Review: Cathay Pacific 723 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur

Introduction
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport Midfield Terminal
Korean Air 604 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 1
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 2
Our Whistler Apartment: Pinnacle Ridge
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: My Thoughts
Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver
Korean Air 72 777-200 Business Class Vancouver to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 723 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur
The Boulevard by St. Giles Kuala Lumpur
Cathay Pacific 720 A330-300 Economy Class Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong


After another week of basically sleepless nights and finishing up quite a few papers, I was already more than ready to get out of Hong Kong. This was part of an event that the school funded for, but we still had to pay a discounted fare for the flights. I will still be as critical as I would if we weren’t discounted, though, as it was a school discount, and in no way related to the airline.

I had a little check-in snafu on the day before, where I realised that all our seats had been selected and we had all been checked in with the wrong passport numbers. When we managed to get that off the record, though, our seats were still held as on request at the back of the plane, which worked out well, at least for me and my seatmate Charlotte.

We were through immigration pretty quick on the morning and had a bit of time to ourselves, but I tried to spend it on working, adjacent to an Air India plane heading to Osaka. It pushed back while I was working. Air India’s 787 flights from Hong Kong are some of the fifth freedom routes I’m most fascinated in, and if it wasn’t for my parents I definitely would have chosen Air India as my way of transport to Osaka in March.

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Air India Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

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Air India Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

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Air India Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

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Air India Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

I also took a bit of time to inspect the new service procedures at the gate, which consisted of a new sign.

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Cathay Pacific Boarding Sign Hong Kong Airport

Our flight to Kuala Lumpur was operated by a 14-year-old A330. It was originally scheduled to be one of the newer ones, but they had a last minute change to one of these, which I didn’t mind.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific Flight 723
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 42 Dep: 08:50 (09:00)
Destination: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Gate: C32 Arr: 12:45 (13:05)
Duration: 3 hr 55 min (4 hr 5 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 74C (Economy Class)

This was my first time on a Cathay Pacific refurbished A330 without premium economy. I first made my way through business class, which didn’t hurt as much as it would’ve if I wouldn’t be in one of these bunks the following month.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

The seatmap of Cathay Pacific’s non-premium economy A330 in economy is as follows:

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seatmap

The new economy class seats probably won’t trump these, as they’re by far my favourite economy seats in the air. They’re wide, they’re well padded, and they’re way comfortable, even for sleeping. I’d argue they have better padding than their business class counterparts.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

We were welcomed by one of the male flight attendants. While he wasn’t especially friendly or personal or anything, no one expects that from economy – as far as the cabin class goes, he was probably one of the better flight attendants I’ve had.

Charlotte and I were situated in window seats at row 75. SeatGuru wasn’t commentless on my seat, and mentioned:

Seat 74 C is a standard Economy Class seat, however, the proximity to the galley may be bothersome.

I didn’t feel that at all throughout the flight, and while it wasn’t anything special, let me reiterate how comfy the seat is, again. I don’t think I’ve had any better padded seats in the air ever (having not flown first class, I’ve still flown some of the top business class products, so this should mean a lot).

Unless I’m flying with three people, I’d almost always go for a 2-4-2 configuration (or a 2-3-2) if I could, as it’s so much more convenient than anything with three seats by the side. I’ve been on boat rides with heaps of legroom that I didn’t like because of the amount of seats I had to cross to get to the aisle. Speaking of that, as a more “working on flights” person I started to grow a liking for the aisle seat, as I can easily slip out for photos or the bathroom, and it also makes me more focused as basically the whole D column behind me can see what I’m doing.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seats 74A and 74C

Being this far back also allows me to have a much better view of the cabin. It didn’t hurt that Charlotte’s one of the five people that knows that I do this – it was MUCH more awkward on flights like, say, Bangkok to Hong Kong in Thai Airways economy, where my seatmate (even for the first five minutes) was an acquaintance that had no idea what I was doing when I randomly snapped pictures of the seat’s features.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class View from Seat 74C

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Legroom

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seat Nook

We were parked next to another A330, which seems to make up the majority of Cathay Pacific’s resting fleet (there are actually more 777-300ERs, but given how many longhauls they work, you won’t see more than 10 at Hong Kong Airport at a time).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

I won’t talk too much about the seat, as I’ve given quite a detailed account on my flight from Hong Kong to Yangon, so check that out if you want refreshers. This is the exact same seat in a different configuration which I prefer to the A321 configuration.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class TV

Soon the safety video played. Cathay Pacific has FINALLY released its new safety video (as of over three months ago), which is as follows:

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Safety Video

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Safety Video

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Safety Video

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Safety Video

Slowly, we made our way out to the runway, passing some interesting traffic, before hitting the runway at around 9:15. We had some interesting views of traffic when taking off, eventually flying right by the entire airport.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

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Views upon Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Views upon Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Views upon Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

While Hong Kong was cloud-laden on the day, it was beautiful as always once we got up into the air.

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Views upon Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

Soon we were served juice for welcome drinks. Instead of those hard plastic cups that broke upon squeezing, there were new, soft plastic cups that were much easier to use. These are cups I won’t be breaking – and they were substantially bigger too.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Welcome Drinks

I worked for a while. As we were at the last row, we were the last to be served food, which I was fine with (as long as we got food, which we did). The food was labelled as breakfast, and didn’t come with a menu – we shared the chicken, which was Malaysian spiced, and served with rice.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Meal – Malaysian Spiced Chicken with Rice

Service during the meal was efficient, though it was unusually friendly. Usually I find Cathay Pacific service to be deteriorating, which I didn’t think was the case here.

Soon we were at the Malaysia border, where the clouds lined the sky – it did seem like a pretty nice day by the looks of it from above.

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Views Above Malaysia Border

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Airshow above Malaysia Border

At this point the TVs all displayed a message talking about drugs and how the illegal trafficking of them would induce capital punishment.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class IFE Selection and Message

The flight attendants passed out landing forms, which I filled out with one of their pens which I now keep and have written most of this year’s exams with. The flight attendants gave me permission to keep it, which is nice.

I talked to Charlotte and worked (at the same time) for a while, and very soon it was time for us to land.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin upon Descent

It was my first time landing into Kuala Lumpur, and the weather was great, and the views were beautiful. It was an actual privilege to be able to land in such nice weather.

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Descent Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Final Approach Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Final Approach Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Final Approach Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Final Approach Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Views upon Landing Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Saudi Arabian Boeing 777-200 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur International Airport

We pulled into gate C32, where we were one of the last people off the plane. We made it to immigration, were greeted by one of the SEAMC staff and were eventually transferred to our hotel.

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Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Bottom Line

Cathay Pacific offers a perfect hard product on their longhaul flights (and these shorthaul flights) as of now. I don’t think the new seats will be as much of a success as these were.

However, what impressed me the most was the service, which had improved considerably. Not only were the new service procedures better, the actual attitude was much better, probably due to the service itself being easier.

I wouldn’t hesitate to use Cathay Pacific in economy class again.

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