More Info On Cathay Pacific’s New Premium Economy Product

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Back in March, Cathay Pacific announced that it would debut a new business class seat, in February 2016, on their new flagship A350 aircraft and would follow this up with a refresh of the business class seats on their A330 and 777 aircraft (but probably not until 2017/18)

At the time, Cathay Pacific’s product exec, Toby Smith, also hinted at a “different and improved” premium economy seat – but no further details were provided.

Well, a few details are now available and, unsurprisingly, it’s Australian Business Traveller that have the news once again:

The “all-new” premium economy seat will launch on the Airbus A350 aircraft in February 2016, alongside the new business class seat, and it looks to be a significant improvement on the current seat.

Cathay Pacific New Premium Economy Seats

Image courtesy of Australian Business Traveller

We’re told that the new seat will come with a padded swing-up leg rest and that passengers will get more legroom thanks to an increase in distance between the seats – no specific numbers appear to have been mentioned.

Compare the image above with this image of the current premium economy seat on Cathy’s fleet and you’ll start to see the differences:

Cathay Pacific Old Premium Economy SeatingImage courtesy of Australian Business Traveller

The seats are expected to be laid out in a 2-3-2 formation as found in the current A330-300 aircraft rather than the 2-4-2 formation as found on their 777-300ERs.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 17.33.33

SeatGuru Screenshot of Cathay’s A330-300 Premium Economy Layout

In further news, Toby Smith announced that the A350 would be used to asses the demand for inflight connectivity (Internet access) – but don’t get your hopes up just yet. Smith is quoted as saying:

“We’ve been looking at it for a number of years 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.”

In an amusing further comment Smith adds:

“There hasn’t been a big push from our passengers”

“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’.”

I don’t believe that’s the overwhelming sentiment of Marco Polo club members for one second. It’s a handy excuse to trot out when your planes don’t come equipped with modern technology (even some US airlines have over-water Internet nowadays!) but it won’t wash for long. Connectivity is key in the modern era and over-water internet is here to stay – the sooner Cathay joins the 21st Century, in this respect, the better.


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