They say good things happen in threes. With respect to my experiences with premium economy, I agree. I’d never flown international premium economy until a flight on an Air France A330-200 from Houston to Paris. Then within a few weeks, I flew premium economy on Delta (Premium Select in Delta lingo) on an A350-900 from Detroit to Tokyo and now this flight in premium economy on Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Pacific Flight 845 New York to Hong Kong
I purchased a coach ticket for this flight. At the American Airlines Flagship lounge, I learned that Cathay Pacific had upgraded me to premium economy because the flight was oversold in coach. To borrow a famous phrase: “I love it!”
Premium Economy Cabin and Seat
On this four-class 777-300ER Cathay Pacific installed 34 premium economy seats arranged 2-4-2 in one cabin just aft of the over-wing exit. This cabin has no dedicated bathrooms. Premium economy passengers use the lavatories in coach.
My seat was 34H, an aisle seat on the starboard side.
Premium economy seats are 19.5 inches wide and have 38 inches of pitch. That is equivalent to the size of a domestic first-class seat in the U. S..
Each seat has a footrest that Cathay Pacific generously refers to as an ottoman.
At boarding a nice blanket, pillow and amenity kit was on each premium economy seat.
Cathay Pacific also provides noise-cancelling headsets.
Each seat has access to USB and A/C power.
The flight began boarding at 00:20 at JFK Terminal 8 Gate 47 for a scheduled 00:55 departure. The FAs handed out warm moist towels at 00:35. Juice, water and champagne were offered at 00:53 just after engine start.
The FAs then handed out the menus. That should have been it for service before takeoff. Unfortunately, while beverages were being served the pilots shut down the engines. At 01:13 the pilots announced that engineers would need to lock out a valve and that would require a delay of 60-90 minutes. Just after that the disappointing news about the delay, the FAs offered a beverage service of juice, water, and orange juice. The flight finally departed JFK at 02:45.
First Meal Service
The service began about 30 minutes after takeoff. On a red eye flight, anyone wanting to eat and maximize sleep time should order a special meal. They are always served first. I was not concerned about sleep on this flight. Before serving the meal, the FA advised passengers individually about the new Hong Kong arrival time. I would have no problem with my connecting flight.
These are the menus for premium economy:
I ordered the beef filet with wild mushrooms, edamame and fingerling potatoes. It was accompanied by a marinated corn and feta salad. The meal was very good.
You won’t get a beef filet in economy, and this filet was actually prepared medium rare to medium.
After dinner, the FAs handed out bottled water.
Cruise and Chill
The flying time of nearly 15 hours left plenty of time to fill between meals. After dinner I slept for a few hours.
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system was very good but not state of the art. These are some of the options on IFE.
Cathay Pacific is one of the few airlines that gives passengers the chance to learn or brush up on foreign languages.
When this system is available I always checkout a few words, phrases and numbers for use after landing. Knowing only a handful of words and phrases makes a good impression.
I opted for a cup of noodles for a snack.
In addition, other snacks are available in the galley throughout the flight.
One Problem for Seat 34H
Seat 34H is very comfortable for sitting or sleeping. It has good size for a premium economy seat. The issue this seat must deal with is the curtain that separates the premium economy and economy cabins.
The aisle on the starboard side has more traffic than the aisle on the port side. When passengers or FAs passed through the curtain they would often fling it open and the curtain would brush against my seat.
The service started with distribution of moist antiseptic towels in plastic packaging. A beverage service of coffee, juice and water and the arrival meal followed 30 minutes later.
The breakfast was good for breakfast on a plane. I think a non-breakfast choice like the Singaporean fried rice vermicelli would have been better.
Hong Kong Arrival
Important arrival information was displayed on the IFE system.
Thirty minutes before landing the FAs returned passenger coats that had been collected during boarding. Final approach to HKG was from the west. We landed on Runway 7L (Seven Left) and parked at Gate 3.
Cathay Pacific provides a very good premium economy experience on the 777-300ER. The seat is as large as a domestic first class seat. The beef filet was very good, not over done, and clearly superior to economy class. Alcoholic beverages were on par with some business class offerings. In addition, the amenities, especially the quilt and headsets, made the experience enjoyable. The only drawback was the location of Seat 34H near the curtain between premium economy and economy. Given the free upgrade to premium economy, I was very satisfied with this flight and think that Cathay Pacific’s premium economy provides a good value.