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For a lot of travelers Hong Kong is a major connecting point for travel to Australia so the news that Cathay Pacific has scheduled its new Airbus A350 aircraft and a Boeing 777-300ER on its Hong Kong – Melbourne route will be very welcome.
Cathay Pacific operates 3 daily flights on the Hong Kong – Melbourne route and , as ExpertFlyer shows, all are operated by Airbus A330-300 aircraft:
From 1 February 2017 Cathay Pacific will be using an A350 to operate CX105/104 and, from 1 March 2017, will be using a 777-300ER to operate CX163/178.
That will give the schedule the following look between 1 and 26 March 2017 (flight times change from 27 Mach 2017) :
CX105 HKG 00:05 – 12:20 MEL (Daily A350 service)
CX163 HKG 10:20 – 22:35 MEL (Daily 777-300ER service)
CX135 HKG 19:10 – 07:30 MEL+ 1 day (Daily A330-300 service)
CX178 MEL 00:50 – 07:00 HKG (Daily 777-300ER service)
CX134 MEL 08:50 – 15:15 HKG (Daily A330-300 service)
CX104 MEL 15:25 – 21:45 HKG (Daily A350 service)
A Nice Upgrade For Melbourne
The introduction of the 777-300ER in place of the Airbus A330-300 won’t have a monument effect on passengers as both aircraft feature Cathay Pacific’s reverse herringbone Business Class seats and both offer Premium Economy. But the seats in the 777-300ER should be slightly wider thanks to the wider aircraft body – it may not be much but every little bit helps!
Once change which may be significant is that the 777-300 comes with 11 more Premium Economy seats than the A330 (32 as opposed to 21) and 77 more Economy Class seats (268 as opposed to 191) so this may help award availability and hopefully keep prices down.
The A350 is set to be a fantastic addition to the Melbourne route and comes with a host of upgrades that passengers will like.
- The Business Class seat has been refreshed and given more storage space (not exactly revolutionary but then why tamper with something that already works very well)
- The A350 features Cathay Pacific’s new Premium Economy product that now gives all seats the comfortable leg rest that only bulkhead seats got before:
- The Premium Economy seats on the A350 come with 2″ of more seat pitch (leg room) and almost an inch more width compared to the A330-300 it’s replacing…and those should be noticeable improvements.
- The A350 comes equipped with Cathay’s latest over-water Internet technology meaning flyers can now stay connected for most of their journey. The cost of internet access for the whole Hong Kong – Melbourne trip is $19.95…which isn’t too bad.
- The humidity in the A350 can be controlled like in no other aircraft and that can have a significant positive effect on comfort and on how rested passengers are at their destination.
- The A350 has an advance air conditioning system which allows for varying temperature zones in the aircraft and filters the air in the cabin every 2 to 3 minutes.
Cathay’s A350 has one fewer Business Class seats than the A330 it is replacing but it offsets that by offering 7 more Premium Economy seats and 23 more Economy Class seats.
Newer aircraft are always a nice thing to have on a route but when the newer aircraft is an A350 that’s even better news. Offering a quieter and more comfortable flight together with the benefit of in-flight wifi this really is a significant improvement to the Hong Kong Melbourne route.
Overall Cathy is also increasing capacity on the route quite significantly with the two aircraft swaps adding 100 Economy Class seats to the route in either direction and 18 more Premium Economy seats in either direction too. The overall number of Business Class seats remains unchanged.
I’m set to fly the Cathay Pacific A350 in a couple of weeks time so I’m looking forward to trying it out and reporting back here with first hand experience – if it’s anything like the Finnair experience I had it will be fantastic….and I’m actually expecting it to be better.
Featured image: Kristian Sagia via Flickr