Review: Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class Seoul – Hong Kong

Review: Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class Seoul – Hong Kong

  • February 8, 2023
  • Cathay Pacific 411
  • Seoul (ICN) – Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Departure: 1522(ICN)
  • Arrival: 1745(HKG)
  • Duration: 3:23
  • Aircraft: Airbus A330-342
  • Registration: B-LAJ
  • Seat: 10C (Economy Class)

It has been nearly four years since I last flew Cathay Pacific. Hong Kong was one of the most restrictive cities to visit up until now but recently, it has completely scrapped the entry requirements for COVID-19.

As I have to head to Phuket, Thailand for my connecting flight to Doha the following evening, I chose Cathay Pacific as the ticket only cost me around $258 one-way from Seoul to Phuket via Hong Kong. It was also an opportunity for me to experience Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong International Airport since my last visit to these lounges was a few months before the pandemic.

Cathay Pacific ICN-HKG Check-In

My flight to Hong Kong departed at 3 PM so I headed to the airport around noon from Seoul. After reaching the airport, I directly proceeded to the check-in counter where it took some time as I requested if the agent can through check my baggage all the way to Doha the next day.

Actually, Cathay Pacific is able to interline my checked bag all the way to Doha but the problem was the connection in Hong Kong. There were no clear details about COVID-19 test requirements on the Timatic or IATA system for Hong Kong transit passengers.

The reason behind this was, back in January, Qatar imposed a mandatory PCR test within 48 hours of departure for passengers departing from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau but it did not clarify whether transit passengers were applied.

So after a while of figuring it out, the check-in agent couldn’t risk and told me that I would have to check with Qatar Airways ground staff in Phuket if I need a PCR test to fly to Doha and that my bag will be checked only to Phuket.

Cathay Pacific ICN-HKG Boarding

Boarding started quite early during my flight to Hong Kong while I was still having lunch at the Asiana lounge. I did not have a chance to take a picture that much on this flight as the cabin was already filled with passengers when I board. I will be reviewing more in detail on my flight to Phuket since the aircraft is the same type.

Cathay Pacific A330-300(33E) Economy Class Cabin

Cathay Pacific has five different configurations of Airbus A330s and the flight I took from Seoul was “33E” with two cabin configurations. Even if it is the same aircraft, some have regional products while other has international ones.

The aircraft I flew is registered as B-LAJ, a 13-year-old aircraft but I would say the cabin was in good condition without interior aging.

Cathay Pacific A330-300(33E) Economy Class Seats

The A330-300(33E) version has a total capacity of 262 seats: 39 flatbed business class seats and 223 in the economy. The 33E version offers one of the least dense configurations on Cathay Pacific’s A330 fleet.

This aircraft has 4 sections, with 2 Business class sections at the front of the plane followed by 2 Economy class sections. The economy class seats have a wide 32 inches (81cm) pitch and 18.2 inches (46cm) of width. This makes the seat comfortable for passengers to travel.

Like every A330s, the cabin has a 2-4-2 layout and 2-3-2 on the rear section of the aircraft.

Each seat comes with a hanger beside the IFE monitor and a small compartment to keep personal devices under it.

What I like about Cathay Pacific’s seat is that there is a cupholder on the outer side of the tray reducing the need to open up and place the drink.

Cathay Pacific ICN-HKG Economy Class Dining

As a full-service carrier, meal service was offered during my three hours flight to Hong Kong. Prior to take-off, a drink service was commenced followed by the meal. The only thing I am still negative about Cathay is its drinking water.

Unlike many other airlines, Cathay serves drinking water from the tank which tastes chemicals due to disinfection. As someone who knows about ground operations, I try to avoid drinking water when it is from the aircraft water tanks. I would rather drink juices or soft drinks instead.

The main meal service started sometime after the drink service ended. There were two meal options to choose from: Pork with rice and noodles.

I chose the pork with rice and it was more of a steamed croquette with rice and vegetables. The taste was not bad when having the bread bun. And as a dessert, fruits and Haagen-Dazs ice cream were served.

Cathay Pacific A330-300(33E) Economy Class In-Flight Entertainment

The airline has an in-flight entertainment system called “Studio CX.” It has diverse content to enjoy: from the latest released movies to songs. But I noticed that different aircraft versions have a different systems. I will go over the difference in my flight from Hong Kong to Phuket in the coming review.

Cathay Pacific also distributes headsets on each seat or you can use your own one-pin earphones. Generally, most airlines use two-pin input for the headsets but thankfully, Cathay still offers one-pin.

For charging your mobile devices or laptop, you can use the USB port located under the monitor or the universal power socket located underneath the seat.

Cathay Pacific A330-300(33E) Economy Class Lavatories

 In the economy class, there are five lavatories and all are located between the forward and rear sections of the cabin. That is why I would avoid seating at the last row of the forward section and the emergency exit seats due to the number of people occupying to use the lavatories throughout the flight.


I took my first Cathay Pacific flight from Incheon to Hong Kong after nearly four years. Hong Kong was one of the most restrictive countries so far due to the pandemic but I am glad it is now fully reopened and I get to fly with Cathay Pacific to experience its lounge in Hong Kong.

I will be reviewing more about the A330’s economy class for my onward flight to Phuket since I did not have much opportunity to take a lot of pictures for this sector.

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