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Inside Cathay Pacific's all-new Airbus A350

By David Flynn     Filed under: cathay pacific, Airbus A350

The first of Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A350 jets is expected to take wing in March 2016, with new design seats fitted from tip to tail.

Each of the airline's twenty A350-900 jets will carry 280 passengers split between business class, premium economy and economy.

(That's up to 45 more seats than the three-class Airbus A330-300s which the A350 will gradually replace, with all of those additional seats allocated to the economy cabin.)

38 business class seats will take pride of place at the pointy end of Cathay's A350.

They'll be based on the airline's current highly-regarded business class (shown above) and in the same 1-2-1 layout – but with an updated design which CX is carefully positioning as a 'refresh' to improve the existing seat, based on extensive passenger surveys and in-person workshops.

Travellers can expect to see improvements in storage space, the ability to slide the meal table forward and back, and a degree of tilt for the large HD video screen.

There's also a compact premium economy cabin of 28 seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement.

(That's the same layout as on Cathay's Boeing 777-300ERs, but a little tighter in the middle compared to the 2-3-2 of the Airbus A330s.)

This will sport an all-new design with a padded swing-up legrest be built into every seat – unlike the airline's first premium economy offering (below), which has a proper legrest only in the first row of seats and a less comfortable swing-down 'T-bar' footrest for all other rows.

There's also tipped to be a little more legroom due to a slightly greater distance between each row of seats.

Cathay has also added a handy 'tablet tray' beneath each seat's inbuilt screen onto which passengers can perch a tablet or even a large-screen smartphone for watching BYO inflight video.

The rest of Cathay Pacific's A350 will be given over to 214 new economy seats ranked in a 3-3-3 grid, which also boast a similar tablet/smartphone ledge below their larger video screens.

The Airbus A350 will also be fitted with inflight Internet, which is a first for Cathay Pacific's international fleet and an overdue catch-up to competitors such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad.

Cathay Pacific has already announced London's Gatwick Airport as one of its new A350 routes, with four flights a week from September 2nd, and says A350 flights between Hong Kong and Auckland will commence in the second half of the year.

Also read: Inside Singapore Airlines' all-new Airbus A350

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 6/1/16 by Dale

Photos of the rumoured new premium economy seats do show some changes. They are not shelled. But are like the existing Y+ seats, so the person behind will still have to have the back of the seat in there lap. The aisle seat side, drops down to allow easy access. The seats also look like they have the same single padding as economy. The other problem is the toilet in Y+ is shared with the Y passengers, this is one of the bugs in the Y+. It not a problem in QF A380, they share the J toilets, and yes I know some of the CX 777's have their own toilets, but the majority of CX Y+ cabins don't. So if you are like me a male baby boomer it's a big deal??

1 on 6/1/16 by Agfox

Not sure if I'm reading your comments correctly but how does an 8" recline into a 38+" seat pitch result in "...the person ...[having] the back of the seat in there lap"?

1 on 6/1/16 by Dale

One of the issues as I see it with Y+ is that the recline does reduce the space you have, you may have 38+inches of pitch. But the recline reduces the access and egress for passengers in the middle seats. I have used CX Y+ a number of times and will be flying to LGW in December this year.

2 on 6/1/16 by FLX

<<They are not shelled.  But are like the existing Y+ seats, so the person behind will still have to have the back of the seat in there lap.>>

But if it is <<shelled>> and given the same seat pitch, your seat cushion will only slide forward when U recline thus reducing usable leg room.  So when everyone recline their seats, either A) your knees bang the seat in front of U fm a <<shelled>> design or B) the seat back in front of U in your lap fm a non-shelled design as U said.  I'm sure U recall CX did tried the  shelled seat design concept in Y a few yrs ago and in fact deployed on nearly all of its Australian routes.  Despite huge investment already made in those seats, CX quickly abandoned them in favor of the conventional design(i.e. have the back of the seat in pax's lap instead) due to backlash fm too many Y pax(NH experienced the same failure in shelled Y seat design and also reverted).... .no doubt more pax consider the non-shell in your lap design as the lesser of the 2 evils.

Personally by my own definition, CX has never have Y+(Economy Plus or similar) which is commonly defined as a seat design spec that's exactly the same as Y only installed with settings to provide more pitch and possibly more recline.  KL, DL, UA, AA, CA, etc. hv Y+.  What CX has is PY(Premium Economy) where seat design spec is completely diff fm Y such as seat width, cocktail table+wide armrest between seats, leg/foot rest, larger AVOD screen, etc.  QF, VA, NZ, AC, SQ, NH, JL, BR, CI, BA, LH, AF, etc. also hv PY.....but no Y+.

3 on 7/1/16 by Southland

I assume Dale you are a fan of Cathy. If you dont like the new PE seats then dont book em and your as for your rant. Well i just solved it for you

1 on 7/1/16 by Dale

I like CX, and will fly with them in December and maybe before. I was pointing out the the recline issue still exists. But I do agree FLX in that CX is PY and not P+. Whether the new PE seats will be hugely different, we will  have to wait and see. But CX have said they will not be upgrading the seats on the existing fleet.

2 on 8/1/16 by superflyer

Article headline terribly misleading. I was looking at the photos and I couldn't see any difference to the existing seats. Then I realise that they are the 'old' seats.

1 on 8/1/16 by David

The article makes it very clear these are photos of the current seats. Right now all we can share are some early details on the how the new seats will differ, plus seat count etc.

2 on 8/1/16 by eminere

I agree superflyer.  More clickbait "articles". 

3 on 10/2/16 by captainmax

I flew a number of sectors recently in PE with Cathay from Australia to Europe and back

I have to say the seats were just uncomfortable fullstop

I think the seat swab/lumbar support is flat and non-forgiving

Hopefully they might have addressed that in the 350

No-one is expecting business lite, but I don't think it's too much to ask for a commfy seat when virtually every business class product has progressed to lie-flat

4 on 11/2/16 by Peter Gisborne

Great looking seats but regretably as a veteran traveller no dedicated toilet in PY is a deal breaker for me.



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