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Cathay Pacific already has one of the youngest long-range fleets in the sky, with an average age of five years, and the raft of new Airbus A350 jets bearing the iconic ‘brushwing’ tail means the fleet is only getting younger.
The Airbus A350-900 and the larger A350-1000 will form the backbone of Cathay Pacific’s long-range network, fanning out from its Hong Kong hub to connect Australia with the UK, Europe, the Americas and South Africa on these advanced jetliners.
We’ve travelled on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-900 (which already flies to Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth) as well as the new A350-1000, which will begin services to Washington DC from September 15 and Madrid from October 28 – to be followed by Amsterdam, Manchester and Zurich – and here’s why we enjoy every single flight.
This article is sponsored by Cathay Pacific.
1. An even better Business Class seat
We’ve long been fans of Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330 and Boeing 777-300ER Business Class seat for its modern design, direct aisle access, personal space and providing a pleasing sense of privacy.
Cathay Pacific’s design team revisited and refined that design for the Airbus A350 based on input from its own frequent flyers. The result? An even better Business Class seat.
Travellers will appreciate extra storage space around the seat so they can keep necessary items close at hand without cluttering up your space, while adding even more legroom and open space around the footwell and ottoman (under which you can stow your laptop bag, handbag or shoes).
Noticeable improvements on the seat controls including a dimmable reading light, one-press seat buttons and a touchscreen remote control to drive the 18.5-inch HD video screen.
2. The latest premium economy seat
Each Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 also boasts an exclusive premium economy cabin featuring an all-new seat design which raises the bar for comfort and passenger-friendly features, even if you’re a business traveller on a budget.
The padded legrest, sculptured lumbar support, winged headrest and nine-degree seat recline cradle your body throughout the flight.
A 12.1 inch HD screen pipes the latest movies, TV shows and music from Cathay Pacific’s Studio CX inflight entertainment system.
Pop your smartphone or tablet onto the inbuilt shelf in front of that screen and you can enjoy your own selection of BYO content, with AC and USB ports to keep your gadgets fully charged up.
There’s also a convenient side storage panel for tablets, small ‘2-in-1’ laptops and your travel documents.
3. Inflight Internet
Travellers are increasingly wanting the option to be connected above the clouds – although you can of course stay offline and relax with an inflight movie or catch up with a boxed set of episodes from your favourite TV show.
Each of Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350 jets comes with inflight WiFi available to every passenger. You can use email and social media to stay in touch with your friends, and browse the Web for news and to plan out your trip.
Prices range from US$10 to US$20 depending on how long you're connected, and there are no data limits.
(The best value is the US$20 ‘flight pass’ which covers your entire flight – you can simply log off and reconnect any time you like.)
The same satellite service also provides free access to BBC World News, CNN and Euronews TV channels on your personal video screen.
I’ve slowly come around to appreciating having WiFi available, because sometimes – despite one’s forward planning and best intentions – there’s urgent or unexpected work to be done. Inflight Internet lets me attend to this and ‘clear the decks’ so that I’m not only on top of things but I’m more relaxed on arriving sat my destination.
4. A sense of space and a better ride
The moment you walk onto the Airbus A350 you’ll be struck by the sense of space in this aircraft.
While other jets are essentially a metal tube, the A350 is more akin to a large room with near-vertical sidewalls.
And once the Airbus A350 takes off, you’ll notice how quiet it is inside the cabin. Airbus engineered the A350 to deliver incredibly low cabin noise levels, which not only makes for a more comfortable flight from start to finish but helps you enjoy a superior sleeping experience along the way.
5. Less jetlag
Jetlag is the bane of every traveller, but modern aircraft design is helping passengers fell better in the sky and have a spring in their step when they arrive at their destination.
The Airbus A350 has a lower cabin altitude compared to most other aircraft to reduce muscle fatigue, while higher oxygen and humidity levels keeps you feeling fresh through the flight.
Adaptive LED cabin lighting subtly adjusts your body clock through natural lighting-based cues, with an advanced filtration system to providing a steady flow of fresh air without drafts or temperature fluctuations.
This article is sponsored by Cathay Pacific.