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There are 46 business class seats on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 jets, but which of those are the best business class seats – and more importantly, which ones should you avoid?
The seats themselves are identical to those on Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-900 fleet (the smaller cousin of the A350-1000)...
... which in turn follow the same angled 1-2-1 layout as the airline’s Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 jets.
The window seats (labelled as A and K) face towards the window…
… while the paired middle seats (D and G) are oriented inwards, towards each other.
This makes any of the middle seats an obvious choice if you’re travelling with a partner, colleague or friend and want to be sociable in the sky, although the middle seats also provide enough privacy if you’re flying solo.
All 46 business class seats are located in the same long cabin, from rows 11 through to 23.
As a rule of thumb, most of of Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 business class seats are as good as any other.
The key word here is ‘most’, because there are a few notable exceptions to that rule.
Avoid 11D and 11G
While many travellers like to be at the very front of the cabin, this is perhaps the worst place to be on Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000.
Firstly, a big flashing ‘avoid these seats at all costs’ sign should be hung over 11D and 11G.
Due to a very questionable decision by Cathay Pacific’s cabin layout team, seats 11D and 11G are next to the two business class toilets at the front of the cabin.
And we mean ‘next to’. Here's a shot of business class seat 11G...
... and here's the view if you're sitting in 11D.
From either 11D or 11G you can actually reach out and touch the lav door – not that you’d want to.
Nor would you like the view from your seat when a passenger opens the WC door.
Thankfully there’s a curtain between the cabin and each WC…
… but passengers pushing their way through the curtain to come back into the cabin could end up nudging the curtain into your ‘personal’ space.
Beyond that, there are the obvious issues of noise and passenger traffic back and forth which are typical for all seats near a WC.
It makes for an experience that’s far from premium, and we have to wonder why Cathay Pacific was so beholden to the seatcount that it didn’t just drop those two seats from the layout.
Cathay Pacific's Chief Customer & Commercial Offer Paul Loo explained away the decision by saying "we are working with what we have got" in terms of cabin space, and told Australian Business Traveller "we have done some modifications to the (orientation of) the curtain, so we are doing what we can to make the overall customer experience better."
Australian Business Traveller understands that seats 11D and 11G are the very last to be sold to passengers, and are typically used for staff travel or other passengers booked on heavily-discounted industry rates such as travel agents.
All the same, if 48 fare-paying passengers book onto Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350-1000, two of them are bound to be far from impressed.
Skip row 11 and row 12
In fact, savvy travellers should steer clear of the first two rows at the front of the cabin (rows 11 and 12).
Not only will they have to put up with WC-related traffic, they can also expect noise and commotion from the galley kitchen, and not just during mealtimes – the main galley is where the cabin crew congregates and chats throughout the flight.
This can be especially bothersome when you’re trying to sleep during a long international flight.
The final strike against rows 11 and 12 is that baby basinets are fitted at seats 12A and 12K, which means the calm of business class can be shattered by a crying infant.
Passengers seated in the very last row of business class, at row 23, should also be prepared for some noise and activity from the secondary galley kitchen which abuts the premium economy cabin.
So what seats should you choose?
Taking the above cautions into account, pretty much any business class passenger in rows 14 through to 22 will be sitting pretty.
And with the A350-1000’s wings located behind the business class cabin, every window seat will have an unobstructed view.
We're pleased to report that there are no slabs of fuselage where internal ductwork replaces the window, leaving passengers sitting next to a blank wall.
In fact, some of the window seats have two windows: those are 12A/12K, 17A/17K, 18A/18K, 22A/22K and 23A/23K.