Amsterdam – As of December 1st 2018, Cathay Pacific started operating the route HKG-AMS-HKG daily with one of their brand-new A350-1000. Cathay Pacific invited us to be part of the first A350-1000 flight out of Amsterdam. This gave me a great opportunity to check out the new aircraft, the product- and service onboard!
My flight would depart at 12:45 local time, so I arrived at the airport three hours before. Usually I don’t arrive this early at an airport(depending on the flight’s destination though), however today was a special day. A small gate ceremony would take place, because of the first A350-1000 flight to Amsterdam.
When I arrived at Schiphol Airport the queue for the Economy check-in was crowded. I was hoping that there would be less passengers at the Business Class section. Fortunately the three dedicated business counters were totally empty. At the counter I dropped my bag off and had a small chat with the check-in lady. She informed me that there was a new aircraft on the route and that there would be a small gate ceremony, which I already knew of course ;).
After check-in I headed to the lounge. In Amsterdam, Cathay Pacific is using the British Airways lounge. This is for sure one of the best lounges at Schiphol airport. When you enter the lounge, it directly feels welcoming and spacious. There is also a good selection of food. As my flight would depart around noon, there were lunch options available at this time. My favorite part of this lounge is that you get great views of the airport platform, as there are big windows overlooking the aircraft.
After my short stop in the lounge I headed to the gate. It was quite a long walk but I was able to get some great views of the parked aircraft so I did not mind at all!
When I arrived at the gate the ceremony was about to begin. Cathay offered all passengers some cake and fresh juice. An airline official gave a speech regarding the new A350-1000 on the route and why this aircraft is important for Cathay Pacific’s future. There was also a possibility to make pictures with two beautiful flight attendants, and we took full advantage of it.
Shortly after, boarding started. Due to a slight delay of the ceremony, I wasn’t able to have pre-boarding anymore unfortunately.
However, I was still one of the first to board the aircraft. After a warm welcome by the cabin crew, I got the chance to make some cabin photos.
In Business Class there are 46 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, giving all passengers direct access to aisle. All seats offer a pitch of 45 inches and a width of 20,2 inches. Its predecessor, the Boeing 777-300ER, offered a seat pitch of 43 inches and seat width of 21 inches.
The award-winning Business Class product incorporates all modifications and parts from the modified seats on the A350-900. The seats are designed by Porsche Design and build by Zodiac.
Sculpted seat wings offer a balanced sense of privacy and openness. Window facing seats have a better view, as the windows are larger than from predecessors. Further there is a large cocktail table, allowing passengers to keep items within reach and have additional working space.
New bedding complements the seats to enhance inflight comfort and present a fresh look. They make use of linen-like material with a green trim, referring to the Cathay Pacific brand. When the seat is fully flat the bed length is 82 inches.
The seat also offers numerous storage for your personal belongings. There is a small place for items such as your passport and headphones. At your feet there is more space, for securely storing your laptop and shoes for example. Also, there is a new dedicated space for water bottles and a netted pocket inside the cabinet for precious items.
Furthermore, the seat retains the toggles for precise control of the seat back, legrest and seat plan, enabling the passenger to find the right position. A new feature, the single touch seat control, can quickly put the seat into take-off or landing position or can be transformed into a full-flat bed.
Shortly before departure, flight attendants were distributing a welcome drink. There was choice between water, juice and champagne. I went for the champagne of course, to celebrate this special occassion. After the drink I took a look at the amenities kit. The kit is well stocked with the standard eye shades, earplugs, socks and a tooth brush. Furthermore you could also find mouth wash, lip balm, rose water mist and an herbal recovery cream inside. Besides the amenities kit I also got a bottle of water, to stay hydrated during the flight.
Boarding of the 334 passengers for this flight proceeded swiftly and within 30 minutes the aircraft was ready for departure. Pushback started and the Schiphol ground crew took their formation to escorte the brand-new A35K to the runway.
Our aircraft lined-up at the so called ‘Kaagbaan’ (06-24). At 13:12 local time we took the skies like a rocket, thanks to the powerful RR Trent 1000 engines, for an eleven hours and twenty minutes flight to Hong Kong.
Ten minutes after take-off, the first service began. The crew distributed a drink and some nuts. To begin with I chose for a ginger ale.
While the flight attendant was handing me my drink, she also took my order for lunch. There was only one choice, which was marinated prawns with quinoa salad. It tasted delicious!
On this flight there were six different main course options to choose from. Cathay Pacific is one of the only airlines to offer that many different options for Business Class passengers. The six options were: a fish ball and fish cake, vegetable lasagna, three cup chicken, grilled beef tenderloin, beef burger and a basmati rice lentil. I was quite hungry and couldn’t make a choice between the chicken and the beef tenderloin. The purser Eva, who was taking my order, told me that they had enough onboard and that I could try both dishes! This was so sweet of her.
Shortly after the first course the main dish was given to me. My first main was the beef tenderloin. Some real restaurant quality over here!
The second main dish was an Asian style chicken. When the plate arrived I could smell the teriyaki sauce directly, which I loved. Compared to the first dish, the taste was completely different but also really tasteful and fresh.
After all the main dishes, I was quite full with good food. Fortunately I kept some space in my stomach for the dessert. On this flight there were four options: a cheese plate, selection of ice creams, strawberry mouse and a selection fresh fruit. I went for the fruit to have something healthy and refreshening.
To top off the meal service I ordered a cup of tea and got some delicious Belgian chocolates with it.
As the sun started to set, the cabin the lights were dimmed and re-produced the same kind of sunset effect by using colored lighting. This stimulates and enhances relaxation.
Night fell, and so it was time to watch what is offered as inflight entertainment. The A350 inflight entertainment system uses a 18,5 inch Panasonic ex3 HD platform and a 4,3 inch video handset. The welcome screen features a slideshow of landmarks in the flight’s destination. The screen also indicates the flight number, seat number, as well as destination’s local temperature and time. Passengers can choose seven supported languages: English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French and German.
The main menu is always accessible on the left hand side, allowing passengers to navigate between all available features and applications. For the first time, the inflight entertainment system can let the cabin crew know when not to disturb or wake a passenger.
Furthermore, there is a wide variety of world re-known movies and series. Therefore, thanks to the available internet connectivity, passengers can watch live television by BBC, CNN and Euronews or browse on Internet and apps on their phone. Also Hong Kong local news and Greater China news are accessible. I had high-speed Wi-Fi available throughout the whole flight, and it worked great!
As last, this in-flight entertainment offers a large collection of popular international and Hong Kong magazine titles via the integrated e-Reader.
Thanks to these features and available options, I did not have to worry at anytime that I would get bored on this eleven hour flight!
I watched a couple of series before I got so tired that I changed into my pyjama and went for some sleep. I grabbed a soft pillow, blanket and eye mask and closed my eyes.
After a good sleep I woke up and there was still approximately 4 hours left before arriving in Hong Kong. The cabin was still in dark sleeping mode, but this did not stop the crew to walk around and ask awaken passenger if they would like to have something.
Throughout the flight, Cathay Pacific offers various food on request. This consists of a beef burger, basmati rich with lentil or a fish ball and fish cake. When I woke up I was still full from all the food from lunch so I did not order more food. Instead, I just took some snacks that were offered.
Two hours prior landing the cabin lights were turned back on and hot towels were handed out, for refreshment. Soon after this the breakfast was ready to be served. Cathay uses a useful system of ordering the breakfast. Before take-off small cards were handed out from where you can pick your breakfast order. This is a great advantage, because the crew can directly serve your meal when you wake-up! On the picture below you can see the multiple options for breakfast.
Helping with preparations
I walked to the forward galley to check out how cabin crew is preparing the meals. Eva was happy to show me how they do it and I was even allowed to make my own breakfast!
I chose the Chinese breakfast with fresh fruit and a cup of tea. Preparing my meal was quite easy because the tray was already prepared in the factory. The only thing I had to do was to warm up the pork and congee.
Soon after breakfast we started with our descend into Hong Kong. Eva came to thank me for flying with Cathay Pacific and to have a little chat. After a flight time of eleven hours and twenty minutes we smoothly touched down at Hong Kong international airport. After all passengers disembarked the aircraft, I got the chance to make a crew photo and visit the cockpit.
Concluding my flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong, I am sure that Cathay Pacific’s new A350-1000 service is one of the best options in Business Class to fly from Europe to Asia(or from Asia to Europe) nowadays. There were plenty high-quality meal- and inflight entertainment options, many more than other airlines currently offer. Reviewing the hard product, the Business Class seat, it was clean, modern and spacious, offering a lot storage- and personal(private) space. Price-quality wise I would definitely choose to fly Cathay’s A350 again on my next trip to Asia, and I recommend you to do so. For more information about Cathay Pacific’s vision, Life Well Travelled, please read below.
A special thanks to the crew of CX270 and Cathay Pacific!
This trip was in collaboration with Cathay Pacific
Experience a Life Well Travelled
We believe that travelling well is an important part of living well. That’s why we continually strive to enhance the overall travel experience. To be more personas in our service; more considerate in our design; more intuitive in anticipating your needs. Helping make your journey more pleasurable.
Because when you travel well, your trip can become more memorable, more meaningful and more rewarding. This philosophy has been at the heart of everything we do for almost 70 years. And it’s something that drives our people to deliver a better experience for our passengers.
Fly with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and New Zealand
Cathay Pacific Airways flies daily from Amsterdam with an Airbus A350-1000 and 4 times a week from Brussels Airport with an Airbus A350-900 non-stop to Hong Kong, connecting to over 200 destinations in Mainland China, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. The non-stop flights to Hong Kong offer travelers the perfect opportunity to explore Asia’s World City and combine the journey with another beautiful destination.
*All photos are made by Quirijn de Planque, unless otherwise stated, and may only be used with special permission from Skylook. We tried to keep the edits as natural as possible however edits may vary.