Cathay Pacific just took delivery of its latest plane on May 30th and has begun flights to Manila using the new Airbus A350-900 starting June 1st. The plane is scheduled to fly between Hong Kong and London Gatwick along with Düsseldorf sometime in the 3rd quarter of 2016.
As Cathay only has one A350 on its fleet currently with the registration B-LRA, it did showcase some improvements in the cabin. For starters, the A350-900s will not have a First Class cabin, and instead it will be outfitted with a Business, Premium Economy and Economy class cabin. In addition to a quieter cabin, and more overhead luggage space, passengers can expect added features in all 3 cabins that would certainly make travelling long-haul more comfortable.
In the Business class cabin, the seats are similar to the already excellent reverse herringbone layout. Onboard the A350-900s, this seat seems to be upholstered in nicer finishings from press release photos. In addition, there seems to be a touch-screen controller which is found in the First Class cabin.
For Premium Economy, all seats are now fitted with a leg rest along with a tablet holder for more convenience. In my previous Premium Economy experience aboard Cathay Pacific, I found their storage space in this cabin to add more comfort for a long haul flight when one has more items on hand to last through the duration of travel.
Last but not least, Economy Class passengers gets an additional holder for tablets like in Premium Economy and there is even a special 6-way headrest that is unique to Cathay Pacific. The edges of the headrest can be pulled out to function like a wing over your head, supporting it during napping.
Finally, the A350-900 will also mark the first time Cathay Pacific flights are equipped with wifi. From Cathay Pacific’s website, the charges for wifi usage starts from $9.95 for one hour of usage to $19.95 for flights more than 6 hours in length. Wifi will be provided by Panasonic which also supplies the audio and video on demand system onboard all Cathay Pacific’s aircraft.
While I have not flown onboard any A350s yet, I am looking forward enthusiastically to flying one of the planes soon. These planes are slightly smaller than the 777-300ERs that form the main fleet for Cathay Pacific so do not expect them to fly to busy destinations like London Heathrow, Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles any time soon. However, Cathay Pacific executives have set sights on flying these planes to second tier Canadian cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal.
For more photos and report on the plane interior, there are several blogs though I find this walkthrough to be very comprehensive.