Cathay Pacific Replacing Faulty A350 Business Class Seats

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Cathay Pacific’s latest hard product revolution has certainly revolved around their A350, which features updated products across the board as well as WiFi. I had the chance to review the flight in business class last June, and was onboard with pointing out substantial differences I found in the hard product between reviews as well.

IMG_0593Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seat

Apart from a misplaced headrest cover, the only major problem I found with the hard product was that the tail camera wasn’t working. However, there have been a few issues with other business class seats, including armrests not being adjustable as they should be, TVs not locking into place, etc.

The first three A350s delivered (including the one I flew) apparently have been pretty faulty upfront as a whole, so Cathay Pacific will replace all business class seats on their first three A350s with a new set. The finishes have had acute errors on these planes, including broken latch mechanisms, flaking laminate surfaces, etc.

On one hand I can’t really add much to this, as my seat was in mint condition back on that flight from Taipei to Hong Kong, but on the other hand I imagine this must be painful for Cathay Pacific and their losses. I’m not sure how bad the situation is, but it’s probably pretty bad if Cathay is ripping out all of these brand new seats for a new batch.

IMG_0630Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seat in Bed Position

AusBT has more thorough coverage of the situation, addressed as follows:

However, the seats – which have been flying for less than a year on the advanced A350 jetliners – have been beset by problems such as ill-fitting seat fabric and trim, peeling and flaking laminate surfaces and broken latch mechanisms.

“Zodiac has agreed to replace all business class seats on the first three A350 aircraft to join the Cathay fleet,” James Evans, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager of Product, confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

“The first three (aircraft) have the most acute issues with the finishing,” Evans explained, “so next month we will take all the business class seats out of the very first A350-900 and put in a whole new set.”

The process is expected to take several weeks for each aircraft, with the troublesome trio overhauled by mid-year.

The bulk of the A350 fleet will see remediation rather than replacement, Evans said.

I guess it’s been pretty evident that the seats have had moderation from plane to plane. Here’s a picture of the business class seat, head-on, on their first A350:

IMG_0595Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class

Here’s a picture of the seat on B-LRG:

dsc00484-768x5122xCathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class

As you see, there’s a defined “ridge” on the shell of the seat, and the headrest is also more defined. I thought these were pretty subtle changes at first, but I guess apparently they mean more than I think they do.

Bottom Line

On one hand this isn’t surprising, but on the other hand I’m sure it’s going to be painful for Cathay Pacific to rip out seats that they’d paid a lot for. I’m guessing that they had to rush their timeline for the A350 products – while other airlines have had a very laid out timeline with revealing their products that they’ve been transparent about (United had basically been singing to everyone that they were rolling out Polaris six months before the product was launched), Cathay Pacific seemed to be rushing with Zodiac in May 2016 in order to make the rollout on May 30th. Zodiac has also been in hot water recently, as American and United have both had issues with their product rollouts as well.

I hope this isn’t too much of a financial burden for Cathay Pacific and I do hope this turns out well for everyone!

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