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 EconomyΒ class.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
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 πŸ™‚

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

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
Could you sleep at this angle?
  • Front row seats have a leg rest + massive amounts of leg room.
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
check out the leg room!!
  • Other seats have a three-position foot rest (and still great leg room)
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
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.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
snack time with a glass of Australian red
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
breakfast
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
Dinner
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
cheese and fruits
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
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:

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy
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

36 thoughts on “The Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Experience”

  1. Hi Efix,

    Yes of course. We always disclose. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and I have added it at the bottom. It was an oversight and simply forgot as I’m currently at the hospital with my sick 1 year old daughter with many things racing through my head. Cheers!

  2. “WOW” = I have travelled on a couple of different airlines and they certainly don’t come up to par – do they, all I can say is “SMICK AS” I know what airline I’m travelling on. Mad.

  3. That looks amazing! I’m a little jealous knowing that my American Airlines flight to South America in a couple days will look NOTHING like that.
    Oh and a quick note on an Asian carrier that does disappoint, China Southern, my flight from China to LA was a lot like that Quantas flight you talked about, and with zero leg room. Avoid them at all costs πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Yes, the China Southern reputation seems to be a little negative. Have never flown with them, and obviously safety is the number one priority πŸ™‚ Enjoy your trip to South America!

  4. I flew with them first class direct from Toronto to Hong Kong and I was absolutely BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER with the service. That being said, if you’re in first class, you should have pretty high expectations.

    I did get a chance to look at the business class, but not any further back. Cathay is a 5star airline and I wouldn’t hesitate to highly recommend them to anyone.

    I wish I were Australian, damn it! I would absolutely LOVE a chance at experiencing Premium Economy πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Melissa,

      Wow, now I’m jealous. Judging from my Premium Economy experience First Class would be A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Agreed, we already recommended them to other travellers before I took this trip because of our first experience flying LA -> HK back in 06.

  5. I looked at flying Cathay’s premium economy a couple of years ago but ended up going with Asiana in regular economy (which was a FANTASTIC experience! I agree with what you said about never having had a bad flight on an Asian carrier…so true! Did you think it was really worth the additional expense over Cathay’s regular economy class though, especially as the same entertainment system is available there?

    1. Hey Aaron,

      As mentioned my trip was sponsored by Cathay. And I’m not entirely sure of the $$ upgrade, but obviously it would fit somewhere in between Business and Economy. I feel there is definitely a niche there for those that can’t afford business but want more than standard economy.

      From my understanding the TV screen is bigger in Premium. But to answer your question, and as I mentioned in the post, it’s much more than just an entertainment system, it’s a whole enhancement from priority check-in, more baggage, bigger and more comfortable seat, better and more food etc. When talking long haul, and travelling with kids, and trying to work on the flight as a blogger, sure I see the value in the added benefits. Obviously its a personal choice as to what part of your trip you want to allocate your travel dollars, but if you can afford it why not?

      And I guess you could ask business travellers the same question: why fly business when you can go Premium? Just depends on what you value as important!

  6. Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    Wow, it looks amazing. I flew Air Singapore one time and it was one of the better flights of my life… this looks no different! Lucky you, I always fly coach with Delta.

  7. come to the gopinath bordaloi innternational airport too,,at guwahati ,,assam,,india,,, m too like fly with cathai pacific ,,huwwwww……………………..

  8. Looks incredible! It is nice to have the extra leg room and the entertainment as well as good food. Nice to know that Cathay Pacific adds so much value to the flight – makes for an easier journey.
    And you can bet I will be entering the competition – a flight to Hong Kong would be the bomb πŸ™‚

  9. Good review. I’d fly premium economy in EVA air (called elite class)but not in CX. EVA got a leg rest on every seat. From your description seems only the 1st row got the leg rest. Will it be not too comfortable without the leg rest? Just curious.

  10. My husband and I had a Cathay Pacific return flight from Incheon Korea to Sydney last August 2012. It was our first CX experience. Overall, it was ok. The food was nice and the service was really good. Although, on our flight from Sydney to HK, bad luck, my entertainment system wasn’t working! They tried rebooting it several times but failed. They offered me a different seat but I declined since I want to be seated next to my husband. Surprisingly, when we arrived at HKIA, a Cathay Pacific airport staff approached us and gave us new boarding passes for our connecting flight to Incheon. Voila! FREE Business Class Upgrade!

    1. Hi Marie,

      Unfortunately sometimes technology just doesn’t work, as happened on our Qantas flight. But that’s amazing they gave you a free business class upgrade. Hat tip to Cathay Pacific πŸ™‚

  11. This looks like a great option for people who don’t want to splurge on business class. I’ve been lucky to be in the exit row on my last few flights, so space hasn’t been a concern, but as I’ve been flying on airlines where I don’t have status I have missed the priority check-in and boarding. So nice not to have to stand in those lines!

  12. I am booked in premium economy from HK to Melbourne then returning from Sydney next month. I have bought one of those small portable folding stools for $10 online and plan to use it as a foot stool as I am in seat 30K with all the added space in front…should be almost like flying business class!

  13. Hi Craig,

    It looks like you had a good flight and hope that chair helped you to get some rest. I fly a lot and can never predict if I’ll sleep successfully or not. This is irrespective of the seat or how tired I am.

    I recently put a review on my blog of the A380, I would certainly recommend trying the Emirates version if you are ever fortunate to get the chance.

    Thanks for a detailed and well structured review of your flight.

  14. I’ve just booked a Premium Economy ticket to London in September. Cathay Pacific have a great deal going at the moment so I got a terrific deal. I read your article and now I’m really looking forward to my trip. You answered all my questions in your blog, Thanks.

  15. Thank you so much for this article. It’s such a coincidence that I’m traveling with my two kids from Hong Kong to Sydney as well.

    When traveling alone, if the flight is more than 4 hours, I take Business Class. A shorter flight than that and I can survive in Economy. But on this long haul trip with my kids I chose to try Premium Economy partly because of your post.

    So thanks again!

  16. Taking a premium economy flight with CP tomorrow and found your piece very informative.. looking forward to seeing if my experience lives up to yours.. will let you know.
    DP

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