Cathay Pacific Will Fly The A350 To Newark As Of October 29, 2017

Cathay Pacific has been operating the A350 since June 2016. They already have 17 A350-900 aircraft in their fleet, with another five on order. On top of that, they have 26 A350-1000 aircraft on order. This is quickly joining 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 has been adding A350 routes pretty quickly given the rate at which they’re taking delivery of the planes, and they serve destinations like Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Dusseldorf, London Gatwick, Manchester, Melbourne, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver.

In March I wrote about what was supposed to be Cathay Pacific’s first A350 flight to the US. Specifically, they were going to start 3x weekly A350 service between Hong Kong and San Francisco as of October 29, 2017.

While that’s still happening, it looks like Cathay Pacific has quietly added another A350 to their US schedule, with service commencing on the same day. Cathay Pacific will introduce daily A350 flights between Hong Kong and Newark as of October 29, 2017. The flight operates daily with the following schedule:

CX890 Hong Kong to Newark departing 5:45PM arriving 9:35PM
CX899 Newark to Hong Kong departing 1:10Am arriving 5:00AM (+1 day)

Symphony-Of-Lights

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.

For what it’s worth, this route is currently operated by a three class 777-300ER, featuring 40 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 268 economy seats. So the route is seeing a capacity reduction of two business class seats, four premium economy seats, and 54 economy seats.

However, if flying Cathay Pacific in business class between the NYC area and Hong Kong, this flight would now be my first choice. The flight has wifi, the cabin is fresher, the plane is quieter, and unlike on the JFK flights, there’s not a first class cabin, so business class class is the forward most cabin

Bottom line

It’s exciting to see Cathay Pacific add another US A350 route, and especially to see this A350 introduced on the same day as the A350 service to San Francisco launches. The A350 is a lovely plane, and this would be my go to flight in business class between NYC and Hong Kong.

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

Comments

  1. Thanks for the hat tip!

    But one thing that I really like is the fact that the aircraft can climb higher at the initial cruise stage. With the 77W, you;re stuck between 29-31000 feet. So it’ll be nice to be at around 35-36000 feet for the initial stage of the flight as I don’t like turbulence. Not saying that turbulence won’t occur at higher altitudes, but you can avoid most of the weather below.

    Unfortunately, JFK is still the most convenient option. With EWR, I have to cross the bridge and pay tolls.

    But might have to try this flight out just for the hell of it.

  2. @ ed – The windows are round. On the 777-300ER, the windows are slightly squarer.

    @ BahrainLad – That’s because Lucky hasn’t taken the A350 on Cathay Pacific, there are plenty of other great (not as great as Lucky’s, but still great) reviews on the internet which you can read until Lucky finally decides to get on a Cathay Pacific A350 🙂

  3. If we are to believe Seatguru, it would appear the a350 Biz seat is 6″ shorter and 1″ narrower than the 777-300er.

    I know having taken the CX 777 and then a330 back to back the narrowness of the a330 seat is noticeable.

    Given the a350 is I believe a derivative of the a330, I think this will be the flight to avoid for super long haul when the 777 is available.

  4. If only they could do something about the schedule. Leaving EWR at 1am to land in HKG at 5am sounds brutal.

  5. I disagree with Pat, I think the schedule is quite convenient. I could have a full day of work in NYC, go home to pack then head to EWR. Return is good too, almost full day in HKG.

  6. @Pat Yes and no. With a 12 hour time change there is NO good schedule. However, from a business perspective, it’s convenient to leave after the work day is over and arrive with a full day ahead. It’s also great for onward connections. Unfortunately, the cx arrivals lounge in HKG is tiny and VERY overcrowded at that time of day. (Hint: use the priority pass lounge right across)

  7. Perfect! Flying EWR-HKG in J on 11/21! I’ll take it! Flew the A350 on QR two weeks ago, and enjoyed it. Pumped to fly it on CX! Return, I’ll have to slum it on the 77W to BOS… in F, of course.

  8. I personally wouldn’t give up CX F for wifi, but I would certainly like to give the CX A350 a try, but it just wouldn’t be my first choice out of the NYC area.

  9. Mike writes:

    “Given the a350 is I believe a derivative of the a330, I think this will be the flight to avoid for super long haul when the 777 is available.”

    I don’t think Airbus would be happy to hear you say that.

    Most “new” planes are based on earlier models to some extent, e.g. the 777 on the 767. The distinction between a change of make and a change of model can be fluid.

    And when you consider the changes to a 737 for 50 years, and the 747 for 45 years, it’s clear that a lot can change while things stay the same, even within the same model.

  10. I was quite disappointed with CX A350 biz class earlier this year, I think the seat is noticeably tighter than the 777-300ER, certainly not an upgrade. The entertainment system is upgraded in terms of the screen, but very fussy and slow and fwiw the finishes were already falling apart on the seat I was in.

    This big advantages here are the wifi connectivity and the ability to leave from EWR terminal B rather than the crumbling JFK terminal 7. BA lounge (which CX uses) in EWR is also uncrowded, newer and far more pleasant than the JFK galleries lounge.

  11. @Kerry

    CX now uses terminal 8 at JFK.

    And regarding the finishes on the seats, depending on the registration of the aircraft, the first 3 A350’s had all of the business class seats replaced by Zodiac due to manufacturing defects. Apparently, this is not just a CX problem, but rather a widespread problem that lies with Zodiac. Even Finnair has issues with their seats.

  12. Lucky – I am under the impression that (at least for some time during off-peak seasons) CX only flies 3-4x weekly HKG-EWR on 773 (3-cabin config). Will the overall seats remain flat and even increase a bit thanks to the daily service now? Is this similar to the deployment of A359 on HKG-SFO where frequency is up switching from 773 to 359?

  13. Tried using AS miles for EWR-HKG. BA shows 5J available and AS can’t see any. Called twice now. Seems to be a growing trend as this isn’t the 1st time recently that AS hasn’t had similar/same availability. Maybe it’s time for a post on this since so many of us use AS miles to fly CX.

  14. This CX schedule now is much more forgiving…… The 77W left EWR at 1:45 a.m! IT is still better then the United 777-200s which have still yet to be reconfigured to Polaris. I wonder what the first route of the first Polaris 767 will be…….

  15. Thankfully, the BOS Flight (with a similar ETD) still has an F cabin. Miles or paid F is still a treat. The A350 is a beautiful aircraft, but I’ll the 77W in F any day.

  16. @Mike O.

    Good point thanks, had forgotten they switched to T8 at JFK.

    I was unaware of the CX issues with Zodiac on their 359s but having googled it many of the reported issues matched my experience, and seems quality issues extended at least through 5th aircraft delivered. Good to hear CX is addressing this but personally, still feel the 77G/77H layout is more comfortable (wifi aside).

  17. I’ve flown this flight roundtrip in business class twice during the past two years. The timing is actually pretty convenient for transferring in HKG and still arriving early enough at the final destination to not lose the day (in one case BKK, in the other SIN). All four flights were pretty good. Glad wi fi is coming to CX.

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