Having previously flown the Cathay Pacific A330 in business class from Perth to Hong Kong, I figured it was about time to check out the new A350 in business class as well! The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced and comfortable aeroplanes in the sky at the moment and Cathay Pacific runs it on the following routes from Hong Kong:
Cathay Pacific A350 Routes
Hong Kong (HKG) – (BKK) Bangkok
Hong Kong (HKG) – (BCN) Barcelona
Hong Kong (HKG) – (BNE) Brisbane
Hong Kong (HKG) – (BRU) Brussels
Hong Kong (HKG) – (CHC) Christchurch
Hong Kong (HKG) – (DUS) Dusseldorf
Hong Kong (HKG) – (SGN) Ho Chi Minh
Hong Kong (HKG) – (LGW) London Gatwick
Hong Kong (HKG) – (MAN) Manchester
Hong Kong (HKG) – (MEL) Melbourne
Hong Kong (HKG) – (CDG) Paris
Hong Kong (HKG) – (PER) Perth
Hong Kong (HKG) – (FCO) Rome Fiumicino
Hong Kong (HKG) – (SFO) San Francisco
Hong Kong (HKG) – (SIN) Singapore
Hong Kong (HKG) – (TLV) Tel Aviv
Hong Kong (HKG) – (YVR) Vancouver
How to book Cathay Pacific Business Class With Points
On our recent trip to Bangkok, we arrived with no confirmed tickets back to Perth. Confident that one of my many wait-listed flights would clear last minute. Two days before our planned departure date Asia Miles (the Cathay Pacific frequent flyer program) finally released two award seats on their A350 jet from Hong Kong to Perth.
Unfortunately the short flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong never cleared the wait list, so instead, I booked two rather expensive economy tickets with Hong Kong airlines as a means to position us for the 7.5h flight to Perth.
What I like about the Asia Miles program is their distance-zone based award chart, this means it actually costs the same amount of points to fly Bangkok – Hong Kong – Perth as it does to fly Hong Kong to Perth. Their wait-listing system is also very reliable and will almost always release seats if they aren’t sold. The total cost for a one way trip from BKK-HKG-PER is only 45,000 Asia Miles and $75 in taxes, bargain!
The other great thing about Asia Miles is that it’s a One World program, so you can use it to book the same flights as you would with Qantas Frequent flyer… the major difference being that Asia Miles has much better pricing and doesn’t require you to sell a kidney to afford the taxes imposed by Qantas.
Cathay Pacific only has a first class cabin on their 777 aircraft, you can check out my review of Cathay Pacific First Class here.
Cathay Pacific “The Deck” Lounge
After 2.5h of flying in economy to bring me back to the reality most people live with, we finally arrived in Hong Kong and made a quick transfer to the departure terminal.
Cathay Pacific has just opened their brand new lounge named “The Deck” near gate 16, so I figured it would be rude not to stop by.
Cathay Pacific has by far the best lounges in the world, even in business class the lounges are stunning and bridge the gap between comfortable living room and airport lounge.
My favourite part about the Cathay Pacific lounges are the showers, not only are they clean, they’re also a beautiful design statement and are fully stocked with a full range of Aesop shower products. It’s exactly what you need after a flight in economy.
If you’re not flying business, Cathay Pacific allows access to its business lounges even for Silver Marco Polo frequent flyers; best of all you can actually buy this status as part of the American “Founders Card” for $395 US.
Boarding Cathay Pacific Business Class
Boarding on this particular flight was slowed down as customs officers made a point to open and search every bag of every passenger before they got to the plane. Usually, this doesn’t happen so it was probably related to a tip-off or a random inspection.
Finally, on board, I was greeted by name as is the norm in the Cathay premium cabins and offered a welcome drink. The options were extensive, but I settled for a glass of champagne.
A350 Business Class Cabin
I really love the reverse herringbone seats in Cathay Pacific’s business class cabin. The A350 has 280 seats in a 3 class configuration; 38 of those seats are in business, 28 recliners in premium economy and 214 seats in economy.
The 38 business class seats are divided over two cabins, a large forward cabin followed by a smaller and more private cabin with only 8 seats. Both cabins are separated by the galley and the bathrooms are located at the front of the aircraft.
Cathay Pacific A350 Seat
The herringbone configuration on the A350 features a 1-2-1 layout with spacious flatbeds and large TV monitors for entertainment.
Cathay Pacific has pioneered this style of herringbone seat for many years now, and the A350 isn’t that different to the A330, which is totally fine as it’s arguably the best business class seat in the sky. Many other airlines have since copied Cathay Pacific’s seat, and you can now find the same design on American Airlines, Finnair, Qatar Airways, Eva Air and Air France… even Air China now has the same seat on their A350. The seat model is called Cirrus and is supplied by Zodiac Aerospace and customized by Studio F.A. Porsche
The reason it’s so comfortable is because the leg space is not enclosed like the seats you’ll find on Qantas A330 and Virgin A330 for example. It gives you a feeling of space and the ability to angle your legs more comfortably, it’s perfect for lounging and sleeping.
Cathay Pacific’s A350 cabin is all about understated luxury. It’s stylish and perfectly combines the sleek seat design with its navy green colour palette, which matches perfectly with the faux wood grained side tables. Even a sly acknowledgement to China is present when you open the headphone storage area and are greeted by the all red interior.
The seat offers plenty of personal storage in case you need it with the ottoman also doubling as a storage cabinet. The footrest also forms part of the flatbed when fully reclined. The main difference in the flatbed compared to the A330 is the fold up side panel which provides more width to the bed when fully reclined. The 15.4in TV monitor is large and easily viewable from whatever angle you might be watching, naturally there is also a set of Bose noise cancelling headphones provide.
The Best Seats On Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class
There really are no bad seats on the A350, but personally, I would stay clear of the the first rows due to their proximity to the bathrooms. Those seats are 11D and G and 12A and K. The other seat to avoid would be 20K as there is a bathroom on the right side of the galley. Rows 14 and 15 have misaligned windows so if views are a must, skip these seats as well.
The best seats, in my opinion, are rows 16 to 18 with my preference going to the window unless you must sit next to your travel companion. Row 21 is a great option if you want privacy, keep in mind that premium economy with its bassinets seats are right behind you, so there’s always a possibility of a screaming baby…
A350 Onboard WIFI
Personally, I like to disconnect and relax when flying but people are more often seeking out wifi onboard, and the A350 caters to that demand. I didn’t test out the speed, but I would expect it to be reasonable considering the price. US9.95 will cover you for 1 hour, whole for US$12.95 you are set for the entire flight.
Cathay Pacific A350 Entertainment
The entertainment system onboard Cathay Pacific’s A350 is fantastic and features a lot of new movies and TV series. Additionally, it has a few cool camera angles from which you can see what’s going on outside the aircraft.
The whole thing is easily controlled via the touch screen remote or the touch screen monitor which is in perfect reach.
Cathay Pacific Food & Service
Food on board Cathay Pacific in business class has generally been the airline’s Achilles heel, but I find that even though there is no individual plating, in most cases the food is tasty and perfectly adequate but don’t expect any ‘wow’ factor. On this flight, I opted for the steak which was perfectly cooked medium rare.
On the flight from Hong Kong to Perth, Cathay Pacific has 2 separate meal services. I found this to be a bit overkill, but at least you’ll know you won’t go hungry!
Cathay Pacific’s service is always professional, and crew will address passengers by their last name. This is my third time flying Cathay Pacific, and I always find the crew to be friendly while not being too pushy and providing passengers with a good amount of privacy.
Cathay Pacific A350 In Conclusion
I really enjoy travelling with Cathay Pacific, they have the perfect balance when it comes to a complete “business class” package with their service, excellent lounges and amazing cabins. As an American Express member, their Asia Miles frequent flyer program provides tremendous value and far outweighs other one world programs such as Qantas Frequent Flyer.
The easiest way to earn Asia Miles is with the American Express Explorer card which can earn you points at 1.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent.