Cathay Pacific to launch new premium economy in February 2016

By David Flynn, June 24 2015
Cathay Pacific to launch new premium economy in February 2016

Cathay Pacific will launch an all-new premium economy seat on its flagship Airbus A350 fleet from February 2016, alongside an ‘evolved’ business class seat.

A padded swing-up legrest will be built into every seat, while passengers will enjoy more legroom due to slightly greater distance between each row of seats.

“We’re always looking for what’s out there in the market” CX product exec Toby Smith tells Australian Business Traveller, “and for premium economy there was a new seat which we felt was better than the current one.”

“It has a proper and more comfortable legrest in all rows, unlike a padded bar at the front which some competitors have – which when you've not got your shoes on is quite hard and uncomfortable.” 

The upgrade comes four years after Cathay Pacific introduced its ‘in-between’ class in March 2012, which has a proper legrest only in the first row of seats, while travellers in other rows must make do with a less comfortable swing-down 'T-bar' footrest (show below).

The A350’s premium economy seating layout is believed to follow the same 2-3-2 grid as Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330-300 jets rather than the 2-4-2 arrangement of the Boeing 777-300ER.

The Airbus A350 will also be used to assess the demand for inflight Internet.

"We're going to be doing some technology trials and pricing model trials on the A350, which will come with connectivity," Smith has previously confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

"We've been looking at it for a number of years" Smith said, "but I'm not yet reassured by the technology."

"We look at other airlines and we hear their passenger experiences, and there's a high number of drop-outs, it's slow and some airlines charge a lot of money for it, so we want to let the technology become a bit more mature."

"There hasn't been a big push from our passengers" Smith adds. "In fact a lot of what I hear from our Marco Polo members is ‘Please don't do it, it's the only place in the wold where I’m free from the Internet'."

Also read: Cathay Pacific’s all-new A350 business class

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2011

Total posts 30

What's the likelihood of CX replacing their A330 routes into Australia with A350 straight away?

I'm tired of airlines saying "we hear a lot of our customers saying please don't install internet" 

Inflight internet can be an option (block VOIP)for those who want to remain silently connected, but i stress: OPTION. In any case let's be honest - what percentage of flights have you been on that had internet had people annoying other passengers because of it?

And for the naysayers: are you that incapable as an adult from refraining from using something you don't like or fancy? If i don't like what's being shown on the IFE, i don't watch it. I certainly don't go writing into CX to have them remove it because I'm not a fan. 

To me it seems like it was very poorly structured research, and based on it, some airlines can't be bothered to invest in the technology.

I'd be opposed to it too if you could talk through it, but blocking that function is easy... so come on, do your homework's not difficult to work out a solution that'll keep everyone happy.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

I agree. 

My family live in Abu Dhabi, and travelling on a South African passport, so I need a visa to visit them ( the green mamba strikes again).

My mother normally arranges my visa through a hotel connection she has. On my last trip I had issues with my exit and the powers that be in the UAE stopped all of the hotels visa applications until they saw my exit stamp.

Being on an Emirates A380 meant I had cheap, good internet and was able to send them a picture of it straight away. Rather than waiting the 7 hours still I got back to London.

Could you imagine the hotel not being able to process any visas, for what in the end would of been 24 hours because of time differences.

So I'm very grateful Emirates has good, cheap internet available on their A380's.

CX - Marco Polo

13 Apr 2014

Total posts 3

To be fair Cathay said he reason they still haven't installed Wifi is because most of thei long haul flights enter the Chinese airspace where they cannot have access to the internet on the plane but apparently they are installing Wifi on the A350s

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 44

That seat looks really comfortable, and with 2-3-2 grid on an A350 should be spacious. One of the best. 

24 Jun 2015

Total posts 1

The Cathay Premium Economy product is a good product that is reasonably priced.

In terms of leg room, I find it acceptable, unless you are in a bulkhead seat, which really could do with an adition 3-4 inchs of room, to enable a person of 1.9m, to stretch out. For the other seats, leg room is already ok. The seat is reasonably confortable, but in an upright position, the headrest does tend to impinge on the shoulder blades of a taller person. The seat could do with a bit of design work in this area. In the reclined positiion however it is ok.

My big issue with the product, is the access to toilets, and the layout on the a330s is extremely poor. I pity the people in economy who have to put up with lines of passengers trying to get into the toilets, as the entrances to the toilets open up into the aisles. I really think they need to address this problem.

The toilet layout on the SQ's old 777-200's seemed to be infinitely better, with a block of 5, 2 blocks of 2, facing each other, with a space between them that linked the two aisles. I don't seem to remember people waiting in the aisles for toilet access in this set up.

Interesting....the jury's out till we see the price point.

I wonder if they will upgrade the rest of the fleet with the new product?

I wonder if they will increase  the legroom  to 41 inches similar to Virgin's move.

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