Cathay Pacific Announces Their First A350 Route To The U.S.

Cathay Pacific has been operating the A350 since June 2016. They already have 11 A350-900 aircraft in their fleet, with another 11 on order. On top of that, they have 26 A350-1000 aircraft on order. This will quickly join the 777-300ER as the backbone of their longhaul fleet.

From a passenger comfort standpoint, the A350 is probably my favorite plane after the A380. It’s incredibly quiet, typically has a tail camera, and the cabin is wider than on the 787.

cathay-pacific-a350

As it stands, Cathay Pacific’s announced longhaul A350 destinations include Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Dusseldorf, London Gatwick, Manchester, Melbourne, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver.

The A350 service between Hong Kong and Vancouver launches as of March 26, 2017, and will operate 3x weekly. That’s the first Cathay Pacific A350 service to North America.

Cathay Pacific has now announced their first A350 destination to the U.S. Cathay Pacific will launch 3x weekly A350 flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco as of October 31, 2017. The A350 flight will operate with the following schedule:

CX892 Hong Kong to San Francisco departing 6:45PM arriving 2:45PM [Tue, Thu, Sat]
CX893 San Francisco to Hong Kong departing 12:55AM arriving 8:05AM (+1 day) [Wed, Fri, Sun]

Symphony-Of-Lights

This additional frequency complements Cathay Pacific’s existing two daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between San Francisco and Hong Kong, for a total of 17x weekly flights between the cities.

Cathay Pacific’s A350s are in a three class configuration, with 38 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 214 economy seats. The business class product is just a slight update of their “standard” reverse herringbone business class product, so it’s very good.

Cathay-Pacific-Business-Class-A330 - 3

Perhaps most exciting is that the A350 is the first plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet to feature wifi. You can purchase a wifi pass that lasts the entire flight with no data caps for a reasonable cost. Personally that’s a reason I’d choose this flight over other Cathay Pacific flights, though I realize I value wifi more than most.

In terms of snagging an award seat on this flight in business class, your best bet is to:

  • Book through American AAdvantage for 70,000 miles one-way
  • Book through Alaska Mileage Plan for 50,000 miles one-way, and you can even do a stopover in Hong Kong enroute to another destination in Asia (keep in mind Alaska is selling miles at a discount right now)

CX-A350

Bottom line

While I’d choose Cathay Pacific first class over business class, this would definitely be my first choice for Cathay Pacific business class to Asia. Not only do you have a brand new, quiet plane, with an updated seat, but there’s even wifi on it. The A350 is an awesome plane, so if you haven’t had the chance to fly it yet, this is a great opportunity to do so.

Does anyone plan on taking Cathay Pacific’s new A350 flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong?

Comments

  1. I’m surprised you wouldn’t prefer the 777-300ER. It’s wider than the A350 and is more likely to have an F cabin

  2. @ James K. — Well if I’m in first class I absolutely do prefer that, of course. 😉 But I’d take Cathay’s A350 business over the 777 business any day, for the wifi and quieter ride alone.

  3. @ sil — I believe it’s ~$20 for the entire flight. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Lucky, you’re a little off. CX already operates 17x weekly flights. CX892/893, the flights you’re referring to, will simply switch to A359. Then, it will go daily (which is the uptick in frequency, from 17-21x weekly).

    Currently CX892/893 (3x weekly service) already operates using CXs 77G, the 77W variant you flew to Newark (without F).

  5. Thanks Ben.
    Always helpful.
    From SFO to Hong Kong to Tokyo, how many BA Avios points would be required for one way?

  6. Worth pointing out that the cheaper way to get Alaska miles right now is buying starpoints at a discount and transferring rather than buying directly. Made that mistake a couple weeks ago…

  7. Hey lucky which date are you seeing on alaska’s website for 50K miles and was it for HKG-SFO or SFO-HKG? I’ve tried looking all after oct 31st and I cannot find the award flight for Cathay directly between the 2 cities?

  8. Wrong info, I wish you really get yourself clear before posting anything about CX but you seem not to care every time. The A350 892/893 flight will be a daily flight, SFO is going to 21x weekly.
    Meanwhile, sadly, LAX is going down from 28x to 21x weekly. Can you believe that CX has declined in quality so much that AA actually managed to beat them quite a bit on this route.

    Also, except for the wifi, I would suggest seasoned travelers to stay away from the 350 and choose the 777 instead if in business. The seat is wider, the finishes are of higher quality (CX A350s are suffering from terrible quality issues), and the crew-pax ratio is much better. There’s a chance of op-up to F as well.

  9. I’m always surprised CX doesn’t start service to SEA, given the size of the market and their partnership with Alaska. Seems like a perfect A350 market.

  10. Re J post. Not sure what u r smoking but AA is not nearly up to CX quality! And in my opinion CX has not declined. Since you called out Lucky I will call you out and ask what u r basing this assessment on.

  11. Does anyone know what dates Ben found the Alaska 50K miles flight? I looked all over Alaska’s award calendar after 10/31/17 and could not find the Cathay direct flight on any of the days. For that matter, I didn’t even see Cathay as a partner listed on the side tab? So I’m not quite sure where he got this from. Of course I fully trust it, I’ve always had belief in Ben’s words, but just curious where he saw it?l

  12. CMorgan: CX has not declined so much, but AA has improved quite a bit. The hard product in J on LAX-HKG is the same, and the catering on AA is better, or even much better – catering has been a weakness on CX for a long time, even in F (with the exception of caviar). Yes, service on CX is still much better, and certainly more dependable, but with very competitive J pricing on AA I’m not surprised they have dented CX’s market share.

  13. I have a trip planned in November from Vancouver to Hong Kong on a 777. Is there a possibility this will change to a 350?

  14. Lucky,

    This is the first time I am commenting on your site although I am an avid follower.

    One small thing to point out, you posted a photo of the Cathay business class seat on the A330 not the A350. I must say when I saw this post several months ago I wasn’t too excited to try the A350. However my flight today from BKK to HKG proved it to be a good improvement to the business class seat on the 333 and 77W.

    @J I am a CX Diamond member and fly over 250k miles and over 2000 MPC points on Cathay flights alone and only in first and business classes. Thus, I think I am more than qualified to address your comment to Lucky. Cathay quality has definitely declined over the years in terms of service due to budget cuts, etc. Having said that CX still offers above average service and soft products especially if it’s a HK based crew. In terms of hard products to the US I think there are few better airline from Asia than CX.

    I believe AA’s ability to challenge CX on HKG and Greater China routes is primarily due to price. Also many Americans are ignorant and xenophobic in general and still have a false sense or American superiority when clearly airlines service and products is not an area of American dominance. Thus coupled with AA’s aggressive expansion into Asian markets, it’s only natural that AA has taken a big portion of CX’s market share. Also many CX flyers to the US out of HK are actually transferring through HK from mainland China. Since AA now offers direct flights to Shanghai on their new 787 it further cuts into CX market share.

    Again the primary reason is price. I don’t know about the price in economy but business class on CX to the US is beteeen 6000-8000 USD while AA is between 3000-4000. While CX first class is around 25,000 USD, AA first class is only about 6000-8000 USD. Hard products on the 777-300ER between Hong Kong and US is effectively the same in business class on both airlines. However first class on CX is better in every way. It’s probably just not 15,000+ better.

    Hopefully that clears it up for most readers.

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