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Cathay Pacific vs United

Find out whether Cathay Pacific or United is the best airline for your next trip.


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Having a hard time choosing between Cathay Pacific and United for your next flight? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compared both airlines to see which has the better fare deals, Wi-Fi, star-rating and more.
We also made identical bookings with Cathay Pacific and United to see which offered the cheapest fare.

Cathay Pacific vs United

FeatureCathay PacificUnitedVerdict
Where does it fly to?
  • Europe
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • The Caribbean
What star rating is it?5-star3-starCathay Pacific has a higher star rating.
What classes are available?Economy, premium economy, business and first class.Economy, premium economy, business and first class.Both airlines have the same fare classes available.
What is the baggage allowance?The carry-on limit is 7kg in economy and premium economy, 10kg in business class and 15kg in first class. The checked baggage limit is 30kg in economy, 35kg in premium economy, 40kg in business class and 50kg in first class.Most passengers can bring one carry-on bag not exceeding 22 x 35 x 56cm, plus one small personal item. Economy and premium economy passengers can bring checked bags up to 23kg, increasing to 32kg in business and first class.Cathay Pacific has a higher baggage allowance, but United doesn't limit passengers to one checked bag each.
Where does it fly from in Australia?Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.Melbourne and Sydney.Cathay Pacific operates from more Australian airports.
What's the in-flight entertainment like?Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment includes films, TV shows, music, games and flight information in multiple languages.United partners with HBO, DIRECTV, Tribeca Film Festival and Vevo to provide an up-to-date selection of films, TV series, TV channels, audio, concert videos and more. You can stream entertainment to your personal device on most flights.Both airlines have excellent in-flight entertainment systems.
Can I make changes/cancellations?Yes. Some cancellations can be refunded. Changes to dates, times, personal details and special requests can be made online. Fees may apply.Yes. Changes and cancellations can be made online. You can return to a cancelled reservation and make flight changes for up to one year. Fees may apply for any and all modifications.Cathay Pacific and United both allow changes and cancellations.
What type of plane will I fly on? Do they have an A380?Cathay Pacific flies Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 and A330 aircraft.United uses a number of Boeing and Airbus models, but not the A380.Neither airline uses A380 aircraft.
Which frequent flyer programs is it with?Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club distributes points for flights with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and all Oneworld airlines.MileagePlus allows you to earn points through flights and other travel purchases. United is part of the Star Alliance.Both host their own frequent flyer programs and belong to alliances.
Is there Wi-Fi?Yes. Most A320 flights have a Wi-Fi entertainment system installed.Yes, on most flights. Wi-Fi can be bought on-board or pre-purchased.Both airlines have Wi-Fi on most flights.
Can I price match?Yes.No.Cathay Pacific will price match.
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 require an infant ticket.Yes, on international flights. Within the US, infants seated on an adult’s lap travel free.Both airlines charge for infants.
Does it fly pets?Yes. Service animals can be brought in the cabin, while other pets are put in the hold. Prices are calculated by weight.Yes. In the US, most domestic pets can accompany you in the cabin. Other pets can be shipped with PetSafe. Regulations vary by location.Both airlines fly pets.
What are my payment options?
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa Debit
  • PayPal
  • Union Pay
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Cash payment at an airport ticket office
Both airlines have good payment options.
Can I book round the world fares?Yes.Yes, through Star Alliance.Round the world fares are available through both airlines.
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 shows up for surrounding dates.Prices on surrounding dates are displayed during the booking process.Cathay Pacific and United have similar features for finding the best price.
Book Cathay Pacific United

Who offers the best price?

If you find a lower fare on an Australian website, Cathay Pacific will refund you the difference. On the other hand United will not price match, so there’s no guarantee that the price on the airline’s website is the lowest available.

Price guarantees aside, we took a look at flights on the same route - Sydney to New York City (any airport) with each airline to get a better idea of who really is cheaper.

The verdict?

For the same flight on the same date, United's flight was about $150 less, with other dates coming in at a much cheaper price. However, it's good to keep in mind that the cheaper airline is three stars, while the more expensive one is five.

Is it a good airline to fly with?

Cathay Pacific is one of ten airlines to be awarded the prestigious 5-Star Airline Rating from Skytrax. By the same rating, United receives 3-stars. Customer reviews echo this disparity on, which give Cathay Pacific an overall score of 7/10 and United just 3/10.

Cathay Pacific gets 4-stars for inflight entertainment, seat comfort, staff service and value for money, and 3-stars for food and beverages. Meanwhile, United scores 2-stars for everything except staff service, which receives 3-stars.

The verdict?

By the reviews, Cathay Pacific is a much better airline to fly with than United.

What are the deals like?

Cathay Pacific offers frequent deals across its entire flight network. More often than not it hosts Asia sales and Europe sales with flight prices starting under $600 return and $1,000 return, respectively.

United Airlines offers great deals on flights, as well as partner promotions such as holiday packages and car rental offers. You can expect sale fares of $1,067 return to New York and $1,051 to Los Angeles.

The verdict?

When combined, Cathay Pacific and United both have a great range of deals with distinctly different zones of emphasis that cover most of the globe. Your destination will determine which airline can give you the best deal.

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