Review: Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class (ZRH-HKG)

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Review Overview
YTHK'S VERDICT

Cathay Pacific's business class goes above and beyond with the basics - a terrific seat and bedding, time-based charges for WiFi, good food and drinks, and an on-demand hot food menu between meals.

5.0

After flying in from London on a Swiss A321neo and paying a visit to the impressive Swiss Senator Lounge at Zurich Airport, the next part of my journey was a flight to Hong Kong onboard a Cathay Pacific A350 in business class. While I’ve flown Cathay Pacific’s business class countless times, this was my first longhaul flight in business class onboard a Cathay Pacific A350 – all my other flights on this aircraft have been on shorthaul flights between Taipei and Hong Kong. I was also excited to fly Cathay Pacific’s business class for the first time post-pandemic.

This review will cover my experience flying Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class between Zurich and Hong Kong, including the seat, amenities, food and beverages, service, and more. For the record, I’ve reviewed 20+ other business class products in the past, which you can check out here (this is a statement of credibility, and not intended as a flex by any means).

How I Booked Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

I booked a cash roundtrip itinerary between London and Hong Kong, consisting of flights in Swiss, Cathay Pacific (on a Swiss flight number) and Lufthansa business class. My itinerary cost a total of ~£2,720 (~HK$25,800 at time of writing). For context, this price was about on par with many premium economy one-stop itineraries, or even some direct flights in economy class during the 2022 post-COVID peak travel season – and far below the market average price for Christmas business class tickets this year.

Why I Booked Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

I had the choice between flying Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class and Swiss’ A340 business class on this segment (the former even cost a marginal premium). I usually prioritise unique, useful reviews over objectively better airline products, though there were several reasons why I decided on flying Cathay Pacific this time:

Snow-capped Cathay Pacific A350 at Zurich Airport
Snow-capped Cathay Pacific A350 at Zurich Airport

My Experience Flying Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

Boarding for this flight was scheduled for 11:15 AM, 40 minutes before our scheduled departure. I made my way to gate E47 at around 11 AM, where our flight would be departing, and saw that the lanes for boarding had already been set up.

Departure Gate at Zurich Airport
Departure Gate at Zurich Airport

People began lining up at around 11:10 AM, and a few passengers were paged prior to departure. Boarding began on time at 11:15 AM, and in line with Hong Kong transport regulations in December 2022, we were reminded to mask up throughout the flight. This wasn’t enforced much, and none of the ground staff wearing Cathay Pacific uniform were wearing a mask either.

Cathay Pacific Flight CX382
Friday, December 16, 2022
Origin: Zurich (ZRH) Gate: E47 Dep: 11:55 (13:35)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 45 Arr: 06:20+1 (07:40+1)
Duration: 11 h 25 min (11 h 5 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900 Reg: B-LRF
Seat: 19A (Business Class)

Boarding was done solely through door 2L. While I wasn’t the first to board, I ended up being the first passenger in the main business cabin, since the mother and son boarding before me were seated in the mini-cabin. I was greeted at the door by an enthusiastic Van, the inflight service manager.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Cabin and Seat

This flight was operated by B-LRF, a 6-year old A350-900. Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000s feature a larger business class cabin, though otherwise have the same seat.

Cathay Pacific’s A350-900s feature two business class cabins with reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The forward cabin is larger and features 30 seats spread across 8 rows (there are no window seats in the front row), whereas the smaller aft cabin features 8 seats spread across a further two rows.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin

As you can see from the photos above and below, the window seats are angled towards the windows, whereas the middle seats are angled towards each other. There isn’t a dedicated privacy divider here, though the seats are positioned far enough backward that you won’t see your seatmate – the cubby door adjacent to your seat can also act as a further privacy divider. In the case that you do want to chat to your seatmate, the seats can be translated forward by up to eleven inches so the partition isn’t in the way.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seats
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seats

I’d pre-selected seat 19A, which was the left window seat in the last row of the forward cabin. I contemplated sitting in the more intimate mini-cabin (where a couple of the window seats were open for selection up until departure), though ultimately decided to sit in the forward cabin to observe service flow. As you see, there’s a privacy shield that covers the head from foot traffic in the aisle.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat 19A
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat 19A

Cathay Pacific made heavy modifications to these business class seats after purchasing the license from their manufacturer, Safran Group. This means that many features I found at the seat were unique to Cathay Pacific. In this case I did find all of these improvements to be positive changes, as they positively benefitted seat/bed width and storage space.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Side Table, Panel and Storage
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Side Table, Panel and Storage

To my left I found some basic but intuitive seat controls, with two “one-touch” presets for the takeoff and fully flat positions. I also found a touchscreen IFE remote and an adjustable reading light.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat Controls, Reading Light and Touchscreen Remote
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat Controls, Reading Light and Touchscreen Remote

Adjacent to this seat panel was a cubby, which featured a universal 110V and USB power port. The cubby also featured a mirror, a storage pocket, and a hook to hang headphones.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Storage Cubby
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Storage Cubby

By way of storage, there was a larger cubby by my legs which was large enough to store a bag, shoes, a laptop, or bulkier items.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Storage Cubby
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Storage Cubby

When closed, the lid to this cubby formed part of the bed, and the ottoman was very large (you’ll also see the slippers provided in this photo, which I forgot to take a photo of in isolation).

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Ottoman
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Ottoman

The touchscreen, responsive and high-definition TV screen was a comfortable distance in front of me, and could be stowed or unfolded, even during takeoff and landing.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment Screen
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment Screen

In bed mode, a further sturdy bed extension could be unfolded from my right, greatly increasing hip space. I’d say the below picture does a decent job of showing exactly how much additional hip and foot space you get in this seat, because of the way the sleeping surface is maximised.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Bed
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Bed

The tray table slid out from under the side table, and it was easy to leave the seat when it was deployed (by lowering the armrest), despite not having the option to push it out of the way.

While the seat doesn’t feature a door or any fancy gimmicks (it’s not the Qatar Airways QSuite), this is a very strong business class seat, and the storage and bed width enhancements make a substantial difference. I’d say this is one of the strongest business class seats out there, and don’t see it as inferior to some other seats that have doors, such as British Airways’ Club Suite.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Amenities

Waiting at my seat was an extra large and squashy pillow from Bamford, which was leaps and bounds ahead of any previous pillows that Cathay Pacific offered in business class.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Pillow
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Pillow

There was also a package containing a mattress pad and duvet. The mattress pad could be fastened to the seat even in upright mode, and although it didn’t provide a ton of extra padding, I’d say texturally it made a substantial difference. I’ll mention the duvet when talking about the bed, though wasn’t sure if there were any day blankets provided for relaxing.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Mattress Pad
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Mattress Pad

Also waiting at my seat was an amenity kit, which was also provided by Bamford. It featured lip balm, lotion, and face mist from Bamford, as well as a dental kit, eyeshades, and ear plugs.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Amenity Kit Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Amenity Kit Contents
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Amenity Kit

Not pictured are the slippers that were also provided (they can be seen in the picture of the ottoman above, though I forgot to take a picture of them in isolation) – these were also comfortable, and rounded off a very strong set of amenities.

I had less remarkable things to say about Cathay Pacific’s noise-cancelling headphones, which are totally fine, but nothing special. I tend to notice that some of Cathay Pacific’s business class headphones tend to make an annoying buzzing noise, though this particular pair was fine.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Headphones
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Headphones

Especially on the bedding front, these amenities are leaps and bounds ahead of anything I’ve experienced in Cathay Pacific business class in the past. They were industry-leading in a way that I wasn’t used to from the airline.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Pre-Departure Service

10 minutes after settling into my seat, the inflight service manager came round with some pre-departure beverages, including water, orange juice, or champagne. I chose champagne, which I liked – Cathay Pacific is currently pouring Billecart-Salmon Brut in business class.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage

Already waiting at my seat was a menu, as well as a breakfast card.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Menu
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Menu

The breakfast card is a relatively new addition to the product, and I thought it was cute, especially with the way we were instructed to hang it onto our coat hook (I never remembered to do this, and my order was taken anyway).

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast Card
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast Card

Takeoff from Zurich Airport

As far as I could tell the flight was relatively full, and every seat in the forward business class cabin was taken. There were quite a few families in business class, and a couple of young children were seated in front of me (the little boy sharing an aisle with me was cute, occasionally walked over to my seat but was never loud or obtrusive, and was only a vessel to show how awesome the crew on this flight was – more on that later).

Since I was seated right in front of door L2, I was in earshot of Van, the inflight service manager, enthusiastically welcoming everyone who boarded, and directing them towards the left and right aisles. What an asset to the Cathay Pacific team – more on him later.

Boarding was finished at 11:50 AM, five minutes ahead of our scheduled departure. Captain Matyas came onto the PA to announce our flying time of 10 hours and 59 minutes (incorrectly translated during the Cantonese translation as 11 hours and 59 minutes), and noted smooth flying conditions. He mentioned that our plane would have to be de-iced, and warned us of a potential unusual smell throughout the cabin, which he reassured would be nothing concerning.

The below photo was taken just after pushback. Cathay Pacific’s A350 wingtips are green, though you wouldn’t be able to tell based on the below photo, given the extent of snow that had fallen onto the aircraft.

Snow-covered Wing and United 767
Snow-covered Wing and United 767

At this point the safety video was screened.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Safety Video
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Safety Video

Cathay Pacific’s Zurich flight is a twice-weekly service at the moment, so the plane actually sits in Zurich for ~30 hours while the crew has their break. Between this and the condition of the plane’s exterior, I knew coming in that we’d have to be de-iced (I could see large chunks of ice running down my window once we’d pushed back).

We had to wait to be de-iced, and the captain let us know that he’d come back with latest updates, including an updated arrival time. We ended up pulling out of gate E47 at about 12:30 PM, and were brought to a remote stand, where the de-icing began.

Being De-iced at Zurich Airport
Being De-iced at Zurich Airport

The de-icing procedure took about 40 minutes (presumably a Type 4 de-ice?), which is information I’ve pulled off Flightradar24, since I was fast asleep during this entire process – I didn’t sleep at all the night prior. Wheels-up was from runway 16 at 1:35 PM, though between the de-icing fluid and the rain, it was hard to get any great pictures of Zurich.

Takeoff at Zurich Airport
Takeoff at Zurich Airport

While takeoff was in the middle of the day, the cabin lights were still dimmed slightly and the mood lighting turned on.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Takeoff
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Takeoff

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Lavatory

Shortly after takeoff I visited the lavatory, which was by the galley right behind my seat, though on the other side of the aisle. The lavatory was standard for an A350, though featured Bamford hand lotion (I wondered whether it was meant to feature Bamford hand wash as well, though the bottle was nicked).

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Lavatory Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Lavatory Amenities
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Lavatory

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class WiFi

Once we were properly airborne I decided to connect to WiFi. I had issues trying to get the WiFi portal to load on my phone, though it loaded fine on my laptop – even then, I felt like this was one of the slower-loading portals I’d experienced.

Cathay Pacific charges for WiFi by time instead of by usage, which I appreciate. On my flight WiFi was charged as follows:

  • US$9.95 for a one-hour pass
  • US$19.95 for a flight pass

Unfortunately there isn’t any “carry-over”, which means that if you’re connecting, you’ll have to purchase two separate WiFi passes if you want to stay connected on both flights. Speeds measured 3.25 Mbps down and 4.64 Mbps up with a ping of 912 ms, which is in line with what I’d expect for WiFi in the air.

AeroMobile was also available on this aircraft, for those who prefer to use data roaming.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Entertainment System

For those who aren’t inclined to pay extra to stay connected in the air, Cathay Pacific’s entertainment system has been long known as industry leading.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment System
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment System

The movie selection was extremely large. I’m not one to comment on movie quality, though felt like this wasn’t your average set of blockbusters.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment System Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment System Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Entertainment System
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Movies Selection

There were also entire seasons of TV shows loaded in the “TV” section, which I’m sure some will appreciate.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class TV Selection
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class TV Selection

There’s also a large selection of albums to listen to, including the entire “Spider-Man: No Way Home” soundtrack.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Music Selection
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Music Selection

There was also live TV (I believe that the World Cup wasn’t playing on either CNN or the BBC World News a few days ago, since a friend had to purchase WiFi to watch it on an A350 flight).

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Live TV
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Live TV

My favourite part of the inflight entertainment system was the moving map, especially during an extended sunrise we got to experience by the tail end of the flight.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Moving Map
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Moving Map

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Post-Takeoff Meal Service

I properly woke up around 15-20 minutes after takeoff, and wasn’t sure if orders for meal service had already been taken. I asked Van (the inflight service manager), and he gladly took my order, saying “I noticed you slept very well during takeoff”. He also addressed me by name – when I said he was free to address me as “Alvin” for the rest of the flight, he did so, without even checking his papers as far as I’m aware. He also did the same to the gentleman seated across from me, as well as the mother and little boy seated right in front.

While taking my order on his iPad, Van did tell me that they were out of one of the appetisers.

The lunch menu read as follows, with the on-demand snacks menu also pictured:

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Lunch and Snacks Menu
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Lunch and Snacks Menu

In addition, the beverages on this flight were listed as follows:

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Drinks Menu Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Drinks Menu
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Drinks Menu

I was asked what I wanted to drink, and asked for a Cathay Delight, Cathay Pacific’s signature non-alcoholic drink consisting of kiwi, coconut milk, and fresh mint. It was delicious, and served with hot nuts. I like that the airline has signature cocktails, and my only nitpick is that I wish they had more than one signature mocktail (though Cathay Delight is delicious).

Not pictured is the hot towel I was given – hot towels are back in Cathay Pacific business class.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cathay Delight and Hot Nuts
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cathay Delight and Hot Nuts

The appetiser was served via trolley, and Van set my table and laid a tray on it.

For my appetiser I wanted the mushroom soup, though they were out. That being said, the pike perch fillet was delicious, and I really liked the horseradish-flavoured celeriac remoulade that it was served with. This was served approximately an hour after takeoff.

I was asked what I wanted to drink, and asked if there was a wine that Van would’ve recommended. Van specifically recommended a sauvignon blanc to pair with my appetiser, which was from New Zealand – I enjoyed it. I also poached a piece of garlic bread from the breadbasket upon being offered some.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Appetiser – Cured Swiss Pike Perch Fillet
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Appetiser – Cured Swiss Pike Perch Fillet

The main course was served half an hour later. While I would’ve loved to be adventurous on any other occasion, in my dazed state the pork egg noodle soup was by far the most appealing-sounding option.

This was laid directly on my tray. While delicious, what I appreciated most was the Hong Kong-style chilli sauce from Lee Kum Kee that the noodle soup was served with – yum!

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Main – Barbecued Pork Egg Noodle Soup with Pak Choy
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Main – Barbecued Pork Egg Noodle Soup with Pak Choy

Half an hour later dessert was served, which was the low point of the meal. The curd itself was delicious, though unfortunately the crumble on top had gone soggy – it would’ve been much better to serve the crumble on the side.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Dessert – Creamy Lemon Curd
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Dessert – Creamy Lemon Curd

I knew pralines were coming to round off the meal (served 10 minutes after the dessert), and was ready to refuse – though at last minute decided to take one so I could photograph it, and ended up eating it anyway.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Praline
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Meal Service Praline

This probably isn’t a meal service I’d remember for years to come, though I did think it was very good. I’d say the pacing was ever so slightly on the slow side for a flight of this length – the meal service was completed two and a half hours after wheels-up, though was fairly elaborate with three courses. I know Cathay Pacific can struggle with meal service timing on longer flights, though they have their Europe-Asia meal service timing figured out down to a T.

Mood lighting was turned on by the end of the meal service, and eventually the cabin lights were turned off so people could get some rest. It was also at around this point in the flight when it became dark outside, as we flew further east.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin After Meal Service
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin After Meal Service

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Service

Speaking of service, I have nothing but good things to say about the crew on this flight. The inflight service manager, Van, was definitely the star – he managed to deliver service formally and professionally while letting his more informal personality shine through. He remembered people’s names and addressed people by first name on request, and was incredibly attentive during the flight, including between meal services (he’d come round the cabin several times, took breakfast orders early for those that weren’t sleeping on this daytime flight, and offered galley snacks).

Only one other crewmember was serving my aisle. She shared the enthusiasm and professionalism that Van had, though addressed me in English except if I used Cantonese during that immediate interaction (she responded in Cantonese, but used English the next time she came by). Perhaps my Cantonese has deteriorated to a cringeworthy state?

Once again, nothing but good things to say about the wonderful crew operating my flight from Zurich to Hong Kong. That being said, the biggest problem with Cathay Pacific service is inconsistency, since service standards can be all over the place sometimes.

Especially after the tough time that Cathay Pacific crewmembers have had (up until September they weren’t allowed to leave their hotels while working shifts, and had to quarantine before going on break), it was refreshing to see them still be so passionate about their job.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Mask Policy

Cathay Pacific advertises a mask policy where masks have to be worn during takeoff and landing, though crew memos state that first and busines class passengers are exempt when in lie-flat mode, due to the privacy partitions and space available.

In reality, over half of passengers had their masks off after the first meal service, regardless of whether they were in lie-flat mode or not.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Bedding

At this point in the flight I made my bed. Between the expanded bed width and the excellent bedding, this is one of the more remarkable business class beds in the air. It felt extremely spacious and was super easy to get comfortable in. I’ve already mentioned the sturdy mattress pad and squashy pillow, but the duvet was probably the star of them all – it was plush and thick, and most of all very large, to the point where I could wrap it around myself while sleeping.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Bed with Mattress Pad and Duvet
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Bed with Mattress Pad and Duvet

Between the excellent hard product and the awesome bedding, this is undoubtedly industry-leading stuff – definitely among the most comfortable I’ve ever been in the air.

A quick note about row 19 – there’s a little bit of light leakage from the galley. This didn’t bother me (mainly because I was really tired), though you might want to choose another row if you’re really sensitive to light. My TV screen also struggled to turn off when a charger was plugged in through the power port for whatever reason, though I managed to keep it turned off eventually (I remember having a similar issue on an economy flight with Cathay Pacific).

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Service Between Meals

One of the things that has always set Cathay Pacific apart is their on-demand hot meals between services, ranging from cup noodles in economy to a full on-demand menu in business class. On this particular flight, the first two meal service items (barbecue pork noodles and älplermagronen) were available, as well as Cathay Pacific’s signature beef burger and galley snacks. I wasn’t hungry between meal services on this flight, though this is such an impressive offering, second to full dine-on-demand services in personalisation.

I woke up around four hours after falling asleep, and Van passed by with some galley snacks. I took some almonds and shortbread, and Van encouraged me to take some caramel popcorn as well. YTHK was launching on BoardingArea the same day I flew this flight, so I worked on that for a little while, while snacking on some popcorn.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Galley Snacks
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Galley Snacks

After this I decided to catch some more rest before our morning arrival into Hong Kong, and slept well for another three hours, waking up about two hours out of Hong Kong Airport.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class Pre-Landing Meal Service

I woke up to Van taking breakfast orders about two hours out of Hong Kong Airport. I hadn’t hung my breakfast card on my coat hook, so waited for him to take my breakfast order. The breakfast menu read as follows:

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast Menu
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast Menu

Unfortunately they were once again out of my preferred option – the Chinese breakfast sounded really nice, though it was proving popular among those in the cabin. Van also suggested that a chicken congee option was being provided in economy, though it would be served sans stir fried noodles – I decided to go for the Western breakfast instead.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Serving Breakfast
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Serving Breakfast

My drinks order was taken by the female flight attendant. I asked for a smoothie (which she listed as an option) and a coffee, though was given a carrot and orange juice instead as well as the coffee requested. Upon finishing the glass (which was very good) and asking Van for a smoothie, I was given another glass of the carrot and orange juice, so I guess the two terms were used interchangeably.

The Western breakfast was a chive omelet with bacon, tomato and potato roesti, and was as good as an egg dish on a plane gets – the roesti in particular were crispy on the outside. The meal was served with a croissant and a muffin, as well as some fresh fruit.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast – Western Breakfast
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Breakfast – Western Breakfast

Van told me the coffee would be served a couple of minutes after breakfast was served, and sure enough it was.

During this time we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise over western China. We were flying at around 39,000 feet, and flew at 41,000 feet for the last hour of our journey.

Breakfast View on Cathay Pacific A350
Breakfast View on Cathay Pacific A350

My meal tray was taken very shortly after I finished, and I found myself with around 1 hour and 15 minutes to spare.

Post-Meal Service Sunrise on Cathay Pacific’s A350

The cabin lights were slowly brought up during the last hour of our cruising, and I particularly enjoyed the office setup I had, between the amazing sunrise and the A350’s awesome tail camera.

Sunrise Office on Cathay Pacific A350 Sunrise Office on Cathay Pacific A350 Sunrise Office on Cathay Pacific A350
Sunrise Office on Cathay Pacific A350

Since we were flying east, the tail camera views only improved as the sunrise continued.

Cathay Pacific A350 during Sunrise
Cathay Pacific A350 during Sunrise

Landing into Hong Kong Airport

Shortly before landing the seatbelt sign was turned on, about twenty minutes before landing (if Captain Matyas was on the PA I missed it – I noticed that there was no standard “thirty minutes until landing” captain announcement which I’m accustomed to on Cathay Pacific). At this point we were instructed to put our seats upright and open our window shades.

During this time I enjoyed the views we had during dawn, between the tail camera and the view outside the window.

Dawn View upon Landing into Hong Kong Airport Dawn View upon Landing into Hong Kong Airport Dawn View upon Landing into Hong Kong Airport
Dawn View upon Landing into Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Landing
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Cabin upon Landing

Unfortunately it was a rainy day in Hong Kong, and we also landed over runway 07L, which meant we were over water during our final descent without particularly good views of the city. In fact, the tail camera offered an epic view of our crosswind landing into Hong Kong, though the weather conditions did get significantly better over the course of the day.

Crosswind Landing into Hong Kong Airport
Crosswind Landing into Hong Kong Airport

Once we touched down, the Elf main title started playing from the PA, before we were welcomed to Hong Kong (no words can describe how much I love flying over Christmas).

It was a 10-minute taxi to our gate where we parked at around 7:40 AM, around 80 minutes after our scheduled arrival time. Despite the mandatory PCR testing, the arrivals process was painless and efficient (my PCR test result arrived at 10:40 AM), and less than an hour later I found myself on the Airport Express.

Conclusion: Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class

While I don’t think any part of Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class experience is revolutionary, Cathay Pacific’s business class sits quite comfortably as an industry leader, in my opinion.

The airline’s A350 business class seat is one of the best door-less business class seats out there, and I found it so spacious, private and well-designed that I didn’t miss having a door at any point. Additionally, the bedding and amenities are firmly front-of-the-pack, the airline features WiFi, and you can order full meals on-demand between meal services.

The food and service on this flight were excellent as well (and Van is such an asset to the Cathay Pacific team). That being said, I know consistency can be an issue with these aspects of Cathay Pacific’s soft product, especially regarding meal service timings on some of their longer flights to the U.S.. This particular flight showed that Cathay Pacific has understood and engineered service times within their Europe-Asia market to a T (though admittedly it isn’t too difficult, since they’re just serving one meal each just after takeoff and just before landing).

I wasn’t expecting to say this, but I’d even recommend Cathay Pacific as a transit option if you’re travelling between Europe/the U.S. and Southeast Asia/Australia, at least in business class. You’ll just need to be prepared to wear a mask during boarding, deplaning, and transit. You’re not subject to stringent testing requirements unlike those arriving into Hong Kong, and you’re also not subject to wearing a mask from takeoff until landing. Additionally, while not many lounges at Hong Kong Airport are open at the moment, the Oneworld business class lounge open is The Pier, one of the best business class lounges out there. Prices for Cathay Pacific business class can be low when booking far in advance, because of low demand.

Is flying Cathay Pacific “back on the cards” for you, especially if you don’t live in Hong Kong?

4 comments

  1. Great and accurate review. I was on that same flight, must have been on December 16th, though in economy. Due to some missconnections the cabin was not full and I had three seats to myself which was not bad either.

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