Inside Cathay Pacific’s Brand New Airbus A350
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This week, Cathay Pacific took delivery of its very first A350. The airline is perhaps best known for its fantastic first-class product — which unfortunately isn’t available on this latest addition to the fleet. Still, Airbus’ answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner arguably offers one of the most comfortable rides in the sky — seat configurations are typically identical to what you’ll find on the 787, but the A350 cabin measures nearly half a foot wider, allowing for nearly an extra inch of width in economy.
Cathay’s A350 offers three cabins, consisting of 38 business class seats (arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration), 28 premium economy seats (2-3-2) and 214 seats in coach (3-3-3). The plane can fly more than 9,000 miles, allowing Cathay Pacific to operate service to pretty much anywhere on the globe. For now, the A350 will fly within Asia, with service to Europe launching later this year.
Let’s take a look inside…
The majority of passengers will be flying in Cathay Pacific’s economy cabin, which features 214 seats in total.
There’s not too much to get excited about when it comes to economy seating, however Cathay does offer a unique headrest design, which should add a bit of comfort.
The adjustable headrest offers slide-out panels, designed to make the seat much more comfortable when it comes time to sleep.
Each economy seat has on-demand entertainment, as you’d expect, with a large touchscreen panel on the back of the seat in front.
There’s a tray table, of course, but Cathay’s economy seat also includes a unique addition — a slide-out tablet and cup holder.
The tablet holder will certainly come in handy if you opt to bring your own entertainment on board.
You can choose to store your smartphone there, instead — storage is always at a premium in economy class, so some passengers will certainly appreciate this addition.
USB charging is now standard on many long-haul planes, including the A350.
The tray table is a bit smaller than what you’ll find with older economy seats, but it’s still large enough to accommodate a 12-inch MacBook.
Economy passengers also receive a decent-looking pillow.
Premium Economy Class
Moving on to premium economy, this cabin offers a total of 28 seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. Cathay’s standard premium economy seats have been updated a bit for the A350, but they’re largely the same as what you’ll find on the 777-300ER — and in business class on the airline’s regional fleet.
There’s plenty of connectivity, including a dedicated USB charging port and a universal power outlet for each seat. This aircraft also offers satellite Wi-Fi.
Each seat has a dedicated drink table, which slides out from the center console.
There’s also a full-size fold-out tray table.
The armrests offer an adjustable height, so you can raise and lower them as you wish.
There’s also a reading lamp built into the seat.
Premium economy seats include a fold-out footrest (controls above), and offer quite a bit more recline than regular coach. There’s also a handy compartment for storing a passport, tablet and other valuables during the flight.
As with regular economy, the premium cabin offers a dedicated tablet holder, which folds out from just under the touchscreen display.
Passengers receive a slightly larger pillow.
Comforters are available as well in premium economy.
The business-class seats on the A350 are similar to those found on Cathay’s existing long-haul fleet, including the 777-300ER.
Seats lie completely flat, as you’d expect, but you can also lower the armrest to add even more sleeping space.
Seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, giving passengers plenty of space and privacy.
Each seat has a flip-out display loaded with on-demand entertainment, which can be selected using the touchscreen controller.
Cathay’s already known for its excellent service in all classes, which extends to the A350, of course.
How to Fly Cathay’s A350
For the next few months, you’ll need to catch Cathay Pacific’s A350 on flights within Asia, but the airline plans to launch service to Europe soon, beginning with Dusseldorf on September 1 and London Gatwick on September 2. Award availability is decent in all three cabins on both routes, with up to five seats available in business class on some flights.
Believe it or not, your best bet is to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for these flights between Europe and Hong Kong. A one-way flight will set you back just 42,500 miles in business class, 35,000 miles in premium economy or 30,000 miles in coach. You can also opt to redeem 75,000 AAdvantage miles for business or 35,000 for economy. You’ll want to avoid redeeming Avios for premium-cabin travel — British Airways requires 30,000 Avios each way in coach, but 60,000 in premium economy and 90,000 each way in business class.
Do you have plans to fly Cathay Pacific’s new A350?
All images courtesy of Cathay Pacific.