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Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Review
Finding this flight was no small fete, and it took watching award space like a hawk to coordinate it. I’d been visualizing my dream routing to Australia for a long time and how to do it with Alaska Miles. In the end, I got exactly more than what I’d been dreaming about and it went exactly like this:
- Use 70k Points to fly to Australia in Qantas First Class
- Use 80k points to Fly back from Australia via Hong Kong in a combo of Cathay Business and First
I figured I’d end up on an older Cathay Pacific plane from Australia to Hong Kong, but as our dates firmed up, I realized that they were operating their A350-900 from Brisbane to Hong Kong. PERFECT! Not only had I not reviewed this aircraft, but it also featured Cathay’s updated Cirrus Business Class seat. Win, win.
The flight left a couple of hours late due to an ill pilot and a new one needing to be brought in on call. Ultimately we departed after 2 in the morning and in order to sleep and hit Hong Kong upon landing, I skipped dinner.
Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Flight Details:
- When: April 2018
- Route: Brisbane to Hong Kong ( BNE to HKG )
- Flight: CX 156
- Cabin: Business
- Seat: 20D
- Loyalty: Alaska Mileage Plan
- Price: One part of an 80k redemption BNE-HKG-LAX featuring Biz + First
Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Booking:
What I wanted: BNE to HKG in biz ( 2 day stopover ) continue on HKG to LAX in first
What I started with:
- BNE-SYD-HKG-SFO-LAX all in business
I’ll give you an abridged version, but if you want more details read this article where I get into allllll that good, good nerd stuff. Originally I found award space that would start out of BNE, route via SYD with an overnight, fly SYD to HKG in business, spend 2 days in Hong Kong, and then fly HKG to SFO in CX Biz, and finally home on Alaska SFO to LAX. It was clunky, but the marble was taking shape into a figure I could admire.
Both my girlfriend and I had Alaska Elite status ( MVPG75 for me, and MVPG for her ) which allowed us to change our itineraries as much as we wanted. Starting about 3 weeks ahead of this departure date, things started to shift, and ultimately 10 days ahead of our HKG to LAX flight the first class space freed up and we booked it.
I scour award space everyday, in my free time, cause I’m a mega nerd, but if you’re going to attempt to replicate my trip, just be aware it takes A LOT of time. But then again…this was some dream routing and cabins we landed.
The Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Cabin Layout and Seat Map
Seat Guru offers a great look at Cathay’s A350-900 seat map.
Business Class is broken into two cabins featuring reverse herringbone configured Cirrus Seating:
- The Forward Cabin has 7 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration and one row with just 2 middle seats. 30 in total
- The minim Cabin has 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration
Personally I love mini cabins and even though they have it yellowed out to signify complaints, I didn’t experience any noisy rumblings from the galley during flight. Although, we didn’t depart til 2am and I was out like a light
Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Seat: 20D
I’d flown Cathay Pacific Business Class roughly a year prior, April 2017, from Boston to Hong Kong on a 777-3ooER in their mini cabin, which sits right behind first class. This is the optimal mini cabin position as you’ll get increased service and decreased noise due to fewer people occupying the surrounding space.
This mini cabin sits behind the forward business class and the galley, but in front of Premium Economy.
Certainly more foot traffic and possibility of noise. I was so tired that I just passed out once we went airborne so I can’t really comment truthfully as to whether noise was a factor. All I can say is that I slept for a solid 6 hours. Below is 20A, maybe my choice seat if you’re traveling alone.
Notice in the pics below how well designed and private the seat is. That cupholder is actually under the armrest that goes up when you go into bed mode and separates you from the aisle. Check out the two aerial seat pics at the edging they’ve installed that really expands the bedding surface so you can curl up. Those little things make a big difference. The space was large enough to stow my backpack as well, which I don’t know if you can see this, but I’m fist pumping out of excitement.
The IFE works well and I like the seating controls, but most of all these pics illustrate the numerous ways Cathay has worked storage into their design. It’s just incredible and really appreciated.
The bed was comfortable, but I’d love them to incorporate bedding similar to United’s new Polaris Saks bedding. While this was fine, United is king when it comes to bedding. In fact, I’d say BA is better with their White Company bedding than Cathay. If you look at where that person’s leg is, you’ll see a green armrest. That raises up to create more privacy, and a water bottle holder. Pretty slick.
Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Food and Service:
Did I mention I was super tired? Lol. We were offered some bubbles when we first got on the plane which I passed on for this flight. By the time the meal service started I was already asleep, but when 2nd meal came around they were very attentive, courteous, and pleasant. Everything was par of the course in terms of Cathay’s reputation
Here’s a look at the menu. Shockingly, I didn’t even have a glass of the Piper upon boarding because I didn’t want my bladder ringing any alarm bells midflight. I just wanted to sleep, wake up, and hit Hong Kong with my lovely lady.
I woke up for breakfast which was fine, but I don’t eat meat, and all of the main dishes featured meat, so I just had a bit of bread with yogurt and fruit. In all honesty, I’m not a big breakfast eater in general, so this sufficed. If you’re like me, but want more food, request a meal ahead of time. Pretty easy to do really.
Cathay Pacific is one of the best business classes in the sky. It features my favorite seating configuration, reverse herringbone, and is fit with one of my favorite seats: the Cirrus business class seat from Safran. Team that with attentive service and you’ve got yourself a vacation at 35k feet.
I’d highly recommend flying on the A350 vs their other aircraft not only because the A350 helps with jetlag due to its LED lighting equipment and lower altitude cabin pressurization, but also because the cabins are gorgeous and the seating improved.
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
In Chase branch: 70k Points after $4k spend in 3 months ( make appt with banker –Information about this card has been collected independently by Monkey Miles. Card issuer is not responsible for the information or accuracy.)
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.