The best seats in business class on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A330s

By Chris C., March 21 2016
The best seats in business class on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A330s

With flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and even Cairns to Hong Kong, Qantas partner Cathay Pacific is the go-to for many business travellers jetting to Asia and beyond.

The bulk of the airline's Australian flights are served by the Airbus A330-300 aircraft with fully-flat beds for business class guests and direct aisle access from every seat: practically staples of modern international flying and which Cathay Pacific delivers on every journey Down Under.

We take a look at Cathay's flagship business class seats and share our top picks for an enjoyable flight.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 business class

Without first class on flights to Australia, business class instead begins at the very front of the aircraft with one main cabin numbered as rows 11-18 (skipping row 13 as is the norm in Asia) and a second, smaller cabin as rows 19-21 just behind:

Dividing them are toilets and a galley, which present the usual pros and cons as we highlight our top picks.

15A, 15K: Smack bang in the middle of the main business class cabin, light sleepers will rejoice in being far away from both the front and rear restrooms and galleys, have pristine window views and are well-positioned for a relatively quick exit, regardless of whether the front or central door is used.

Any other window seats, for solo travellers: As Cathay Pacific's business class comes in a 1-2-1 layout, each passenger has their own space and direct access to the aisle – so if you're not travelling with anyone, grab a window seat and enjoy the view or be in full control when you want darkness to sleep.

The centre pairs, for couples: Many business class designs don't cater to couples particularly well, but Cathay's layout not only lets you sit together in the centre, but you can also slide your chair forward to chat or clink glasses through a divider that opens in between.

19A: Picture yourself sitting in 19A and you'll quickly realise that looking forward spies a curtain, rather than a sea of other chairs. Although this seat is 'exposed' on boarding and passed by economy and premium economy passengers heading rearward, throughout the flight you'll feel like you have more privacy than everybody else.

Otherwise, there isn't really such a thing as a 'bad' business class seat on Cathay's A330s – just be mindful of the baby bassinet locations, being ahead of row 11 and immediately behind row 21, and steer clear if you're not immune to the sounds of screaming children.

The business class restrooms are also closest to seats 11G, 11K and 19G: also spots to avoid if you're easily disturbed.

Additional reporting by David Flynn

Also read: Cathay Pacific looks to Aussie growth in 2016

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

I quite like 20K. Most of the window seats have a solid footrest, but 20K has space under the footrest to stow your shoes etc. It has a storage space in front rather than another seat so it feels very private and it is a short walk to the bathroom.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 210

Do you have a procession of passengers from the 'other side of the curtain' using the J toilets?

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

You mean from Y and PEY? No, never seen it at all. You would think people would try it but I guess Hongkongers are just rule-bound. One time there was a little kid wandering up and down the aisle without regard for curtains but the FAs stopped him before it became annoying. 

30 Apr 2013

Total posts 20

I would recommend to get a seat in A side when flying overnight. Many times crew is serving dinner from 11A seat, doing a loop and finishing at 11K rather than parallel service from both sides. It could make a difference of 1 hour less sleep.

Therefore 14A, 15A or 16A are always my choice.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

Interesting idea but on a flight where sleep is at a premium, I usually eat in the airport lounge and just go straight to sleep after take off. The attendants won't bother you once you are down. Also I guess this is another advantage of the "mini-cabin" - meal service doesn't take as long so less chance of being disturbed by the sounds of the service.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 28

A week ago I flew from Hong Kong to Perth and had window seat 20K. I found it a great seat during the mostley daytime flight. This section of the aircraft has the feel of a very intimate cabin and was able to get a few hours of undisturbed sleep later in the flight. The risk of this section is the possiblity of babies being a few rows back but the noise levels from economy barely noticeable.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

While there are bassinet seats at the front of PEY, I've never seen them used in my trips in J or PEY. The Y bassinet positions are often used but I guess people figure that with a baby, they're not going to get much sleep anyway so they may as well go Y. Even if there was a baby in PEY, I don't think there would be too much noise through the wall and the curtain. 


07 Aug 2015

Total posts 15

Have CX changed their seats. I flew last year Mel HKG MEL in a centre seat with my wife and my main complaints about the seat were

1.  The arm rests are at different heights. The inside arm is higher than the external one.

2.  The tray table was without real adjustment.

3.   The seat adjustment did not allow feet up poistion when seated.

Overall I was very disappointed, and wrote to CX about it. 



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 210

What was the reply?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2561

No, same seats.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 93

no offence but sounds like either you had a faulty seat or couldn't work out the controls.

arm rest heights are the same although the aisle-side one can be pushed down and stowed for when the seat is in bed mode.

tray table can moved backwards or forward

the leg rest cannot be fully extended with the seat upright - you need to move it forward and reclined slightly to get the full leg rest up position (due to the shell back position).

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