With JL735 from Narita getting in after midnight completing 18 hours of travel, I settled into a suite upgrade at the Marriott SkyCity hotel located three minutes by bus outside Hong Kong International on Chek Lap Kok island. With my Cathay Pacific flight leaving in the morning to Taipei, for a fleeting moment I considered changing my flight to one leaving later in the day. Then sensibility cut through the jet lag brain fog.
Hey dummy, tomorrow you're flying on a new Cathay Pacific A350.
After a quick 6 hour nap, breakfast was served.
With a nice view of HKG.
For layovers the Marriott is a very nice hotel, with a great buffet breakfast, and in my case a nice upgrade. I'll be back...
No, this is not the Marriott Hotel lobby, this is the airport.
Hong Kong airport is huge but easy to navigate once familiar. Cathay Pacific has multiple lounges; The Wing, The Cabin, The Bridge and The Pier. Today's flight was out of gate 41 next to The Bridge. A quick tram ride after checking in and I was at the lounge.
Greeted at entry you can turn left.
If you go right the dining area is The Bakery.
Or if you turn left the dining area is The Bistro
Considering just the names; Bistro and Bakery, what time of day was I at this lounge?
They had the same food.
On the left side is the shower area which an attendant allowed me to enter and take a photo.
The Bridge has tarmac views, is richly appointed with interesting art work as well.
When this reservation was made CX hadn't taken delivery of an A350 nor had any on their schedule. I was originally booked on an A330 with the Cirrus business class seats. Then Cathay put the 350's on their schedule for the summer but not the winter. I checked everyday to see if an A350 would appear on the day of my flight. Then one day there it was. An immediate call to AA and here I was:
A tweet to celebrate the occassion.
Don't get me wrong, it is nice but compared to SQ, QR and the next day CI my reaction is, underwhelmed.
Come on you have 16 million color variations to use.
Green and beige.
At least my luggage blended with the decor.
Heading into the lav with a view. Those red lines are on the pavement, not the window.
No air nozzle.
The enhanced Cirrus business class seat dressed in forest green.
These are comfortable seats. I do not have a reference as to the enhancements from prior versions.
Even with the monitor extended, this view of leg room reveals plenty of space for a business class suite.
There isn't much room under the ottoman for storage other than your shoes.
Big A350 windows. Cathay Pacific installed pull down shades. Mine needed WD40.
Privacey is not an issue in these pods.
Unless you have a center seat. There are no privacy dividers. On the otherhand, speaking with someone in this seats would be awkward as well.
A look at the bed extender, which I believe is an enhancement as well as the green locked for landing light.
You have to like the clean panel holding the audio controller, light and seat controls.
The compartment that holds your headphones as well as electronics.
But the door must flap in the wind when something is plugged in.
At bed level is another storage compartment.
That has a 3kg limit. Whatever that is.
Built in coat hanger on the back of the pod in front of you.
Aisle side armrests must be in the down position for take-off and landing. Nifty water bottle holder, I guess for a short flight it wasn't worthy of being occupied.
A closer look at the bed width extender.
The fold out tray is plenty large for work and dining.
Business class window seats have 2 windows allocated per pod. The problem is, not every row has two full windows.
Row 14 (there is no Row 13, aren't we past that superstition?)
Row 19 also had a partially blocked window. So choose 12,16, 17,18 if you can. I was not able to get back in the two row mini cabin as we boarded from the front.
For views like this.
Offered before departure, The Cathay Delight. Kiwifruit, coconut milk and a touch of mint. Delicious.
It's morning, another Cathay Delight for me.
I can get accustomed to this on a one hour flight. Are you listening United? American? Delta? Nah.
I chose the wok fried Kurobuta pork that was very good.
Just a touch of spice.
And a light meringue marshmellow for dessert.
The IFE monitors were pretty good in the day light. Just a little glare.
Another enhancement is being able to have the monitor extended on takeoff and landing.
The flight crew did their job. Sam was the head flight attendant. After all the passengers had boarded but with the door still open as well as the cockpit door open, I wanted to get a photo. Sam was standing in the galley with his head down reading something. I approached and said this word,
Before I could say anything else he said no, without looking up. So he is either a mind reader or just didn't care. At the end of the flight I spoke with him before deplaning. He seemed nice enough but the prior incident was in poor taste.
While the aircraft is incredible, this Airbus A350-900 also had that jet fuel smell when the engines started. It's brief but apparently they all do it.
Carrier: Cathay Pacific
Date: December 2016
Route: Hong Kong - Taipei
Flight #: CX494
Aircraft: Airbus A350 #B-LRG
Configuration: J38 / W28 / Y214
On Time: Yes
Reward Flying Rating: 7.4 out of 10 ✈
Cabin/Seats Rating: 7 out of 10 ✈
Amenity/Food rating: 6 out of 10 ✈
IFE rating: 7 out of 10 ✈
Flight Attendant rating: 7 out of 10 ✈
Aircraft rating: 10 out of 10 ✈