This post explores Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class. Cathay is known for providing exquisite cuisine, personalised and attentive service and all around very competitive products in the skies.
After a quick passing visit to catch up with some friends in Hong Kong, I needed to get to Bangkok. For flights under 5/6 hours, I’m generally more than happy to fly economy. With a plethora of reasonably cheap flight options, I wasn’t in any hurry to book them too far in advance.
Having a fair amount of Avios to burn, 2 weeks before I checked award seats with British Airways and found not only this but also Malaysian Airlines flights with a stop in KUL. Flying Cathay direct was a no-brainer, so I booked this for just 22500 Avios + taxes, which were under a £100.
Bargain considering cash fares one-way were north of £900 on this route!
Route: Hong Kong – Bangkok
Flight No: CX615
Departure Time: 10:45am
Flight Duration: Blocked at 3 hours
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
I checked in for the flight on mobile and travelling without checked bags, had no interaction with check-in staff on the ground.
It was all relatively smooth. Note Hong Kong airport still unfortunately does not have any “Fast Track” security, but this wasn’t too bad. Coming to think of it, it never has been a real issue with Hong Kong airport.
Lounge In Hong Kong
I won’t have time to do a full review of this lounge again but here’s some updated 2023 pictures..
I noticed several places where they placed hand-sanitizers. Which is understandable given how strict HK has been with things.
There was also a special limited addition Breitling watch on display to celebrate Cathay’s 76th anniversary..
It was a super pleasant experience going back in the Wing First, there were only 3 other passengers during my 90 minute visit.
During this time I off course took a quick bath! Just because you can!
While still fantastic, the cabanas are starting to look aged and could do with a refresh like some other parts of the lounge.
After the bath I checked out some of the self service food..
Naturally this being a First Class lounge, you have a formal dining area:
I was still not in the mood for food, so I just hand some smoothies. Looking back if I was hungry there were several things I would have been excited to order from the Breakfast specialities ! Rather a shame I did not.
Boarding Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class
I can’t comment on how well the boarding was organised as by the time I arrived at gate 25 minutes to departure, there was hardly anyone there.
Suffice to say it was either done very well, or there was a very light load on the flight!
HKIA usually offers good views of your aircraft before boarding and this was no exception. The sudden overcast skies added to an earlier morning feeling.
The Business Cabin seemed quite busy however, with several people still settling in while I entered through the door.
It was tricky to get cabin shots at all even when everyone settled.
The Business Class on this A350 variant comprises of 38 Seats split into two cabin, with a very small cabin of just 8 Seats behind door 2..
The cabin does feel on the minimalist side, with little in the way of the airlines branding on display. If you are unless where to sit, can refer to the seat map here
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat
Cathay’s business product is the work Austrian based design agency Studio F.A. Porsche. The hard product is based on the Cirrus III seat by Safran Seats. A product that has gone through over a decade of incremental iterations, which at the heart offers a solid proposition for airlines.
Finnair’s A350s (pre latest product upgrade in 2022 ) are also based on Cirrus III.
Cathay had experienced many production issues with these new seat iterations when they first rolled out in 2016 and has worked with manufacturer Zodiac to rectify them quickly.
If you are familiar with Cathay’s 777 Business Class, this will not look or feel too different. When you have a solid award winning product, why mess with that too much eh? Cathay has however made some subtle improvements over. Which I will point out.
The signature green woven fabric has been retained with green leather armrest
What is not entirely obvious is there is actually much more space in this A350 iteration both around the expanded footwell and additional storage space doubling up to provide extra sleeping surface.
The IFE screen comes with a updated 18.5″ with an additional 4.3″ video handset which you can use as a controller for main screen or watching flight map on..
In full flat bed more, the seat did feel quite comfortable, with all the controls working flawlessly.
In the age of QSuites and Club Suites, these Seats may not be so exciting but at the core, they deliver the essential components of what makes a good Business product today. Even if this was launched over 6 years ago now!
I certainly preferred Cathay’s adaptations on this product over Finnair’s.
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Service
The crew did welcome beverages round before our departure as well as hot towels, which is much appreciated!
This being Cathay Pacific, I just had to order the Cathay Delight, even though I had a few in the previous couple in the lounges 2 days prior..
After take-off there was another round of drinks offered, and this time I opted for a glass of Champagne, Piper Heidsieck Brut. As a point of comparison, Singapore Airlines also serve this champagne in Business Class, but have recently even upgraded it to a vintage version.
A menu was already on the seat for the flight that was as follows
I’d only flown with Cathay Business a couple of times in regional flights and ultra long First Class flights. This combined with some of their lounge catering made me aware of something that is a particular concern for me, I do not eat pork and much of their classic catering centres around pork.
Therefore I pre-ordered a “Moslim” meal in advance, just in case they did not have a main meal that I liked/could have. Whilst onboard, when I glanced at the menu, I thought the standard dining options were fine.
Before I could even think more about my preferences, my lunch was served about 20 minutes after take-off!
Since this was just a regional flight, the meal is mostly served all in one. The dishes were a beef noodle starter, and king prawns with cous cous and veg with some pickles and bread and finally a chocolate tart.
This was all fine however, I found the main to be rather bland. But points to serving some nice big prawns here though, which I do love.
Given this was my first meal of the day did eat it all. And within 5 minutes of finishes my plates were cleared within minutes of that.
There is then Ice-cream and beverage service to finish off ..
Not long after we started our descent into Bangkok!
If you were in a long haul flight to Europe/USA you would offcourse enjoy a more extensive service with at least 2 full meals and snacks in between.
On top of that you will be provided with fully kitted Bamford amenity kits and nice bedding.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable flight, more or less what I expected from Cathay. It was far too short to really appreciate such a product. Given this I found the beverage selection and meal service more than satisfactory, and on-par with main competitors like Singapore with its regional flights.
Despite this product now being over 6 years old, it still feels very current. It has all the nice touches in all the right ways and certainly feels classy. I would not hesitate to book Cathay A350 Business on a super-long haul trip should this be an option for any of my future travel needs! What is even more exciting, Cathay is launching a new updated Suite product called Aria in 2024 on their 777s!