas a relatively short flight.


would love to find a way to fly on the JFK-LAX & LAX – JFK flights…


I took the JFK – Vancouver in business and drove an hour north into Banff National park in Alberta . amazing four seasons and Fairmount there was best trip we ever took . Real pity because I wanted to do it again this Summer and couldn’t and now it will be gone next summer season . Im assuming its dead April 2020


Vancouver to Banff is approximately an 11 hour drive…


What Chaim meant was the difference between 11 and 1 is only 1, because 11 has one more one than 1.




sorry we flew to Calgary to go Banff ( will that flight still be available ? ). Vancouver takes you within two hour drive of Whistler which is both an amazing trip in summer and winter . Vancouver also has great kosher food options and daily minyan and is a stunning city in itself with plenty things to do .

Dr Moose

I have so extra QF lying around, what will it cost in F?





53k business

78k first


How many Asia Miles does this cost in First?




Round trip or each way?


The latter

yeshiva bachur

any taxes between vancouver and jfk?vancouves sounds miod boring


Feter Shmil (Uncle Sam) has no shlita (ruling power) in Vancouver. However, you might have to pay taxes on those duty-free booze.


I believe you pay about $70 in tax on the return.


considering they replaced their ceo a few weeks ago would this be a sign of anew direction under the current regime ?


No. They changed their ceo because of chonese politics


Does this mean that CX865 from JFK-HKG will no longer route thru YVR or just that they will not sell this segment separately just like Qantas JFK-LAX


Traveled CX JFK-YVR-HKG in first and it was a difficult flight compared to the non-stop. Great flight if your traveling to Vancouver only, horrible to use as a fly through.
They have now 2-3 flights daily from vancouver to HKG and 3-4 from NYC. I dont see a reason why they should keep it going unless the traffic from YVR-JFK was real strong. Also AC has a Dreamliner on that route already as well.

Yoel F

I just took JFK-YVR in July, I Had 3 First class seats (all booked with Asia Miles 40K per seat and 175 HKD which was about $22USD), was an amazing experience. It did seem to me that the flight was half empty.


I flew 3 times jfk-Vancouver, 2 times in first was excellent +++ , ticket was so cheap with Alaska points , I paid 1200 for 75k mileage points .


I fly Cathay a few times a year to HK, Although their planes are a little dated – I would prefer them over any Airline for this route.
please advise to which program would be the most beneficial to add the mileage flying Cathay ?
Thank you


dan can you tell us if anyone got targeted for the extra 15-40% from qantas if it stacked with the 44% bonus?


I flew LGA-YYZ-YVR with Air Canada business for 25k LifeMiles, IMO it was way better than Cathay Business.


I took this flight with my wife Motzei Shabbos in February 2016 to go up to Whistler a few months after I finished saying Kaddish. I remember frantically rushing to the airport expecting a crazy long check in line (like we expect with Elal) only to get there and have 0 people in line. The 40+ business class seats were empty the whole ride, we got to Vancouver and only about 20 people departed and there must have been 200 people waiting to get on as it was headed to Hong Kong. The service was amazing!


dan worth to go to Vancouver in the winter since last licks to fly this great route?


Skiing at whistler?!

Yes please!


not a skier
will I enjoy Vancouver in the winter or too cold?