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What Is Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 Business Class Like?

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I’m home for a little bit after a nice trip to Tokyo. My relax time is cut short since I’m flying back to Tokyo to spend some time with a group of friends tomorrow (yes, this is the coveted graduation trip), though I had commitments in the area today.

One of the main reasons I went to Tokyo was to review Japan Airlines’ 777 business class and Scoot’s 787 ScootBiz, though once space opened up I jumped on the opportunity to fly Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 business class from Taipei to Hong Kong. I used 1,000 Asia Miles to change my flight (from a 777-300), and flew the hourlong flight last night.

a plane at night with a windowCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Hong Kong Airport

So how was my experience in Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000? Surprisingly, it was excellent, and easily the best out of the three flights I’d taken on this trip.

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class Cabin

Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 features 46 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. These seats are the same as what you’d get on the A350-900, though the cabin is much larger. So if you prefer a more intimate cabin and have the choice, the A350-1000 might not be for you, since it has the largest business class cabin out of any plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet. If you’re into cool pictures and/or brand new planes, though…

a man standing in a row of seatsCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Cabin

inside an airplane with rows of seats and a televisionCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Cabin

These are reverse herringbone seats, and they’re pretty much my favourite iteration out there – they’re spacious and thoughtfully designed.

a seat in a plane Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Seat

Not only did Cathay Pacific integrate storage compartments into the final sleeping surface, but there’s also a fold-out platform by the hip that adds to the bed width, making this one of the widest beds you’ll get in business class.

a seat with a blanket on itCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Bed

Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class seat is a marked improvement over their previous iteration and ranks as one of my current favourite business class seats out there. The seat fires on all cylinders, from sufficient privacy to abundant storage to a thoughtfully designed sleeping surface.

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class Amenities

Cathay Pacific’s regional product offers the same pillow and headphones as provided in their longhaul configuration. The headphones provided are noise-cancelling, and good though not amazing. Meanwhile, I’m fine with Cathay Pacific’s pillow, though I don’t find it to be the most comfortable out there.

a pair of headphones on a deskCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Headphones

The blanket is rather thin though. It’s fine for a short flight, though it’s exactly the same as what is offered in economy.

a folded clothes on a pillowCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Blanket

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class Food

Due to the sub-one hour flight time, it’s unrealistic for Cathay Pacific to offer multi-course meals in business class, so they just offer a one-tray service with an appetiser, a main course and a dessert. One of the main course options on this flight was a beef cheek, which I selected. Though not fork tender (you’d think it’s a big ask, though I’ve had fork tender meat on Cathay Pacific before), I thought the entire meal was flavourful and well-executed, including the salad, which is rare.

a plate of food on a trayCathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Meal

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class Service

After hearing so many allegations of Cathay Pacific’s slipping service standards, I was very curious to see how this flight would measure up. The last time I flew Cathay Pacific in business class was from Sydney to Hong Kong, where the indifferent crew left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth – however, my outbound on the same trip featured a great crew, so I’d simply describe Cathay Pacific’s premium cabin service as inconsistent. Well, in this case, this crew hit it out of the ballpark.

The cabin crew were so friendly and proactive. They addressed everyone by name (which isn’t protocol on shorthaul flights, I believe), and they’d come around offering refills whenever they weren’t busy with the meal service – certainly not the norm on short flights between Hong Kong and Taipei. In addition, they were so warm and friendly to passengers. For example, when I was taking a picture of my mother during boarding, a crew member came over, closed the overhead bin above us and said “that will make for a nicer picture”.  I thought that was very kind of her. There are a couple of other anecdotes that I’ll save until the full report. In addition, despite the A350-1000 still being on the newer side, this crew was really comfortable with operating the plane, and the one-hour service structure ran like clockwork.

So while I wouldn’t expect such a polished, proactive and professional crew on a Cathay Pacific flight, this crew was a pleasant surprise, and certainly a joy to fly with.

Bottom Line: Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class

I’ve considered Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class hard product a winner since I first flew it back a couple of years ago from Taipei to Hong Kong. Well, I have to admit that the A350-1000 variant isn’t for everybody. If you’re into smaller or more intimate cabins, I’d advise you to try and choose the A350-900 in business class over the A350-1000, since the business class cabins on the A350-900 variant are much smaller (the rear cabin only has 8 seats). That being said, as someone who’s not so concerned about smaller cabins, I found myself to have more than enough privacy in my reverse herringbone seat.

The food and service were great as well, though Cathay Pacific can be inconsistent. Many years ago such attentive and personalised service used to be the norm on Cathay Pacific, whereas now it just comes as a pleasant surprise.

Regardless of what I think about Cathay Pacific’s dwindling standards, there’s no denying that this was an amazing flight.

Have you flown Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 in business class before? What did you think of it?

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