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Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Premium Economy, Amsterdam to Hong Kong, A350-900

Cathay Pacific A350 Plane Wing

Early in 2023, I got the chance to fly Cathay Pacific Premium Economy, long-haul, from Amsterdam to Hong Kong onboard their A350-900. I have flown Premium Economy with other airlines around the world, including Air New Zealand, so was excited to see how Cathay Pacific compared.

Below is my full review of the Amsterdam to Hong Kong flight, in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy cabin aboard the A350-900.

Check-in Experience at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Check in was a breeze. There were two check in lines. One for Cathay Silver, Gold and Diamond, oneworld Ruby and above, and for Premium Economy and Business passengers. The other check in line was for all other passengers in Economy. There were plenty of staff on hand, and the lines moved very quickly.

Delta and KLM Planes at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Apron views of KLM planes (and one Delta plane) from the Aspire Lounge 41.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: Cathay Pacific Lounge Access

As Cathay Pacific only has one daily flight from Amsterdam Schiphol per day, Cathay Pacific provide their oneworld Sapphire and Emerald, Cathay Gold and Diamond and Business Class passengers with access to the third-party contract Aspire Lounge 41.

As of January 2024, the Aspire Lounge 41 is currently closed due to renovation.

On my visit in early 2023, the Aspire Lounge 41 was completely full, and they were only letting in Business Class and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald passengers. Amsterdam Schiphol suffered from a massive rebound in travel demand post-pandemic, which has meant that Priority Pass and Dragon Pass members are almost constantly turned away from this lounge. A separate lounge was opened downstairs with reduced amenities for Priority Pass and Dragon Pass members at the time.

As the lounge was at capacity, it was difficult to find seating. The food was very underwhelming, and the bar selection was quite poor. There were chargable showers too. Not a great pre-flight experience, but better than no airport lounge at all. Hopefully they are currently working on increasing capacity, and improving their food and beverage offering, and amenities.

Unfortunately there are not many airport lounges at Amsterdam Schiphol besides the KLM Crown Lounges (SkyTeam), so Cathay Pacific does not have much choice to reward its premium passengers and frequent flyers.

Priority Boarding

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy passengers enjoy priority boarding through a separate boarding queue, after business class has boarded. Cathay Silver, Gold and Diamond, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald passengers also get priority boarding before all other Economy passengers.

As the flight was already boarding when I arrived to the gate from the Aspire Lounge 41, I could board straight away.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy Cabin Layout

The Cathay Pacific A350-900 Premium Economy cabin is set out in a 2-4-2 configuration on the A350. Additionally, rows 30 and row 32 have 2 windows, versus the other rows which have just one. There are 4 rows of 2 seats on each side, with 3 rows of 4 seats in the center of the Premium Economy cabin.

The Cathay Pacific A350-900 has just 3 center rows, whereas the A350-1000 has a 4th center row in Premium Economy.

Champagne Welcome Drink, Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Pre-Departure Service

Before departure, a friendly flight attendant came around and introduced herself, and offered a welcome drink of champagne, orange juice or still water. Hot towels were also offered pre-takeoff.

A great first impression and nice to see in Premium Economy.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Amenity Kit

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Amenities

Waiting on my seat upon boarding was a bottle of water and a Cathay Pacific Premium Economy amenity kit. A thick quilted blanket, passive noise cancelling headphones, a pillow and today’s food and beverage menu was also provided.

The blanket was thick and well needed on today’s flight since the cabin temperature was quite cold throughout the entire flight. The pillow was well stuffed and a good size that was substantial, but not intrustively large. The noise cancelling headphones were a definite step-up from a standard economy pair, and comfortable to wear for long periods.

The amenity kit was fairly basic, but served it’s purpose onboard this flight. Within the Cathay Pacific Premium Economy amenity kit were the following amenities:

  • Earplugs
  • Eyemask
  • Flight Socks
  • Dental Kit (Toothbrush and Toothpaste)

A definite step-up from Economy, but I do think the Air New Zealand Premium Economy amenities are better by comparison.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Seat
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Seat Controls

Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy Seat

The Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy seat is noticeably larger and more comfortable than Economy Class. Each seat is 20” wide, with a generous seat pitch of 40”. The seat is well-padded, perfect for long-haul journeys to and from Hong Kong. The legroom is very generous, and perfect for tall travellers.

The Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy seat also features an adjustable extendable footrest with a calf rest.

In the center console armrest are stylish aluminium seat control buttons, the in-flight entertainment remote, and the tray table. There is also a universal power point, however it didn’t work for some reason on this flight. There is a USB-A charger too.

On the seat back in front, there is plenty of storage for all your belongings. There is also a tablet shelf, if you want to watch your own in-flight entertainment on this flight.

A very comfortable Premium Economy seat indeed, packed with seat features and everything you need for a long-haul Cathay Pacific flight.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Food and Wine

I was really looking forward to seeing how Cathay Pacific’s food and beverage offering stacks up when compared to Air New Zealand Premium Economy. Most airline Premium Economy offerings are either “Economy Plus” or “Business Light” products, with Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy the latter.

Here was the menu on today’s flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong, in Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy:

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Menu
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Menu

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Dinner Menu


  • Couscous Salad


  • Steamed cod with mui choy, mixed vegetables and steamed rice
  • Mediterranean chicken breast peperonata and creamy polenta
  • Cream cheese tortellini with lemon sauce, bell pepper, cherry tomato and asparagus


  • Seasonal Fruit
  • Movenpick Ice Cream
Cup Noodles

Mid-Flight Snacks

  • (Big) Cup Noodles in a variety of flavors
  • Fruit
  • Assorted Snacks

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Breakfast Menu


  • Seasonal Fresh Fruit
  • Fruit Yogurt
  • Bakery Selection
  • Fruit Preserve and Butter


  • Scrambled Egg with chives, turkey sausage, peperonata, and rosti potato
  • Stir fried egg noodles with pork and vegetables

A really nice and extensive menu in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy on this flight. A great mix of western and Cantonese options, as well as a vegetarian option too. However, I would say this menu suggests Cathay Pacific Premium Economy is an Economy Lite product, rather than Business Light.

I ordered a VGML special meal (Vegetarian Vegan) on this flight.

This was my dinner and breakfast in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy:

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy VGML Lunch Meal

Cathay Pacific VGML Dinner Menu


  • Rice cakes
  • Garden Side Salad


  • Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce with Pinenuts


  • Seasonal Fruit Salad
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy VGML Breakfast Meal

Cathay Pacific VGML Breakfast Menu


  • Rice cakes
  • Apple Sauce
  • Jam and Margarine
  • Seasonal Fruit Salad


  • Spiced Black Beans
  • Herbed Polenta
  • Curried Green Beans

My dinner was fine, nothing special but perfectly good and delicious. My breakfast, while it tasted good, was presented very sloppily, and elements of the hot main were mushy after reheating.

I think Cathay Pacific Premium Economy is definitely more Economy Plus rather than Business Light which is disappointing. For airfares that can be roughly double the Economy fare on some flight routes, Premium Economy food should be elevated and closer to Business Class, not roughly the same as Economy. 

In saying that, this food was fine, tasty and very edible, but you could tell it was done to a tight budget. It is nice to see real cutlery and crockery provided though.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Beer, Wine and Spirits List

Beer, Wine and Spirits Selection

A selection of beers, wines and spirits were available in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy, that were a small step up from a typical Economy offering. Additionally, there were the standard non-alcoholic options available too. Here is what was on offer on today’s flight:


  • Karlu Karlu Chardonnay Semillion 2017/2018, Australia
  • Montgravet Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Cotes de Gascogne, France
  • Cave d’Azé Macon Villages Clocher 2017, Burgundy, France
  • La Campagne Merlot 2018, Pays d’Oc, France
  • Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Tinto Classico 2018, Campo de Borja, Spain
  • Chateau de Taillan 2012, Haut-Medoc, France


  • Heineken
  • Betsy Pale Ale
  • Gweilo Craft Beer


  • Chivas Regal 12 Years Whisky
  • Courvoisier VSOP Cognac
  • Finlandia Vodka
  • Gordon’s Gin
  • Bacardi Rum

Non-alcoholic Options

  • Soft Drinks
  • Juices
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Besides the welcome drink option of Champagne, no Champagne is served in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy which is disappointing. The wine selection was fine and perfectly drinkable, and it was good to see Cathay Pacific’s signature beer, Betsy, on offer too. A perfectly fine bar selection, but nothing outstanding and no highlights to note.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy In-flight Entertainment
Cathay Pacific Moving Map

Cathay Pacific In-flight Entertainment

I was shocked at how great the Cathay Pacific in-flight entertainment system is. With over 3000 hours of content, across movies, TV shows including content from the BBC, HBO Max and Disney+, games, music and podcasts, you won’t get bored.

In fact, Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment system won the 2023 Skytrax World’s Best In-flight Entertainment Award.

There are also plenty of multi-lingual options in a variety of languages, with subtitles in English as well as several other language options. This is great as there are plenty of foreign language movies to watch when you’ve caught up on all the new release movies.

Cathay Pacific really does take the term “new releases” seriously. I remember when airlines offered brand new movies whilst they were still in the cinema. Unfortunately, this has been lost due to constant cost cutting, and the delay from cinema to seatback gets wider every year. Cathay Pacific has a fantastic selection of new release movies, including movies still showing in cinemas. Find out what in-flight entertainment will be available on your next Cathay Pacific flight here.

Additionally, the Cathay Pacific A350 moving map is great, with lots of advanced features. The A350 also features a tail camera, and camera under the aircraft. Personally, I think the tail camera is the best AvGeek entertainment for takeoff, sunrise or sunset, and landing.

In summary, Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment is stellar, and amongst the best of any airline in the world.

Cathay Pacific A350 Tail Camera
Tail Camera on the Cathay Pacific A350-900.
Aerial View of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
View of Victoria Harbour on another trip to Hong Kong during daytime.

A350 Arrival: Landing in Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

The final approach into Hong Kong International Airport is amongst my favourite in the world. Enough of an excuse to try and get a window seat on the left side of the aircraft when flying into Hong Kong.

The typical final approach flight path for the majority of flights (wind dependent) flies over the New Territories then northward over Sai Kung, banking left over Sha Tin before descending over the Port / Container Terminal and into Runway 25R.

Heading northward over Sai Kung, passengers on the left side of the aircraft have a fantastic view over Kowloon, Hong Kong Central and Victoria Harbour. So definitely try get a window seat on the left side of the aircraft if you are flying Cathay Pacific into Hong Kong International Airport.

How to Upgrade to Cathay Pacific Premium Economy


I booked this flight with Cash, paying for Premium Economy outright. Cathay Pacific does have great sales, and sometimes Premium Economy is only slightly more than Economy. If you are flexible with dates, you may be able to find cheap Premium Economy flights on the route you are after by booking through Cathay Pacific directly with their limited time promo codes.

Asia Miles

If you book an Economy fare, you can upgrade to Cathay Pacific Premium Economy with Asia Miles. What I love about this method is you will still receive the underlying Asia Miles and Status Points on the base Economy fare, essentially discounting the cost to upgrade whilst the flight still counts towards earning Cathay status.

Whilst Asia Miles upgrades are subject to availability (and on this flight, Cathay Pacific Premium Economy was full), you can book this upgrade early to guarantee your seat.

For this flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific charge just 27,500 Asia Miles to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy, which is a steal. Cathay Asia Miles is a credit card rewards partner to many credit card companies worldwide (including American Express Membership Rewards), so it should be quick and easy to transfer credit card rewards points to Cathay Asia Miles.

Bookable Upgrades

If you hold Cathay Gold or Diamond status, you can use bookable upgrades to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy on this route. However, given how valuable bookable upgrades are, you will probably get a much higher redemption value from using them on upgrading from Premium Economy to Cathay Pacific Business Class or from Business Class to First Class.

Student Fares

If you are a student in full-time tertiary education, Cathay Pacific has some great student fares which include Economy and Premium Economy discounted airfares, and added perks. It does depend on which country you are departing from and where you are heading to, as their student offers do differ between countries.

Student offers can include cheaper airfares, extra baggage allowances, free flight changes, bonus Asia Miles and Cathay Shopping discounts (Hong Kong only), depending on the departure country.

Flights to and from certain countries do also have Business Class student fares available.

For flights departing the US, check the Cathay Pacific Student Discount page here.

Departing Hong Kong, check out the Cathay Pacific Student Discount page here.

For UK departures, check the Cathay Pacific Student Discount page here.

Air New Zealand Premium Economy Cabin
Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy Cabin.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy vs. Other Airlines

I definitely think Cathay Pacific Premium Economy is an Economy Plus Premium Economy rather than a Business Light product. The seats and elevated service are great, however the product is let down by the sub-par Economy-style food and beverage offering.

Compared to Air New Zealand Premium Economy, I think Cathay Pacific has a much better in-flight entertainment system, and I like all the storage space in the seatback in front. The tablet shelf is also a great touch. However, Air New Zealand Premium Economy has a far superior food and beverage offering, better service, a better amenity kit and better overall experience in my opinion.

I think if Cathay Pacific redesigned their Premium Economy food menu, wine list and spirits list, potentially adding one or two of Cathay’s signature cocktails and mocktails found in Business Class, then Cathay Pacific would be on to a winning Premium Economy product.

Hong Kong International Airport


So the real question is would I fly Cathay Pacific Premium Economy again? Absolutely. I thoroughly enjoyed this flight, which went by in the blink of an eye. Whilst I do prefer Cathay Pacific Business Class, which is just fantastic, Premium Economy is pretty good value for money.

The Cathay Pacific Premium Economy seat is comfortable for long-haul flights, with ample legroom for tall travellers like myself, and the A350 is just a great aircraft. Quiet, comfortable and spacious, I will actively seek an A350 out on long-haul routes in the future.