We’d call it minty fresh, but it’s more of an emerald green…
Not to be confused with the “new car smell”, the new plane smell is a slightly more expensive but equally delightful affair, with just a few extra commas involved. For passengers, there’s nothing better than a brand new aircraft. Cathay Pacific just took delivery of their very first Airbus A350-1000, the longest and largest version of the most passenger friendly jet in the skies. We tested out each cabin, to get a preview of how the new jet will fare when Cathay Pacific launches the first long haul service between Hong Kong and Washington D.C on September 15th, 2018.
The economy cabin on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 is laid out in 3 x 3 x 3, with a few extremely desirable seats for passengers to fight over. Regardless of where you end up, each economy seat on the A350 offers oversized entertainment screen, USB power and connectivity ports, amongst other conveniences. Extra large windows give the cabin an increased sense of space and extra-extra large overhead bins takeaway the need to queue up and waste time before the flight trying to secure early boarding, just to get overhead space. The bins are so large, even the most sizable (approved) carry on bags can fit in any direction.The economy cabin offers an experience on par with the world’s best, such as Singapore and Qatar Airways. The seats are virtually identical at 18” wide, with drink holder, food tray, power ports and more than decent 32” pitch. Economy is never easy on a 12+ hour flight, but you’ve got at least a fighting chance with these seats. The noisiest seats in the Cathay A350-1000 cabin are undoubtedly located in row 49, where the numerous economy lavatories are located. Other than that, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for a true winner of an economy seat, your best bets on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 are seats located in rows 40, 59 and 60. Each offers a highly contested “bulkhead” where travelers have virtually unlimited legroom due to there being a wall in front of them. These seats are also fantastic for quick disembarkation on arrival.
Cathay’s premium economy cabin on the Airbus A350-1000 is an evolution of previous premium economy seats, with updated tech and more ergonomic features. Padding is substantial, legroom is exceptionally good, entertainment screens are large and remotes are easy to use. The in flight touches given to premium passengers are a real step up from economy, especially on long haul services where multiple meals or drink services are offered. Touch screens are accompanied by a remote on the lower side of the seat, which may perhaps not offer the best location (right next yo your bum) but it’s easy to navigate. The seats control offers multiple pre set flight positions, with both foot and calf rest support. Most importantly, there’s a USB and separate universal power port for each traveler. No fighting required. Premium economy is the smallest cabin on the Cathay Pacific A350-1000, directly behind the crew area that separates the premium cabin from business class. With just 32 seats, service is prompt and noise is minimal. At the right price, Cathay Pacific premium economy is worth every penny. Economy passenger use the lavatory to the rear of the cabin, so seat selection anywhere in the middle or front of Cathay Pacific premium economy will be truly quiet and feature very little foot traffic. If you’re looking for the best possible experience, row 30 is an “endless legroom, first off the plane” seat to shoot for. You’re welcome.
Cathay Pacific business class has long been a staple of the Hong Kong based airline, and while the new seat doesn’t necessarily “look” all that new, the evolutionary refinement of the seat is quickly evident. Storage compartments are well located and offer more hidden space than similar seats on other airlines. Furthermore, the storage compartments are well located, away from the aisle, which makes it easier to keep any valuables safe. With the protruding “wing” of each seat, privacy is not at a loss here. Sure, it’s no private door, but you’d be hard pressed to see another person from your seat. Not to be missed, the seats also offer an extra surface area for sleeping, which can be raised to widen the bed.
This business class seat is a modified version of an off the rack seat used by many airlines, but it’s clear that Cathay Pacific’s “custom” modifications enhance the guest experience and manage to differentiate the seat in ways any frequent flyer would notice. The eye level headphone locker offers both USB and universal power ports, and aside from charging and plugging in headphones the door is worth opening, just to take in a moment with your very own vanity mirror. There’s no judgement here, if you choose to linger. If you’re a sleeper than likes turning to the right, choose an A or G seat for seat ultimate privacy. If you’re a left side sleeper, seats D and K will keep you cozy and secluded.
Cathay’s A350-1000 features impressively fast wifi from Panasonic, which starts at $10 per hour. If you’re planning to use wifi for the duration of the flight, “entire flight” wifi passes tend to offer better value for money. For passengers who worry about noise, the A350 is quite literally the least sonically invasive plane in the skies, so with any decent ear plugs, missing out on a good nights sleep won’t be on account of noise!