CX speeds up installation of premium economy on long-haul flights

Cathay Pacific (CX) confirms the progressive introduction of premium economy class to its long-haul flights. The cabin was first launched in March on flights to Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver and New York, and since May and July, it features on services to London and Johannesburg respectively.

More of the airline’s passengers will get to stretch out as the new seats are being progressively fitted on aircraft serving Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth (August); Los Angeles, San Francisco, Frankfurt and Paris (September); as well as Brisbane and Mumbai (October), a CX spokesperson told Business Traveller.

By end of 2012, the airline expects to have 48 aircraft installed with premium economy, comprising 23 B777-300ERs, 17 A330-300s and eight B747-400s. The number is to grow to 87 by the end of next year.

The premium economy cabin, with 26 to 34 seats, is quieter and more spacious than the back end. The seat pitch is 38 inches, six inches more than that of economy, and the seat itself is wider and has a bigger recline.

The new cabin also provides passengers with a large meal table, a separate cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, an in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for electronic devices and extra personal stowage space.

Passengers of this cabin also enjoy priority check-in and priority boarding before economy passengers, as well as more baggage allowance at 25kg (versus 20kg) in weight system or two pieces of up to 25kg each (instead of 23kg) in piece system applicable to flights serving the Americas.

For a detailed report about CX’s premium economy cabin on the B777-300ER, click here. For a detailed review of the seat, click here.

CX is convinced that the new class will appeal to proprietors of small and medium-sized enterprises who used to travel in economy on business trips, said the spokesperson.

The carrier also expects the new cabin to be favoured by many Marco Polo Club members who travel in business class while working but in economy when on vacation, as well as retirees who are wealthy but price-conscious, she added.

Premium economy is increasingly becoming an industry standard. Last month, All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced launch dates for its premium economy (see story here).

Other carriers that already offer premium economy include Air New Zealand (see story here), United Airlines (see story here), Eva Air (see story here), Turkish Airlines (see story here), Air France (see story here), Air China (see story here), Virgin Atlantic (see story here), KLM (see story here), Qantas (see story here), Bmi (see story here), Japan Airlines (see story here), Air Transat (see story here), as well as China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines (see story here).

For more information, visit www.cathaypacific.com.

Michelle Fong


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  • United airlines does not offer Premium Economy. Economy plus is not premium economy. It is economy with greater seat pitch. You can’t buy a United premium economy ticket, you buy economy and pay for extra legroom seats. There is no difference in soft product, recline or seat width and it is misleading to claim this, and no more frequent flyer miles get earned by buying such seats. You may as well argue that exit row seats are “premium economy”.

    Delta and American now offer the same “economy with more legroom” product, but it doesn’t compare with what Cathay, BA, Qantas etc offer.

  • Thank you for your comments. There is no consensus in the industry as to what constitutes premium economy, and in some cases, the extra legroom is the only additional benefit. United Airlines considers its Economy Plus a premium economy product.

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