Revealed: Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A350 business class seat

By Chris Chamberlin , May 31 2016
Revealed: Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A350 business class seat

Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A350s begin flying this week, bringing with them an upgraded seat and experience for business class travellers.

Based on the airline's existing 'Cirrus' business class product found on its Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s, the revised seat comes customised by Studio F.A. Porsche...

... with a similar yet slightly more refined feel over the current-generation seat it supersedes.

Immediately noticeable are new and improved storage spaces, beginning with the side panel: now featuring a netted pocket for smaller valuables like passports and smartphones...

... not to mention a larger mirror above it, handy for fixing your hair or make-up without needing to visit the lavatory:

Further around your seat, the previous storage nook near your knees is replaced by a proper storage bin with a closing lid...

... joined by a completely open space under the ottoman, sufficiently large for your laptop bag, handbag or shoes, which we'd always struggled to fit into the tiny shoe cupboard in the older Cirrus seat:

Your watter bottle now also has its own nook, tucked away within the aisle-facing armrest:

The seat controls retain a familiar feel but with noticeable improvements, including a dimmable reading light, 'one press' seat buttons and a touchscreen remote control:

(Press 'bed' and release while your seat keeps moving: no need to hold it down.)
(Press 'bed' and release while your seat keeps moving: no need to hold it down.)

That operates an 18.5-inch HD entertainment screen running an also-new Studio CX inflight system...

... which now includes a handy 'do not disturb' option if you'd rather be left alone, a 'wake up call' feature to inform the crew when you should be woken: either for the first or second meal or let sleep until close to landing...

... free satellite television channels (BBC World News, CNN and Euronews), and of course, a bird's eye view from the aircraft's tail and nose cameras. We're sure your view will be a little different, of course.

The tray table remains in a familiar position but can now slide towards you, which saves having to adjust your seat from the comfy angle you crafted earlier...

... and when it comes time to snooze, the seat extends into a fully-flat bed, stretching to the same 75 inches you'd find with the current seats.

There's a little give-and-take with the width, however, reduced from 21 to 20.2 inches on the main cushion but with more space in the knee zones on the left and right for travellers who sleep on their side...

... achieved through a new fold-up panel on the aisle side of the seat, which you'll need to retrieve manually after pressing the adjacent button:

The seat also maintains a private feel through the shaping of the outer shell...

... while couples travelling together can continue to chat across the centre cocktail tables, and solo flyers seated here can lean back and avoid seeing their seatmate:

Cathay Pacific's first commercial A350 flight runs from Hong Kong to Manila on June 1 2016, joined also by Taipei on a daily basis until the second A350 arrives in July.

That's when Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Kansai will also appear on Cathay's A350 map, but all to be replaced by Dusseldorf and London Gatwick in Q4 2016 as the jets spread their wings onto longer routes.

A350 flights between Hong Kong and Auckland will also commence in the second half of the year.

More on Cathay Pacific's new Airbus A350:

Chris Chamberlin is visiting Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

02 May 2016

Total posts 4

Looks almost exactly like the uncompetitive A330 product. I still cannot believe their soft product features food served in economy style food containers that comes off the trolly - rather than table service. Having just flown the CX Business product twice; I think they have a little way to go to join the middle-east carriers on both soft and hard product. Disspointed.

Atleast it's direct aisle access and it has a comfy lie-flat bad.

Agreed on the lack of a table service. That needs improving. But the seat is absolutely fine. Why do you think it's uncompetitive?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2016

Total posts 8

While the food service may be a little behind the likes of Etihad, the food is generally excellent and the service is light years ahead of that offered by the few harried uninteresed flight attendants on Qantas. At lest with CX you get a drink after takeoff Last time with Qf it tok alomost 90 minutes

 

Funny you should say that. I've been flying BA in Y lately and I have to say I've really enjoyed the proper drinks service after take off. It sure beats the round of cordial on Qantas!

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

I prefer having it on a tray instead of ordering earlier. This way I can see the food and then choose. It may not seem as 'fancy', but it's more practical and I think you'd like it better.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 138

The silver trolley is a CX signature and a bit of a retro reminder of the 1950s golden age...  Wouldn't consider it downmarket at all.

I guess... It depends if one's into kitsch.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 146

The Hype didn't live up to expectations. I love CX and their J product but when they said a 'new' or 'refurbished' J class product, I expected something a bit more.

If it ain't broken, why fix it?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 146

I agree, but the hype just didn't live up.

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 9

what 'hype'?

 

I recall CX saying on this website that it would be an evolution of the current seat. I think they have downplayed it - not hyped it all.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

They never were ecstatic about the business class product - it was just a "series of refreshes", which they definitely did. They took the focus on the premium economy and the economy product, both of which look sleeker but less well padded (my opinion).

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

+1 Alvin on your business class comments

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

well..the CX A350 is a 'factory fresh'  delivered aircraft. so the J seat (technically) IS new, and NOT refubished  and i cant recall/find anywhere where CX states they are 'refurbishing'...as refurbish means that there must be something EXISTING to refurbish.

some peoples 'expectations' and 'hype' originate from some peoples minds...CX delivered what they said they would....an evolution/new version) of the base model. it was never going to be, and never advertised as a new seat product. CX cant control how the public, external media choose to interpret/report the facts...LOL

 

I think it looks fantastic. Its a great refinement that will keep Cathay's quality standards up. So it may be a touch narrower but that knee/legroom looks fantastic (as a side-sleeper I'm happy for it!).

Good work, Cathay Pacific. Now pretty please get this deployed to Australia.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 162

I would have been upset if they had made any drastic changes to what I believe is the best J seat. It's a pity that their costs are higher than the ME airlines; otherwise I would always fly CX long- distance.

02 Jun 2016

Total posts 8

Looks like a gr8 improvment ...pity CX makes it so hard to upgrade and/or redeem flights!!and I see my points expiring right in front of my eyes ...it hurts!!


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