Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A350 Auckland to Hong Kong
For our honeymoon trip to the USA, I was especially excited about being able to try out Cathay Pacific's new A350 Business Class product, between Auckland and Hong Kong.
The route between Australia/New Zealand and Hong Kong is one that I have flown regularly before on their A330, and knowing that Cathay Pacific's product is amongst the best there is, I was excited to see some of the refinements they'd made to the hard product.
Cathay Pacific 198
Auckland (AKL) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Monday, May 1
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
I will mostly let the photos speak for themselves in this review - I won't write much about the hard product, as this has been done to death by other travel bloggers already.
The first time I saw the plane was as it taxied to the gate. It was ironic, because I managed to snap a photo from the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport of both the A350 that would take us away from new Zealand, and the American Airlines Boeing 777 that would bring us back (first image above).
Sandy was very excited for the start of our trip, as was I. We had D and G seats in the middle of the cabin so we could talk to one another during the flight.
The amount of legroom was similar to their A330 product.
One of the first things I noticed when boarding was just how much brighter the screens were - the resolution and picture quality was quite simply the best that I have seen on a plane. The remote also now has a full colour screen of equally high quality.
There is also a new closable storage compartment aside the seat which was great for dumping all your belongings, including your shoes.
The upper storage cupboard where the headphones are kept now offers a pouch for smartphones, passport and the like, plus a larger mirror.
The cabin crew distributed OnePure New Zealand water, which I always think is a bit fancy.
Next came nuts and a glass of apple juice. I really wanted one of Cathay Pacific's signature Oriental Breeze drinks, but they had none of the ingredients on board to prepare one.
Shamefully, I had the laptop out and was catching up on some last minute emails for work before I 'officially' clocked off (at least in my own head). The A350 is the first in Cathay Pacific's fleet to have Wi-FI, which is dangerous for those who previously enjoyed flying with them without the pain of constant connectivity. Thankfully the internet didn't work well on this flight and was intermittent at best, which meant that I got more downtime than I anticipated.
The cabin crew handed out the Business Class menu for the flight. We'd be served lunch and a refreshment for this flight.
To start, the tuna tataki was delicious, but I did find the mesclun salad to be a little dry without the vinaigrette.
The presentation of the side of pork left a little to be desired, but it tasted good nevertheless.
As much as I would have love to have the cheese as an after-lunch accompaniment, Sandy was convinced that this would be too much food, especially given the unintentional gouging we had done in the lounge before our flight.
So I settled for the fresh seasonal fruit, which did look a little miserable and portion like.
I had the panna cotta for dessert, which was delicious and easily one of the best sweet dishes I have ever been served on a plane.
I love the small chocolates that they give out after dessert. As if you haven't had enough!
After lunch, I settled back and did a bit more work - the Cathay Pacific A350 is their first to have Wi-Fi - and watched a few movies.
I visited the bathroom in this time - they have windows! It almost makes you feel a little naked. The bathroom is super roomy, very unlike anything I have ever seen on an A330 before.
Cathay Pacific have some great snacks available upon request. The last time I flew with them, I tried the Wonton in noodle soup. This time I had the Movenpick ice cream.
They also have a snack basket - Sandy and I made sure to try out as much as we could, as these were brands that we wouldn't typically buy back home. You can either ask the cabin crew to bring this to your seat, or you can help yourself from the galley.
Next up was the 'refreshment' service, which is what an ordinary people would call 'dinner'. Obviously they ran out of the OnePure bottles, because they started distributing Evian.
More fresh seasonal fruit.
I chose the chicken, roasted celeriac, buttered carrots and mushroom fricassee for the 'main'. Again, while the dish sounds nice, the presentation wasn't much better than what you'd get in Economy Class.
While the options for dessert were select pastries and ice cream, they served a kind of ice cream cake? I had this with a Hong Kong style milk tea, which was delicious - a Cathay Pacific tradition.
Sandy and I rested for the remainder of the flight until we landed in Hong Kong. We paid a brief visit to the Cathay Pacific 'The Arrival' lounge to grab ourselves some sandwiches and fruit before we head off to the Pentahotel Kowloon.
Overall, it was a pleasant flight, and I look forward to flying on the A350 again in December when we take the whole family for the first time.