Review: Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class (HKG-MNL)

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Cathay Pacific flight details

Airline : Cathay Pacific
Flight No : CX919
Departure City : Hong Kong (HKG)
Arrival City : Manila – Ninoy Aquino (MNL)
Equipment : Airbus A330-300 (B-HLM)
Blocked Time : 2h35m
Seat No: 42K

Cathay Pacific is Hong Kong’s flag carrier and the territory’s largest airline. Founded in 1946 by Australian and American co-founders, the airline has long been considered amongst the world’s best airlines. After flying the airline’s brand new Airbus A321neo to Hong Kong, it was time for me to return to Manila on the backbone of their fleet, the Airbus A330-300.


I checked out early from Park Hotel Hong Kong, to get to Hong Kong International Airport early enough review multiple lounges. Speifically, I arrived at the airport at 09.55 for this 14.05 departure :D. After arriving on the Airport Express, I headed up one floor to the Check-in Hall. Upon exiting the escalators, I was directly faced my a myriad of Cathay Pacific check-in kiosks. These self-use kiosks are the primary airport check-in option for Cathay Pacific passengers travelling in Economy Class.

Cathay Pacific Economy Class check-in

However, by virtue of my Cathay Diamond status, I was able to check-in in the sleek-looking dedicated First Class Check-in Area. Despite the lack of luggage convevor belts, here your agent will tag your checked bags, which will be manually brought to a conveyor.

Cathay Pacific First Class Check-in Area

Given how empty it was, I was attended to immediately by a friendly agent who reconfirmed that I was only flying to Manila. Soon I was issued my boarding pass, along with a Courtesy Channel departure card for immigration and security.


Being the home of Cathay Pacific, passengers eligible for lounge access are spoilt for choice in Hong Kong International Airport. Specifically, the airline operates five lounges, all of which you could visit provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Of the five, two are First Class Lounges, open to First Class passengers and oneworld Emerald card holders. I’ve reviewed three of the lounges in past instalments, including The Wing, First, The Wing, Business, and The Deck. Additionally, there’s also a Qantas Business Class Lounge, also available to eligible Cathay Pacific passengers.

The Wing, First Class Lounge


My flight was scheduled to depart from Gate 1, which is a short walk away from The Wing, Business Class Lounge. I got to the boarding gate at 13.20, five minutes before the printed boarding time. Despite that, pre-boarding only started 11 minutes later, at 13.31. Although I was in Boarding Group 1, I noticed that nearly half of the plane were families with young children. As they qualify for pre-boarding, this was a near fruitless attempt to board first and get pictures of the empty cabin.

Boarding gate at Hong Kong International Airport

General boarding started four minutes later, during which I was finally able to board. Seeing a massive holdup in the jetbridge connected to Door 2L, I quickly took this opportunity and cheekily boarded through Door 1L in time to snap some pictures. At the door, I was thankfully met by the Senior Purser, who recognised my status and warmly greeted me. Phew!

Boarding our plane

Cathay Pacific A321neo Cabin

With 42 jets in its fleet, the Airbus A330-300 is undoubtedly the backbone of Cathay Pacific’s fleet. Given its versatility, it is no surprise that the airline has five distinct cabin configurations for this aircraft type. On today’s flight, we were scheduled to fly with a regional 33P type Airbus A330-300, which with 317 seats, is the densest of the five configurations.

Business Class cabin

Having boarded via Door 1L, I managed to get a brief peek of the Business Class cabin the front of the aircraft. The cabin features 24 regional Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Being fixed-shell recliners, these seats are universally considered to be the least desirable Cathay Pacific Business Class seat. Like the new seats on the A321neo, these seats can be power reclined to a cradle-like lazy-Z position.

Cathay Pacific A330 Regional Business Class
Cathay Pacific A330 Regional Business Class

On the seat back is a 12.1-inch LCD touch screen Panasonic EX monitor, which was cutting edge when it was introduced back in 2012. Since large tray tables take up most of the seatback, the literature pocket has been curiously moved next to the foot space. Under the television screen is the pull-out tray table, sturdy enough for laptop work.

Cathay Pacific A330 Regional Business Class
Cathay Pacific A330 Regional Business Class

Economy Class cabin

Immediately past the small Business Class cabin is the Economy Class mini-cabin, which has just 28 seats. This is followed by two more Economy Class cabins, totalling at 293 seats for the entire aircraft. The seats feature a standard 2-4-2 configuration and are decked in Cathay Pacific’s old blue-themed Economy colourscheme.

Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class
Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class

Curiously, these seats are identical to those found on premium-configured Airbus A330s, with a generous seat pitch of 32 inches. Combined with the more-than-average seat width of 18.1 inches, the great pitch made this a very comfortable ride to Manila.

Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class
Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class

Seat details

On this flight, I was seated in 42K, the right-hand window seat on the last row of the Economy Class mini cabin. Although these seats are much older compared to the ones on the A321neo, I really felt how well-padded and comfortable they were. In particular, I liked the small exposed storage shelf under the television. This space is big enough for a phone and a passport, which I think is a clever design aspect.

Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class seat
Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class seat

Under the shelf is a double-folded tray table, sturdy enough for use as a laptop work surface. The table also features a built-in cupholder for when it is not in use. In addition to the tray table, there is also a coat hook located next to the IFE screen. Finally, there is also a netted pouch sewn onto the seatback pocket, also big enough for a phone.

Economy Class seat tray table
Economy Class seat cupholder

Furthermore, I’ll note that the legroom was expectedly excellent for a short-haul product. At my height of 180 cm or 5’11, there was a gap of about 12 cm (4.7 inches) between my knees and the seatback, sitting up straight. I personally think this is very generous and definitely a perk of flying the A330!

Economy Class legroom
Economy Class legroom

Although the seat is generally excellent, I’ll admit that the 9-inch LCD personal entertainment monitors are starting to look quite old. Despite that, I still commend Cathay Pacific for keeping these screens well-kept, given how responsive and intuitive they still are. In addition to the responsive touch-screen monitor, there is also a USB-A power outlet under it.

Economy Class entertainment screen


Presented in the seatback pocket of each seat is a copy of the Cathay inflight magazine, along with an airsickness bag and a safety instruction card. Curiously, unlike the flight from Manila, there weren’t any special pillows or blankets left in the seat, in view of loyalty recognition. A bit of a pity, although such pillows and blankets are available on request, regardless.

Cathay magazine and seatback pocket contents


Before the cabin filled up, I very quickly went and checked out the Economy Class lavatories behind my seat. I’m happy to report that despite its old-looking design, the lavatories were clean and in great condition. As expected, there weren’t any special amenities apart from an unbranded bottles of lotion on one corner of the vanity.

Economy Class lavatory

Departure from Hong Kong

Boarding was completed after just about 22 minutes since its start, by which time the doors were closed. On this flight, Economy Class was completely full with no few empty seats left. Although the aisle seat next to me was originally blocked, it ended up being opened and occupied by another status-holding passenger. As the doors were closed, our Australian captain welcomed us on board with a clear announcement in English. He noted the clear weather along the way and our flight time of 1 hour and 50 minutes to Manila.

View out the window during boarding

We started pushback at 14.13, eight minutes after our scheduled departure time. During this time, the safety video was played. As we taxied to our runway, the Filipino Senior Purser came by to introduce herself and welcomed any special requests. Like the flight to Manila, the pre-departure bottled water I’ve come to expect was not offered.

Cathay Pacific A350s in Hong Kong
Safety video

After a long taxi, we finally made it to the brand-new Runway 07L. We took off at 14.26, 21 minutes after our scheduled departure time. Next stop, Manila!

Takeoff from Hong Kong

Lunch Service

Precisely 10 minutes after takeoff, the captain finally switched off the seatbelt signs. Five minutes after that, the cabin crew came around with an inflight service cart, marking the start of the lunch service. Like the flight from Manila, hot meals are served, again without a choice of meals. On offer on today’s flight is Pork in Tomato Sauce over Rice. This was served on a tray with a small bottle of water and a wet towel.

Pork in Tomato Sauce over Rice meal
Pork in Tomato Sauce over Rice meal

As I already had a heavy meal at The Wing, First, I merely picked around the dish. However, amongst the few bites I took, I did find the dish to be well-seasoned and comforting. This meal was likewise served using metal cutlery, which in Economy Class is always very impressive. Just like the flight from Manila, choices of drink weren’t proactively offered, although available on demand.

Pork in Tomato Sauce over Rice meal

Inflight Entertainment

After the meal service, I shifted my focus to the entertainment selection. Like any other Cathay Pacific aircraft, this flight offers the airline’s award-winning Studio CX system. There was an extensive selection of films, including quite a few new releases. In addition, there is also a special selection of certain genres, featuring the likes of a complete set of A24 films. For the rest of the flight, I decided to continue my John Wick movies binge, which I started on the flight from Manila.

Studio CX entertainment system
View from the window inflight


Since the Senior Purser often passed through our cabin and assisted the other crew, I’d have to say that the service on this flight was quite good. In such a sense, every flight attendant I interacted with was warm and friendly. It was clear that they were trying their best to provide service. For instance, the Senior Purser was very apologetic when she couldn’t find me a bottle of water after I requested one. However, she proactively offered top-ups on the glass of water I received instead.

Arrival in Hong Kong

About 30 minutes before landing, the captain announced the commencement of descent and shared the details of our arrival. We were expected to land early at 16.10 local time. 20 minutes before landing, the seatbelt signs were lit and the cabin was prepared for landing. Expectedly, the crew passed by the cabin to ensure that all seats were put back upright and that the window shades were opened.

Approaching Manila

Similar to my experience on the ANA flight to Manila earlier, we were treated to some really good views of the expansive Manila skyline. Although it was cloudy on our approach, we were still fully able to see all the skyscrapers and highrises of Makati as we neared Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

View on approach to Ninoy Aquino International Airport

At 16.06, we had a very smooth landing at Runway 24, which is the longest of the two runways at Ninoy Aquino Airport. This was 24 minutes before our scheduled time of arrival. As we taxied to Terminal 3, we passed some interesting planes you don’t see every day, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757!

Landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Traffic at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

We finally arrived at our gate at 16.18, parking next to a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER which just arrived from Doha. As we pulled into the parking position, the purser thanked us for flying with Cathay Pacific and welcomed us to Manila. The doors opened five minutes later and I thanked the flight attendants as I disembarked the aircraft.

Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport


Despite the older equipment, Cathay Pacific still offers an excellent and solid Economy Class product on its Airbus A330-300. For one, I appreciated the hot food offering as well as the excellent StudioCX inflight entertainment system, being offered on this short flight. In addition, I’ll also note that the seats on this flight were very comfortable, with much better legroom compared to the flight to Hong Kong. In any case, however, as a Cathay member, I think it’s a given that I won’t hesitate to fly with them again 😉

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