Flying Well :: Cathay Pacific's Revolutionary A350

cathay pacific A350 Vancouver to Hong Kong

[trip style = luxury + steal + urban]

Landing in Canada for its first scheduled flight last month, Cathay Pacific's newest jetliner, the state-of-the-art Airbus A350, brings flying to new heights. Last week I boarded the ace airliner in Vancouver enroute to Hong Kong to get acclimated with the latest in wellness and luxury at 40,000 feet.

After jet-setting in this revolutionary aircraft—which felt more like a chauffeured Rolls Royce than a 280-seat aircraft—I felt refreshed, which is not something I can say after most aviation experiences.  

Wellness
Wellness and flying aren't topics that typically go together. Time spent in a capsule above the clouds often results in dry skin, red-rimmed eyes, and swelled hands and feet—unless you fly aboard the industry's leader in inflight innovation.

On Cathay Pacific's specially designed A350-900, which adds three flights per week to the carrier's Vancouver to Hong Kong route, my skin didn't crinkle like scrunched tissue paper due to greater air humidification. My wedding ring, which is always hard to remove after flying, slid off with ease thanks to smarter cabin pressurization that reduces inflammation and fatigue. And my eyes were bright instead of bloodshot thanks to panoramic windows and a lighting system capable of emitting more than 16 million hues to pamper my peepers and reduce jet lag.

The A350 Experience
As someone who has logged thousands of miles around the world on almost every conceivable aircraft currently used in commercial aviation, I prefer this type of jet by an {air}mile!

A series of subtle and staggering differences enhance the overall Cathay Pacific A350 experience, starting with the engines. I wasn't kidding when I mentioned the inflight ambiance is akin to rolling in a Rolls. A set of Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines power the airplane, reduce rattle and contribute to this couture capsule's 25 percent greater fuel efficiency over its peers.

And then there's the jetliner's sky-high handling. From the moment you roll down the runway, the wheels seem to float, and that's before the plane even lifts off. At cloud-level the cabin is so quiet you could meditate. Landing is surprisingly effortless, like a figure skater who gently glides from airborne to arrival.

I scored a window seat at the edge of the wing, a position I was tickled pink about knowing the wing surface is the largest single piece of carbon fibre structure ever produced for civil aviation, with flaps capable of morphing their shape midair to improve fuel efficiency.

From my perch in pod 21k, I wined, dined and signed-off so I could sleep in the sky. Wrapped in a blanket made from recycled materials, I didn't even try to take advantage of the onboard WiFi to work or connect with the outside world. I was happy in my cocoon basking in the experience of feeling better inflight, and about flying in a Rolls chauffeured by Jeeves—I mean, Captain Graham.

 Walking to my flight from the  Cathay Pacific lounge in Vancouver

Walking to my flight from the Cathay Pacific lounge in Vancouver

 My business class pod with a lie-flat bed that stretches to 75"

My business class pod with a lie-flat bed that stretches to 75"

 My personal TV: big and high-def touch-screens are found in all cabin classes

My personal TV: big and high-def touch-screens are found in all cabin classes

 From where I lounge aboard the A350

From where I lounge aboard the A350

 Counting sheep with ease due to the A350 being one of the quietest aircrafts in its class 

Counting sheep with ease due to the A350 being one of the quietest aircrafts in its class 

 One of my breakfast courses, complete with an illy cappuccino

One of my breakfast courses, complete with an illy cappuccino

 Dinner part one: Smoked salmon and crabmeat with bread and greens

Dinner part one: Smoked salmon and crabmeat with bread and greens

 Dinner part two: Rigatoni pasta topped with olives and parmesan

Dinner part two: Rigatoni pasta topped with olives and parmesan

 Dessert: International cheese selection with grapes and quince jam paired with Port

Dessert: International cheese selection with grapes and quince jam paired with Port

Cathay Pacific A350 Details
- The Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 carries a total of 280 passengers: 38 Business, 28 Premium Economy, 214 Economy Class.
- Cathay Pacific currently has 13 of this aircraft type in operation, with dozens more on order.
- The A350 adds three flights weekly {Tues, Thurs, Sat} to Cathay Pacific's Vancouver to Hong Kong daily, nonstop offerings. 
- All cabin classes: The aircraft's extra-wide body offers more space and greater comfort, panoramic windows, LED mood lighting and hand lotion in every lavatory!
- Business Class: In addition to the fully flat bed and greater stowage space, travelers can personalize their pod with “Do Not Disturb” and “Wake-up Call” functions.
- Premium Economy Class: Ergonomically designed seats with integrated leg rests have dedicated tablet holders, power outlets and USB ports. 
Economy Class: In addition to Cathay's proprietary six-way headrest, each seat comes equipped with tablet holders and power plug-ins.

Other Dispatches in this Series
My Most Beautiful Meal in Hong Kong
6 Hong Kong Hints {that will make you want to book a ticket ASAP} 
Style Inspiration :: The Pier Business + First Class Lounges in Hong Kong
First Look :: Cathay Pacific's GORGEOUS New Lounge at YVR
Hong Kong :: Instagram Diary
Cathay Pacific Vancouver to Hong Kong

[Photos by @tripstyler, except lead, taken as a guest of Cathay Pacific, one of my favorite airlines]