Review: Cathay Pacific 596 A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka Kansai

Introduction
Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Cathay Pacific 596 A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka Kansai
InterContinental Osaka Deluxe Twin
InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Superior Residence
InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Deluxe Residence
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Lounge Pacific Osaka Kansai Airport
Cathay Pacific 507 777-300 Business Class Osaka Kansai to Hong Kong


This was the last time this year that the flight number CX 596 was being used, which was pretty cool in and of itself.

Cathay Pacific Flight 596
Friday, March 25, 2016
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 2 Dep: 08:00 (08:00)
Destination: Osaka Kansai (KIX) Gate: 2 Arr: 12:25 (12:10)
Duration: 3 hr 25 min (3 hr 10 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 15A (Business Class)

I was the first onboard the business class cabin and seemed to take the cabin crew by surprise. I took my first photo of the cabin, then told the purser I’d arrived (she seemed to be giving a pep talk to the rest of the crew and didn’t realise I was there). The purser was extremely apologetic about it and led me to my seat (no, she didn’t, I told her I’d switched to 15A as a result of some seat changes within the family, so she led me there instead).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

The business class cabin consists of a bigger cabin, which is better if you want a better boarding experience, and a smaller cabin, if you want some more privacy throughout the front. I’ve found myself to love whichever cabin is further forward, as there’s literally zero foot traffic apart from those wanting to get to their seats. This doesn’t really stay true for economy, as I do like sitting near the back of the plane where the fuselage tapers (this is where people don’t like to sit, so I have a bigger chance at an empty seat).

It’s worth nothing that no matter how many premium economy seats there are, every Cathay Pacific longhaul business class A330 has this configuration, unlike what is true for the 777-300ER.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Seatmap

Really, the cabin is stunning, and with the green mood lighting it really felt like a little loft. I’m hoping my better camera does this cabin justice.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

My seat 15A was in the middle of the cabin, which worked well as it’s away from the toilet and the galley. It’s one of many websites’ top picks, and I did like the seat for the duration of the flight.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Seat 15A

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Seat 15A

While I’ve had my complaints with the seat and the padding, there’s no denying that reverse herringbone seats are currently my favourite business class seat layout. The seat’s incredibly spacious (a bit less so than the 777, but still really large), and there’s just enough space to put everything.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Seat 15A

It’s wide, too, and even if there’s not enough padding, there’s definitely more than enough space.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

For one, the legroom is massive – and the seat cubby isn’t even restricted. I have one of the biggest feet in the house, and I was able to sleep comfortably no matter what position I was in (this relates to my feet, and not the seat’s padding).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Legroom

I’m not as much of a fan of the polishes of the seat as I am with the actual structure, as I find some of the features to be clunky. I’ve never been a fan of the seat controls, which look weird, and also aren’t “one touch” – fortunately the new ones are, in the sense that you don’t have to hold down the “bed” function to turn it into a bed.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Seat Controls

I like the adjustable reading light – there’s really no better way for it to be mounted. While the remote control is getting a little old, the new remote controls are a LOT better.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Side Panel

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Reading Light

By the side is a side table, which is great for drinks, glasses and phones.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Side Table

There’s also a USB plug and a few other plugs, to complete the seat. They work, which is good.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Plugs

The seat also features a big tray table that you can’t pull towards you – while people hate that, it’s not that annoying.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Tray Table

One thing I like about the seat is that it’s versatile – those who value more space get more space, and those who value more privacy get more privacy (this isn’t a first class seat, where you’d naturally get both). Being short and privacy-wanting I keep the armrest up basically at all times.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Armrest

And while the seat isn’t necessarily the most comfortable in the world, there’s definitely an enhanced sense of space with all those storage nooks the seat has, in the sense that I don’t need to stash all my stuff randomly around the seat.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Side Storage

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Side Storage Cubby with Mirror

I’ve never liked the TV, which I can’t tilt, though the new A350 seat has been said to resolve that – I’ll find out in two weeks. 😉 The TV seemed not reflect light as much as me last time on the 777, though the seats shouldn’t have been refurbished at all, so it’s probably just me.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class TV (folded)

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class TV

The ottoman is supposed to be an extension to the bed, but I used it to place my computer when I was eating.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Ottoman

This was a 14-year-old A330 that featured the old Airbus interiors. While I didn’t mind, I still hope to take a Cathay Pacific business class flight with the new Airbus interiors.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Overhead Panel

Row 15 also has a pretty nice view of the cabin – it’s not a whole cabin view, but at a perspective where you can enjoy the ambience looking forward. While Cathay Pacific’s cabin isn’t the best designed, it is incredibly ambient.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Cabin

Located in the side storage cubby were a set of headphones, which were noise cancelling and perfect around the ear. This isn’t featured on flights with the regional seats, where instead, the cheap economy headphones are used. Ouch.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Headphones

The purser came to introduce herself with juice, and asked for my name, a nice touch (she addressed me as Alvin throughout the flight, and not Mr. Tse, thanks to my relief). I chose orange juice.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Drink – Orange Juice

She also had a hot towel with her – unfortunately I couldn’t get a good picture of it before using it.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Hot Towel

Soon the safety video played. Cathay Pacific has a new safety video that was featured on a prior flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur (as well as the inbound). I like it – it’s more creative, without being especially out of the box – it represents Hong Kong really well.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Safety Video

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Safety Video

The captain came on, who was American. He wished us a safe flight and anticipated a flight time of two hours and 50 minutes. It was a terrible day in terms of the weather, but nonetheless we slowly pushed to 07R, where we would be taking off.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

While I didn’t see any passenger aircraft in the new livery, the new Boeing 747-8F in the new livery took my eye.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F Hong Kong Airport

Speaking of which, there were more than one…the other one wasn’t very visible in the photo, but you can see the tail if you look past the 747-400F in the old livery.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F Hong Kong Airport

I caught an A340 in the oneworld livery. While A340s used to be the backbone of Cathay Pacific’s fleet, they too are starting to disappear.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Hong Kong Airport

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China Airlines Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

By the time we managed to get up on the runway, it was really more of a fog-fest than anything else.

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Runway 07R Hong Kong Airport

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China Airlines Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

The takeoff roll was long, as expected by a plane with two tiny engines and a full load. Nonetheless, we made it up.

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

Up in the sky it was a beautiful day, as always.

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

I tested out the bed position, which I used later in the flight. While the bed’s not well padded by any means, it’s one of the widest, longest and most comfortable in the sky, which meant that I had no problems sleeping in it. It’s also a pretty private one if you put the armrest up.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bed

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bed

I accidentally kicked the seat shell of the seat in front several times, which (unavoidable – I got kicked a few times too) mildly shakes the seat in front of you. Turns out that there was an old man in 14A who recovered from cardiac arrest just days ago – he was very gracious when telling me his situation and asking me to watch out, which genuinely made me feel bad. He had my promise that I wouldn’t be touching the seatback again, which I don’t think I did.

Soon we jumped into the meal service. The menu read as follows:

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Menu

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Menu

The meal service started with drinks, in which I chose orange juice, which is great as always in the air.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Orange Juice

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Appetiser – Fresh Fruit Selection

The flight attendant came with a bread roll, which was warm and flaky. While I can’t stand those that are crusty both inside and outside, I always love a warm fluffy bread roll with a slightly tougher exterior.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Bread Roll

The main course soon came. While this was an 8AM breakfast flight, there was a “legitimate” Japanese option, which consisted of chicken teriyaki, spring vegetables and rice. The rice was perfectly cooked and seasoned, all of the vegetables (especially the yam) were really well cooked and glazed and the chicken itself was beautiful inside but a little rubbery on the outside (I didn’t imagine that the skin would be crisp, but at this point it’s the next step). If the skin were crisp and the rice wasn’t served on some ridiculous sort of paper (I’d rather have the rice soak up a bit of the teriyaki than try to eat it with a soggy piece of paper in between), I’d call this one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in the air.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Main Course – Chicken Teriyaki, Japanese Spring Vegetables and Japanese Rice

I mean, just look at the perfection inside. The chicken was moist, juicy, flavoursome and perfectly cooked (it would’ve been undercooked if it was even five seconds under in the pan oven microwave).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class Main Course – Chicken Teriyaki

Service on the flight was great, and I was addressed by name (“Alvin”) throughout the flight. While one of the Hong Kong-based flight attendants was indifferent at best, the Japanese purser and inflight service manager were all very sincere, genuine and really liked the fact that I took care of my sister throughout the flight. I got pretty tired after breakfast, so I left it to them.

Y’all know about the complaints I have of the actual bed, which isn’t particularly soft. Still, even with one of those regional blankets, I managed to get really good sleep all the way from there until our initial decent (partially because I woke up at 4:30AM). I woke up to some interesting scenery, including some mountains (which were lovely). Also, unlike back home, it was a beautiful day here…

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

It’s amazing how nucleated all the townships in Osaka Prefecture are. There’s so many people living there.

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Descent Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Final Approach Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Final Approach Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Final Approach Osaka Kansai

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Views upon Touchdown Osaka Kansai

We found ourselves beside the longest airport terminal in the world at a little past 12, and we made our way around the other side.

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

Some interesting traffic included an EVA Air 777-300ER…

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EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER Osaka Kansai

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EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER Osaka Kansai

…a Jeju Air 737…

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Jeju Air Boeing 737-800 Osaka Kansai

…and the Cathay Pacific A330 from the flight ten minutes prior (which our friends were on). While the plane operated there was much, much newer, it featured Cathay Pacific’s regional product, which was the reason we took this flight instead.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Osaka Kansai

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER Osaka Kansai

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Spring Airlines Airbus A320 Osaka Kansai

Obviously, the newer A330 made for better looks from the outside. It’s just amazing when you have reverse herringbone business class and recliners for the same price…it’s even worse knowing that some people chose that flight without knowing that this one had a much better onboard product.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Osaka Kansai

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Osaka Kansai International Airport Tarmac

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Osaka Kansai International Airport Tarmac

I saw one of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300ERs, which I would really want to get on (they feature Korean Air’s new business class product).

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Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Osaka Kansai

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

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Traffic Osaka Kansai International Airport

We parked next to a V Air A321 in their mysterious V Bear livery.

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V Air Airbus A321 Osaka Kansai International Airport

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V Air Airbus A321 Osaka Kansai International Airport

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V Air Airbus A321 Osaka Kansai International Airport

We disembarked at around 12:15, and all gates at the airport require a train ride to the main terminal. During the ride we got some interesting scenery, including views of our own aircraft.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Osaka Kansai International Airport

Bottom Line

You can’t beat a reverse herringbone seat on a three-hour regional flight in the morning out of Hong Kong, especially at the rate we got for this flight. The food and service on this flight were also great. Overall, if you manage to snag a seat, the experience is pretty flawless (yes, the padding is hard, but it’s not like you’ll get that great of a nap anyway in this amount of time).

If only the return flight was as good in terms of the seat and food…

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2 thoughts on “Review: Cathay Pacific 596 A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka Kansai

  1. Hi alvin, great review again!
    I just wanted to ask whether they use two boarding bridges for an A330 or not?
    As i see you entered from the first front door so if they are only using one bridge, does that mean all econ pax goes through the forward cabin as well? I have an upcoming flight to seoul on an a330 and noramlly i fly longhual to LHR and they always use two birdges. As if they do board with only with one bridge, i rather go last!

    Like

    1. On this particular flight they used two bridges, but I can recall some flights where they only used one bridge. We boarded through gate 2, so while I’m not sure which gates use one bridge and which use two bridges, I think that gates 1-4 all use two bridges.

      Like

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