First look: Cathay Pacific’s new premium economy seats

9 Apr 2024 by Tamsin Cocks
Cathay Pacific premium economy mockup 3 (image by Business Traveller)

Cathay Pacific revealed mock ups of its new premium economy product at a media preview in Hong Kong’s Freespace centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The new premium economy is set to debut on the upgraded Boeing 777-300ER aircraft later this year, alongside the new business class Aria suite, which appeared in a teaser video last month.

Cathay Pacific premium econ B777 mock up (image by Business Traveller)

First impressions of the cabin reveal a sophisticated colour scheme of muted greeny greys and brown leather accents.

There’s no change to dimensions: the seats will remain the same size in terms of width (21 inches) pitch (40 inches) and recline (8 inches), and be configured in a 2-4-2 layout.

Where there are going to be improvements is with increased privacy and upgraded tech.

Cathay Pacific premium econ head wings (image by Business Traveller)

A new winged headrest design affords much greater privacy to passengers, with the extended design effectively hiding your neighbour’s face from sight. Of course, it’s still easy to lean forward and chat to a companion.

Discreet personal reading spotlights are also installed in these wings.

Cathay Pacific prem econ mockup 2024 (image by Business Traveller)

Brown leather cushioned headrests and new brown leather footrest straps offer added comfort and a more premium feel.

Meanwhile new storage options include a leather-fronted pouch on the inside of the seat, along with a USB-C charging device. Regular USB and AC power points will be located down by your legs.

A brown leather seat-back pocket will also be able to store up to a 13-inch laptop.

Cathay Pacific premium econ mockup side pockets (image by Business Traveller)

Recline and leg rest controls are located on the other side of the chair along with a remote.

Individual cocktail tables slide out from the front of the central divider to increase space for cups or glasses, while a tray also comes out of the armrest.

Cathay Pacific premium econ mockup IFE (image by Business Traveller)

Another notable upgrade is a drastic increase in the size of the IFE screen, with the new screens stretching to an impressive 15.6 inches (up from 11 inches) and featuring high-definition 4K monitors plus Bluetooth pairing. 

The new premium economy will also feature the latest GUI (graphical user interface) system that is progressively being rolled out, starting with the A350 aircraft and new fleet additions. This will come with a reconsidered navigation system that is more thematic, an updated 3D map, and better cameras for live nose and tail views.

Cathay recently launched partnerships with Disney +, HBO Max and Paramount to offer a wider range of content in addition to live sports.

Passengers will also be able to use the new system not just to watch movies but to “control their customer experience”, which could include things like browsing menu options and inflight shopping. 

Later this year the carrier will also reveal new sustainable dining elements in premium economy and economy.

Cathay Pacific premium econ mockup dining (image by Business Traveller)

The showcase also highlighted some of Cathay’s recent dining partnerships with the Michelin-starred Duddells, and French fine-dining restaurant Louise, plus a new partnership with Rosewood for in-lounge dining.

Cathay Pacific merchandise (image by Business Traveller)

New items in the Cathay Shop were also on display, including a range of Cathay-branded Samsonite luggage, new eye mask and neck pillow, retro Cathay bags, plus a range of upcycled furniture created in partnership with Start from Zero including a cute cabin trolley cabinet.

Cathay is set to celebrate some major product launches in the next three years in addition to the new premium economy.

When Aria debuts on 30 of the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ER, first class will disappear and this plane will have one single configuration with business, premium economy and economy.

Instead a new first class product is set to appear on the Boeing 777-9s next year.

In 2026 a new regional business class on the A330 is also expected to make its debut, with a lie-flat product.

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The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
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