Brisbane travellers are in for an upgrade as Cathay Pacific swings its modern Airbus A350-900 jets onto every Brisbane-Hong Kong flight from early 2020, although with fewer flights to Hong Kong during off-peak travel times.
Currently offering a daily return Airbus A350 service (CX156/CX157) paired with an additional Airbus A330 flight four times each week (CX150/CX155), that four-times-weekly service will be paused from March 28 2020 before returning on October 25, when it’ll also then be served by the modern A350.
Unlike the Airbus A330 which features Cathay’s last-generation business class and premium economy seating, the A350 sports the airline’s most modern business class experience with seats refined by Studio F.A. Porsche, paired with its new business class sleep service offering slippers, a plush pillow, a mattress topper and a duvet for a more comfortable rest.
Premium economy gets an upgrade from Cathay’s older-style recliners as well – which, for the most part, lack leg rests – to the newer premium economy seat as is already flying on the daily Brisbane-Hong Kong service, which guarantees a leg rest for every premium economy passenger.
The Airbus A350 features user-pays inflight Internet as well, joined by satellite TV programming spanning live news and sport, which can be accessed via the inflight entertainment system at no charge.
Cathay Pacific’s daily Brisbane-Hong Kong flights have long been non-stop, although the additional four-times-weekly services previously detoured via Cairns in each direction during the off-peak mid-year season, savvily using the one aircraft to collect and deposit passengers in both Brisbane and Cairns when neither city could fill that plane on its own.
However, Cathay Pacific ended all flying to Cairns in October 2019, so while these extra Brisbane flights run non-stop as usual over the peak Australian summer travel months, during the quieter mid-year period, there’ll just be the one daily departure.
In any case, using the same aircraft on all flights from Australia’s third largest city brings consistency to the travel experience, as passengers won’t need to check which type of plane is planned for their flight – and by extension, what kind of seating it has on board – as every flight, regardless of departure time, will feature the airline’s freshest business class and premium economy.
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Cathay Pacific isn’t alone in making Brisbane an ‘all A350’ route, with rival Singapore Airlines also now using the Airbus A350-900 on every flight between Brisbane and Singapore.
Taiwan’s China Airlines also runs the A350 from Taipei to Brisbane and onwards to Auckland throughout most of the year, switching to a Boeing 777 during periods of higher demand but with the same business class seats as the A350.
In related news, SkyTeam member China Southern will similarly swap its Airbus A330s to the more modern Airbus A350-900s on selected flights between Brisbane and Guangzhou from early January until at least March 28 2020, unless extended.