Cathay Pacific is introducing premium economy seats on its new A350-900 flights to Dubai. The Hong Kong-based airline resumed twice-weekly flights to the UAE hub in May using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. But from August 6, Cathay Pacific is upgrading the operating aircraft to the bigger A350-900s. Unlike the A330s, Cathay Pacific’s A350-900 aircraft include a premium economy cabin.
“We are thrilled to not only announce the operation of the Airbus A350-900 to the UAE, which will allow us to cater to the wider cargo and passenger demand but also the introduction of a brand new cabin class on this route,” said Cathay Pacific’s Vishnu Rajendran.
Same scaled back schedules, but swisher planes to Dubai
.CX731 will continue to depart Hong Kong International Airport (HGK) at 23:50 on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. With a flying time just shy of eight hours, the A350-900 will land in Dubai (DXB) at 03:40 the following morning.
Flying east, CX746 will push back from Dubai at 17:20 on Friday and Monday before landing back in Hong Kong at 05:20 the next day.
Unlike the A330-300 flights which featured 262 seats across business and economy classes, the A350-900 features 280 seats across three cabin classes. Cathay Pacific’s A359-900 aircraft include 214 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout, 38 business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, and 28 premium economy seats in a mostly 2-4-2 layout.
The small premium economy cabin covers rows 30-33 inclusive on the A350-900. Rows 30-32 feature a 2-4-2 layout although the middle bank of seats are slightly staggered from the window seat pairs. Row 33, with vacant space in lieu of the middle seats, is the pick of the cabin.
Nice seats, good food & wine … what more could a passenger want?
“We would like to give our customers a choice to travel in a more spacious cabin,” says Rajendran. While not on par with Cathay Pacific’s luxe business class product onboard the A350-900, the premium economy seats come equipped with a full-length leg-rest, leather-padded footrests, and retractable armrests that can be adjusted. The seats boast a generous recline of nine inches, an expanded seat pitch of 40 inches, and a supported head rest.
Also incorporated into the premium economy seat is a dimmable personal reading light, slide-out cocktail table, larger meal table, in-seat power outlet, and amenity storage.
A sample dinner menu on a Cathay Pacific long-haul flight includes marinated couscous and shrimp salad for a starter, a choice of mains such as Szechuan chicken, pak choy, and steamed Jasmine rice, or seared beef steak, onion marmalade, roasted root vegetables, parsley potato mash, and mushroom jus, and a vegetarian option like paccheri with zucchini, eggplant, and tomato. The mandatory ice cream chaser is available for dessert. Drinks, including alcohol, are complimentary for Cathay Pacific premium economy passengers.
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Flight remains a pipedream for most
If this sounds like a civilized way to fly, be warned but Hong Kong and the UAE still have tough entry restrictions that make this flight a pipedream for most people. While the restrictions change constantly, currently Hong Kong will allow UAE citizens to transit through HGK while Hong Kongers can enter the UAE – all subject to meeting strict health and testing requirements.
For embattled Cathay Pacific, once an airline that flew around the globe, the up gauging of its Dubai flights in August is a small step towards resuming regular flying.