Cathay Pacific vs Qatar Airways: Which is better? | finder.com.au

Cathay Pacific vs Qatar Airways

Planning your next trip? Check out our comparison between Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

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Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways are among only ten airlines in the world to have earned the prestigious Skytrax 5-Star Airline Rating. So when both airlines cover your flight routes, you’re faced with a tough decision.

But with the help of our comparison of all their best features, we've made the decision easier.

Cathay Pacific vs Qatar Airways

FeatureCathay PacificQatar AirwaysVerdict
Where does it fly to?
  • Europe
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • The Middle East
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • The United States
  • Canada
Both airlines fly to similar destinations.
What star rating is it?5-stars5-starsCathay Pacific and Qatar Airways are both 5-star airlines.
What classes are available?Economy, premium economy, business and first class.Economy, business and first class.Cathay Pacific has more fare classes.
What is the baggage allowance?In economy and premium economy, the carry-on limit is 7kg; in business class it is 10kg; and in first class it is 15kg. The allowance for checked baggage is 30kg in economy, 35kg in premium economy, 40kg in business class and 50kg in first class.The carry-on limit is one bag up to 7kg in economy and two bags up to a total of 15kg in business and first class. A small personal item is also allowed. The checked baggage allowance varies by location, but is typically 30kg in economy, 40kg in business class and 50kg in first class.Both airlines have similar baggage allowances.
Where does it fly from in Australia?Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.Cathay Pacific flies from more Australian locations.
What's the in-flight entertainment like?Films, TV shows, music, games, language learning and flight information available in many languages.The “Oryx One” in-flight entertainment system has films, TV shows, music, audiobooks and young traveller's entertainment.Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways both have excellent in-flight entertainment selections.
Can I make changes/cancellations?Yes. Refunds are offered for some ticket types. The online booking portal allows you to make changes to dates, times, personal details and more. Fees may apply.Yes. Depending on the fare restrictions, you can change, cancel and refund your booking online through the “My Trips” tab.You can change and cancel your bookings with both airlines.
What type of plane will I fly on? Do they have A380s?Cathay Pacific uses Boeing and Airbus aircraft, but not the A380.Qatar Airways has a fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including A380s.Qatar Airways flies A380 aircraft.
What is its associated frequent flyer program?The Marco Polo Club allows members to earn points with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and all Oneworld airlines.Qatar Airways runs the Privilege Club. Qmiles are earned through flights with Qatar Airways and Oneworld airlines, as well as through transactions with over 100 partners in other sectors.Both airlines have their own frequent flyer programs and are associated with alliances.
Is there Wi-Fi?Yes. Most A320 flights have a Wi-Fi entertainment system.Yes, on most Airbus aircraft, as well as Boeing 787s.Both airlines offer Wi-Fi connectivity on most flights.
Can I price match?Yes.Yes.You can price match with both airlines.
Does it serve alcohol?Yes.Yes.Both airlines serve alcohol.
Is there online chat?Yes.No.Cathay Pacific has online chat.
Does it charge for infants?Yes. Children under two years must have an infant ticket.Yes. Infant fares are usually priced at 10% of the adult fare.Both airlines charge for infants.
Does it fly pets?Yes. Service animals can travel in the cabin, and all other pets are put in the hold. Prices are calculated by weight.Yes. Service dogs travel free of charge in the cabin or the hold, depending on the location. All other pets fly as checked baggage.Both airlines fly pets.
What are my payment options?
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa Debit
  • PayPal
  • UnionPay
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa Debit
  • PayPal
  • Alipay
Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways have a similar range of payment options.
Can I book round the world fares?Yes.Yes.Both airlines offer round the world fares.
Can I book multi-city fares?Yes.Yes.Both airlines offer multi-city fares.
Any features to find the best price?When choosing a flight, the lowest price on neighbouring dates will show.When booking a flight, you can compare prices on different flights and surrounding dates.Cathay Pacific’s deals page allows you to better refine your search.
BookBook with Cathay PacificBook with Qatar Airways

Who offers the best price?

Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways both price match. Cathay Pacific will refund you the difference if you find a lower price for the same fare on another Australian website, and Qatar Airways will match any lower price if you find it online within one hour of purchasing your ticket.

This means whichever airline you choose, you know you’ll get the lowest fare by booking directly.

That's flight prices against other websites, but what about against each other? We searched identical flights with both to see which would pull up as the better by price.

The verdict?

After making identical flight bookings with both airlines we found that Qatar Airways’ lowest fare was almost half the price of Cathay Pacific’s, which may be in part due to the codeshare leg with Virgin Australia. Also, other factors such as sale or last-seat pricing may change the fare depending on when you search.


Is it a good airline to fly with?

Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways are both 5-star airlines renowned for their quality and service. On Airlinequality.com, customer reviews give Qatar Airways an overall rating of 8/10, and Cathay Pacific 7/10. The only difference between the two is in their food and beverages, for which Qatar Airways scores 4-stars and Cathay Pacific scores 3-stars.

The verdict?

Both airlines are excellent choices, with Qatar Airways ahead by a nose thanks to its excellent food and beverages.


What are the deals like?

Cathay Pacific's deals are frequent and often feature flights into Asia starting from under $600 return and flights into Europe from around $1,000 return.

Qatar Airways likewise features frequent offerings, but many of its sales are focused on European flights. Some more recent offerings include Sydney-London from $1,120 and Melbourne-Moscow from $1,253 return.

The verdict?

Cathay Pacific offers sale flights across a wider range of destinations and often features flights that are comparable or slightly cheaper than Qatar Airways when both are on sale.


Any other differences worth noting?

To encourage travellers to visit Qatar, Qatar Airways offers visa-free entry to Qatar for nationals from more than 80 countries, including Australia. Stopover offers including up to two nights’ free hotel accommodation in Doha are available to passengers with multi-city bookings until the 28th of December 2018, for travel until the 31st of December, 2018.

Cathay Pacific has a similar scheme that features free Wi-Fi, transfers, an overnight stay and discounted attractions for extended layovers in Hong Kong.

Top Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways deals

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways

Up to 10% off international flights with code

Available for Mastercard holders on flights from 1 November 2020 - 30 June 2021. Valid on flights departing from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways

Worldwide flights from $1,298 return

Available on select flight dates in 2021. Destinations include Amsterdam, London, Paris, Rome, Turkey, Athens and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Moscow. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways

Up to 45% off flights for students

Join and become a member of Student club and receive promo codes on flights. Available for students who are in university or college and aged 18-30. Destinations include London, Paris, Auckland, Canada and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways

Free change and refund fees on flights

Available on 2021 flights to London, Paris, India, Greece, USA and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways

Up to 20% off excess baggage fees

Available on select flights purchased online. T&Cs apply.

Last verified


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