Airlines Guestwriter

Washington Dulles announced as inaugural destination for Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000

If you're interested to be on an inaugural flight for the new A350-1000 but do not wish to travel to Qatar, Cathay's inaugural would be the closest to home

Back in December, Cathay Pacific announced that Washington Dulles (IAD) would be their inaugural destination for their new A350-1000 aircraft with the inaugural flight on 15 September 2018. For those who don’t really know their planes, the A350-1000 (or A35K) is the stretched version of the A350-900 and its equipped with more powerful engines as well. The first commercial A350-1000 flight would be with Qatar Airways, who was also the launch customer of the A350-900 as well.

CX860 would be the flight departing Hong Kong at 6:35pm local time and arrive in Washington at 10:20pm local time. Flight time is blocked at 15hours 45minutes, creeping into the Ultra Long Haul Flight territory. The return flight would be CX861 departing at 1:15am and arrives in Hong Kong a day later at 05:10am, flight time is blocked at 15 hours 55 minutes due to the head winds.

Photo Credits : Cathay Pacific

No first class on A350-1000

Cathay has decided to forgo its First class cabin with the arrival of its A350 aircraft, making us feel sad as we a smaller pool of flights to select from where we can indulge in some Caviar with a Pearl Spoon (yes cry with me). So far, only Malaysia Airlines has decided to fit its A350 with a first class cabin. A small and cosy one at that.

Instead, Cathay’s A350-900 and A350-1000 comes in a 3 class configuration :

  • Business
  • Premium Economy
  • Economy

Business Class award seats unavailable on inaugural flight, Premium Economy and Economy still available

A quick check with KVS tool shows that there are now no more Business Class redemption seats on Cathay’s inaugural flight on 15 September 2018 to Washington. Premium Economy has 2 award seats left, while there are still 9 Economy award seats available for the inaugural flight. A check on Asia Miles confirms that Y and PEY are still available. The mileage requirements and taxes involved can be found in the below screenshots.

Interestingly for Cathay, the miles required for redemption on their Premium Economy cabin vs Economy cabin isn’t that far off compared to what SQ charges.


The closest date that I could find with business class availability out of Hong Kong is 2 days after the inaugural, 17 Sep 2018, with 2 seats available for redemption. That would set you back 85,000 Asia Miles + HKD$476 in taxes for a one-way flight to Washington.

If for some reason you’re inclined to redeem on Economy, you’d be glad to know that you can bring your extended family along with you to Washington should you have tons of miles available on Asia Miles as there seems to be very good Economy award availability throughout.

Award Space only available on 17 September 2018 onwards

Revenue Fares on inaugural flight only available on Premium Economy and Economy

In the case of revenue fares, Hong Kong to Washington on 15 Sep 2018 is sold out on Business Class. So even if you could afford it, you can’t have it (unless maybe you’re a MPC Diamond Plus or some sort). Premium Economy and Economy Class revenue fares are still available. If you start your journey from Singapore however, Cathay’s search engine would not allow you to route on CX860 to IAD on their A350-1000. Instead you’d be routed via LAX with a domestic connection with American Airlines. Even if you tried using the Multi-City tool, you would still not be able to see CX860 available for booking.

However, starting your journey from Hong Kong would give you the option to select CX860 (and the returning CX861) as the flight of choice :

Comes out to about S$900 return in Economy and SGD3500 in Premium Economy

Cathay’s seats on their A350-1000 are the same as that on their A350-900. Meaning you’ll see the new Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class seats on the A350-1000. Below is Cathay’s seat map for their A350-1000 aircraft :

Airbus A350-1000 seating plan
Photo Credits : Cathay Pacific

You can also check out Aaron’s review of Cathay’s A350 Business Class seat here.

Conclusion

If you’re really keen to be on an inaugural A350-1000 flight, Cathay Pacific’s flight on the 15 September 2018 is your best bet within the region. Economy revenue fares are rather reasonable with positioning flights to Hong Kong available for around S$400 on full service carriers.

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