Some 3,000 invited guests, most of them long-time members of the Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club, turned up for the spectacular “Light Up The Sky” party last night to catch a sneak preview of its new business class seats (see news).
A corner that resembled the new C-class cabin was created, attracting a long queue of frequent flyers eager to get a taste of the innovations.
Here’s are some reactions from the crowd:
Chris Woodward, Marco Polo Club Diamond member and a long-time reader of Business Traveller, was delighted, saying “It’s a vast improvement. I think they got it right this time.” He was unimpressed with the old business class seats – commonly referred to as the “herringbone” seats – when they were introduced a few years ago. “It was a total disaster. It was for a single person travelling alone, who wasn’t too large and didn’t mind to be cut off from the world.”
With the new ones, he said: “There is a feeling of space; a feeling that you can have a laptop; you can have food; and have a place to store things.” Another feature he appreciated was the seat adjustment panel, which makes the seat flat at the touch of a button. “With some other airlines you actually have to get up to make it a bed.”
Venus Choi, who works for Credit Suisse and has been a Marco Polo Club member since she was in high school, also praised the extra space. “It is much bigger – there is an option to be interactive with the person next to you, and if you want privacy you can choose that too,” she said, referring to the armrest that can also be pulled up as a privacy screen. But she did have one complaint. “There is a button to pop the TV out but to close it you have to get up and make a conscious effort to do it.”
Ross Chiu, a friend of Choi and a Diamond member “below 30”, said: “With the ‘fish bone’ you couldn’t talk to others and it was very narrow. If you wanted to open the laptop and work, there was no space for your arms. This time, they have solved the problem.”
Ronnie Ede, another Diamond-tier Marco Polo Club member, said: “The meal table had added space, it was pretty comfortable.”
Howard Cummer, one of the many guests attending the party, remarked: “I have flown more than 2 million miles. I was part of the focus group for the original sardine-style business bed. The new ones are quite a bit better. They are more aware of what you might want to do when you are flying.
“You have more space for your laptop; you can plug in your iPad, access your movies and store your shoes and things.”
He said: “The bed feels more like a bed. It does not have the lumps like the old seats had. What’s nice is they listened to the customers. We do have opinions about this as we use the facility all the time. The new facility is definitely better than the old one.”
Cummer’s wife Esther, was happy that the new seats now allow people to interact: “With the last one – the ‘coffin’ if I may call it – you had to stand up and lean over to talk to the person you were travelling with and that was a problem.”