Cathay Pacific has announced the launch of its new Premium Economy class and also an overhaul of its international economy seating. The airline to bring these changes onto its aircrafts starting March 2012 with the firs flight from Hong Kong to Sydney. The other routes which will be getting the Premium Economy seating will be Singapore, New York, Toronto and Vancouver followed by other destinations.
In contrast to the usual practice of placing Premium Economy seats in the same cabin as Econ0my, Cathay plans to create a seperate cabin space for the same having 26 to 34 seats based on the aircraft config. The Seat pitch will be 38 inches, which is six inches more than Economy Class and 19.3 inches wide, with an 8 inch recline and will have a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for personal devices andnoise-cancelling headphones. Economy Plus passengers will be welcomed aboard with juice and champagne, and get an enhanced onboard meal selection, they will also receive a bottle of water and additional snack choices to include more fresh fruit, energy bar and dessert.
In order to prove its point of being an Economy plus and not a Business minus, Cathay will provide priority check-in at dedicated counters and priority boarding ahead of Economy Class passengers. The baggage allowance will also be increased from 20kg to 25kg (for luggage allowances measured according to weight) or two pieces of baggage from 23 kg to 25kg each (for allowances measured by the number of pieces).
The new Premium Economy cabin will be installed on all Cathay Pacific long-haul aircraft including Boeing 777-300ERs, Boeing 747-400s, Airbus A330-300s and Airbus A340-300s with the first ones being rolled out in service in March. Cathay plans to have 87 aircraft fitted with the product by the end of 2013. In order to add the Premium Economy cabin inside its Boeing 777-300ERs, the airline will remove the first class cabin and also reduce the number of business class seats which is really a sad decision for people like me who love to redeem their OneWorld miles for the Cathay First Class experience but from the airlines perspective, it makes much more economic sense.
The Economy fixed shell seating will be replaced with new recliner which is a long overdue change in my sense given the fact that how uncomfortable those shell seats were, this will really help enhance the Economy Class experience.
All in all the changes seemed to be geared towards bringing in much more customers to experience better comfort abeit at a lower price point, am just waiting to get to try the Economy Plus cabin for whatever benefits that are being promised by the airline.