Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330 Premium Economy

Hello from Singapore! I’m now in the Ritz-Carlton Single Bedroom Suite, at the start of a quick vacation, and this morning flew Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy over.

The product is not much more than an enhanced Economy product, but the Economy product is quite nice already, and has a little less padding (I did explore the Economy product on the way to the toilet).

On the way to Auckland I tested out the padding of the seat (by squishing the seat cushions). The seats were quite soft.

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Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 ground services

Unfortunately Cathay Pacific can’t do their ground services for s^&*, and they only opened one Economy/Premium Economy check-in counter at Hong Kong Airport Express station. One lady held the queue so much, people began to complain. After 15 minutes they finally sped things up (or, literally speaking, started the queue moving) by opening another counter. (By that time the lady hadn’t even left yet.)

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Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 seat

My first impressions was: This seat is small. Many reviews on the Internet gave impressions of a really wide seat, and it was not as big as expected (which is good, since my elbows could reach both armrests). However, the padding was phenomenal. (As I did check out Business on the way to Premium Economy as everyone boarded through the front door, I did the same as I did with the Premium Economy seats last time, and I’m pretty sure the two seats use exactly the same type of padding.)

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Legroom wasn’t enough to fit Mount Everest but ample for me (and probably most other travellers, I think).

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Yes, I have small legs

Recline was…well, less than Business, but still more than I expected.

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The legroom if the person in front reclined was still acceptable, probably about the economy amount (well, we’re talking about an upright economy seat, of course. And that’s my mom’s legs, by the way).

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However I couldn’t charge my MacBook since it had one of those “wall-climber” plugs that didn’t fit in the plug. This struck me as being poorly designed. 😦

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Enough for now, as these are just my initial thoughts.

Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 headphones

I’m pleased to say that Cathay Pacific offers damn good headphones in Premium Economy, which were totally noise cancelling and were no pain to my ears at all (unlike my own earphones, Coloud headphones, which literally squish my ears). I didn’t think it was Bose (if it was it would be a QC2 I think), but more than what a Premium Economy passenger (or even Business passenger) can ask for.

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Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 Bathrooms

Admittedly it’s a minor point, but the A330 economy bathrooms (yes, economy bathrooms) are much more snazzy than the A340 ones (like the ones I had to Auckland).

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Bathrooms on the A340

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Bathrooms on the A330

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Bathrooms on the A330

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Same amenities as the A340, only in a newer container

I’d say it was a little style over substance, as it wasn’t really big.

Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 meals

In Auckland, I mentioned not having cheese in my almost-perfect tomato sauce pasta meal. Apparently someone from Cathay must read this blog (I kid), since my meal this time was exactly the same – except that it had cheese.

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A340 economy class meal (HKG – AKL)

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A330 Premium Economy Class meal (HKG – SIN)

Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy A330 Service

Service was definitely not as personalised as the economy class service I got to Auckland (admittedly that flight was much, much longer), but they were nice, and I especially have to commend the captain (more on that in the actual report).

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Packaged nuts in Premium Economy (OK, that’s what she said)

Bottom line

For a short haul flight it’s completely unnecessary, but for longer flights, Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy is the way to go. It puts a sufficient mark between Economy and Business (maybe more on the Economy side), and while it’s a little less than expected of the price, it’s a good mark for Premium Economy.

Just for teasers…

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As much as I said I’d like to watch Brother Bear, Mary Poppins was too appealing to resist…

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