Review – Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy, Brisbane – Hong Kong

by Zac George
a seat on a plane

I’ve flown Cathay Pacific several times now, but all of those flights have been in either business or first. This is mainly due to them being very generous with availability. On my recent trip to Europe, I decided I’d swap out a business redemption and see how their premium economy stacks up.

For this flight, I used a total of 25,000 Alaska miles for a one-way redemption. Business class is only an extra 5k miles for those interested.

The flight I was on (CX156), departs Brisbane just after half-past 12 and arrives into Hong Kong at around 7:10 am the following day, and the airline uses their A350-900 for the service. As the departure is pretty late, I decided I would eat in the Qantas lounge before my flight so that I could try and rest as I was going to be catching up with a friend for breakfast on my arrival into Hong Kong.

a seat on a plane

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

The premium economy cabin on-board Cathay’s A350-900 features 28 seats which are laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration. The seats have an overall pitch of 40” and a width of 20.”

For my flight, I went with 32A however, before the doors closed, I moved to the row behind which was empty meaning I got two seats to myself.

a seat in a plane

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Once passengers were on-board and seated, the cabin crew came around the cabin with pre-departure beverages consisting of juice, champagne or water – I went with the water.

a plastic cup of water on a table

Pre-Departure beverage

The menu and arrival card were also distributed to passengers.

a white envelope on a silver object

Menu and Arrival card

The flight was pretty full in both business and economy with premium only being about 70% full.

two seats with pillows on the side

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Awaiting at your seat, you’ll find a blanket, pillow and a set of headphones.

a seat in an airplane

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

As I wanted to sleep on the flight, I missed out on both the meal services (supper and breakfast) but here are the menus for the flight for those interested:

a menu of a restaurant



a menu of a restaurant


All up, I was able to have about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep which I was delighted with considering I’m an extremely light sleeper, but I feel so much more relaxed when I’m flying so I guess this also plays a major part. If I didn’t have any sleep, I would have felt destroyed as I was continuing onto Amsterdam and that flight was departing Hong Kong just before midnight.

Not a bad view to wake up to!

an airplane wing and blue sky

Cathay Pacific A350 Premium

To adjust your seat and either recline or bring out the footrest, you’ll need to use the buttons which are located in the centre armrest. This is also where you’ll find your IFE remote and headphone jack.

a seat buttons and switches in a seat

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Each seat is fitted with a 10.6” screen which I found to be fast and responsive. The only complaint I have about the IFE is the number of ads that are shown when you select something to watch, a couple of minutes are just advertising which can get quite repetitive – especially watching TV shows that are around 20 minutes in length.

a screen on a plane

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

The seat also features a hook for a jacket and a compartment that can be used to hold your own device that you bring on-board with you.

a screen with a map on it

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy


a screen on a plane

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Passengers in premium sadly don’t have a dedicated toilet and have to use the ones in economy which can get pretty busy at times.

a group of people sitting in chairs with monitors on the back

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

And after about seven and a half hours in the air, it was time to start our approach into Hong Kong.

an airplane wing and the sky

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Possibly my favourite thing about the A350 has to be the cameras that are fitted on the aircraft; there is nothing else I want to watch more than on our descent into Hong Kong. Luckily for me, the weather was relatively clear, which meant a fantastic high definition view.

a screen with an airplane in the sky

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

As we were descending, the crew asked if I would like a snack or beverage before landing as I hadn’t eaten during the flight, so I decided to go with a coffee. One thing I wasn’t too fond of is the paper cups that are used, why not use a glass which will look a lot nicer. I know, not a major thing to talk about but considering economy are served the same paper cup, it’s not the best look.

a cup with a spoon on a table


Amenity kits are provided for all passengers and feature your basic items like socks, an eye mask and a dental kit.

a close up of a bag

Amenity Kit


an airplane wing on a runway

Arrival Into Hong Kong


I had a pleasant experience onboard Cathay’s premium economy product and would happily fly it again, more so on a day time flight though. The seat itself was more comfortable than I was expecting and I found it to be well padded. The crew were also friendly and was making sure all the passengers were enjoying their flight, I’ve honestly never had a bad cabin crew experience on Cathay and hope that continues.

After flying premium on Cathay, I’d love to see how Singapore’s product compares as I think it would make for a good comparison and there looks to be quite a few major differences.

Have you flown Cathay Pacific premium economy?



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DAVID October 30, 2019 - 12:25 pm

Paper cup size is better than JAL gargle size cup for their coffee which is disgusting, felt like they took it out of the bathroom and put coffee on it.

Zac George October 30, 2019 - 12:27 pm

That’s crazy, would have expected JL to be better than that.

Harrison October 30, 2019 - 1:37 pm

Hi Zac, did you buy the Alaska miles during a special offer? How much would you value the miles needed ($AUD) for say a return flight to Europe from Sydney, versus buying an actual business class ticket?

Zac George October 30, 2019 - 4:10 pm

Hi Harrison, I did indeed use miles bought from the current promotion. All up for a return business class trip to Europe you’re looking at 145,000 AS points which is just under 3k USD. This price obviously fluctuates with the bonus being held and our dollar but it’s still quite a significant saving of a couple thousand dollars. Let me know if you ever need any assistance. 🙂

FranklinM October 30, 2019 - 3:09 pm

In 2015, I flew Business Class for the first time from LAX to Bali on EVA. It was unbelievable but it was still hard to justify paying over $5,000 for a RT flight when I was used to paying about $1,000 for Economy. So, in 2017 I tried Premium Economy on 3 trips. On EVA from LAX to Taiwan, on Singapore from LAX to NRT then to Singapore, and on Cathay Pacific from LAX to Cebu. They were all different in different ways. Cathay cost the most at $2000 but felt just like Economy to me as the seats felt cramped. Singapore had the best service…but that was probably because it was just introduced and there were only 10 people in the seats and they had Book the Cook. One of them allowed 5 lbs more for luggage but another gave nothing more. It feel about the same as Economy or just a bit better. But after that experiment…I have only flown Business Class since. I decided that there is nothing like Business Class and it is worth it using miles or points.

Kylee October 30, 2019 - 3:45 pm

How do you access the QF club without a QF flight number or business class boarding pass with Cathay please? Newbie over here (with QF passes to burn!)

Zac George October 30, 2019 - 3:47 pm

I’m a Gold member with Qantas and was able to access it that way 🙂

Kylee October 30, 2019 - 11:50 pm

🙏 thanks for the reply 😊

Steve October 31, 2019 - 1:41 pm

Hi Zac, great review and matches most others we’ve read. Can you tell us what it’s like – space-wise – with the seat in front fully reclined? The seat pitch seems to make this a non-issue, but can you confirm?

Zac George October 31, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Hi Steve, thank you for the kind words :). I should have gotten a photo to show it better but even when the seat is reclined, there is still a great amount of space.

Jonathan October 31, 2019 - 9:32 pm

Nice review! Small point to note for those interested, while CX’s A350-900 doesn’t have a dedicated toilet for premium economy, the -1000 does.

Zac George November 2, 2019 - 4:31 am

Thank you for the kind words. Interesting, I would have thought so with the extra length – thank you for reading 🙂

OLF November 1, 2019 - 11:20 pm

Outstanding reporting:

“The flight I was on (CX156), departs Brisbane just after half-past 12 and arrives into Hong Kong at around 7:10 am the following day, and the airline uses their A350-900 for the service.” if it departs at half past 12, it therefore arrives the same day…..

Absolutely stellar reporting from your travel blog. The fact that you slept through the whole thing is pretty clear, no insight into mechanics of the seat, friendliness of the crew, dinner or breakfast. Incredible insight!

Zac George November 2, 2019 - 4:32 am

You’re entitled to your opinion, it was your choice to read 🙂

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