Cathay’s business class seats are very well thought out
Cathay Pacific’s (CX) business-class product is legendary, and that reputation is well deserved. I recently got to try the service in an Airbus A350-900 on their relatively new Seattle-Hong Kong route, which began last spring. You may have heard a bit about the social unrest in Hong Kong of late; travelers’ concerns about those public protests have led to decreased bookings for all airlines serving Hong Kong. That issue is most likely what led to my being bumped to business from premium for the return flight, because the plane was surprisingly lightly loaded. But, that means I got to enjoy biz class both ways, so you’ll hear no complaints from me.
CX’s A359 seating chart
Love those big windows
First off, I’ll admit to a bias – I really like the Airbus A350. This was my second round-trip long-haul flight on one this year, and both flights were very pleasant. My first-ever A350 flight was in April 2019 with French Bee, which as a budget airline configures their planes quite differently than Cathay Pacific.
The lower cabin pressurization altitude, large windows, and wide cabin all make for a great flight experience, even in 10-abreast economy, let alone CX’s stellar business-class seats. And I love the A350’s window in the loo – having natural reading light while you tend to business is awesome.
Anyway, here’s the review…
Cathay Pacific’s inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport
Cathay Pacific’s new non-stop service from Seattle to Hong Kong launched on April 1 with four flights per week; the service will go daily starting July 1.
The new offering is the only current flight between the two Pacific Rim cities; that should make it a popular option for travelers.
Cathay Pacific went all-out with a launch party at the gate
Cathay Pacific is using its excellent Airbus A350-900 on the route, which is now the airline’s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco, and Washington DC.
CX254 LHR to HGK – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter
My working holiday in Hong Kong at the end of April started with a delightful journey on Cathay Pacific (CX). I upgraded from Premium Economy to Business for the nearly 12-hour overnight flight on a 777-300ER out of Heathrow’s (LHR) Terminal 3. Now a long day’s work always deserves a beer. And I was also on a mission to sample a Betsy.
CX Lounge in T3 – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter
My business ticket granted me access to CX’s lounge in LHR T3. I therefore scurried over to discover it and to crack open a CX-inspired cold one. Reopened in November 2016, the revamped Cathay lounge is slick and elegant, finished in brown wooden panels and marble.
Cathay Pacific’s first A350 from HKG to YVR is ready for a tug to pull it to the gate
Almost 35 years ago, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) began its international expansion to North America, flying a Boeing 747-200 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Vancouver, BC (YVR). It was the first airline to fly nonstop between the two key Pacific Rim cities, and on Tuesday morning, Cathay Pacific introduced a new aircraft type on the route.
The airline’s Airbus A350-900XWB, B-LRI, touched down in the pouring rain just after sunrise, almost an hour ahead of its 8:00 AM scheduled arrival time. I was with the media group, set up on the south ramp for the A350’s expected arrival on YVR’s runway 08R. But just a few minutes before landing, the plane’s approach was changed to the north runway, 08L.
A brand-new EVA Boeing 777-300ER, currently the most popular 777 variant, at Paine Field (with nine-abreast economy)
In October 2015, it appeared that Cathay Pacific was ’˜flirting’ with the idea of changing its long-haul 777 economy class from a 9-abreast to a 10-abreast cabin. This appears to be correct, since Cathay Pacific gauged the responses of some of its most loyal Marco Polo customers in a recent survey to see whether they would accept a 3-4-3 configuration on their long-haul 777 aircraft.
BONUS: Flying a Cathay 777 Across North America in Business Class
’œTo understand the needs of our customers as well as the trend and development of the airline industry, Cathay Pacific periodically conducts research on different aspects of our offerings so as to continuously improve on our passenger services,’ Julie Jarratt, Cathay Pacific Communications Manager explained to AirlineReporter. ’œCathay Pacific, at this stage, has no decision to change the seat width and seat pitch of our 777 fleet.’
The economy cabin inside a Singapore Airlines 777
From an airline’s perspective, the rationale for a 10-abreast cabin is quite obvious. Not only does it provide a higher profit margin, by lowering its cost per seat mile, but it (theoretically) allows these savings to be put into other benefits for travelers in the form of cheaper airfares or enhanced services. In this sense, a denser cabin allows airlines to move greater numbers of passenger on fewer flights, which leads to fuel efficiency in the form of equated fuel burn reduction savings. I wanted to take a closer look at which airlines are taking delivery of the higher-density 777s, as that configuration is becoming more and more popular.