Update: Cathay Pacifc has announced the initial routes and the inaugural flights of the A350-1000.
Earlier this week Cathay Pacific announced their new flight between Hong Kong and Washington Dulles, which will launch on September 15th, 2018. I originally was going to write about it, but I got so caught up in my backlog of work that I decided you’d be able to catch up with the details on other news sites anyway.
However, one thing intrigued me – these flights will be operated by Cathay Pacific’s brand new A350-1000, a stretched version of the A350-900. The first aircraft will be delivered in April 2018, and will begin to fly regionally shortly after. Cathay plans to retain the same business class and premium economy products found on the A350-900, but the new planes will feature a different economy class seat. Cathay Pacific has also published the seatmaps on their website, so I decided to nip some screenshots.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Hong Kong Airport
So, what will Cathay Pacific’s stretched A350 look like, in terms of both the seating layout as well as cabin products?
Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 Seatmaps
Last night I went to Cathay Pacific’s website and made a random booking to check out Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 seat maps on the new Hong Kong to Washington Dulles flights.
In the business class cabin, Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 features 46 business class seats spread out across 12 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. All 46 seats will be crammed into a single cabin, so there won’t be a Business Class mini-cabin as you find on all of Cathay’s other aircraft.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Seatmap
The Premium Economy cabin will feature 32 seats spread out across 4 rows in a 2-4-2 configuration, which is similar to what you’ll find on the current version of the A350. It’s worth noting that premium economy will get its own lavatory on the A350-1000, which will be right in front of seats 30A and 30C.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Premium Economy Seatmap
Cathay’s current A350-900 does not have a dedicated lavatory, meaning that Premium Economy passengers have to share toilets with Economy passengers. Thus, Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 Premium Economy cabin is a big step up. The downside, however, is that passengers seated in row 30 D, E, F and G will be interrupted by passengers trying to cross the cabin, which is also a problem on Cathay’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900
The Economy Class cabin will feature 256 seats spread out across 29 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration in two cabins. This aircraft will feature a brand new economy class product, as explained below.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Economy Class Seatmap
Across all cabins, these A350-1000s will be able to hold 334 passengers, which shows a 54-seat increase over their current A350-900s, which hold 280 seats.
Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 Cabin Products
Cathay Pacific’s new A350s will feature seats largely similar to their current A350s, featuring their latest refreshed business, premium economy products, but they’ll feature a brand new economy seat. I flew on one of Cathay Pacific’s A350s in business class a couple of years ago, while Jason’s flown in premium economy (he’s also flown business class on the A350 in the meantime, though he has yet to report back). If anything, hopefully, Cathay Pacific will re-examine some of the finishes and add some further improvements, as the finishes to some of Cathay Pacific’s currently A350s are already getting rather frayed.
I’m rather fond of Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class product, which features reverse herringbone seats. I feel like the seat has a few missed opportunities that can be easily rectified on the A350-1000 – the screen doesn’t tilt, the bed extension should have a more noticeable latch, the seat controls are still clunky, and the power ports shouldn’t be inside the cabinet, etc.. However, Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class is still probably better than any other business class seat I’ve personally sat in. The cabin also looks stunning, for that matter.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin
Cathay Pacific’s A350 Premium Economy seats are a great use of space and are extremely comfortable – they’re slightly narrower, though the 40″ inch seat pitch is excellent when compared to rival carriers. The paddled legrest in all seats, as well as a generous recline of 9″, makes the seat very comfortable to relax & sleep in. Furthermore, the armrests can be lowered and a large IFE screen is available. On the other hand, there are missed opportunities – they could do away with the tablet holder or integrate it into the tray table like most other airlines do, and add an extra storage nook there instead – though all in all the seat is industry leading for premium economy, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them deployed on the A350-1000.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Premium Economy Class
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Premium Economy Class
The new economy product will be manufactured by HAECO’s Seat Manufacturing division. Cathay will be using the Vector Y+ seat, which is described by HAECO as a high-end Economy seat, with features like seat cushion articulation, power ports, personal televisions, and possibly footrests. Cathay Pacific has also hinted at customising the seat to include enhanced storage areas, an improved headrest and “the latest in seat padding technology” (whatever that means).
Cathay Pacific’s current A350-900 economy seats (which Ethan has flown on and will be reviewing the seat soon) are less well-padded than their 777 and A330 counterparts, but have many ergonomic features, including a “cradling” adjustable headrest. The seat width is also not as generous, due to the narrower fuselage of the A350, though that’s not something Cathay Pacific can do too much with.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Economy Class
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Economy Class Cabin Inflight
I hope the new seats are going to be a huge improvement over the current seats. Seeing as the A350-1000 will be primarily used to operate ultra long-haul flights such as the 16-hour hop to Washington DC, improved padding would significantly increase seat comfort.
I enjoy flying with Cathay Pacific’s A350s, and while the cabins on the A350-1000 are bigger, I’d be excited to fly with one of those aircraft. I love the A350 – it’s a modern, quiet, aircraft – and I’m excited to see if Cathay Pacific will be refreshing their Business and Premium Economy products, as well as their brand new economy product on their A350-1000 aircraft.
This news update was written jointly by Alvin and Ethan, a new writer at YTHK back from a hiatus. Ethan will be very soon posting a long haul transpacific flight in EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER Elite (Premium Economy) Class Review. Furthermore, Ethan will be reviewing the Premium Laural Business Class on the EVA Air Hello Kitty A330-300 next week, and will be posting it in the near future. Stay tuned!