Background:

This was the second leg of my Australia + Asia Winter Break and New Year’s Trip last year. Surprisingly, I found business award space for the peak winter season on Cathay Pacific for my parents and I, and ended up using 60,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for LAX-HKG-AKL, which included a two night stopover in Hong Kong. I reviewed my experience on the Cathay Pacific 777 previously and enjoyed it a lot. So, I was really excited to be flying on the newer A350 product. But, I was actually left dissapointed with the new A350, and actually prefered the older, more outdated 777.

FLIGHT DETAILS:

Cathay Pacific 199
December 22, 2018
Hong Kong (HKG) to Auckland (AKL)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Departure: 3:20 PM
Arrival: 7:25 AM (+1 days)
Duration: 11 hours and 5 minutes
Status: On Time
Seat: 17A- Business

Before the Flight:

Since I had a 3pm departure, I got to the airport before noon so I could try out at least two of the famous Cathay Pacific Lounges at Hong Kong Airport. I was able to visit the Wing and the Pier, which were both excellent business class lounges to get a nice meal and relax before the flight.

Boarding:

Two bridges were used to board the plane, so we boarded through the first doors and I went to my seat 17A. I chose this seat because SeatGuru said there wasn’t a misaligned window. The Cathay Pacific A350-900 business class features 38 reverse-herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The cabin is split up with the main business cabin having 7.5 rows, then a galley and restroom separating the mini-cabin having 2 full rows. I opted for sitting in the main business class cabin as I didn’t want to stare at the galley.

After enjoying a bit too much tea at the Pier Lounge’s Teahouse, I had to use the lavatory right after boarding. I used the one on the front right side of the plane and I couldn’t help but immediately notice how banged up it was. There was tape holding all the panels together.


A350 Issues:

Cathay took delivery of their first A350s in 2016, but they already made the news for having to fix the seats and lavatories for being of poor quality. This flight happened to be no exception.

The cabin itself is beautiful, but many finishing touches were absent! For starters, no flowers were placed in the middle holder between the two seats in the middle. Additionally, my moms armrest had a broken button so it took a bit of extra effort to get that up and my seat had some loose panels as well.


Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Seat:

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

There’s a storage cubby on the left side of the seat, and connected to the side table/counter is a small place to put your electronics. This is where the noise cancelling headset is located. I liked how clear the IFE was on the A350, and there were some cool features like a tail camera. The IFE was clear and responsive, much better than the old system on the 777 and had a good selection of movies + games. Additionally, wifi was offered for a decent price. Either $9.95 for an hour, or just $19.95 for the entire flight.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

Top Camera View! Cool.

Champagne, orange juice and a kiwi cucumber drink (how fitting on the flight to New Zealand) was served right after boarding.

A nice bottle of evian was waiting at my seat, as well as the amenity kit. Additionally, the flight attendant passed out some playing cards to another passenger so I asked for one too 🙂

We departed Hong Kong around 4pm, which left an amazing view for me!

Dining:

About a half hour after takeoff, the meal service began with warm nuts, then a shrimp appetizer. For my main dish, I ordered the pan fried sea bream, which was just okay.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

The other choices for the main dish were a beef brisket or a confit side of pork. The fruit dish came out after the main course, and then a nice chocolate brownie completed the service. I enjoyed the fruit and the brownie the most out of the whole meal.

After the meal service, the lights were shut off for sleeping time.

The Bedding:

The pillow was quite horrible to be honest. For a leading business class product, it was small and fuzzy and felt a bit worn out.

You’ll be happy to know that as of December 2019, business class passengers travelling on long-haul flights will get new Bamford bedding amenities, including a soft mattress topper with a larger pillow as well as a new 400-thread-count pillowcase and new duvet. Thank goodness!

Cathay Pacific A350 Business

I feel like the seat I had on the 777 was much more comfortable (it was a bulkhead so maybe the wider legroom helped). The angle was just a bit off on this A350 and I didn’t get the best shut-eye. But, the seat was still very nice and private with a lot of wiggle room.

Luckily, I still slept for about 4 hours. Additonally, it probably didn’t help that many passengers in the cabin were sick and coughing, which kept me up as well. Maybe I really should have opted for the mini cabin…

Service:

On this flight, service was very hands off, almost to a point of being non-existent. The flight attendants weren’t unfriendly, but they weren’t as welcoming or professional as my LAX-HKG flight.

Breakfast:

A little less than two hours before arrival, breakfast was served. I opted for the pumpkin congee, which was very good! It also came with a stir fried rice roll.

Next thing I knew, we were getting ready for landing in Auckland.

The Verdict:

Overall, the Cathay Pacific A350 business class experience was decent but I enjoyed my flight on Cathay’s 777 much more due to the better maintenance, quality of the plane and service. I would like the give the A350 another chance sometime to try out the new bedding options!

 

Have you flown on Cathay Pacific A350 Business class before? What were your thoughts?

 

Happy travels,

Ty


Have any questions? Comment below or email me at takeofftotravel@gmail.com. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!


MY 2019 CHRISTMAS/NEW YEARS TRIP REPORT:

Check out the rest of my Asia + South Pacific 2019 Winter Trip here!

Hotel Reviews:

Renaissance Hong Kong Harbor View
AVANI Metropolis Residences Auckland
Hilton Sydney Executive Level
New Years’ at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

Lounge Reviews:
Qantas First Lounge at LAX
Oneworld Los Angeles Business Class Lounge
Plaza Premium Lounge Taipei Terminal 2
Strata Lounge Auckland Airport
Cathay Pacific Business Lounge: The Pier
Cathay Pacific Business Lounge: The Wing

Airline Reviews:
How I Scored Cathay Pacific Business and First Using Alaska Miles
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class: Los Angeles to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class: Hong Kong to Auckland
Virgin Australia Economy: Auckland to Sydney
China Airlines A350 Premium Economy: Sydney to Taipei
China Airlines 777 Premium Economy: Taipei to Los Angeles