The Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Experience

I’d previously only flown on Cathay Pacific once before on a flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong back in 2006, which I rather enjoyed.

I also really enjoyed that first visit to Hong Kong, and a return visit was definitely on the to do list.

So I was super excited when I had the opportunity recently to fly from Sydney to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy class.

an airplane
My ride at Sydney Airport

I’m a terrible sleeper on flights.

I hate being cramped and need to be as flat as possible, so the first thing that came to my mind prior to undertaking this 9 hour flight was “yes, more leg room and a bigger seat. I should get a decent sleep for once!”

The Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Experience
Woo Hoo…

Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy Class is designed to be an overall enhancement of the Economy Class experience for travellers looking for added value in the way of more comfort, space, and personal attention.

Sounded good to me. So how did I enjoy it? Below is a run down on the features and what I experienced.

Priority Check-in

I’m a frequent traveller, and as someone who usually has two kids in toe, every little benefit helps. Although I was flying solo this time, as I arrived at the check-in counter in Sydney my eyes lit up at the fact there was no one in my line for Premium Economy. However, Economy Class was a different story.

As a Premium Economy ticket holder you are allocated priority check-in at dedicated counters which made for a quick and painless process and got my trip off on a positive note.

Priority Boarding

You also have the benefit of priority boarding at the gate before Economy Class passengers. I’ll be honest, it was a nice feeling to walk straight on up and inside the plane without hassles.

And considering Premium is more towards the front of the plane, there is no fighting your way to the back, kids in toe, waiting for others to store their luggage in the overhead storage.

Is it just me, or do you also find some people take an incredibly LONG time to get settled and positioned in their seats, blocking the aisle for others to get passed?

I “like” this priority boarding benefit and being closer to the front. Makes disembarkation a lot quicker too if you have connecting flights to make.

Increased Luggage Allowance

There’s an increase in baggage allowance from 20kg to 25kg OR two pieces of baggage from 23kg to 25kg each. Let me tell you, from priority check-in and boarding to more baggage allowance, all these benefits make the world of difference when travelling with kids.

Once  I was seated I got my first taste of the Cathay Pacific Premium hospitality. The flight attendants brought around a cold drink (can be either a juice or champagne), an amenity kit (including of a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eyeshade, and ear plugs) and a hot towel.

 Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
the bag of goodies 🙂

Nice gestures and certainly helped freshen me up and settle in for the long flight ahead.

The Seating

As mentioned, I hate being cramped and enjoy my personal space. Compared to the traditional Economy Class, Premium customers are seated in a separate cabin with between 26 to 34 seats per aircraft.

So it’s a more spacious and quieter environment. As for the actual seats, here is a list of the many features compared to traditional Economy:

  • Wider seats
  • seat pitch is 38 inches – 6 inches more than economy class

check out the recliner

plane seats
Could you sleep at this angle?
  • Front row seats have a leg rest + massive amounts of leg room.
plane seats
check out the leg room!!
  • Other seats have a three-position foot rest (and still great leg room)
plane seats
Still great leg room
  • Headrest has 4-way movement offering excellent support
  • Large pillows
  • Large meal table
  • Cocktail table
  • In-seat power outlet
  • Extra personal stowage space

As a blogger with a laptop I had ample room in which to write due to the wider seats and larger meal table, and you really notice the extra degrees of decline in the seat which helped me to get some much needed shut eye.

The Food

As a vegetarian, I usually find airline meals to be uninspiring, and small in quantity.

As a Cathay Premium customer I did notice the difference in quality, plus the additional snack choices such as the fresh fruit platter, the cheese and crackers, and dessert were good value add ons.

food and a glass of wine on a tray
snack time with a glass of Australian red
food on a tray
A tray of food and a glass of wine
A plate of food
cheese and fruits
A piece of cake on a plate
delicious raspberry cheesecake

The beverage selection was broad, and I had a choice of quality French or Australian wines which were available throughout the flight, as was the beer.

The Entertainment System

I’m a MASSIVE fan of entertainment systems.

As a parent, when you travel with two young kids, these entertainment systems are “priceless” in keeping the kids entertained on long flights.

Coloring books and pencils only go so far, but when you have tons of movie options, TV shows, games, and music to tap into it certainly makes for a more enjoyable flight (for everyone), and one that seems to pass much more quickly.

And trust me, I know.

Caz and I had the miss fortune a few years ago of enduring a Qantas flight from Auckland to Los Angeles (13 hours) with NO entertainment system as it had shut down. Even the reading lights didn’t work for the majority of the time! Do you think that was a LONG and BORING flight??

Here’s what you get in Premium on Cathay:

a small television screen
widescreen tv
  • 10.6 inch widescreen personal TV
  • Noise cancelling headset
  • In-seat multi-port conector which allows you to stream audio and video from personal devices to the widescreen TV
  • Tons of movies, TV shows, Cartoons, Games, and Music options

The Service

What can I say, I’ve never had poor service on an Asian carrier and the Cathay Premium experience was no different. The flight attendants were friendly, attentive, and prompt with their service.

In Conclusion

I found the above mentioned Premium Economy benefits to be of good value and a definite upgrade over economy, particularly when you’re talking about long haul flights, and especially when travelling with kids.

As of August 2012, Premium Economy Class is featured on selected flights on long haul routes including Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Paris, Delhi and Dubai.

Cathay has an all round great network:

 Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
great network

Would you like to fly Cathay Pacific Premium Economy?

Disclosure: My flight was courtesy of Cathay Pacific

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